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CJ Guitar Tooling Danelectro Bridge Installation

Danelectro guitars were built to a price. Which means that if there was a place where money could be saved in design or construction, it was. Masonite body? Check. Using lipstick tubes for pickup covers? Check. Cheap non-intonatable bridge? Check.

Regarding the bridge, players have done modifications over the years to their Danelectros to get better intonation. Jimmy Page had a Gibson Tune-O-Matic on his, for example.

I also wanted improved intontation, so I decided to put a better bridge on the pink Dano DC-2. Several of the reissue models have a 6-saddle bridge, and I contemplated that. But in the end, after searching the interwebs, I discovered CJ Guitar Tooling.

I never cease to be amazed at the plethora of incredibly well-made aftermarket guitar parts made today. Guitar players are so fortunate to have so many choices of great stuff.

On the left you see the stock Danelectro bridge, thin plate with rosewood saddle, and on the right, the CJ Guitar Tooling replacement.

The new bridge I'm putting on has a beautifully machined thick aluminum plate, and cold rolled steel Telecaster-style saddles.  It's a work of art.

Jim Szalwinski at CJ also (surprise) sells Telecaster bridges which look great as well. He offers a choice of saddles, so you can customize your guitar easily.

The CJ bridge is a perfect fit on the Danelectro. A nice touch is that two sets of saddle height screws are included - helping to fine tune your installation.

The bridge comes with installation instructions which are helpful. It's very easy to install the bridge.

I mentioned the two sets of saddle height screws. Here they are - a taller and a shorter set.

I wound up using the short set. Really nice to have both on hand.

This is the kind of thoughtful touch you get with a small shop. So great to do business with folks like this.

Here's the bridge installed on the Danelectro.

You see I put a piece of tape behind the bridge - I don't want to scratch the finish when I do the intontation adjustments.

It's easier to move the saddles back rather than forward in my experience. So I used my Saddlematic to put the saddles in the approximate position, which was toward the end of the bridge plate.

To properly set the radius on the bridge, we need to know the radius of the fingerboard. I measured it at about 16 inches. I say "about" because it seems to be somewhere between 15 and 16 inches.

Either radius would work - it's not a big enough difference to be an issue.

With the guitar strung up (I have DR Pure Blues .011s on it), I can set the string height and the radius of the saddles.

Just like adjusting a Fender guitar - straightforward.

As part of the setup, we adjust the truss rod. There is a 4mm hex nut at the end of the neck.

It's easy to loosen the neck now that we have machine screws instead of wood screws holding the neck on.

I detuned the strings and put a capo on at about the 10th fret. Then I took off the two screws nearest the body, and loosened the other two so I could push the neck up out of the pocket and tilt it to get access to the adjustment nut.

With the rod adjusted and the string height set, we set the intonation. I was able to get it set just about perfectly. With the 3-saddle bridge, even with compensated saddles, I usually find one string of the pair will be a tiny amount (a couple of cents) off on the strobe.

But to be honest, to my ear, it sounds right on, and that's what matters. The tuner is far more accurate than my ear. I can't hear that tiny bit of difference.

And that difference is probably down to the gauge of the strings in any event. With different gauges, the results would be different. It sounds perfect, so that's it!

(Aside: I had already done the intonation and removed the tape for that staged shot above, if you were wondering).

That bridge looks great, doesn't it? Looks perfect on that guitar.

I discovered a place where the binding tape was coming away from the body. Used a toothpick to get some glue between the tape and the body, the I heated the tape with the heat gun on low.

And taped it down to dry.

Did you notice the guitar is pink?

I wanted to include a shot of the guitar in the fantastic guitar vise. Lookit that! You can hold a whole guitar with it. I can't tell you how great that thing is.


Post a Comment 3 comments:

  • Andrew Pemrich said...
    January 20, 2016 at 1:46 AM
    How long ago did you order from CJ? They aren't replying to my emails...
  • Yr Fthfl Blggr said...
    January 20, 2016 at 9:05 PM
    Hi -

    I ordered from them very recently - about a month ago. CJ is a one-man shop. I suspect Jim makes a lot of things to order. It took a couple weeks to get the bridge.
  • Anonymous said...
    January 30, 2016 at 4:22 PM
    Really nice work!

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