Portland Guitar Co.

Designing and Building
Custom Handcrafted
Guitars, Ukuleles
and Accessories

Portland Guitar Co. | Portland Oregon | Contact Jay Dickinson-503.245.3276 | jay@portlandguitar.com

Home | Orders & Sales | Photo Gallery | Current Builds | Finished Builds

Rosettes & Marquetry |Shop Tour | Biography | News

Engineered Braces | Tilt Action Neck | Split Saddle Bridge | Split Saddle Nut


Portland Guitar Pretty Good Intonation (PGPG) System

Short Version | Introduction | Intonation Errors | Analysis | PG Approach | Comparisons | Conclusion

Finished Build

Classical Model Sympitar Cutaway

CLSyC 2.1.67

  • Body: Flamed Walnut
  • Top: Sitka Spruce
  • Neck: Mahogany
  • Fretboard: Ebony

Page 5

( 213 ) 4-Jan-2016

We are using zither pins, which are difficult to tune exactly, to tune the sympathetic strings. To fine tune the strings we are introducing a set of 4-40 bolts that will push on the strings and increase and decrease the tension. This pictures shows drilling the holes in the brace that will hold the the bolts.

( 214 ) 4-Jan-2016

Tapping each hole.

( 215 ) 4-Jan-2016

The zither pins and the fine tuning braces.

( 216 ) 4-Jan-2016

This picture shows the cross brace that directs the sympathetic strings under the top, and the brace structure that will hold the tuning mechanisms.

( 217 ) 4-Jan-2016

I fashioned a special bracket to hold the cross braces.

( 218 ) 4-Jan-2016

And installed a set of removable brackets so I can remove the braces if necessary.

( 219 ) 4-Jan-2016

I install the brackets with pins to prevent creep.

( 220 ) 4-Jan-2016

And an oak dowel to hold the brackets parallel.

( 221 ) 4-Jan-2016

The tuning mechanism with everything installed.

( 222 ) 4-Jan-2016

Now I have aligned the top with the rim, getting ready to glue it in place.

( 223 ) 4-Jan-2016

After glue is applied to the rim, the compression flange is tightened down.

( 224 ) 4-Jan-2016

A tolerance lip is left.

( 225 ) 4-Jan-2016

I use a small router to remove the lip.

( 226 ) 4-Jan-2016

To create the "Hiddy" wings in the heel channel, I take advantage of the slope in the channel to guide the router.

( 227 ) 4-Jan-2016

After the lip has been removed.

( 228 ) 4-Jan-2016

And a look at the wings. These wings slip under the cantilevered section of the fretboard and hide the gap that is at the interface.

( 229 ) 4-Jan-2016

Next I set up a template to route out the cantilevered fretboard support plate.

( 230 ) 4-Jan-2016


( 231 ) 4-Jan-2016


( 232 ) 4-Jan-2016


( 233 ) 4-Jan-2016

Here I am positioning the cross brace that hold the guides that directs the sympathetic strings under the top.

( 234 ) 4-Jan-2016

This mechanism needs to be positioned so that nothing touches the top preventing the top from freely vibrating.


You might notice that I have changed the brace that penetrates the top. I did this to eliminate the possibility that a string would slip off in the middle.

( 235 ) 4-Jan-2016

Once I was satisfied I glued the brace in place.

( 236 ) 4-Jan-2016

Now back to the neck. Here I am using the CNC tool to route out the head stock.

( 237 ) 4-Jan-2016

I outlined the headstock, routed out the string slots, created the slots for the sympathetic strings, and routed out the channel for the signature rose all at one time. This makes sure everything is positioned correctly.

( 238 ) 4-Jan-2016


( 239 ) 4-Jan-2016

Before I button up the back of the guitar, I want to put everything together to make sure the sympathetic strings will line up properly without any interferences.

( 240 ) 4-Jan-2016

The fine tuning mechanism works by pushing on the strings with the polished tips of 12 4-40 bolts. To prevent the strings from slipping off of the tips I fashioned a guide block for the strings to make sure they stay put.

( 241 ) 4-Jan-2016

Here is a picture of the tuning mechanism access port.

( 242 ) 4-Jan-2016

I drill the holes for the nylon string tuning machines 35 mm center to center.

( 243 ) 4-Jan-2016

Here is the headstock with the tuning machines installed.

( 244 ) 4-Jan-2016

Now, to put everything together.

( 245 ) 4-Jan-2016


( 246 ) 4-Jan-2016

Looking like a guitar.

( 247 ) 4-Jan-2016

I have installed a bone saddle on the top brace in the sympathetic string tuning mechanism.

( 248 ) 4-Jan-2016

And here I am fashioning a nut for the sympathetic strings. This nut will be under the main nut and will be independent of it.

( 249 ) 4-Jan-2016( # ) Date

First string, first note. Everything lines up! Hurray!