Monday, March 8, 2010

String Height Gauge


So January and February were slow for me and I got a bit bored. So I started fiddling around with the idea of designing my own String Height Gauge. I saw the gauge that Stew Mac sells and I saw the one that LMI carries, and thought I can do that.

I started with a piece of leftover aluminum bar stock that I had knurled for some reason or another back in the 90's. Drilled and countersunk the inlet for the Dial Caliper. Drilled and tapped for a set screw. Then came the string relief and fret cutaways. The dial tip sits flush with the bottom of the slug.

The way it works is; I'll straddle a string and push down on the caliper tip until the string hits the fret(essentially I'm fretting the string). I zero the gauge and release the tip. Now I have my string height to 1000th of an inch.

You might be saying to yourself "Why the heck do you need to read an action to 1000th of an inch". Well when some one asks for a medium, or low action based on the existing action I now have a reference to work from. It also helps during setups to avoid fret buzz. I'll lower the strings to the buzz point and take a reading and know I can't go below that point.

5 comments:

Steve said...

You're an inventor. This device rules.

Ry's Photo Blog said...

You ARE MacGyver! Shouldn't you be working for NASA or something?

Brian L Sutcliffe said...

Hi, I am Brian Sutcliffe the inventor and builder of the string height gage that LMII sells.
Good Job on theone that you made, have you tried making the bases out of knot or burl or some other scrap of wood that has fantastic grain/appearance? It is a lot of fun to play with this.
I have several suggestions for you that might help it work a little better. Take the back off the dial indicator and cut/remove the return springs, their pressure can and will give you a false reading.
One more thing, dont use a set screw to mount the base onto the dial indicator, just a tiny drop of ca glue will work fine. if you ever need to dissassemble thena few drops of acetone will release it (or ca release if you have it.
Have fun
Regards
Brian

Anonymous said...

Brian my name is Jeff Mercer I live in Cleveland Ohio how do I go about getting one of your string height gauges since they no
Longer sell them at LMI?
jsm121054@yahoo.com

Tyler Sutcliffe said...

Brian passed away Oct 4th.