Ok, I've posted this question on other experts and can't seem to get a reply. My first build is a 17" long CB and I'm at a point where I "have" to make a decision, but would greatly appreciate some guidance. I read, heard or saw someplace that the sweet spot for a bridge is 3/4 of the way back from the neck end of the box. My snag is, I plan on using 19 frets(unless advised otherwise). If I go with a 25.5 scale, it locates the bridge about half way in the middle of the box(approx 9"). 32.5" scale would put the bridge about right. In bot h scenarios the fretboard would be about 2 frets over the lid. I don't know if a 32.5" is even viable. Any advice would be helpful.

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32.5 will take you into bass guitar territory, which requires bigger strings? And totally changes string tension? Having a fretboard over the lid is quite common, so not really a big deal, sometimes it just works out that way? I wouldn’t worry about the neck being over the box much, especially if the bridge is set in an optimal position? Here’s a video on the “over the top” fretboard from Del Puckett, good luck on your build.


The tendency on first builds is to overthink things. You really want it to be a wonderful build [and it will be] but it probably won't be perfect.I have put bridges anywhere from the middle of a box to about an inch from the edge. They all can work. Some better than others. I do agree with your sweet spot observation.

That's a big box, and might lend itself to bass [or maybe baritone] territory. As Brian indicates, bass scale length will present some interesting string tension issues.

Most guys rarely play about the 15th fret or thereabouts, so at that point fret count is probably aesthetics more than function.

Have fun, enjoy the process, post pix for us to see, and build on!!

Firstly, I'm no expert, but in the absence of other advice I'll offer what I can. Secondly, an inescapable fact, the 12th fret has to be halfway from the nut to the bridge. On my builds the bridge is positioned roughly 1/3 of the way from the tail end. In the case of your 17" box, that would put it about 5.5" from the tail which with a 25.5" scale means the only accessible frets would be up to numbers 12-15. Therefore, to allow reasonable access to 19 frets, the options are a longer scale as you said, a smaller box or a bridge halfway. Personally in that case I wouldn't build one with a 17" long box due to the long stretch of string between bridge & Tail.  The longest I've built is 13" with a bridge about 5" from the tail and a 25.5" scale. Frankly I don't know how a 32.5" scale would work out but I'm assuming a long neck & a long total string length which means lots of stretch in use. 

Like Dennis, for an acoustic build I have the bridge about a third of the way forward. For electric it doesn't matter much. Look up the Bo Diddley guitars for reference, his had long boxes. You could fashion a tailpiece to address the overall string length concern Dennis voiced. Personally I would not hesitate to use the box. Depending on the width it might be a great candidate for a resonator using a pie tin or paint can lid? Go forth and prosper!!!

I forgot to mention( not really, just didn't know to) that there will be a tail piece of sorts. While we're on the subject of bridges. I know the nut should have a single slope from fretboard toward head, but what about the bridge? Pointed, rounded or does it really matter, as long as it's notched?

A long Tailpiece like on Jazz guitars would help keep the excess string length beyond the bridge shorter, & therefore assist with bridge positioning. Regarding the bridge, I've always notched bone bridge saddles with a slope towards the tail. Correct width notches per string is the key, if too wide it can produce buzzing or unwanted dull tones.

Thanks everyone for the advice, it's giving me something to chew on. There's a personal reason that I'm using this particular box, although it's large. It will be apparent when you see the finished project. I'm rethinking the number of frets and the neck length. 25.5 seems to be doable although baritone sounds interesting because this will be a unique build. What strings would I need (3)? I'm also making the neck 1 1/2"  thick plus 1/4" fretboard.

17"x6"x7" I'm leaning toward a deeper bass tone, just don't have a clue what strings to get. I'm adding a pick-up, even kicking around 6 strings (3 pair) the neck is laminate oak at present 3 " wide and will be through box build aka Del Puckett style.

Just to clarify, I meant I wouldn't use a 17" box with ADG strings from a standard 6 pack, not that I wouldn't use a 17" box at all. That box sounds awesome, there's always a way, that's the fun in this, no rules!

I’m running 52, 42, 30 on a 28.5” scale & 56, 46, 34 on a 30.5” scale. Both 3 stringers, down tuned get pretty bassy? Fender One is tuned open D (D A D) & the latter is tuned to open C (C G C) & open B (B F# B). On my 6 string Baritone 30.25 scale, I’m using 16-66 tuning as low as Drop A? So really it’s preference? I myself enjoy larger gauges, but most don’t? Good luck 

I'm curious about your string size choices. Would the ones on the 28 work on the 32 with a tail piece and tuned to open "G"?

Will "A" have the same effect as "B"? Where as "A" has adjustable screws with holes for the strings and "B" has the bridge slanted.


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