Upgrading the Chinese VSO page #2

Homewood Musical Instrument Company         hmi@scott.net


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Bottled Ebony works for me.

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clean up the end of the fingerboard to accept the new nut

I cut nuts from old scrap fingerboards

mvc-079s.jpg (45396 bytes) Shaping the nut. 
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This is a handy trick, with your belt sander, cut a tapered end on your pencil, this allows you to get up close with your pencil marks. Make pencil marks on the top and sides of the nut, use the marks as you cut the nut to shape. Use rasp and files to cut the nut, then lightly glue the nut down.
mvc-082s.jpg (34696 bytes) Mark the location for the outside nut slots with a divider.
mvc-083s.jpg (34210 bytes) Move the divider points to about 1/3 of the distance between the outside string marks. Walk the divider from mark to mark,  adjust,  and when the points fall right into the holes for the outside strings, make one more pass, pressing the divider points into the ebony to mark all four string locations.  This is easier to do than to describe.
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Finish with 220 grit sandpaper and burnish with  0000 steel wool. Dress the peg holes with the reamer, refer to How to Replace Pegs if you feel that the existing pegs are just too nasty to use.


mvc-086s.jpg (35733 bytes) Cut a new bridge from a blank.  The feet should fit the top nicely, I suggest you use a piece of carbon paper to help identify where to cut the bridge. Place the bridge on the paper and press firmly, cut the marked spots away until you have an even impression and are happy with the fit.
mvc-089s.jpg (25110 bytes) Use a sharp knife (if you can't *really* sharpen a knife, use a new "exacto" knife) to quickly remove the excess wood on the bridge feet.   Graduate the bridge from the front till the feet are about 4mm and the top is about 1.2 mm that should do nicely for the VSO.
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Try to get a good close fit.

I use a standard steel template transfer the proper shape to the top of the bridge.  Perhaps you can find another good bridge to copy.
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cut to the profile line, thin and graduate
mvc-094s.jpg (29428 bytes) Replace the plastic tailpiece with a modest wood tailpiece.  Locate and install a nylon tailgut to replace the gut that sometimes comes as stock equipment.   Replace the fine adjusters if you can.
mvc-095s.jpg (39060 bytes) The fine adjusters that come with the Chinese VSO do not work quite as well as german parts. 
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By now, your VSO should be a much more playable instrument.  I did not cover soundpost adjustments in this article, as that is a black art with which I am only humbly handy.

Please visit my web page for additional repair proceedures  hmi@scott.net

Homewood Music