PHOTOS: All metal decisions optimized toward ultimate tone. Series of photographs showing some design and machining steps involved. Fanned frets on Dove's trapezoidal neck profile complicate the bridge mechanism significantly.
I remain concerned about the long term ergonomic considerations of fanned frets that use a non-perpendicular nut, as previously discussed. Over-rotation of the wrist is a troubling requirement, unless the neck is played in a near-vertical position.
(play air guitar at your computer to explore)
Fanned fret systems have strong ergonomic potential (for less vertical neck positions) when using a perpendicular nut. Frets angle progressively toward the bridge along the bass strings. Wrist rotation is intuitive, natural, and comfortable when playing Dove. Particularly when chording. As always — in the balancing act that defines lutherie — new factors emerge:
• Fanned frets are highly suitable for string bending, due to the mathematical interaction between string and fret. For a given amount of string movement, pitch change is more than what we expect from conventionally fretted instruments when strings are pushed, less when strings are pulled. This sharp/flat progression is mathematical (exponential) and requires some adaptation in playing technique.
• Bridge design must progressively compensate for string length differences. Dove's low E is 0.5" longer than high E. Intonation compensation adjustment requirements remain, but the intonation point now changes for each string.
After attempting and rejecting several failed bridge designs, I've decided upon the successful system you see here. Each string has an individual "turret" which auto rotates in order to allow the string/anchor point assembly to self-align with its corresponding nut slot. Each string is free to act as it best sees fit.
The saddle and turret are titanium. The screws and springs are stainless steel. The bridge plates are machined bronze, and will be engraved to match the pattern of the tuning key plates. Strings pass through the top plate and anchor on the back bridge anchor plate, which also aligns the turrets for precise rotation.