Bajo Sexto conversion questions

Discussion in 'Acoustic Heaven' started by jhundt, Oct 21, 2019.

  1. jhundt

    jhundt Doctor of Teleocity

    Age:
    65
    Posts:
    11,532
    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2003
    Location:
    Netherlands
    I have rarely if ever posted in this forum, so please forgive me if I am asking anything stupid!

    I have an old 60's Klira Bluebell 12-string acoustic, purchased from a thrift-shop for about $35.
    I worked on it a bit, and it plays reasonably well.
    The top is a bit bellied. The bridge is string-through for ball-end strings - it does NOT have pins holding the strings in the body.

    I just had an idea that I could convert it to a Bajo Sexto, at least for learning purposes. I have found Bajo Sexto strings on line. They have a "loop end", which I know from pictures and ancient memories of mandolins. But my memories are cloudy, and my current knowledge is vague.

    So my first question is: does anyone have a good method for using loop-end strings on a string-through rosewood bridge? I am wondering how you would anchor the strings so the loop-end doesn't pull through the hole.

    My second question is - has anyone ever tried this conversion, and if so - does it work? Am I liable to run into any unforeseen problems?
    upload_2019-10-21_17-33-52.jpeg
    upload_2019-10-21_17-34-34.jpeg
    upload_2019-10-21_17-35-41.jpeg
     
  2. jhundt

    jhundt Doctor of Teleocity

    Age:
    65
    Posts:
    11,532
    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2003
    Location:
    Netherlands
    reply to myself:

    I have just been studying some photos of bajo sexto bridges. It appears to be that the loop-end is simply brought up over the bridge and the string is looped through it. If that's the way it's done, OK. It looks to me like that loop-end could cut into the winding. I will not try to re-invent the wheel, if it works for the guys who play bajo guitars, that's OK.

    But I am still open for suggestions, advice, comments about converting a 12-string to Bajo Sexto.
    [​IMG]
     
  3. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Tele-Afflicted

    Age:
    74
    Posts:
    1,939
    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2018
    Location:
    Washington
    The bridge design on bajo sextos is very weak and prone to splitting whether you use loops or ball ends. You can see in this photo how the bridge has split basically along the string holes.

    IMG_5559.JPG

    I repaired it very similar to what is in your picture - I put a thin piece of metal over the top of the bridge and bolted it thru the instrument with some large washers inside. Restrung it wit loop ends but I had to add a couple of ball end strings since I didn't have the complete set

    IMG_5567.JPG

    IMG_5571.JPG

    Remember that a bajo sexto is strung and tuned completely different from a normal 12 string. The strings are huge - you will probably have to drill out the holes in your bridge, however with the low tuning the tension is fairly reasonable.

    Edit to add, you will probably have to make a new nut to fit the strings or at least enlarge the slots.
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2019
    jhundt likes this.
  4. jhundt

    jhundt Doctor of Teleocity

    Age:
    65
    Posts:
    11,532
    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2003
    Location:
    Netherlands
    thanks for the reply. I had considered the nut issue; I think I have a replacement in my guitar parts box - ready, willing and able.

    I will wait for the strings before I drill the bridge. Thanks for pointing that out.
     
  5. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Tele-Afflicted

    Age:
    74
    Posts:
    1,939
    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2018
    Location:
    Washington
    You will want a long bit since the holes are roughly parallel the top and you won't be able to get your drill motor down close to it.
     
    jhundt likes this.
  6. jhundt

    jhundt Doctor of Teleocity

    Age:
    65
    Posts:
    11,532
    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2003
    Location:
    Netherlands
    actually, the bridge on this guitar is not glued to the top, but is mounted with screws, so that should make it easier. Thanks for you suggestions!
     
IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.


  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.