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Replacing acoustic bridge…..

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Bill Flude
(@frocesterbill)
Customer
Luthier
Rep Points: 3585
Joined:2 years ago
Posts: 605
23/07/2021 10:37 pm  

My acoustic has a problem - there are two splits in the bridge at either end and in front of the saddle.

The guitar is an Ashton, Australian make, China built.  It was a 50th birthday present from the boss.   The model was top of the Guitar Magazine’s acoustic under £500.  

I got the guitar in 2007 and the splits appeared about 5 years later.   Back then I knew nothing about how guitars were made and I ‘fixed’ it with superglue…….  Silly boy!

I would like to remove the bridge and make another one - how do you remove a bridge?

Measure once........
Measure again.........
Sod it - make tea!


mattbeels, Boo, Koendb and 2 people liked
Rocknroller912
(@rocknroller912)
Luthier
Rep Points: 5075
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24/07/2021 1:45 am  

@frocesterbill

Repairs like this are mostly what I do rather than new builds, so here is my suggestion although I’m open to being told I’m wrong.

Recently I’ve done two bridge removals one for the local music shop on a guitar about the same value as yours. Glue can usually be softened with heat like a domestic iron over brown paper and you need to protect the top with heat resistant pad with a cut out for the bridge. Jewellery makers use them for silver soldering and I got mine from Cookson Gold in Birmingham. Cost about £6 I think.

My experience of instruments built in China is that they use a cascamite type water resistant glue which doesn’t respond to heat, so if you want to replace the existing bridge and make a new one I would just take it off with a block plane and chisel because it’s just scrap and you can make a template from the outline you have left on the guitar. 

There will usually be some residual damage around the edge which needs to be covered up, and the way to do this is to make the new one a mm or so bigger all round and bevel the underside to give a clean edge. Then it’s just the same as a new build, scraping away any finish to make a good fit. The difficult part is shaping the underside of the new bridge. Good luck with that.

Some people call me a tool, others are less complimentary. Tools being useful things.


mattbeels, Boo, Russ and 3 people liked
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Bill Flude
(@frocesterbill)
Customer
Luthier
Rep Points: 3585
Joined:2 years ago
Posts: 605
24/07/2021 7:21 am  

@Rocknroller912 Thanks for that - sounds like a plan - I wondered about heat to soften glue but as you say as the bridge is not being reused then carefully remove/destroy………..

Measure once........
Measure again.........
Sod it - make tea!


mattbeels, Boo, Russ and 3 people liked
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darrenking
(@darrenking)
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Luthier
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25/07/2021 1:01 am  

Hi Bill, I have never had to remove a bridge but, if I did, I absolutely agree with @rocknroller912. If there is no reason to reuse the existing bridge then planing or routing it off will do far less damage to the sound board than if you try to prise it off with heat or water. Good luck with it.

Darren


mattbeels, Robin, Boo and 1 people liked
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