Guitar repair – A bridge glue-up in October (It went well)!

The last time, I had announced that I shall no longer do (any) glue-up jobs between July and September and that I would welcome these jobs October onwards.

This bridge-glue-up job came in October when the humidity gods were more benevolent,

but this was an odd one.

Obviously, it had been standing lonely in a corner of some forsaken room. You can make that out from the missing ferrules of the D and G string tuners. It had developed a handsome belly bulge and the bridge had started to come off.

Wisely or not, the owner had taken it upon himself to take off the strings, as also the bridge!!!!

He brought it to me thus.

I marked the outline of the bridge and you can see what portion of the bridge was stuck to the finish under it.

But first the belly had to be dealt with. Over two clamped sittings of 48 hours each, the belly seemed to disappear, permanently or not, only time will tell. Here are a few photographs of the time it spent staying clamped over the four days.

Then I turned my attention to the footprint of the bridge, clearing all the unneeded finish that was under the bridge.

But that is just half the job done. The other half entailed cleaning the bridge. But as I started cleaning it, flakes or white powder covered my hands and clothes. Super glue!!

After I was done with cleaning the bridge, I checked for warp in it, considering that it was stuck to a bellied top. Sure enough, there was quite a bit of curvature in it. Sanding it out would mean thinning the bridge down to a ghost of itself.

Instead, I decided to put a new bridge in place of the old one.

The only problem with that was that the new one was a few millimetres smaller than the original which threw the bridgepin holes on the top and the new bridge out of whack. The way out: plug the holes in the top and redrill them to match the ones in the bridge.

That done, it was time to glue up the bridge.

It was now the turn to set up the guitar and it began with neck straightness.

I forgot to click a photograph of it, but at some point in the life of the guitar, the D and G tuning machines got spoilt and were replaced with some very ordinary open-gear tuning machines. These were the type where the ferrules are just pushed in from the top and are not screwed onto the rest of the tuning machine. In fact, the person changing out the machines had not even bothered to drill new holes and had screwed on the new machines in the old holes. As a result, the machine heads were tilted to one side, making turning them a pain. Since I had not been asked to touch those, I replaced the the ferrules and was done with it. 

As I strung up the guitar (with the old strings that the owner had given me), I could make out that the action would be more than double of what I would like to see. So, the saddle needed to be cut in half to get me near tolerable action.

I did what I had to but still the action wasn’t as good as I would have liked it. But there was nothing more to be done.

More importantly, the owner was happy that his guitar was playable again.



Amit Newton

An experienced guitar tech with over 10 years of experience working on acoustic Gibsons and Martins in the Gulf region. There is nothing that cannot be repaired; the only consideration is the price at which it comes. And yet, if there is sentiment attached, no price is too high! WhatsApp/Call me: 7080475556 email me:

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