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 Post subject: Bridge refit
PostPosted: Sun Dec 04, 2022 12:28 am 
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Walnut
Walnut

Joined: Thu Oct 22, 2020 6:42 am
Posts: 4
First name: Jonathan
Last Name: Cumblidge
City: Morley
State: WA
Zip/Postal Code: 6062
Country: Australia
Focus: Repair
Status: Professional
Yesterday I started with what I thought was a normal bridge refit on a classical guitar. I thought the pearl inlays on the top of the bridge were decoration only until I photographed the inside and found two bolts holding the bridge on! What a shock. I've never seen or heard of that before. Has anyone else?
The soundboard is slightly warped, so I either pre-clap before refitting the bridge, or hope clamping the bridge takes out the warps. The client loves the sound of the guitar, he says it's almost like a piano. He brought it to me with no strings on.
Anyway, I'll repair it to its intended bolted state as that's what the client wants.


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 Post subject: Re: Bridge refit
PostPosted: Sun Dec 04, 2022 12:56 am 
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Contributing Member
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Joined: Sun Mar 06, 2011 12:04 am
Posts: 5407
First name: Chris
Last Name: Pile
City: Wichita
State: Kansas
Country: Good old US of A
Focus: Repair
Status: Professional
Yes, it's common - especially on lower priced guitars. It's not a good idea, however. Bridges are not supposed to be completely permanent. When the glue gets too warm or has too much string pressure the bridge joint is supposed to release to prevent further damage to the guitar, so that proper repairs may be made. Screws or bolts prevent that and usually result in warped tops, warped bridges - or in extreme cases, the bridge will simply tear itself off the top or even peel off the whole top.

My recommendation is to educate your client, and suggest proper bridge installation - if it's still possible. How badly is the top warped? Solid top or plywood? Makes a difference. If it's plywood, the glue between plies may have slipped, leaving the top permanently warped.

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These users thanked the author Chris Pile for the post: Hesh (Sun Dec 04, 2022 9:09 am)
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 Post subject: Re: Bridge refit
PostPosted: Sun Dec 04, 2022 2:29 am 
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Old Growth Brazilian Rosewood
Old Growth Brazilian Rosewood
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Joined: Fri Nov 02, 2007 9:49 am
Posts: 12218
Location: Ann Arbor, Michigan
First name: Hesh
Last Name: Breakstone
City: Ann Arbor
State: Michigan
Country: United States
Status: Professional
To add to what Chris said the bolts really are not necessary especially on a classical with lower string tension but some import makers use and used them anyway. The bolts may be how the factory clamps the thing on when they built it.

I would consider not reinstalling the bolts and the mass reduction on the sweet spot of the top may, may be a pleasing result tone wise for the client or they may never know one way or another, you can never tell.

But a well fitted bridge on a classical does not need bolts when properly fit and glued.

I've seen some pretty big name makers using locator pins that I did not expect to find, I speak of Taylor and the GS mini line. I've also found nylon locator pins on a $20K custom made by one of the best known small builders today. You never know what you will find in there and this comment is not a judgement call on locator pins, just relating to you that I find stuff I don't expect at times too.

I see you know what you are doing so much of my post is for the rest of the forum. Welcome to the forum Jonny.

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These users thanked the author Hesh for the post: Chris Pile (Sun Dec 04, 2022 8:23 am)
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 Post subject: Re: Bridge refit
PostPosted: Sun Dec 04, 2022 5:10 am 
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Koa
Koa

Joined: Tue Jan 15, 2013 10:00 pm
Posts: 695
First name: Josh
Focus: Build
Status: Amateur
I had a classical reglue a month or two ago with a single, short drywall screw under a pearl button in the center of the tieblock. There was a fan brace underneath and the screw was short enough that it didn’t emerge from the brace so there was no evidence internally. It was a small-builder guitar too and otherwise nicely made. I omitted it during the reglue, not due to any snobbery about fasteners but due to the fact that it demonstrably had not worked to keep the bridge on and therefore was proven to be extraneous :D



These users thanked the author joshnothing for the post (total 2): Hesh (Sun Dec 04, 2022 9:09 am) • Chris Pile (Sun Dec 04, 2022 8:23 am)
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 Post subject: Re: Bridge refit
PostPosted: Sun Dec 04, 2022 9:14 am 
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Old Growth Brazilian Rosewood
Old Growth Brazilian Rosewood
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Joined: Fri Nov 02, 2007 9:49 am
Posts: 12218
Location: Ann Arbor, Michigan
First name: Hesh
Last Name: Breakstone
City: Ann Arbor
State: Michigan
Country: United States
Status: Professional
joshnothing wrote:
I had a classical reglue a month or two ago with a single, short drywall screw under a pearl button in the center of the tieblock. There was a fan brace underneath and the screw was short enough that it didn’t emerge from the brace so there was no evidence internally. It was a small-builder guitar too and otherwise nicely made. I omitted it during the reglue, not due to any snobbery about fasteners but due to the fact that it demonstrably had not worked to keep the bridge on and therefore was proven to be extraneous :D


Maybe we need a separate forum of "don't do these things" pics :)

To the OP if you go to our web site on the videos page we are replacing a plastic bridge on a LG series vintage G*bson. Fasteners as well and we toss them. We plug the holes and go to the trouble of making our plugs match the guitar so spruce with a laminated piece of bridge plate is created and glued in place. The idea is future serviceability of the bridge plate so it can be removed conventionally since this is a vintage instrument.

Anyway we took the fasteners and make a proper wooden bridge. With a refined fit, minding the P's and Q's of HHG Bob's your uncle and the new bridge is singing pretty and firmly in place.

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