Acoustic Guitar Bridge Repair

Updated: Oct 30, 2018

This guitar came into the workshop with a damaged bridge that had 'popped' off from the top of the guitar. The customer had taken it to a luthier before me and was quoted a price of £150 to make a new bridge to replace the bridge already on the guitar. This was too much for the customer and we came up with a solution that I would repair the original bridge and glue it back onto the guitar. Further inspection of the guitar revealed that the bridge had been glued directly onto the finish on the guitar and not on wood, this indicates to me that it is a bad join and the bridge coming away from the top is basically inevitable. I knew at this point that I would have to scrape away the finish to get to the wood. So with that in mind I started to repair the bridge. With the first step being to splice a piece of wood onto the side that was damaged. This was fairly straight forward just had to get a smooth surface to glue a new piece of wood to the bridge. I then used chisels, rasps, files and sandpaper to shape the new piece to match the shape of the rest of the bridge.

After the bridge was shaped I had to turn my attention to the guitar and scrape down the finish at the point that I will glue the bridge to. I had to mask of the area (to protect the funky graphics) and use a sharp chisel held at roughly 90 degrees to scrape the finish (very carefully) until I was through to the wood. I then cleaned it up with some sandpaper so that I had a clean surface to glue the bridge onto the guitar.

So now that I have a good surface to glue the bridge to and the bridge repaired I had to work the bottom of the bridge to match the curvature of the top. To do this I taped some sandpaper to the top of the guitar and sanded the bottom of the bridge. Now it is time to glue the bridge onto the guitar, I did this with a traditional method of using rope and wedges to apply the pressure to clamp the bridge, making sure to clean up any glue. I then left it overnight to cure, The next day I simply removed the rope and wedges and cleaned up/oiled the bridge, then popped the saddle back in, strings back on and this guitar that hadn't played a sound for a long time was now back in perfect playing condition.

The customer was very pleased with my work and since I didn't need to replace the bridge it was considerably cheaper than he was initially quoted for a replacement bridge.

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