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Questions On "Classical Bridge Repair"

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Greetings...long time, no post @ Project Guitar....

A few years ago I was given (what I believe to be) an over-sized classical guitar. The bridge was "missing" -- apparently, it ripped-off. I got a replacement bridge which fits the soundboard (same overall standard bridge size here).

However, this guitar has a larger string-spacing which I estimated to be 2 & 27/32" @ the string thru holes on the bridge. I attempted to fix this by filling the existing bridge string-thru holes with a mixture of glue & sawdust (which worked) and redrilling the holes (but this didn't work as I didnt have a vice & correct tools at the time -- the holes aren't lined up right).

Btw, this isn't an especially "nice" guitar. The manufacturer's decal is missing & it has a few dings & scratches. I've been told it's prolly Mexican made. But the neck is straight & it looks "playable."

I should mention that I did try to glue the bridge on at one time using some kind of general purpose glue. But I immediately took it off (for reasons I won't mention). This glue I was using to fill in some missing wood from the soundboard as well as for bridge attachment....

So I have two repair issues:

1) filling in the missing wood (under the bridge) -- some of the glue is still there -- and,

2) "making" the right kind of bridge with the correct string spacing -- using this replacement bridge (?)

Options I've considered:

a] filling in the missing soundboard (which doesn't go all the way thru) with super glue, slow-setting, then sanding flat

b] removing the "strings-thru wood" on the bridge and gluing on a replacement (which I could make with the correct string spacing) -- could bolt it on bridge also (?)

c] making a new bridge (I've never done that but I have access to "the right tools" now)

d] sand down enough of the "strings-thru wood" to make room for installing a tailpiece (which will be homemade...this guitar doesn't have to be "pretty" just playable)!

Making a tailpiece seems the easiest. Yet I know this would change the guitar's tone/volume. But it's an "oversized" guitar...the volume should be ok, don't know about tone. A tailpiece would give me the option of using steel strings also, I'm figuring (?). One other thing is: would a tailpiece change the location of the bridge? (I really don't know).

Lastly, if I wind up gluing the bridge should I use hot hide glue?

These questions & ideas are sort of "complex" so I'll thank y'all in advance for your input. Will be out of town this whole weekend.



p.s. didn't capitalize "Classical" (Bridge Repair)...doesn't matter.....anyway, thanxalot!

Edited by rick_here
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I'll try to get some photos up soon of the bridge replacement I did on a cheap nylon guitar for a friend. I also had to deal with some missing wood under the bridge footprint, and my solution was to rout down a little until I had a 90% solid area to work with. I then glued the bridge in so it was 'inlaid' into the top a hair.

My reasoning was that trying to attach to the damaged area was a bad idea, repairing it with filler was a bad idea, and trying to patch it with spruce would mean glueing the bridge to a piece of wood which was glued to the top, doubling the potential for a glue joint to fail!

I made a new bridge from EIRW that I got from Mattia (cheers!) for a good price, and I shaped it using rasp and files, then lots of sanding.

pics soon!

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OK - pics and explaination are up on my blog - click the link in my sig or go to www.setchellguitars.co.uk

Setch, thanx much...I checked out yer blog. Nice lookin work too.


-- Unlike your guitar, whoever scored around the bridge on my guitar didn't score deep enuf. (It looks like only about 0.15 mm! I can't find my feeler gauges right now).

-- I'll route it out like you did: slightly larger. I figure this will give it more "grip."

-- I still have plenty of wood to work with except for about a 3/8" diameter area that should get smaller after routing.

-- I'll epoxy it, keeping in mind to prevent bubbles in this area. Perhaps I should level this area out first? (with epoxy)?

-- Bridge wood? I'll probably use maple for economy purposes. I know maple is known for its sound quality...as with banjo bridges. But it might be kind of hard to dye. Would you recommend any other type of wood? My hunch is any kind of hard wood would be doable.

-- I've never made a bridge but think I can, just take my time....

Admittedly, I still kinda like the idea of making a tailpiece for this old beater. Yet this could cause too much downward pressure on the soundboard, especially if I put steel strings on it. (I don't need any popped out braces)!

Lastly for now, I might not actually get to this project for about 3 weeks. I have an old Kay banjo that was given to me...all tore apart & ready for several rehabs.

Thanx again & be well,


p.s. Between what you gave me & the tutorial on acoustic bridge replacement; looks like I'm all set (I hope)! :D

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