How to repair guitar bridge

Casual acoustic guitar users face a common problem with their guitar bridges, as when used irregularly guitar bridge crack due to pressure applied by strings. In case you are not planning to use the guitar for few days it is always advisable to loosen up the strings to reduce the tension on bridge. As unlike electric guitars, the bridge of an acoustic guitar is not made of metal. That’s why, these often demand repairing. If something has happened to your bridge, you might be able to fix it on your own. Follow the guide to do it on your own in an easy way.

Complexity level: Moderate

Time Required: 30 - 45 minutes

Resources required:

  1. Padded workbench
  2. Proper work light
  3. Bridge glue - Titebond III
  4. 2-Part Epoxy glue
  5. Painters tape 3/4"
  6. Top protection template
  7. A sharp knife such as a Matt knife
  8. A Deep throat clamps
  9. A bridge gluing jig
  10. Painters spatula or sharp Putty Knife
  11. Flathead bolts with nuts, washers and lock washers

1: Gluing loose guitar bridges:

  • Remove the old residue of the glue on the bridge and clean the surface for re-gluing. Then, check for the gaps between the bridge and the top. If there are no gaps found, evenly apply the glue to the bridge by using a caul.
2: Drying the Glue:

  • Better not to play the guitar immediately you have glued your instrument; rather leave the glue for a while. However, don’t leave your instrument in the hot environment. It can allow the bridge to creep forward. Remember, when the finish is thick then glue a bridge underside.
3: Adjusting the loose bridge at the wings or ramps:

  • To fix the bridge getting loose at the wings, loosen all the strings right away and then perform a Bridge Reset.
4: Fixing other bridge problems:

  • If you have discovered any minor crack on your acoustic guitar bridge, you might be able to repair it. It is not the best idea to repair the cracks at the saddle slot edges. Heat and clamp in case your bridge is wrapped more than enough. Many inexpensive guitar instruments have painted bridge, removing that is another big problem. If there are damages on the guitar bridge, immediate replacement should be done. Some guitars have celluloid plastic inlays that help softening the glue.
5: Wrong saddle placement:

  • Inaccurate placement of the bridge or its saddle may require bridge replacement. Otherwise, your bridge might pop off any time. To determine the thickness of your bridge, make use of ordinary paper scales.
Frequently asked questions:

1. What is the bridge of a guitar?

The Bridge is that element of the guitar where the strings connect the guitar body. Bridge helps the guitar determine the length, and transmit vibrations to the guitar body. Guitar bridge are fixed, unlike the bridge of Indian tambura or Japanese koto. Don’t confuse Guitar Bridge with the fret board end.

2. Where do I put the bridge guitar spring on the guitar?

You can see a plastic cap on the back of your guitar. Remove it and insert the spring on to the guitar.

3. Why does a bridge get damaged?

Non-metallic bridges are more susceptible to damages in the glue joint. This could be because of over exposure to high temperatures, manufacturing defect or constant changes in relative humidity. Due to fluctuation in humidity, glue joint comes under the invariant expansion and contraction. It may result in increase of moisture content on the instrument affecting the glue joints. Sometimes, also due to the under siding flaws on the instrument at the time of manufacturing can also make the bridge lift.

Quick Tips:

  1. Don’t practice gluing the loose bridge by slipping the glue under the bridge and clamping it back because the old glue on the surface of wood will block it to attain solid adhesion.
  2. Use vacuum clamping to evenly glue the bridge without distorting the wood.
  3. In old guitars, it is difficult to glue due to old repaired crack as they prevent the guitar from holding the vacuum. It is better to use a clamping block called “caul” to clamp back the glue.
Things to watch out for:

  1. Remove the footprints of the old glue on the underside of the bridge for better result.
  2. To add additional strength to the existing top of your bridge is to first make a bigger and thicker backing plate on the loosed bridge and re-glue it evenly.
  3. Adjusting and repairing the bridge require complete concentration on what you are doing. One wrong hand and you might make your job much complex.

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