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WOOD PUTTY for the bridge?!?!

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  • WOOD PUTTY for the bridge?!?!

    I own a gorgeous mid-high end Guild 12-string guitar in mint condition but it has had the unfortunate fate of a lifted bridge.

    I took the guitar to my trusted guitar tech that I have been seeing for years and he reassured me that drilling 2 screws into the bridge would fix the problem straight away as he didn't recommend pulling out the entire bridge and re-glueing it. And so, he did just that. When I let the strings ring out and put weight on the bridge, there is no tonal change so I'm rather confident that there is absolutely no movement on the bridge anymore.

    It's really just more of a cosmetic issue at this stage. I picked up some wood putty from my local hardware store but wanted to get some opinions and advice first before risking damaging this guitar.














    Look forward to the input of some of you experts!

    Thanks in advance!

  • #2
    Please don't. It is fairly common to put hardware in bridges - some manufacturers do it. Hopefully he used bolts instead of screws and as long as he didn't try to get any additional glue under the bridge it is a reasonable temporary fix. The usual trick is to put a pearl or pearloid dot over the head of the screw. If you use CA then in the future when you bring it to me to fix correctly I can touch my soldering iron to it and it will pop right out so I can get at the bolt head.

    https://www.stewmac.com/Materials_an...earl_Dots.html





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    • #3
      Just say NO to caulk! Wood or pearl buttons as Freeman said.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Freeman Keller View Post
        Please don't. It is fairly common to put hardware in bridges - some manufacturers do it. Hopefully he used bolts instead of screws and as long as he didn't try to get any additional glue under the bridge it is a reasonable temporary fix. The usual trick is to put a pearl or pearloid dot over the head of the screw. If you use CA then in the future when you bring it to me to fix correctly I can touch my soldering iron to it and it will pop right out so I can get at the bolt head.

        https://www.stewmac.com/Materials_an...earl_Dots.html
        ^ What Freeman said. When the guitar is ready for a proper fix any caulk residue would likely cause problems getting glue to adhere. If you'll look at the pics you'll see the tech used black dots rather than pearl. And given the noticeable gap under the edge of the bridge I'd say it's unlikely he bothered to squirt glue under it.
        Official HCAG “Theory-Challenged Hack”
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        • #5
          My take is that Kevin is asking about using the caulk to close the gap between the bridge and the soundboard---not to cover the holes from the hardware.

          If that's correct, I would answer NO! As Deep End said, you'll play hell getting rid of the residue when the bridge is repaired properly.

          My 2c.
          Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend
          Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read
          -Groucho Marx

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          • #6
            Waaaaait. This is only a temporary fix?!? What will happen if I don't do anything about it?

            Would a permanent fix mean pulling off the entire bridge and re-glueing it? Are there any other alternatives to this?

            Originally posted by DeepEnd View Post
            And given the noticeable gap under the edge of the bridge I'd say it's unlikely he bothered to squirt glue under it.
            Would having glue squirted underneath make the difference of making this a permanent fix? As in, could I potentially make a putty out of wood dust and wood glue and apply it with a credit card or so? I'll be masking off the surrounding area of course.



            Originally posted by Danocoustic View Post
            My take is that Kevin is asking about using the caulk to close the gap between the bridge and the soundboard---not to cover the holes from the hardware.

            If that's correct, I would answer NO! As Deep End said, you'll play hell getting rid of the residue when the bridge is repaired properly.

            My 2c.
            That's correct. I'm not bothered about the black circle dots at all.

            It's merely just filling those gaps. If you look closely, there are not just gaps between the bridge and soundboard, there are also gaps where the bridge wood has split a little as well.
            Last edited by KevinTJH; 12-09-2018, 03:53 AM.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by KevinTJH View Post
              Waaaaait. This is only a temporary fix?!? What will happen if I don't do anything about it?

              Would a permanent fix mean pulling off the entire bridge and re-glueing it? Are there any other alternatives to this?


              Would having glue squirted underneath make the difference of making this a permanent fix? As in, could I potentially make a putty out of wood dust and wood glue and apply it with a credit card or so? I'll be masking off the surrounding area of course.




              That's correct. I'm not bothered about the black circle dots at all.

              It's merely just filling those gaps. If you look closely, there are not just gaps between the bridge and soundboard, there are also gaps where the bridge wood has split a little as well.
              The bridge's function is to couple the strings' vibrations to the soundboard, so if you have less than complete solid contact, you're losing volume, if not tone as well.

              I disagree with your tech's decision on how to repair this. I would have removed the bridge and reglued it. Not that difficult a job. If the bridge itself is damaged, a replacement is not too expensive to buy or too difficult to fabricate.

              His repair may keep it from popping off, but in my opinion, it's not the way to properly fix it.

              Your Guild sounds like a guitar worth fixing right. If it was mine, that's what I would do.
              Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend
              Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read
              -Groucho Marx

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              • #8
                Originally posted by KevinTJH View Post
                Waaaaait. This is only a temporary fix?!? What will happen if I don't do anything about it?

                Would a permanent fix mean pulling off the entire bridge and re-glueing it? Are there any other alternatives to this?

                Would having glue squirted underneath make the difference of making this a permanent fix? As in, could I potentially make a putty out of wood dust and wood glue and apply it with a credit card or so? I'll be masking off the surrounding area of course.
                I the technician has fixed the bridge down with bolts it will likely remain that way for the rest of its life. If it was me I'd have wicked in some epoxy resin into the gap before tightening up the screws - that would have definitely made it a permanent fix.

                PS. People say you shouldn't make a permanent repair in case you want to take the bridge off at some future time - why would you want to do that?
                Howard


                "All governments suffer a recurring problem: power attracts pathological personalities." (Frank Herbert)

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                • #9
                  OMG! Bolts on an expensive acoustic! The luthier reglued the bridge on my Larrivee. There was a crack under, he fixed it and then took care of the bridge that was also lifting. It didn't cost much and it has been done professionally !
                  ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                  Sorry in advance for my "Engrish". My first language is French.

                  /Misha

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                  • #10
                    There's nothing more you can do to improve the repair that has already been done. More glue or putty will just make things worse. I'd just play it and forget about it.

                    If you want it permanently fixed it needs to be removed and re-glued.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by KevinTJH View Post
                      Waaaaait. This is only a temporary fix?!? What will happen if I don't do anything about it?

                      Would a permanent fix mean pulling off the entire bridge and re-glueing it? Are there any other alternatives to this?
                      The correct fix is to remove the bridge, clean up whatever adhesive and/or finish is in the old foot print, possibly clean up any wood damage, then glue the old bridge back on with the correct wood working glue (either hot hide if its a vintage instrument or AR if its modern like yours). New glue does not adhere to old glue or finish, thats why it has to be removed. The bridge is properly aligned and clamped using cauls that will distribute the clamping pressure to the plate. The holes are then redrilled and reamed - sometimes the top or bridgeplate needs to be repaired also.

                      This is the mostly highly stressed joint on a guitar, even worse on a 12 string. I do this repair frequently - it normally takes me about an hour of billable labor. I've actually posted several threads here about how I do it, the simple fact is that it needs to be done correctly or it will fail again.

                      Not knowing anything about your "luthier" I'm hard pressed to criticize him/her but in my humble opinion what he did was not the best fix. First, the strength of the joint has been compromised - now he is relying on two small screws or bolts to withstand the 230+ pounds of shear force being exerted on that joint. Here is an old gibson plastic bridge that was screwed on from below - the three screws pulled thru the bridge plate so the owner added two more. When I fixed it (by making a new wood bridge) I had to fill all the holes and repair the damage to the top and bridge plate

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                      Here is a twelve string bridge, when it ripped loose it took the top ply of the laminated top with it. The glue held but there wasn't enough of it, the finish had not been removed from the top so it didn't hold

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                      Here is an absolute piece of crap guitar that the bridge was glued on with one spot of glue in the middle and two skinny little bolts. Once again, the bolts pulled thru the top - that all that was holding it on

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                      How about another 12 string, this one a Fender. They hadn't bothered to remove any finish from the top - just tried to glue to the catalyzed poly-something finish. The two little light dots are bits of dowels that index the bridge with it was "attached". Btw, this guitar was brand new and hanging on the music store wall. Btw too, Fender refused warranty on this guitar - after I fixed it the shop sold it at their cost.

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                      Here is some sort of black thing - once again the factory didn't do a very good job of preparing the top

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                      I've got lots more but you get the idea

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                      • Emory
                        Emory commented
                        Editing a comment
                        Amazing photos from the master

                    • #12
                      Originally posted by KevinTJH View Post
                      Waaaaait. This is only a temporary fix?!? What will happen if I don't do anything about it?

                      Would a permanent fix mean pulling off the entire bridge and re-glueing it? Are there any other alternatives to this?


                      Would having glue squirted underneath make the difference of making this a permanent fix? As in, could I potentially make a putty out of wood dust and wood glue and apply it with a credit card or so? I'll be masking off the surrounding area of course. . . .
                      As garthman said, the existing repair will probably last for years but it's not ideal. On one of John Denver's album covers you can clearly see screw/bold heads on opposite ends of the bridge on his Guild 12-string so it's not like it's an uncommon repair but I'd be willing to bet whoever did that repair also glued the bridge down and probably prepped the top beforehand. At minimum, your repair tech could and should have squirted glue under the edge of the bridge to help hold it in place if he wasn't going to remove and replace it. The bolts would have acted like clamps in that case. But if he'd done that you wouldn't see a gap under the edge because the glue would have filled it. At this point I wouldn't try anything else, just live with the existing repair until you have the funds and find another repair tech or the bridge comes off completely.
                      Official HCAG “Theory-Challenged Hack”
                      Member of the IBANEZ ACOUSTIC ASSASSINS
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                      • #13
                        Originally posted by DeepEnd View Post
                        . At minimum, your repair tech could and should have squirted glue under the edge of the bridge to help hold it in place if he wasn't going to remove and replace it. .
                        He should not have tried that - it would only make the eventual remove and repair worse. This little epiphone jewel is a classical guitar (but it had steel strings on it when it came to me). When the bridge started coming loose (duh) some bozo squirted some five minute epoxy around the edge of the bridge and under it.

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                        I charged an extra half hour of labor to clean up the cluster and fix the top.

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                        Oh, and tie some nylon strings on it.
                        Last edited by Freeman Keller; 12-09-2018, 04:58 PM.

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                        • #14
                          Originally posted by Freeman Keller View Post
                          He should not have tried that - it would only make the eventual remove and repair worse. This little epiphone jewel is a classical guitar (but it had steel strings on it when it came to me). When the bridge started coming loose (duh) some bozo squirted some five minute epoxy around the edge of the bridge and under it. . . .
                          Perhaps you'd be kind enough to quote the part of my post that includes the word "epoxy." When I say "glue" I mean glue; for example, Titebond. If I mean epoxy, that's word I'll use.
                          Official HCAG “Theory-Challenged Hack”
                          Member of the IBANEZ ACOUSTIC ASSASSINS
                          Proud Member of The Alvarez Alliance
                          Member of the Schecter Society
                          Person-2-Person on the Web

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                          • #15
                            I was telling the OP what the bozo who tried to "fix" the Epiphone classical did. But, as you also know, AR glues like Titebond do not adhere well to old AR glue or to finish for that matter.

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