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Bridge Lifting on an Acoustic DIY Repair

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I have a Silver Creek T-160 that has the lower outside corner lifting off the top of the guitar. This guitar has a nice arch top and looks like its just finished under the bridge the same as the rest of the top. I've built cabinets etc. so I know a little about working with wood. Instinct says: remove the strings, stick some wood glue under the lifting saddle, clamp it down somehow (looks like its too far from the sound hole for my Bessie clamps) and let it dry.

Is this right? Do I need a weaker glue than good wood glue in case the bridge needs removed someday?

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First, be sure it's lifting. A lot of guitars are made with bridge corners that were never glued down. If that's the case, no big deal -- leave it alone, but check to see if it ever gets worse.

 

Actual lifting is probably more likely at the edge rather than a corner.

 

And, yeah, clamping is the hard part. I think you need a special deep-C clamp, but I've never done it, so I'll shutup now. :)

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Here's an interesting article you should peruse:

http://www.frets.com/FRETSPages/Luthier/Technique/Guitar/Bridges/ReglueBr/LooseBridge/loosebridge.html

 

One concept that rings out to me is the concept of "overhang" which you might want to pay mind to; it may not be a problem with your guitar.

 

I'm actually going to give this a go (as in removing and replacing the bridge) on my Takamine F360 which has a cracked bridge. The process would be the same if the bridge were whole though:

 

http://www.frets.com/FRETSPages/Luthier/Technique/Guitar/Bridges/ReglueBr/regluebr1.html

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Here's an interesting article you should peruse:

http://www.frets.com/FRETSPages/Luthier/Technique/Guitar/Bridges/ReglueBr/LooseBridge/loosebridge.html


One concept that rings out to me is the concept of "overhang" which you might want to pay mind to; it may not be a problem with your guitar.


I'm actually going to give this a go (as in removing and replacing the bridge) on my Takamine F360 which has a cracked bridge. The process would be the same if the bridge were whole though:


http://www.frets.com/FRETSPages/Luthier/Technique/Guitar/Bridges/ReglueBr/regluebr1.html

 

Thanks for the info - read through the above recommendations. Is there a good alternative to the hide glue? I'll get some if not.

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Thanks for the info - read through the above recommendations. Is there a good alternative to the hide glue? I'll get some if not.

 

This is a question better-suited for the luthier types here. I'm like you; just another guy trying to save some money and maybe learn something and have the luxury of knowing a few luthiers and wannabe luthiers.

 

I don't know for sure but I know that it's better than super glue or other "permanent" types of glues and epoxies because they make repairs easier. The idea is for the glue to fail before the wood otherwise you have to replace the wood at some point down the road.

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Thanks for the info - read through the above recommendations. Is there a good alternative to the hide glue? I'll get some if not.

 

To do a good job you do need to remover the bridge completely, clean off all the old glue and reglue it. While hot hide is the best, it is a total pain to work with (you must maintain it in a water bath while you work, it stinks...) - and it is not the same as "liquid hide glue" (Franklin brand) that you see at Lowes or Home Depot. The second best glue (the one that most builders use) is so called AR or yellow glue - the usual brand you see is Titebond.

 

Make some really good cauls for both the inside and out and make sure the bridge doesn't shift when you glue it down - AR is kind of slippery and it is easy for something to move as you are tightening the clamps. I like to put several pieces of masking tape on the top on each side of the bridge to make a little dam to center it while I'm clamping.

 

Once you've glued it you'll probably have to run a reamer thru the pin holes to clean them up. Good luck.

 

 

(edit to add, do not use super glue, epoxy, gorilla glue or anything else. Hide is best, yellow AR is second, white (Elmers) is acceptable)

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I have a Silver Creek T-160 that has the lower outside corner lifting off the top of the guitar. This guitar has a nice arch top and looks like its just finished under the bridge the same as the rest of the top. I've built cabinets etc. so I know a little about working with wood. Instinct says: remove the strings, stick some wood glue under the lifting saddle, clamp it down somehow (looks like its too far from the sound hole for my Bessie clamps) and let it dry.

Is this right? Do I need a weaker glue than good wood glue in case the bridge needs removed someday?

 

On most guitars, there is maybe an eighth to a quarter of an inch of top finish around the edges of the bridge/top contact area. Wood glue won't stick to that, especially that thick poly on the Silver Creeks.

 

Ideally, like FK said, you would want to remove the bridge, clean up both surfaces, remove this finish from the edges of the bridge contact area, and then re-glue the bridge. It takes special tools, and care to remove the bridge without making a big mess of everything. Then it takes a special clamp, cauls, and care to re-glue the bridge properly.

 

If the bridge is actually separating, your best bet is to take it to a professional.

 

Pics would help.

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I'm with Gitnoob on this. Make sure you have a problem before you try to fix it.

 

It's not uncommon that a guitar top will belly up a little over a break in period. I've seen a lot of stable guitars with a little space under that corner, and they don't get worse.

 

Keep an eye on it. Is the crack getting obviously worse? Are you having trouble getting/staying in tune? Is your intonation going sharp? If not, no worries yet. Good luck!

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If you are the original owner and it truely is lifting, the manufacturer should repair it under warranty (take it to one of their authorized repair facilities or where you bought it). If you are not the original owner the going rate for having a pro do this was $40 when it was done to my old D12-28 (but some other work was done at the same time like a bridge plate replacement).

 

IMHO it is not a project for a do it yourselfer unless you have the clamps, heat source, correct glue, maybe a pin hole reamer....

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Thanks very much for the advice here. The bridge is definitely lifting - the opening tapers, but goes about half way across the bridge and I can see the glue under it. I estimate close to 1/3 of it has lifted.

A lot involved I see. Main problem where I live is... guitar techs are 180 miles away and suck.

I'm considering buying one large C clamp and using elmer's glue squirted into the opening and a clamp to close it back up. Is this guitar suicide? Remember its only a $300 guitar... but it is solid wood and I do like it.

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Well, that is not the way I would chose to do it, but its your git. You will need a very deep c-clamp, a 6 incher may not be long enough. I recommend at least two, altho you could possibly use a couple of machine screws thru two of the pin holes and one c-clamp in the center. Make a very good caul for both the inside and out - you run the very real risk of crushing braces if you just stick the clamp inside.

 

Remember how glue works with wood - you want as intimate a contact with just enough glue to wet the surfaces which is one reason you should clean the old glue out. I'm really not an expert on this, but CA might wick better into the gap than white glue - however the advantage of white or yellow is that it is reversable if the bridge ever starts to pull off in the future and you want to remove it at that time.

 

The bridge to top joint is one of the most common failures on steel string guitars - there is an incredible amount of shear force on that joint. The ball ends of the strings somewhat anchor that stress against the bridgeplate, but the saddle is acting as a nice little lever to convert the 180 pounds of string tension to rip that little bridge right off the top. Do as good a job as you can with this repair and good luck.

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