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WOOD PUTTY for the bridge?!?!


KevinTJH
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Gentlemen, at last check we’re all over 40. It’s really easy to get into a pissing match - especially in the “wee wee” hours when we should all be getting our beauty sleep!

 

Cheap guitars aren’t heirlooms. They’re tools. They’re designed to make noise. I’d rather have a guitar that sounded good but looked ugly. That being said, the OP’s repair was neither pretty nor was it correct; it was adequate for the OP to continue playing it. Clearly there was a compromise in either cost or turnaround time. If the fix needs further fixing it wasn’t a good fix in the first place. Putting wood putty on a screw job is throwing good money after bad.

Edited by kwakatak
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Hi Neil. Frankly I don't care how an individual "fixes" his or her guitar. However when I repair something and get reimbursed for it that implies a slightly higher standard. When I give advice from the perspective of someone who works on guitars, again, it should be the best possible practices.

 

As you all know, I'm not a professional, I have no credentials, I just muddle along making and fixing guitars. My guiding rule is first to do no harm, secondly, to do what would be accepted by other repair persons, and to turn something down if I don't feel qualified to do it (that happens all the time).

 

I will admit to using epoxy for a couple of early repairs and I'll admit that it was a mistake. There is a thread at the lutherie forum right now where a broken head was repaired with an unknown glue, probably epoxy, and its failed again. The poster is trying to figure out how to get the old stuff off and do it right. A fairly simple routine repair is turning into a nightmare. Whether it matters or not, the guitar is a 1957 Gibson.

 

I will continue to post my humble advice based on what I think the best practice would be. Now, if you'll excuse me, my bladder is full.

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In my humble opinion the repair was done by someone who knew enough to be dangerous, but maybe not enough to do it right. Probably very much like me (or the guy who is trying to fix it now). There were a number of other things done to this guitar that weren't quite right - he converted it to a lefty by filling the saddle slot and rerouting (correct procedure) but maybe didn't use the proper materials (it was a Brazilian bridge).

 

The speculation at the forum is that he used some sort of epoxy and there is a whole second thread about how to get it off. The general consensus is that epoxy is a good adhesive when you have a lot of wood damage and need to fill voids. This head certainly had that problem and in my early days I used it for a similar repair. In both my case and this one the repairs failed - epoxy just isn't that strong believe it or not, particularly with its filling big gaps.

 

Here are the two threads if you want to pursue them

 

http://luthiersforum.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=10137&t=51323

 

http://luthiersforum.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=10137&t=51328

 

And going back to Neil's comment about cheap guitars, yes, this was a cheap guitar in 1957 when it was new. The LG-1 was a "student model" in Gibson's line up, but they were still built with solid mahogany and spruce (and in some cases, Brazilian f/b's and bridges). They have come up in value to a grand or so, I had the pleasure of working on one recently (replacing the bridge using HHG).

 

Anyway, the thread has taken a big turn, I hope Kevin has his 12 string under control and I'm going to move on with work I need to do.

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I meant no offense Freeman. From what I gather, the OP’s guitar deserved better treatment; it’s no student guitar. Epoxy or not, steaming off the old bridge; cleaning the area back down to bare wood and installing down a new one would be a lot less work in the long run.

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Wow! I didn't mean to start a huge debate from my humble quest for opinions. I'm so sorry, guys!

 

Apologies for the late response as I have been out and about for the whole of December.

 

 

That being said' date=' the OP’s repair was neither pretty nor was it correct; it was adequate for the OP to continue playing it. Clearly there was a compromise in either cost or turnaround time. If the fix needs further fixing it wasn’t a good fix in the first place. Putting wood putty on a screw job is throwing good money after bad.[/quote']

I suppose in an "ideal world", I would've gotten this repaired properly, but what's done is done.

 

I do apologise that I should've explained my situation better from the very start. I sincerely appreciate every single bit of elaborate advice here on the repair job but I suppose I have to also take into account how much this guitar means to me vs what I am willing to spend at this stage.

 

My current situation is that I have 25 guitars or so and I mostly play 7-string electric guitar so this Guild 12-string guitar also spends 95% of its life inside its case. I've only ever performed with it once and recorded with it in the studio once. It's a high-quality guitar that I don't really plan on selling but I would hope that the repair job will last such that I can open up the case to play this guitar several times a year, and it will still play the same in the years to come.

I also bought this guitar at 1/3 the price at a closing down sale, so even if I decided to sell this guitar, I wouldn't lose much $$$ if any at all. This is one of the reasons why I'm a little reluctant to get it re-repaired if the current job is adequate because I don't fancy paying close to half of what I paid for this guitar on a repair job when this guitar is more of a collectible to me.

For the extra money, I would much prefer to use it towards other things that I could use more regularly such as new guitar pedals or pickups for my electric guitars.

 

If this was my $2,000 7-string electric guitar, which I use extensively in the recording studio, then I would have it repaired properly in a heartbeat.

 

I suppose my main question at this stage would be:

Assuming the current repair job is adequate, I don't care about selling this guitar and 15 years from now this guitar will still be playable as it is today, what is the most cost-effective way to cosmetically fill the gaps to put my OCD at ease?

 

Unless you guys feel that 15 years from now, the entire bridge could potentially spring out and this will no longer be a guitar that can be played, then that changes things and I will probably get this bridge replaced or something.

Edited by KevinTJH
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. . . . . I suppose my main question at this stage would be:

Assuming the current repair job is adequate, I don't care about selling this guitar and 15 years from now this guitar will still be playable as it is today, what is the most cost-effective way to cosmetically fill the gaps to put my OCD at ease? . . . .

 

Wood filler of a suitable colour (you can mix light and dark shades of filler) to match the bridge.

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. . . Assuming the current repair job is adequate' date=' I don't care about selling this guitar and 15 years from now this guitar will still be playable as it is today, what is the most cost-effective way to cosmetically fill the gaps to put my OCD at ease? . . .[/b']

TBH, your best bet is to simply live with it. Maybe cover the edge of the bridge with tan packing tape or something similar:

[ATTACH=JSON]{"data-align":"none","data-size":"full","title":"tab.jpg","data-attachmentid":32426421}[/ATTACH]

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Assuming the current repair job is adequate, I don't care about selling this guitar and 15 years from now this guitar will still be playable as it is today, what is the most cost-effective way to cosmetically fill the gaps to put my OCD at ease?

 

Unless you guys feel that 15 years from now, the entire bridge could potentially spring out and this will no longer be a guitar that can be played, then that changes things and I will probably get this bridge replaced or something.

 

I'm a bit afraid to come back into this, and I'm not sure I totally understand the question.

 

If you are asking about the two holes where the heads of the screws are, then if you measure their diameter and PM you snail mail addy to me I will send you a couple of pearl dots to cover the screws. I have a pretty good assortment of dots in different diameters - thats what I use for some fretboard markers. You'll glue them in with a TINY drop of superglue - if you ever have to get them out put the tip of a soldering pencil on the dot and the point of an Xacto knife along the side - it will just pop out.

 

If you are talking about the gap between the belly of the bridge and the top, try to work a business card or thin feeler gauge into the opening. If it goes in very far, lets say to the first row of pins then you probably should take it to somebody for evaluation. The action has probably gone up a little and it will only get worse. One potential problem is that if it does finally fail completely there is a good chance of wood damage to the top that just makes the repair more difficult. A good repair person will use some heat on the bridge as she works a thin blade into the gap trying to get it to continue to open at the glue line.

 

It is possible that the screws will be enough and the guitar will have a long happy life. But I'll also add that from my limited experience temporary "fixes" frequently just make it more difficult to do it right when you finally reach that point.

 

 

Ironically while this whole thread has been developing I got a text from a friend who is thinking about buying a Guild 12 string. He showed me a picture of the bridge separating from the top and asked if I could fix it. I said probably but I would need to see it. I haven't heard back from him, but if I do I will post some pictures.

 

 

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