GUILD BRIDGE SEPARATING FROM TOP
The back of the bridge on my early 80's Guild D-35 is separating from the top. I can see a gap across
most of the back side of the bridge. Should it be glued back down?
Eventually, yes, but maybe not right away. Particularly with Guild bridges I have noticed a separating
from the top, only to find that it does not extend very far under the bridge. Having removed a few of these
bridges I have noticed that the area of the top which is mated to the underside of the bridges on many
Guild guitars of the 70's and 80's leaves a small amount of lacquered wood under the bridge (i.e. the area of
the bridge is bigger than the area of the top that is free of finish.) Since wood and lacquer don't adhere with
wood glue, this area can separate over time (as the top flexes up under tension) while the rest of the
underside of the bridge is well connected. So you have to figure out how far under the bridge the gap
goes. To check a gap under any bridge, slide a piece of paper into the gap , and if it goes less than 1/16th
of an inch (1mm) the bridge won't come flying off immediately but it should be monitored ( if you have the
bucks , it never hurts to get your repairman's opinion). If it goes in more than that, you may want to seek
out your local repair guy sometime soon.
I Bought an Ibanez guitar about a year and a half ago and the bridge , which is connected to the
guitar by three springs, has begun to rise up. I thought the cause might be the strings so I changed
them, but the bridge only raised up more. What can I do about the problem?
Tremolo springs flex out over time and need to be replaced. Many tremolo springs, though, are attached to
a "claw" ( most Strats ,and many others, have this ) and the claw can be tightened to increase tension on
the springs. The "claw" has two screws that are seated into the body of the guitar. Here is the professional
way to set the tension on the tremolo springs : Loosen the strings till the bridge sits parallel to the top of
the body. Place a block of wood which just wedges in between the back of the tremolo block ( inside the
routed-out cavity in the back of the guitar) and the inside wall of the tremolo block cavity. This will hold
the bridge in place as you bring the strings up to concert pitch ( or whatever tuning you use) . Always have
the gauge of strings you intend to use on the guitar when you make this adjustment Tighten the screws that
hold the "claw" evenly a couple of turns ( don't force them if they don't want to go in ) each until the
wooden wedge just slides out. This is the correct setting for the tension of the springs. If you can't get
enough tension after tightening the screws, you must replace the springs. Changing string gauge will ,
because of the change in tension, affect the setting of the springs. This adjustment must be made again if
you change string gauge.
When I turn the volume and tone controls on my Strat there is a static noise, what can I do to stop
it, should I replace the controls?
Static in the volume and tone "pots" (short for potentiometers) can often be remedied by cleaning with a
special electronic component cleaner. While you can get this cleaner at your local electronic parts supply
store and, if you are careful ,do the job yourself, you may want to have a guitar tech do the job for you. Besides, he can replace the "pots" if cleaning doesn't help.
I just bought a new guitar and the action is incredible, however,
it is so low that on the high E at the
second octave, I am getting the same note for three frets.
Obviously the action is too low for the fret
My question is, don't they make little plastic spacers to place
in the bridge at the bottom of the
white plastic string saddle? And do they usually glue that white
saddle in or does it float?
Where I bought the guitar they have offered to set it up, but I
can only imagine they will find some
way to scratch the beautiful Koa wood the guitar is made of, so I
thought I might try it myself, if that
saddle is floating. Thanks for any advice you can offer.
Shims to elevate bridge saddles are not a part you can purchase.
A repairperson will variously use wood
veneers, thin plastic, or sometimes, various grades of sandpaper
to boost up the height of the saddle. Of
course a correct height saddle is the ideal, particularly if you
have an under the saddle pickup. On some
guitars you may find that the string height fluctuates, depending
on the relative humidity of the air. Some
players like to have a "summer" saddle and a "winter" saddle. The
saddle should never be glued in, but it
has been done, though not by a manufacturer.
A free setup of your instrument is not a bad idea, besides they
will have the materials around to do the job
and if they damage your guitar they are liable. Most shops want
you to have a guitar that is playable and
will do their best to do a good job if they want to keep you as a
customer (and everyone you talk to). I'd
give them a chance.
I am a guitar player from Croatia and I have one question. I
bought last year a guitar - Gibson ES-
135. and everything was great but before a few days I noticed
problems with that part that use when
you want to change the pickups (toggle switch). It seems that the
contact has loosened up and now
when I am changing positions I always must search for the place
where the sound can be heard.
So I'm interested if you could tell me if that part can be
changed because the guitar only has F holes,
and how complicated that process is. Is it possible to do without
removing the side?
Never fear. The work can be done through the F holes, (or on a
guitar with inset pickups by removing the
pickup and working through that hole). The trick is to tie a
heavy duty thread around the stem of the switch
that protrudes through the guitar top after you loosen the nut.
Once the nut is loose and the switch falls into
the guitar carefully pull it out ( a bent coat hanger will reach
if nothing else will). Solder the new switch
correctly and draw the switch back into the hole with the thread.
Once the nut has been started on the stem
~ the switch you can cut the thread with a razor blade. (contact
Gibson to order the part <www.gibson.com>
or else the Stewart Macdonald company at <www.stewmac.com>.
In the case of an acoustic guitar top that is bubbling up or raising
up : how do you repair this? I have
seen many cheap acoustics where the tops are bubbling up. Would
you heat the top? And then
clamp it flat? Is there any other method that know of or have
Bulging of the top behind the bridge can be an inevitable and
natural process of the top flexing up over the
years While some "flattop" guitars are built with some arch in
the top ( Gibsons for example), others,
including Martins are built relatively flat Those that are built
flat can tend to flex up over time, and this
bulging occurs directly behind the bridge. An inspection of
the interior bracing shows that everything is
intact, no loose braces. In this case, if the string height is able
to be set a a comfortable height, there is
no need for concern. However, if the bulging is more to one side than the other it is
often the case that a
brace has come loose and it must be re glued This will usually bring the bulge back down.
To summarize, a guitar with a bulge in the top must be inspected for loose top braces.
Loose braces must
be re glued. If the braces are intact and the guitar is playable, do nothing. If the
string height cannot be
lowered to a comfortable height, a neck re-set may be indicated if the guitar is worth the
expense ( See neck
reset article). It is not recommended that a top be heated to counteract a bulge, although
it has been done.
I have a recent Fender Strat that just doesn't play right ! I get
excessive buzzing when picking, but when i measure the strings
at the 14th fret with the capo on, it meets the Fender specs of
4/64. My other Fenders don't have this problem. Do you think some frets
need dressing or is this a warped neck?
Without holding the instrument in my hands it is impossible to say for
certain what the problem is, It could be a warped neck , it could be
but in any case like this you have to backtrack a little and ,
essentially , go through
all the steps of "setting up" a guitar, to make sure everything that
be adjusted has been. If after this has been done there is still a
then the warped neck or fret dressing possibilities must be considered.
Step one - While under full string tension with tremolo in locked position,
check the neck curvature. Generally, a gap of 1/64 - 1/32 " between the
of any string and the tops of the 7-9th frets ( when fretting the string
the 1st and 20th or so) is considered correct. You could go a hair
or even a bit more curved in a given situation, but start here.
Step two - Check string height at nut.( Fender suggests using a capo at
to eliminate the affect of an improperly set nut, but better to get it
When fretting a given string at the third fret, look back to the nut.
The string should neither be sitting on the first fret nor far enough
that you can see a gap thicker than a
hair ( I'm not kidding, a hair). This is a very subtle point to reach
you need proper nut files to set it. This setting is crucial for
proper playing height up the neck. If it is too high here, you are going
end up setting the action lower at the 12th fret than it really out to
resulting in buzzing ( the string will measure out correct at the 12th
yet actually be inclining down as it progresses towards the bridge
Step three- Approximate the positions of the string saddles for correct
intonation. Low E and G string will set back about 3-4 32nds of an inch
longer than the exact scale length. The A and B strings will set back
32nds , The D and high E about 1 32nd. Scale length equals the
from the edge of the nut where the strings ride off to the middle of the
twelfth fret times 2. Final setting is done once saddle height is
determined, but you need to be close when setting saddle height.
Step four - Set string height at saddles. Measure at the twelfth fret
set saddles so the height between the bottom of the low E string and the
of the twelfth fret is a bit over 2/32". The High should set just at
the other strings should gradually flow between these measurements. This
where I would start, but playing style and individual neck nuances may
warrant deviation from these numbers.
In the ideal scenario, once set, your saddles should neither be flush
on the body of the guitar, nor extended so high they could go no
This saddle height relative to the top of the body is a reflection of the
neck angle. If the saddles sit flush, the neck angle is not set back
far and vice-versa.
Step five - Put on a fresh set of strings ( of the same gauge you had on
guitar up to this point) . Many buzzing, intonation, and sustain
are resolved by simply changing strings. The more you play the more
you need to change strings.
Step six - Fine tune the intonation setting with a tuner. If you are
close, your saddle height should not have to be changed.
This is where you decide if your neck angle is in need of adjustment (
you have a bolt-on neck). Check the measurement at the 12th fret then
up the neck, measuring every couple of frets . The string height should
continue to gradually rise, if it doesn't the neck is set back too far
to be tilted up just a little. This is a very sensitive adjustment and
thickness of a couple sheets of paper can make a big difference. Some
Fenders have a
neck tilt adjustment screw that is accessed with an Allen wrench through
in the neck screw plate. The strings must be loosened, then the neck
then the tilt adjustment screw is tightened or loosened. Never do this
neck screws are tight ! If you don't have a tilt adjustment, thin shims
veneer are fitted in the neck pocket to adjust neck angle.
Uneven frets are also a possibility. If , after having
followed all the above steps, you are still getting fret buzz, you must
establish that the frets are all even. But this leads us to fret
which is another story altogether. I hope this helps !
Remember - most of the above work really ought to be done by a qualified
I have a 1977 Les Paul Custom that I need to sell. Do you think it would be worth more as-is, with
everything original but normal cosmetic wear, or restored to it's original
Unless you have a very rare guitar, repairs that are necessary to keep the guitar functional: set-up work (including professional fret dressing, cleaning and gentle polishing), are generally a good idea. If you can't play it, it won't be much fun! Resolving electrical issues, and, when necessary, mechanical issues, such as replacing bridge saddles,(sometimes the bridge itself), and, (only if absolutely necessary), the tuning machines, maintain , but do not increase the instrument's value. Replacing pickup covers, or any hardware, just to make it look nice, does not increase it's value and can detract from its value.
In many cases, buyers would prefer to deal with marginal issues as they see fit, and "honest" playing wear is often a plus. But if you do replace original parts, keep them and offer them with the instrument when you sell it.
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