Guitarists: How fixable is this?

Feb 5, 2003
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With a stranger
#1
I just went to play my acoustic guitar quickly before I went to bed, and I noticed that it was way out of tune. Every string was much lower than it should have been. I looked down to see that the entire bridge area had started to pull away from the body of the guitar. I have no idea why this happened, since it happened while the guitar wasn't being used and the strings were definitely not too tight. I haven't changed the strings in a while (longer than I should have gone without changing them) and it tuned was a half-step down, so there was definitely not too much tension (or at least there shouldn't have been or else this likely would have happened a long time ago).

Here's a picture I took with my phone's camera. It might be hard to tell from this, but the circled area is maybe a quarter-inch off the body.



Any idea if this is an easy do-it-youself repair or something I can get repaired at a shop easily? This was the first guitar I ever bought. I've had it for about 11 years and I'd hate to not be able to save it over something like this happening out of nowhere.
 

coolyellowbus

Registered User
May 4, 2005
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#2
Time just took its toll on the glue. It can be repaired but the only way to safely remove the bridge from the guitar (which you'll have to do) is with heat to melt the glue. here's the tool you would need to apply the heat to not do damage to the rest of the guitar. You'd also want to get a surface thermometer as you don't want to go over 250 degrees or you could damage the bridge or the guitar.

You'd have to remove any plastic inlays from the bridge and you'd have to refinish the bridge (if it has a finish on it) as the heat will def. damage it. Make sure to remove all the old glue from the bridge and the guitar body. Once area is prepped and cleaned re-glue. Id suggest using titebond glue. The only glue that is better is animal hide glue but its a pain in the ass to work with and the heat pot is expensive.

Do it yourself it will probably run you around 100 dollars or so for the tools and materials for the repair but it def. can be done. Good luck
 

ol' Cabey leg

As in Ol' (Darryl) Cabey leg
Mar 4, 2005
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Bethpage
#3
Where do you leave the guitar? It may have warped because of the temperature.
 

distortion9

Satellite Of Hate
Dec 12, 2001
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#4
Where do you leave the guitar? It may have warped because of the temperature.

That was my first though.

As for the repair, I don't think it's a big deal. I always heard that wood repairs (done properly with glue) are often left much stronger than they were before.
 

peewee

Registered User
Aug 10, 2003
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#5
i would take it into the guitar store nearest you and see what they say. it shouldn't cost that much money, and you will know you are getting it fixed right. then i would make sure i had a nice hard case for it and keep it somewhere cool. good luck bro.
 
S

speleo

Guest
#6
I agree with peewee...Take it to a dealer and get an estimate. It's a pretty easy fix for them and might cost less than you think.

I had an Ovation 12 String bridge split on me. I happened to live somewhat close to their factory (New Hartford CT) so I brought it in They fixed it and threw in an upgraded pickup and didn't charge me a dime.
 

Angelfuck

Part of the Ronnie B. crowd
Jan 6, 2006
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#8
looks like humidity got to it. you were using nylon strings right? so that shouldnt have been a problem. cant imagine why it would rip off in that spot if you didnt have the tension too tight. def take it to a music shop, theyll do it up right and itll probably sound better than before. what kind of guitar is that?
 

highway23

I miss NY wings
Jan 24, 2006
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#9
when was the last time you played that thing? I have an acoustic that has a problem with the neck slightly bending when in different temperatures so the strings get out of tune...

but nylon strings shouldn't really pull like that, unless it's an old guitar...if that's the case...some serious repair is in order. If not, and the guitar doesn't matter that much to you, go out and just buy a new one.
 

WhiskeyWhispers

I Want To Kill You All
Mar 11, 2007
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#10
That looks like the wood is splintered, can't really tell. Even if its trashed, you can still hold on to it. My first guitar is completely gutted, and I still keep it.
 

coolyellowbus

Registered User
May 4, 2005
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#11
That looks like the wood is splintered, can't really tell. Even if its trashed, you can still hold on to it. My first guitar is completely gutted, and I still keep it.


fuckin basketcase rules.... scared the piss outta me when I was a kid and I first saw it. Gave me nitemares for a month.
 

Stig

Making America So Great You Won't Believe It.
Jul 26, 2005
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#12
looks like humidity got to it. you were using nylon strings right? so that shouldnt have been a problem. cant imagine why it would rip off in that spot if you didnt have the tension too tight. def take it to a music shop, theyll do it up right and itll probably sound better than before. what kind of guitar is that?
That's definitely a steel-string bridge, Angel. Nylon strings don't have the ball ends that those pins hold in.

If you tune it too high, like not using a tuning fork or tuner, you can overstress the glue that holds it to the top of the instrument.

Happens all the time. Any good repair guy can fix it. If it's a guitar worth fixing, it's worth the extra cash to not have to bring it to him later to undo the damage that you do fixing it badly.
 

Angelfuck

Part of the Ronnie B. crowd
Jan 6, 2006
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#13
Thats why I asked what kind of guitar it was, because Ive never seen a spanish/classical guitar that came with a steel string bridge. I have an acoustic and a classical, that looks a classical, but I always thought the wood was too soft to sustain steel strings. Since he said it was tuned half a step down and the strings didnt feel tight I still dont see why it would break. course the bridge could have been replaced years ago and the body just couldnt handle the stress from steel strings anymore.
 
Feb 5, 2003
5,574
930
753
With a stranger
#14
It probably was humidity. My AC was on all day the day that it happened, but I sometimes turn it off when I go to work, so it might have been something that was building slowly until the glue wasn't strong enough to hold it anymore. I guess that's what I get for not keeping it in its case at all times. :doh:

It's a steel string guitar--an Epiphone PR-350M. This is what it looks like when it's not busted:
http://www.gibson.com/products/epiphone/archive/acoustic/3.html

looks like humidity got to it. you were using nylon strings right? so that shouldnt have been a problem. cant imagine why it would rip off in that spot if you didnt have the tension too tight. def take it to a music shop, theyll do it up right and itll probably sound better than before. what kind of guitar is that?
 

Angelfuck

Part of the Ronnie B. crowd
Jan 6, 2006
10,838
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Static Age
#15
that looks like a pretty damn good guitar, I definitely would take it to a trusted repair place. it doesnt look like the same bridge in your picture though
 
Feb 5, 2003
5,574
930
753
With a stranger
#16
It's the same bridge, but my picture is too close to show the whole thing so it's hard to get a good look at it. I took it to a place near me that I trust. I bought my Strat there a few years ago and they were really cool, not they type of store that has that "we know everything and you know nothing" attitude. I actually got my Strat brand new there for less than it would've cost from Musician's Friend (and that's without shipping costs from Musician's Friend).

that looks like a pretty damn good guitar, I definitely would take it to a trusted repair place. it doesnt look like the same bridge in your picture though
 
Dec 25, 2005
10,005
173
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NJ
#17
If you're good with wood (& patient) I'd say fix it yourself. Defintley repair it.. no need to retire the guitar at all. I repaired alot of my guitars.. some much more tougher & complicated than that.

How much did your local shop want to fix it?
 
Feb 5, 2003
5,574
930
753
With a stranger
#18
The guy who does the repairs at the shop won't be in for a few days, so I have to wait to see what he says. It's definitely going to be repaired, though. This place is incredibly good with their prices, so I don't expect this to be very expensive.

If you're good with wood (& patient) I'd say fix it yourself. Defintley repair it.. no need to retire the guitar at all. I repaired alot of my guitars.. some much more tougher & complicated than that.

How much did your local shop want to fix it?
 

thelord68

There's always time for lubricant
Feb 24, 2003
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Palm Beach Gardens, FL
#19
While it is a basic repair, the trick is in having the proper tools and knowing the mistakes NOT to make. On an acoustic guitar where you don't have any flexibility as to saddle placement, you could end up with an instrument that sounds crappy due to intonation problems.

It should be inexpensive and quick to repair since this is a very common issue with acoustic guitars.


Kudos for supporting the local stores. You really have to play a guitar before you buy it and if it's got a transparent or translucent finish, see what it looks like. You can't do that over the net and the people at the chain stores act like you're bothering them if you ask to try something.