Over the years, I have had some Gibson acoustic guitars arrive in the shop with the "special" plastic molded bridge cracking and pulling up. In the past, I have usually made a replacement from a rosewood or ebony blank. However, I just received a B-25 in great condition except for the plastic bridge warping/distorting and starting to crack. Customer ( a retail store in the area) wants to keep it as original as possible and at the same time make it playable (currently it is not). Is there any general consensus about whether to try to repair these bridges for originalities sake or replace the bridge with a wood version so the instrument will play?  

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Ron- Yes that's true! Like the selenium rectifier bestows some "mojo" to the circuit. Fortunately, I have not had to resort to installing the caps in the old cap can/cardboard tubes. I've read Gerald Weber's little chapter on that and I can't imagine but then again..... I was chatting with some of my tech pals the other day  and thought we could make a fortune doing a "relic" job on the Fender re-issue amps like they do the guitars. We would need to develop a scented spray to make it smell old - and you would have to have different smells to go with how relic'd  the amp became ( damp basement, dank barroom, closet moth ball, etc.). Oh well, it was an idea- LOL! Thanks for posting, JM

Replace with a different plastic bridge or repair plastic bridge = addressing the symptom. Making a wooden bridge = solving the problem.

With valuable guitars it's fine to address a symptom so long as you're not creating irreversible damage (planing a Martin bridge thinner to avoid a reset). The quick and dirty repair the store wants is fine as long as you don't drill more holes in the top or cause similar damage.

Hats off to you folks who work with music stores. That can be a tough gig!

Nathan- Hey man I get it-LOL believe me- I feel liked I kicked a hornets nest! 

Don't worry about "kicking a hornets nest". A lot of us thrive on this sort of thought question.

The dreaded B-25 bridge has been the topic of conversation on this forum a few times now.  Most of those discussions end up with a pointer to Paul Hostetter's excellent tutorial on how to replace them with something sensible.

I would not want to own one of these in "original condition" - because they are a potentially good guitar ruined by a stupid and complicated plastic contraption.  I don't think there is any ethical problem with replacing the bridge to a more conventional style.  Many well informed guitar appreciators agree - but there will be many who want to keep it ugly, muffled and unplayable because that is the way Nature intended.  The Store probably won't want to spend the money for the conversion.  Understandable - but not "correct" IMHO



Mark- I wouldn't want one of these in original condition either. Truth is, if I knew my wife wouldn't kill me - I'd buy the guitar for myself and convert it LOL! Part of the problem as I see it, too many rely on the Vintage price guide and read on-line If it's old and original- it's got to be worth a lot. Hey-sounds like me ( I'm old and original so I must be worth something eh?).

Anyway, thanks for the link to Paul Hostetter's site. 

Thank you, John

I think the smart way to go is to replace the original with a wooden drop saddle bridge and keep all the original parts with the instrument.  In this way, you may teel your customer that the instrument is effectively unchanged and may be restored to original if the time comes when that is an appropriate decision.  The first time they play it after the bridge and saddle are replaced they will never look back.


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