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Here's a Gibson Gospel acoustic 6 string with some issues. The pictures will tell the story shorter than me typing.

I am back teaching elementary general music so time for doing repairs is greatly diminished. So I'm thinking this will be more of a project than I should take on right now.

I am hoping to get some comments on how to approach the crack near the binding on the low E string side. Also, I'm thinking the bridge plate needs to be replaced (I have Stewmac's Bridge Saver but I don't think it is appropriate to use due to the low E and A pin holes are grooved so bad that the string balls are resting on the underside of the bridge).

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Some more pics.

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The top braces in the upper bout that run under the fingerboard have failed and the top is collapsing into the sound hole. Clamp the guitar securely and safely to the bench and try to get the neck pulled back so the top is round at the soundhole and the gap at the binding is closed. It will need to be patched as much as possible unless you can remove and reglue existing braces. wicking CA glue under the loose braces is also an option if you can get the neck pulled back to whee it needs to be. Would still need additional bracing to reinforce.

The pinplate looks like the StewMac tool would work good to me.

I recently repaired a Bauer with a very similar neck-top-brace problem. I followed Frank's lead...

http://frets.com/FretsPages/Luthier/Technique/Guitar/Structural/Cra...

Worked very well. Make sure to read the second page via the 'More' link.

I think the Bridge Saver will work. You might try it and if results aren't satisfactory do the plate.

If I remember correctly, the bridge plate on these is surrounded by bracing, which means that there is not edge to work with. I think either the Bridge Saver or an overlay with the Saver as the first choice. 

When you get to moving the neck back into place, check the edges of the neck block to make sure it is still well attached to the sides and back too.

It is very hard to pull the neck back out so I have used a threaded rod and thread it in the endpin hole and run it through the body and push the neck block out   Worked for me several times.

Robro ron

Thank-you all for replying! I have a much better understanding of what/how to approach the repairs. Thanks Thomas for the link to Frank's article's-I've read them and saved them to re-read. Thank-you Harrison-I'll be checking braces. Ron, great idea for the neck block. Ned and Robbie-I'll make a go of the bridge saver. As far as the bridge plate goes, there is one small section that has a gap between the plate and the brace, the other sides are right up against the braces. This is going to be a great project for me if the owner is up for having all the repairs done and doesn't mind it taking awhile.

Instead of removing and replacing the bridge plate I would cap it and consider it a repair appropriate for the instrument.  My caps are typically maple, approx. .050 - .060" thick, and just slightly longer than the pin spacing and wider than the pin spacing.  I bevel the edges.

I would also set the thing up for slotless pins once the cap is installed.

Thanks for replying Hesh. Would you plug the holes (bridge saver) and then add cap it? I am planning on setting it for slotless pins.

Hi Lee.  No I would simply cap the bridge plate and then redrill the pin holes, ream for 5 or 3 degree unslotted pins and call it a day.

When I make my caps I predrill the pin holes in the cap matching the spacing of the pin holes in the bridge.  Next I have some teflon rod that is the same size as the drill bit that I use for the pin holes (sorry not in my shop and away from home so I can't give you the size...).  I use two 1" lengths of the teflon rod (it could be dowels too but you have to pull them fast so the the glue does not grab them) positioned in the two outer cap pin holes to position the cap with the rods sticking up through the two outer bridge pin holes.

Once I clamp the inner clamping caul (also teflon and the Stew-Mac bridge clamping caul that is somewhat non-stick works too or a wooden caul with waxed paper on it) the clamping force pushes the pins flush with the cap on the inside and proud of the bridge on the outside.  Next I pull the two locator pins from the top after the two clamps are in place.  

Bridge plate caps are a great solution if appropriate for the instrument and the client's budget.  The mass added might be a couple grams if that AND it's a great opportunity to convert to slotless pins in the same process which I believe will virtually eliminate the pin holes from ever being chewed up by ball ends again.  It's also far easier than replacing the plate and a whole lot less dangerous an operation for the top center seam....

We see a lot of turn of the century instruments in our shop, two centuries ago (man I feel like a dinosaur...;)) and never once have we seen chewed up pin holes on the bridge plate when slotless pins where originally used and the steward(s) of the instrument never made the mistake of using slotted pins.

Hope this helps my friend.

Hi Hesh. Thanks for the advice. Have talked with the owner he's considering the options.

I bagged the guitar for a week in an effort to close the crack that goes from the bridge to the end block (see the previous pic above). It closed it so well that I am unable to move it. I tried cleaning the crack with deionized water, hoping to see some of it seeping thru and no. But it did a good job of getting the top dirt out. With it closed this tight, will CA wick thru? If not, do I dry it out enough to be able to move the crack, glue and clamp?

Thanks again. Lee

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