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A friend brought me this Gibson Hummingbird that was used for testing finishes and wants me to attach a bridge to it. I feel like it may be over my head. I've found lots of info on reattaching bridges, but not about when the top is completely finished. Also, the end of the fingerboard at the sound hole wasn't taped up very well and has quite a bit of finish on it. Any ideas on how to remove it without damaging the binding? One more thing. The little bag in the last picture was fastened to the neck pocket inside the body with Velcro. I have no idea what it's for. Thanks, guys.

Mike Fields

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Hi Mike,

   You can use a piece of adhesive sandpaper put in the general top area of the bridge location and start by fitting the underside of the bridge to the curvature of the top.

   Next, locate the proper bridge location and by clamping or with double sided tape, fix the bridge to the top (the two smaller holes may be for bridge locating pins). Then, using an x-acto or similar fine blade, lightly score the finish around the outside edge of the bridge. Remove the bridge and using micro chisels or the like, remove the finish from the bridge area. You should then have a nice, fresh wood gluing surface.

   The little bag is for a battery for a pickup. A razor blade should help you with removing the undesired finished areas...

Best wishes,

Doc 

Quote: "A friend brought me this Gibson Hummingbird that was used for testing finishes. and wants me to attach a bridge to it. I feel like it may be over my head."

 

Michael, if you watch the attached Movie. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KJ8xfD4FgDU

Ren Ferguson will show in pictures and explain with words to you, the process that our dear fora friend, Doc, has kindly taken the trouble to outline.

Normally, Gibson use a Straight Edged Tool along the Neck to determine Bridge Position. Once it's set in place, they Measure the Space between the Bottom of the Tool and the Tops Finish.

So Gibson take their Bridge Height Measurement with the Finish On. That Measurement determines the Thickness of which of the Pre-Sized Bridges they will Select to Fit in order to Implement Correct Neck Pitch to Bridge Top Geometry. That may not be how many here would approach this, but it's how they do it at Gibson.

Doc's outline is a good idea, but do be careful possibly utilising Low Tack Tape to the Finish, as often it takes a considerable time for a Finish to Thoroughly and Completely Cure. If your friend is an experimenter, learning about Finishing it's highly improbable that the Instrument has received the Curing Processes, as implemented in the Factory, or Ideally for a Professional Workshop and you don't want that Lifting Unintentionally.

The Thickness of the Finish will be a handful of thousandths of an inch, and of course will vary Guitar to Guitar. Measure the waste sample you remove with a Digital Micrometer if you are concerned about allowing for that, but I think the glue will take care of most of that extra depth. When you are Sanding down the Bridge, I would keep a Straight Edge handy and keep Referencing It to the Bridge as I got Closer to only the Width of the Sandpaper and Tape Combined, Remaining.

I think you will find the Movie, Very Helpful Indeed.

Do Watch It for a Few Minutes.

 

The Battery Bag is for a Fishman Acoustic Guitar Pickup System, and worth $10 as a Spare with the Velcro Square at the Neck Block.

I would ask whether to leave it in place, (as removing it from the neck Block may involve unwanted issues), or not depending on what type if any, of Pickup System, the owner may wish to have fitted in the future.

The Fingerboard should clean up easily, but just proceed with care.

P

Thanks for pointing out the Low Tack Tape, Peter. It is a precaution extremely well advised and something I should have noted, in hindsight.

Best wishes,

Doc

When you get to removing the finish from the bridge area, you may find that some stripper will make your life easier if you use it carefully. The thicker/goopy stuff like Circa 1850 makes is nice since it wont run around on you. Its probably best to stay 1/4" to 1/8" away from your score line with it. And of course every other part of the guitar pretty much ;).

Thanks for the good advice, guys. Now, does anyone know where I can get a genuine Gibson bridge and pickguard for it? Thanks.

Mike Fields

Well, after scouring the Internet and finding little beyond factory Les Paul parts, I'm lead to believe that Gibson isn't too keen on providing replacement parts to the public. Is this correct? Thanks.

Mike Fields

Hi Mike,

    Sorry, meant to get back to you about this. You are correct, there are certain parts that Gibson requests the public use sources such as allparts.com  and stewmac.com etc etc to acquire replacement parts from.

Best wishes,

Doc 

Thanks, Doc. Would anyone know the diameter and material of the dot inlays on the bridge? Thanks.

Mike Fields

Mike,

   Those inlay dots aren't really necessary as they were there to cover up the bolts that were used to aid in keeping the bridge fixed to the top (along with glue). Of course, you can add them if you like. I think they're either the 6mm or 6.35mm size (I think the latter as apposed to former).

Best wishes,

Doc

I used an X-Acto knife to carefully scrape the finish off of the fingerboard and binding. Why it wasn't taped-up properly to begin with, who knows. I still have to clean off the fret ends.  Thanks.

Mike Fields

That looks nice...  a good, clean job!

Well, after searching and not finding anything I'd be happy with, I've decided to do what real luthiers do and make my own bridge. I think I've found just about all the info I need, but I have a question about what height I need and how to get it. When I place my straightedge on top of the frets, it's right at .375 above the top where the bridge will be located. Is that where I want the top of the bridge to be? And how do I calculate how thick to start with so that I get that height after sanding the bottom of the bridge to match the curve of the guitar top? Thanks.

Mike Fields

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