Yet another question about the Silvertone 1485. The previous problem has been fixed, but this one seems to be a bit more gnarly.
One of the previous owners has glued the bridge onto the top, but it is glued on the wrong spot. All saddles should be adjusted further towards the bigsby, but this is obviously impossible at the moment.
The maximum compensation I can get at the moment is 0.09" which is fine for the high E, but all the other strings are sharp. The bass side should move back about 1/4" if I calculated it correctly.
My main concerns:
1) I don't know what kind of glue is used.
2) I don't have the right equipment for finish touch-ups (I think removing the bridge will leave quite a mark, since the finish is in quite bad shape to start with)
Does any of you have any recommendations? If not, I will tell the customer to go to another repair-guy.
Thanks in advance!
Finish touch up on this would not be an easy task even if you had the equipment. Luckily, the bridge will cover a large part of the spot when placed in the right place.Of course you should warn the client, with cases like this it's never 100% predictable.
Mask the area around the bridge with a cartboard cut-out covered with foil, use a hairdrier and warm the bridge carefully, see if it starts to move. Hope the owner didn't use a lot of CA or epoxy.
Thanks for your reply Demetry. I don't think it will cover a lot of it actually, but my guess is that the customer wouldn't even want to get it refinished as long as it plays well and holds up well. I just don't want to damage more than I would absolutely have to:) Thanks for your advise, heating up the bridge will definitely be my first try!
If it's CA acetone can help loosen it. (Of course it's completely possible that it will also do a wonderful job of stripping the paint so some pretty thorough testing should be done to make sure this doesn't happen BEFORE anyone tries this approach,)
It's probably be pretty obvious but you might think about making a new base for the bridge with slightly wider feet to cover the damage and, if it looks like there's no way to avoid remove some of the finish you might consider scoring around the feet so the only finish removed is directly under the bridge and you don't have chipping to handle too.
Please be forewarned That this is all conjecture on my part. I have used acetone many times to get my fingers( and various other thing apart after accidently glueing them together with CA. I have removed a couple of glued "floating" bridges but both instruments already need to be refinished anyway.
Thanks for your input Ned! By testing I assume you mean to try it on a little piece of finish on the back/somewhere it's not as easy to spot?
I was thinking about making a new base, but I think it'll be a bit too wide if I make it symmetrical. What would be the best way to apply the acetone if I can't get it off by heating it up? Scoring around it is good advice, thanks.
Ps. Like I wrote in reply to Demetry, I don't think the customer would want to get it touched up (as long as it doesn't get TOO bad). The guitar is showing age and misses some original parts, the owner paid 425 euros for it and already had me perform a refret, install 6 new pots and a bone nut so I don't think he'd want to invest much more for now.
I wouldn't come close to this finish with acetone or any serious solvent. Heat the bridge and use a thin "old style" razor blade flush to the top to get under it, if it dosn't pop or start to creep after heating.
Without knowing what sort of glue was used (and considering the overall finish is rough anyway) I think I'd proceed like this:
Take the strings off. Then, using a 6" (or so) dowel and a small flathead hammer, hold the dowel against one foot of the bridge and give it a short, sharp rap with the hammer. It'll probably break free and leave the least amount of damage. If need be, repeat at the other end of the bridge.
Lay a piece of painters tape on the body, under where you intend to strike, to mitigate any marks that may occur if the dowel slips. When the bridge is off, clean-up the area as best you can, move the bridge to the correct spot and call it good.
Only my opinion, but I think you're asking for trouble trying to soak-off any glue with acetate.
I would stay away from any solvents and treat this like a glued on flat top bridge with an unknown glue. I would remove the posts using the thumbwheels locked together. Maybe there will be a bit of the mystery glue on the end of the posts. At the very least there will be that much less glued surface to deal with. I would bet there are some gaps between the top and the bridge base. After all, this was an inexpensive guitar in its day. After scoring around the base, I would try to heat the base and/or work a palette knife underneath. If nothing budges, as a last resort I would try to break the glue joint with some judicious chisel blows.
There is just about no way to attack the adhesive with acetone or some such without opening a large can of dammit.
I paraphrase Michael Lewis who says it is very easy to make a small problem into a much bigger problem.
That bridge is not the stock bridge. What you have there is one of the dreaded Hagstrom bridges. More on that later.
It's time to bite the bullet and remove the bridge. I'd approach it either like the removal of a conventional flat top acoustic bridge (heat, spatula etc...) OR the removal of a a nut.
Personally, I'd butt a 4"wide x 6" long 1/2" thick piece of hardwood against the base of the bridge and give the board a sharp & firm 'pulled' whack and the bridge will pop right off. Just like removing a nut. As other have said, we're not looking at a valuable instrument and function, in this case, completely trumps cosmetics.
IF there is any resulting finish damage, it's in an area that is seldom seen and should be minimal. There are several ways to blend in any damaged areas without resorting to lacquer touch up.
An even bigger improvement to the entire instrument, given that it has a Bigsby, would be a new roller bridge. I mean, you've got the guitar 85% refurbished so why would one spend money & time improving it only to retain the "mother of all lousy bridges" which is piece of problem hardware and will definitely cause tuning issues?.
Oh yes, and DEFINITELY use no solvents other than Naptha on that guitar. Those have a lacquer finish.. an EXTREMELY thin finish.
Best of luck :)
Very useful, thank you. I'll first try to remove it with heat and otherwise resort to tapping it.
About the rollerbridge: couldn't agree with you more, I'll contact the owner and recommend it. If I can, I'll salvage the base. If not, I'll make a new one. About the originality of the bridge: I think they might've actually changed from the wooden saddle to the hagstrom style bridge (I've seen those bridges on some other 1485's too, which doesn't mean they were stock but perhaps?)
Yes, I'll stay away from acetone or other solvents. I used some compressed air to get rid of some dust and the lacquer already started flying off.
I'll post an update here tomorrow, hopefully letting you guys know that I got the bridge off without a lot of hassle.
I just thought of something. Although a rollerbridge would be best, I have never come across a 9.5" radius rollerbridge (just 12" and 14"). I believe Mosrite rollerbridges are 9", but those things are very high which would not really work (neck is already shimmed).
Any thoughts? Or other ideas for a bridge upgrade, if no rollerbridge?
Thanks for the correction on the bridge. After more research (beyond the 'one's I've worked on or played'), it seems some of these had that bridge as stock equipment.
Hagstrom also supplied Guild Guitars with parts during that era.
Personally, I wouldn't invest a penny in re-engineering the existing bridge. Silk purse/sow's ear applies.
If the owner doesn't wish to go with a roller bridge, I'd modify a standard wooden bridge as follows:
Radius the top of the bridge to match the FB. Remove about 1/8" of stock from the top of the bridge to expose a wide flat (front to back) platform . Cut slots in the bridge top to accept two pieces of fretwire. Install the fretwire and you'll have an relatively intonatable SMOOTH surface for the strings to move across without hanging up on hard angles. Here's what you're going for looking down to the top of the saddle:
Again, thanks for the additional info.