I have just been handed a little Harmony guitar for minor restoration. It needs a neck reset and there is a separated brace, but what puzzles me is the floating bridge. The bridge is in bad shape, deeply grooved and needs to be replaced. It is made of wood. Is this what they used on these old guitars, or has someone put their own bridge on? What kind of material should I replace it with? And should this floating bridge be glued it place, or is it meant to move about?



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I assume this is a f hole arch top guitar.
Even if it is not the bridge was never made to glue down.
The placement of it is you measure from the 0 fret to the 12th fret and double that + 1/8 inch to the frunt of the saddle. Yo then tune to pitch then fret at the 12th fret and the open string and the fretted should be the same. If not you can move forward of backward to achieve the correct pitch

The bridge is usely made out of the same miteral as the fingerboard.

I hope this helps.

Thanks Ron,

Yes that does help.

It isn't an arch top, it's a cheap little kids size guitar. But I don't if I've been clear about the bridge make up. There is no saddle - just a wood piece.

The existing bridge is made of maple, I believe. The fret board looks like rosewood. Perhaps I will make a new one out of rosewood, but would it not be a good idea to put a saddle bone in so that it won't wear out so fast. Would it not sound better too?


Doug Collins
Hi Doug,

I've worked on a number of these types of guitars. They were made fairly cheap. Replacing the bridge with rosewood sounds fine. Also making a bone saddle would be fine as well. In my opinion these guitars are perfect for repair practice. They're not really collectible, so you don't have to worry too much about messing it up. I once even converted an old silvertone to have a pin bridge, and it came out great and kinda funky, just like it was made.

Many of the old Harmonys had a piece of fret wire for the saddle of the bridge. You would have to make the bridge the right height. Start a bit tall and sand off the bottom of the bridge until it is the correct height.
I make a kind of a wedge shape bridge of anything to hold up the strings. I believe it had a fret wire to top it off it, what ever you use it wont sound very good. All small guitars of that age and larger ones for that matter don't sound very good .

Thanks everyone for your input.

I don't have high hopes for this guitar, I am doing it for a friend for sentimental value (his Mom bought it in the 50's). Nevertheless, I want to make it sound as good as it can, which mostly means having it stay in tune. That's where the floating bridge poses a problem, as far as I'm concerned. It seems to me that a guitar like this is really meant for a novice - someone who is very likely to move the bridge and not know how to put it back in place.

Would it be a bad thing to secure it more positively? It looks like it was glued at some point in the past, but it did not hold. I'm thinking about putting a couple barbs just to keep it from moving unintentionally.


Doug Collins


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