I've got a 1920's Louis Sutz parlor guitar that I want to restore.  The usual - fix a couple of cracks, maybe a neck reset.  But the worst thing is that the top is bulging from the bridge rolling from the pressure of the strings.

Any suggestions about how to flatten the top again?  And keep it flat.

Here's a shot of the inside of another Sutz guitar that has the back off so you can see the ladder bracing and the bridge plate.  Both guitars are constructed the same.

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I've used the Bridge Doctor to fix this situation on a number of these ladder braced guitars. Works very well. The version with one screw through the bridge. Usually just paint the screw black instead of using the pearl dot, as it seems less obvious.

Bridge Doctor!  Great idea.  

Has anyone made their own version?

I haven't made one, Dan but I've look at them enough that I think I'll give it a try next time I need one. It's very light/strong wood and the adjustment rods I seen are not just straight through rods. The originals I've seen have a plastic threaded insert with an adjustment screw and a ball bearing between it and the wood dowel to the tail block. I was thinking of using a metal insert for this with a screw and bearing for adjustment. The shaft/dowel is pointed with a small flat where it touches the bearing. I'm not sure you really need screw and bearing but it probably helps keep the shaft from crawling around on the end block as you make adjustments.

On a guitar like this one, you will probably need to make small adjustments over a period of time to get everything back into place so the bearing could make it much easier to keep everything in alignment. 

For what it's worth, I usually replace the ladder bracing with a X but that's my personal preference since I like steel strings and I don't work on guitars that will every be collectible. 

Thanks for the input.

 I thought about making one but decided that it was easier and cheaper to just buy one for $22 from StewMac.  I'll install it some time this winter.


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