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I have an old Harmony/Stella student model, solid wood (I think birch?). It has been refinished (not well), but I think it has potential. For starters, it is ladder braced and has a bit of a dip in front of the bridge. Has anyone ever put a Bridge Doc in one of these small body ladder braced guitars and gotten them to take x-tra light steel strings. I have silk&steel on their now, and it does not sound too good at all. My other thought is to replace the adjustable saddle bridge with one where the saddle actually makes contact with something other than 2 screws. This would seem to be a direct route to tone improvement. Even if it wont take steel strings with the Bridge Doc, I would think that it would improve tone with the silkys. Really just want to make a beach beater out of this. It's original look is long gone. Anyone ever strung these up with nylon and gotten good sounds?
Thoughts?

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What type of material are the nut and saddle made of? Is this a pin bridge or a classical style? The belly/dip in the soundboard is most likely due to the narrow 'bridge plate' used on most ladder braced guitars. Are the braces secure? I have replaced the bridge plate on a couple of these types of guitars and have found an improvement on volume, tone and resonance. The last plate I removed was spruce and I replaced it with Indian rosewood. I have never used a bridge doctr, so I have nothing to say about them.
www.harmony.demont.net is a good site for Harmony model info. FYI
Rick,
Yes, I found that site. very cool. Looks like I have an H6134.
Thanks,
Brian
Matt,
The nut and saddle are both plastic (nut is shimmed with a piece of wood veneer), and I can certainly upgrade those to bone, but the bigger problem I see is with this pinless bridge. The saddle only makes contact with the screws that allow for its adjustment (see pics). The bridge plate is about 1-1/2" wide and runs almost the entire width of the lower bout. Bridge plate looks (to my untrained eye) like it could be mahogany, and it could be as thin as 3/32" (tough to measure this one).

After replacing the bridge plate on one of these ladder-brace w/ RW, did you then restring with steel strings or silk&steel?

Thanks!
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I used extra light martin SPs and have not had issues. The thing with this quality of guitar is that I have usually had the mindset to make my repairs as cheaply as possible so that the guitar will stand the test of time, sound nice and play easily, but you don't want to spend $50.00 fixing up a $5 guitar. (at least most of the time). I used to experiment with these guitars, they are great for honing your neck resetting skills and deconstruction/reconstruction techniques.I have never converted a guitar like this to a pin bridge, but I don't see why there would be a problem since it is braced for string pull at the bridge area. If you find you don't mind the pinless bridge, perhaps you should fill the adjustable saddle void in and route a standard saddle slot.

matt

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