Hi, I recently posted a photo of repairs to the damaged bridge pin holes in a guitar top. That got me thinking about maybe sharing the reasons for such a repair, and how I go about the repair.
For many years now I have been doing this work on acoustic guitars that use the so-called Palathetic Pickup system. Fitting the pickup calls for a special bridge to accommodate the pickup, and a large hole in the top and bridge plate, under the bridge.
One side of the bridge on a hump, the other side over a hollow......oops!
My concern has always been that six pin holes along with two bridge locating holes plus the large hole for the pickup assembly all in a small area in the top, is a recipe for failure in many cases. There are 3 or 4 different manufacturers whose guitars I get in my workshop, that use this system.
Different guitars require different tactics or methods to get them playable again. Normally guitars come into the workshop with a high action due either to a pulled/bellied up top, a bridge pulling off or worse a top that is bellied up at the back of the bridge area and sunken between the bridge and the soundhole. Removing the bridge and regluing it is a common repair on many different brand guitars, but guitars with this pickup system demand extra attention.
The extra work I have encountered includes, replacing or reinforcing bridge plates, repairing and/or adding extra bracing and repairing damaged tops under the bridge. Then of course along with all this is flattening the top and replacing the bridge in some cases.
Showing the actual pickup.
Bad example, pin hole too close to the pickup hole. Here Im hoping to reinforce the bridge plate, not much room though.
A better layout.
Thanks for looking
Reminds me why we used to call these "pathetic" pickups.
Doesn't seem like longevity was part of the design criteria. I'm a little surprised people consider these instruments are worth this amount of effort; but then I'm old and crotchety.
Thanks for that nice pictorial Taffy. Being in Australia with thousands of Maton guitars around, and plenty Takamines too - you might be the world champion of these repairs.
As builders we see the defect in the design, but lots of players love them.