A friend brought to me a Martin D-28 (from the late 90s) for a quick setup, and while inspecting the guitar I noticed that the bridge is a little warped and lifting slightly (see pictures, taken when the strings are completely slack). When strung to pitch I can wiggle in feeler gauges up to .008, and when detuned the thickest that will go in is .004. No cracking noises come from the bridge when I tune it up to pitch. Also, the guitar plays quite alright.
In a perfect world the bridge would be removed and reglued (and the warp fixed), but sometimes I think that a better approach is "if it's not broken, don't fix it", particularly in this case where the guitar plays fine and the bridge seems to be stable. I have definitely seen other repair persons take this approach.
Assuming proper care in the future (humidifying the guitar and not letting it sit in a car), how long before the bridge absolutely needs to come off? Would most people here leave it be for a while or go ahead and reglue the bridge?
Of course, my friend will be informed of the situation.
I checked for loose braces but found none. I can stick the very edge of a .0025" feeler gauge under the bridge plate (front of it), but I don't think that qualifies as a loose bridge plate.
I forgot to mention that the guitar has an undersaddle pickup, and looking under the saddle, I found two shims. To be honest, I never installed pickups on an acoustic, so I don't know if the shims are necessary, but once the bridge is reglued, I will see if they are actually necessary.
I think I mentioned that I started another thread about a small soundhole crack that this guitar has. Here it is. The consensus seems to be that the crack isn't caused by movement of the neck block, and I tend to agree. Other than that, like I said, the neck is overset, probably has been when the guitar was made, but since it's in an acceptable margin of error, they let it go like that.
With that being said, I'm happy to hear any other suggestions you guys have as to what I should check for.
When you put the information in your two threads together it does start to look like a complicated issue.
The neck angle is off, and there is a crack in the soundboard parallel to the fingerboard extension. This sounds like it has had a major neck block shift at some time - a classic hot-boxed guitar scenario perhaps, which also caused the partial bridge glue failure?
I agree that the soundboard crack cannot be seen to extend all the way to the neck block, but maybe it does, or once did and has been fixed?
Also, it is odd that the neck hasn't shifted forward as you would expect in that scenario. Instead, it has moved backwards. But necks don't spontaneously move backwards, do they? And then there is the fact that someone has installed an overheight saddle to correct the resulting action problem.
So, my dear Watson, it is obvious what we should conclude. This guitar suffered a heat stress which made the neck block pitch forward under string tension, cracking the soundboard, and also partly lifting the bridge. There has been an attempted repair, but the neck angle ended going a bit too far the other way, and part of the soundboard crack remained open. The bridge didn't get fixed (or at least, not properly), and the repairer bailed out and installed an over-height saddle just to get it playable again. At this point the owner put it on E-Bay and your unsuspecting friend bought it. He has loved his D-28 ever since, and doesn't have a clue about any of this. The news is really going to ruin his day.
OK, I am extrapolating from a couple of photos and I have a vivid imagination. But it is not like this stuff doesn't happen every day.
For example, my son travelled last week from Sydney to Amsterdam, with my Taylor guitar. The guitar never made it. The airline doesn't know where it is. Shit happens.
Yeah, I'm always torn between keeping all issues that have to do with one guitar in one thread, vs. giving each issue its own thread. I figure with the latter, it's easier for other members to search (for instance if someone else wanted to know if they should reglue a bridge or not).
Here's more information. My friend has had the guitar for quite a while now, but I don't believe he's the original owner.
If indeed the crack is caused by a shifting neck block that's been partially repaired, then the previous repair person didn't leave any traces behind. You'd think that someone who is capable of doing such a clean job would also also do a thorough job, but I'm extrapolating and speculating.
My theory, and I could quite possibly be wrong, is that the two issues are unrelated. We live in Chicago and it gets really dry here in the winters and the summers are really hot. My friend also admitted to not humidifying his guitar regularly, so a crack in a high stress area due to dryness seems plausible. As for the bridge, that could be my friend's fault or the previous owner. Perhaps the previous owner left it in a hot car for and the bridge started to lift ever so slightly, but not enough for a non-professional to notice. As time went by the bridge kept lifting and that's where we are now.
Both the crack and the bridge issue are very minimal. I can easily see how someone who wasn't looking for these things could have missed them.
Without imputing implication of criticism to any Fine Manufacturer, which is something I always try to Avoid.
Its true to write that going back a few years, the Manufacturer concerned has had issues with Necks Moving Forward, and requiring Neck Resets, extremely early in the Instruments Working Life.
In my opinion, to Resolve this Costly Warrantee Issue, it appeared to me and indeed others, that they went through a period where Necks were subsequently encountered, Apparently, Deliberately Over Set, which I presumed to be their Honest Attempt to Address the Issue of "Early Neck Resets".
Now here I'm giving you "an opinion" but I believe that many of the Type of Issues that I'm discussing here, are actually the Result of Broader Industrial Manufacturing Techniques, New Ways of Managing and Levering Up, Factory Output, which to some degree the Implementation of which, has adversely affected every single Manufacturer that has Embraced Them.
If the Instrument is within Factory Tolerances and Plays Well.
Maybe you should be considering that an Unwise Temporary Exposure to Excessive Heat and alternatively, Periods of Cold accompanied by Low Humidity are the Causational Issues here.
Consider, a New, Higher Bridge with a Normal Saddle as a Correctly Sized Replacement that will provide Good Overall Geometry, (you have to Re-Glue the Bridge anyway and if its Warped, will it Warp Further?) Repair the Small Crack in the Top and Set the Instrument Up Well.
Are we there with a Plan?
There's a Brilliant Classical Guitarist.
Not too far away from me in the adjacent County.
Possessing the Same Name as a "Fish" that Swims in a "Stream".
And whose Surname also Directly Rhymes with that same word written above.
He left a Very Precious Classical Guitar out, overnight in his Car, during a Scandinavian Winter.
Listening to an Excellent Classical Guitar, and One of His Guitars, the Sound Difference is like Night and Day.
In Quality of Sound.
People do Silly Things all the Time.
Musicians are by No Means, any Exception.
You need to Watch the Music Below from 2. 57 in.
And Realise the Problems we have to deal with, this side of the Pond.
Quote: "I thought you were going to be presenting it in iambic pentameter"
With my lack of Acting Skill.
I'm Afraid I would Murder Macbeth.