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Can my j-50 bridge be saved


Rah67123
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Exactly, No guarantees. Any good repairperson can glue that bridge back together and how long it lasts is not something human beings can predict. It could last forever or a week. He knows that. He also knows that a new bridge is not cracked.  Looking at it from his point of view, if he glues that bridge and it doesn't hold, word could get out (quite unfairly) that he is a poor repairperson. In addition, you will be bringing it back to him and likely expecting him to repair or replace it for nothing.

This is why he wants to replace the bridge. Let him do it.

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Seems like he's fairly set all the conditions for repairing it, and the only damage I can see in the pic is the corner broken off, looking like an area not under the stress of string tension. School me if I'm missing something I can't see.

I've had several bridge repairs done successfully and that looks like a good candidate for a fix, especially if it's Brazilian. You don't date the guitar so losing a BRW bridge would diminish the value.

Did your guy want to remove it to repair. which would be the better way, the way I see it?

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It sounds like you at least think theirs a chance it might hold. It’s going to cost around 450 to repair the bridge and a couple of cracks. If it breaks then I’m going to have to pay all over again because he made it very clear that he would not guarantee the work

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10 minutes ago, Rah67123 said:

It sounds like you at least think theirs a chance it might hold. It’s going to cost around 450 to repair the bridge and a couple of cracks. If it breaks then I’m going to have to pay all over again because he made it very clear that he would not guarantee the work

Looks like the reason it broke was that the glue holding it to the top failed, at least on the front half of the bridge, so all the string load was applied to the bridge on the forward edges of the pin holes.  The bridge needs to come completely off, glued back together properly, old glue needs to be scraped off underside of bridge and top of guitar, and re-glued.

If this is a vintage guitar--the bridge style is early 1950's or late 40's--you may want to check the condition of the bridgeplate while the bridge is off. Its the perfect time to plug and re-drill the bridgeplate pin holes if necessary.

If it is a clean break with no evidence of having been previously repaired, a repair should be ok provided the bridge is properly re-glued together and re-glued to the top.

Your luthier was right to say "no guarantee", but if it's original to a vintage guiter which looks like it might be in nice shape, it is probably worth taking the chance, if your guy is good. This job, plus any necessary repairs to the bridgeplate, would probably run about $250-300 if my  guy did it. Replacing rather than repairing would add about $100-150, using BRW. 

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Well, that bridge should be removed and repaired, as it's valuable in itself.  Don't know what the extent of cracks to be fixed is, but $450 is about the cost of a neck reset. My guy gets about $165 to remove and replace a bridge, however I can't make judgements from a photo.  It looks usable the way it is. True?

I can understand how it might be hard to guarantee the corner will hold when pressure is applied to reglue to the top.  If you replace it, make sure you keep the original.

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Just now, slimt said:

Last year for the non adj saddle . First year for the large guard.   If Im not mistakin. 

No, last year of the slot-through saddle. Went to drop-in saddle the next year. Large pickguard sometime in 1955. I think ADJ became an option around 1956, but not standard until mid-1960's on the 45/50.

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This cannot be done properly without completely removing the bridge. If he doesn't do that, it's a waste of time and money.

If the bridge is properly glued to the top, all the shear load is taken on the full gluing surface of the underside of the bridge. The little bolts do nothing.

Edited by j45nick
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Are there bolts under the dots on this? Might have tightened too much at that corner. That's a delicate pressure point if overtightened again.

Googling guitar repair in Charleston WV shows a handful.

Edited by jedzep
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Just now, jedzep said:

Are there bolts under the dots on this? Might have tightened too much at that corner.

There would be bolts in 1953. They are tiny, and only carry load if the glue joint fails. The modern Gibson I have has the dots, but no bolts. The bolts are handy for alignment, but that's really about it. There's plenty of gluing surface on the underside of the bridge to carry the load if it is glued properly.

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16 minutes ago, Rah67123 said:

Thanks to all of you for the info. I took this photo if it helps

23200FDA-2A0F-4CD8-B794-1C26E7BD90E0.jpeg

There is a fair amount of grain tear-out and wear around and between the pinholes, but I've seen a lot worse. What you want to see when the guitar is strung up is all those string ball ends bearing on the bridgeplate rather than pulling into the holes in the plate. If the pins are a good fit in the holes, this is a lot easier to achieve.

It looks fairly similar to the plate on the 1950 J-45 I bought last year. The guy who works on my guitars (Ross Teigen) likes to save original bridgeplates, so he used a filled, tinted epoxy to fill the holes and tear-out, then re-drilled the holes and reamed them to the proper taper for a good pin fit. That can be done anytime, whether or not the bridge is on, and I would only consider having it done by someone who has done it before, since you can make a mess of things pretty easily. You do not need to replace this bridgeplate.

With no strings installed, the pins should seat firmly in the holes with little or no movement. If yours don't do that, get some new pins. Bob Colosi's website tell you how to measure for pins. Those originally would have been what he calls size  1T or 2A. The 2A is slightly fatter at the top, which can be good in worn pin holes. He also has 2A Authentics, which are slightly fatter still.  If your pins fit well at both the top of the bridge and the bridgeplate, the are the right size. If they don't, they aren't. Measure them with a digital caliper if you have one, just to be sure.

Post a picture of the front of the guitar when/if you can. The inside looks nice.

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To be honest its not uncommon to see this.  And it would be well worth getting replaced.  There are brazilian blanks  that can be bought  and shaped for a new bridge.   Looks like the plate could use replacing as well.    
 

Nick ,I have not owned many J50s or 45s from the 50s  and the ones I had didnt last long here to pay close attention too.  Thanks for the info.     

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59 minutes ago, E-minor7 said:

I would try to re-set it first. Work in some glue by a thin piece of paper,  press it back and clamp the thing for 24 hours. 

That depends on which part is actually loose from the top: the main part of the bridge, or the part below the pin holes. Once you do a half-way repair like that, if it fails again, you throw away the bridge, since the failure point is glue-contaminated.  

Unless you can remove the old glue, the glue you work into the joint will have minimal holding power, and you may be back to square one. You need a clean wood-to-wood joint if it is going to successfully bear any load.

It appears to be a '53 J-50--although the OP hasn't given us the FON--so originality has inherent value if it can be maintained. A sloppy repair, however, is worse than a proper replacement bridge.

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23 minutes ago, j45nick said:

That depends on which part is actually loose from the top: the main part of the bridge, or the part below the pin holes. Once you do a half-way repair like that, if it fails again, you throw away the bridge, since the failure point is glue-contaminated.  

Unless you can remove the old glue, the glue you work into the joint will have minimal holding power, and you may be back to square one. You need a clean wood-to-wood joint if it is going to successfully bear any load.

It appears to be a '53 J-50--although the OP hasn't given us the FON--so originality has inherent value if it can be maintained. A sloppy repair, however, is worse than a proper replacement bridge.


yes it’s a 1953 serial number starts with “Y”

40C2DD44-92E3-4DAD-9A10-848DECAAAEE6.jpeg

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