Scott's Guitar Blog: November 17, 2009

Martin Top Damage From Non-Original Bridge

This Martin came in with a clunky, non-original bridge that had been put on by a bad repairman at some point it its life. There were several problems with the bridge; it wasn’t a real Martin bridge, it wasn’t the right shape or height, the saddle slot was in the wrong place for correct intonation, and the bridge pin holes were in a different place than the holes through the top from the original bridge. Yet, none of these deterred the repair person from installing this bridge! To make matters worse, when the orig bridge was removed, the top was splintered substantially, and a SECOND set of holes was drilled for the new location of the bridge pins, causing 12 holes through the soundboard and bridge plate instead of 6. This extra set of holes was left unfilled. This weakens the bridge plate, in addition to being just plain bad repair work. I called my friends at Martin, and had them send over the right bridge; one that was just a tiny bit longer and wider, to cover the footprint damage from the replacement bridge.

I then filled in and leveled the damage to the soundboard, and the “new” set of holes, so that the correct set of pin holes would be utilized again. Once the bridge was reglued, the guitar not only looked right, but its voice was back, it intonated correctly, as was more stable structurally. The photos show what was lurking under the replacement bridge, and the repaired area with new Martin bridge prior to gluing.