#1
EDIT : Checked the guitar out by 2 luthiers with both opinions that the guitar is totally fine. A 5 day monitoring period, a thorough inspection and a good setup. No issue with the bridge, no lifting. Paper doesn't fit through the bridge gap now. Should last another decade to come!

Hey guys!

I've recently got ahold of a super rare piece of Taylor.
A 1995, USA Taylor 422, with quilt Maple b/s, the rarer combo. Very hard to come by by itself, let alone here in asia, Singapore.

It is a 3rd hand piece. Owned by a guy in USA, then brought over in 2008 by a local here.

However, the ebony bridge had lifted off somewhere when the first owner had it (i.e before 2008). It was repaired well with good glue before, but I'm just wondering if its stable, and if it would need to be reglued/readjusted for safety purposes in general.
Intonation is slightly off on the high E due to the bridge. Very slight buldging on the lower bout below the bridge is also observed.
Last edited by AORNova at Aug 14, 2017,
#2
A slight bulge is OK.  I never liked those bridges where the string eyelets are above the top.  That and too heavy a string gauge will cause those problems.  Leave it alone until you see something changing for the worse.  Is the saddle compensated?  I'm guessing the intonation is sharp.  You can ramp the saddle where the string rests on it to change the intonation, very hard to do without getting the string lower than the others.  I would intonate the whole saddle (which would lower the strings, might not be  a bad thing) then raise it if needed with a sliver of sheet brass in the slot.
I use a feeler gauge to cover the slot, covered by a piece of paper and a nail to determine where the intonation is best for each string.  I make a pencil mark behind the nail at each string to fix the location.  You have to be careful that the angle of the pencil is the same for making each mark.  Of course this mark is behind the actual point but it's the relationship mark to mark that counts.  Then I carefully cut the paper for each mark location as a template for compensating the saddle.
I happen to make my own saddles from antler, plenty of that around here.
You can otherwise widen the bridge slot where the problem is and some kind of tiny wedge to move the saddle, it should bend a little with no problem..Probably more than you wanted to know.
You can order compensated saddles online.
#3
AORNova Oddly, I'm somewhat more concerned about what appears to be a crack at the back of the bridge, a little in from the top.

Just for the sake of making conversation, most people feel that maple isn't really at its best, until you get into jumbo sized bodies. It's a trifle sterile. Guild though, took full advantage of its sound with their jumbo 12 strings, which were at one time, the gold standard for that type of instrument.

Quite frankly, I've never seen an acoustic which was completely flat, and the most likely place for it to bulge, between the bridge ans the end pin, by virtue of the bridge rolling forward due to string tension. It isn't an issue, unless it causes the action to become too high.

I would suggest buying a hygrometer and checking it frequently. Humidity which is too high, is a classical cause of "belly bulge" in an acoustic guitar..

When I hear "Singapore", I think tropical or subtropical climate. (Although I freely admit, I don't know it that's anywhere near accurate).
#4
skido13
The guitar, according to the 2nd owner from the 1st was given a set-up and had the original mircata saddle and nut swapped to properly carved and intonated bone. No issue with the intonation at all.

Captaincranky The buldge is more pronounced nearer the the centre of the bookmarked top. Like it is pretty flat until it gets to the tips of the bridge, and then buldge begins. But its nowhere "overly high".

I just had the guitar sent to the store/luthier for analysis, and from two people whom have said that the bridge repair should be ok. Their comments were somewhat like "The bridge repair done previously, although shoddy, seem to be sturdy and hold. The glue should hold."

Another comment was "The previous dude who did the repair seemed to have done it improperly. Chiselling to remove the bridge either without steaming or slitting the perimeter caused the wood to chip with it and develop small cracks."
"However I see no issue with it and it should be totally fine to play aggressively or how'd you like."

I'll have to wait till this Saturday after the monitoring has been over before a set-up (filing, setup, new strings $70) can take place.

Hopefully it doesn't pose a huge issue?

Captaincranky Do you forsee the bridge condition worsening in the future? Also, what strings and string gauges would you recommend post-setup? The store recommended Elixir Nano .12s. Would Polywebs be better? Or would D'addario/other brands suit the guitar better? Baring in mind my ears have a hatred for tinny high ends.. :/

Cheers.

edit : Singapore's humidity is 80% to 90%. The local 2nd owner had his guitar in a climated controlled room, but not sure if the first one did back in USA.
Last edited by AORNova at Aug 13, 2017,
#5
AORNova  I foresee huge issues with the humidity you live in.  It sounds like the bridge was butchered a bit when it was taken off, but as long as there's a solid bead of glue all the way around, it should be good to go

I would be nice to know what type of adhesive was used to re-glue the bridge. If it was epoxy or CyA, you're screwed, no way around that. If it was hide or Titebond, you should be able to make repairs, (if necessary, of course), in the future

I'm not getting what you're saying about, "the bridge not being clamped hard enough in the center, when it was reassembled". If the top is bowed upward in the middle, but the bride is connected to the top all the way around, you should be gold, (I hope).In other words,  you really shouldn't even be able to slip a piece of paper between the bridge and the top.

When you consider that the high point of the top is dead center of the bridge, it makes sense to assume the bridge would need LESS clamping force in the center, as the "top rises up to meet it".

All of that notwithstanding, as long as there's no light under the bridge, the guitar seems to have the proper amount of sustain, and there are no stray buzzes or belches coming out of it, just play the damned thing.

If the tiny crack I mentioned starts to spread, you can get what's know as "3/4 ounce fiberglass cloth" and patch over it with CyA.

In any event, the humidity in your area is a problem. Lesser men that you would have bought 2 or 3 all laminate, "campfire guitars", and made the best of a bad situation.

If live in SW PA, we're between two large rivers, and it gets sub tropical here at times. However, those 80% and 90% humidities are usually only present overnight when the temperature drops. With electricity costing as it does, I can't run my air conditioners cold enough to drop the humidity to the 40% or 50% I'd like it to be. But, I am careful to keep it under 60%, day and night.

EDIT: I got a big kick out of your, "please bare with me", in the caption of your picture.

English is treacherous with its "homophones"! I think you meant "bear", as in the genus Ursa. "Bear", also means to endure, to grant time and patience, or to carry a load. Ah, you probably already know that. But still, that other "bare" means to become nude, or be so already. : Sorry, I had to say something.
Last edited by Captaincranky at Jul 26, 2017,
#6
Captaincranky Hahaha I was rushing to type it out. English got the better of me. Bear with me.

I did the paper test all along the perimeter of the bridge. It did not slip in around the edges, the front, or around the corners. The only place where the tip of the paper did slip under was around the middle of the bridge at the back (meaning, picture it as the area below the 3, 4 and 5th string hole, bridge area at lower bout, not near soundhole). But even as it did, it only went in around 1mm (I think lesser) or so. It was very very very tiny small gap, move paper abit to the right, another small gap. Thats where the luthier drew the conclusion it may just be normal, and everything else is, because it appears rock solid.

Fair to say that if the repair happened in the early 2000s... it lasted for more than a decade, so I guess it shouldn't be a problem..? (at this point I guess I'm wrong)

And the string gauges too. What do you recommend? .11s, 12s, Polyweb, Nanoweb, Daddario, Elixir?
Last edited by AORNova at Aug 13, 2017,
#7
Nice guitar, but I'm prejudiced against pinless bridges for the reason you have encountered. As an aside, I'm wondering when Taylor changed to a pin bridge.

I would have it reglued, as the effect could be catastrophic and expensive to fix if it did come off under string tension. Another option I would consider applying to an inexpensive guitar is a bolt through the back of the bridge, disguised with an inlay of some kind.
#8
I second Tony's bolt through the bridge suggestion.  Better safe than sorry.  Make it brass.  Nut and washers too.
#10
Tony Done  Yes, one of my Crafter 12 string hybrids has a string though bridge, and it's bolted down. The bolts are midway between the A & D strings, and the G & B strings.

Although you have to admit, a twelve has a harder row to hoe, keeping a string through bridge on. I believe all (?) Ovations have string through bridges with bolts.
#11
Tony Done
I suggested that to the luthier store, but they strongly disapproved. They said that the tiny gap is not an issue at all for now, it is too sturdy/too well glued down at the moment to warrant a regluing, as it might be dangerous at this point to reslit, steam and remove the bridge, and reglue the bridge as this has already been done last time.

Apparently they said it'll hold, after a thorough inspection. The second bit was also the cost, they were honest and didn't want me to reglue it for no reason. And the third bit is that they wern't sure if a reglue was possible, because of the state of the topwood in the area.

Your call, Tony/Captain/The rest? What would you do? Taking into consideration it's been reglued before, has 2 tiny wood splits behind the bridge (that have been glued), and that its a old guitar?

Cheers
#12
Quote by Tony Done
Nice guitar, but I'm prejudiced against pinless bridges for the reason you have encountered. As an aside, I'm wondering when Taylor changed to a pin bridge.

I would have it reglued, as the effect could be catastrophic and expensive to fix if it did come off under string tension. Another option I would consider applying to an inexpensive guitar is a bolt through the back of the bridge, disguised with an inlay of some kind.

I was curious about that too, as I've never seen a pinless Taylor before. From the light searching I did, it looks like it was mostly found on 400 series from the 1990s (which makes sense given the guitar being discussed here).
#13
AORNova I have many of the same concerns as your luthier.

Everything is iffy, since we don't know what happened originally, and we can't see under the top to know what shape the top is in.

This much is an absolute. Wood glue such as Titebond, won't stick to itself as well as to wood, especially if it's long dried. That's more or less the "X" factor in the equation, how well was the joint cleaned up before the re-glue? Well that, and what happened to cause the repair in the first place. If it's simply a bad design, (after all, almost all of those pin-less bridges are bolted), then there's very little you can do to stop it from happening again..

One of my plan "Bs", involves CyA and very thin fiberglass cloth to prevent the cracks from running any further.

Plan "C" involves masking up the bridge & top with cellophane tape, and squeezing Titebond or hide glue under the bridge with a straight edged guitar pick or, single edge razor blade, or a credit card. You should be able to force enough additional glue under the bridge to fill the gap and reduce your angst. You'll find out which object works best for you, if and when you try it.

I doubt very much if I'd pull the bridge off now. It would pretty much be for sport, histrionics, and anxiety reasons.

Here in the states, I could easily get the fancy screws and fender washers to make a nice job of bolting the bridge down. Can you? I do think a shop might charge you an arm and a leg for the work.

I've seen fender washers as small is 1/8", or 3mm if you prefer. Even at that small size, they're nearly an inch (25.4mm) in diameter.
Last edited by Captaincranky at Jul 27, 2017,
#14
OK, I don't know. I did say I would use a bolt on an inexpensive guitar, no problem, a nice old Taylor is a more difficult call, IMO. But I still don't like the idea of pinless bridges, especially when their attachment looks dodgy. - But I use medium gauge strings, so the tension is fairly high.

Maybe a second luthier/repairer opinion?
#15
I'm with Cranky - leave it as is, don't worry about it. It's been fixed.   Personally I have no qualms about putting brass bolts through any maker's pinless bridge but then I wouldn't own one unless I got it for nothing.  I would rather use a tailpiece, I still need to make a brass one for my old Silvertone archtop, everything else is brass except the nut, hmmmm, that's an idea! 
#16
Quote by Tony Done
OK, I don't know. I did say I would use a bolt on an inexpensive guitar, no problem, a nice old Taylor is a more difficult cal...[ ]...
Here's the thing, it depends entirely on the repairer's skill set. Bolted bridges have nice countersunk screw heads, and custom covers to hide the bolt heads. I certainly wouldn't want my first try at such a project to be a vintage Taylor.

I would give some thought to bolting the bridge down, if I or someone I knew had the tools and experience.

I believe firmly at this point, yanking the bridge just to re-glue it, would do more harm that good.

If there is a tiny gap, you could probably also use a child's diabetes needle to inject glue into it, as well as my other "plan".
#17
Quote by Tony Done
OK, I don't know. I did say I would use a bolt on an inexpensive guitar, no problem, a nice old Taylor is a more difficult call, IMO. But I still don't like the idea of pinless bridges, especially when their attachment looks dodgy. - But I use medium gauge strings, so the tension is fairly high.

Maybe a second luthier/repairer opinion?


Both luthiers in the store, one in his 50s with lots of experience, and a new guy said to leave the bridge as it is. Maybe they saw something I didn't see..? I agree with them though, it's pretty rock solid and a reglue would only endanger the top area again. Plus the experienced guy is my friend's father - he knows me and I doubt he'll reject a bridge reglue with no reason :/

Captaincranky Thanks dude. All of those recommendations makes plenty of sense, but then again, I'm unable to do most - I don't have the tools haha.
Yes, the store would probably charge an arm and a leg. I asked them for a quotation for a reglue and they simply replied "honestly, don't ask. Not worth at current stage". My guess is over $200?

And what do you mean by bolt? As in, the bridges have 2 dowels that go through the top and get bolted to the underside wood? Or drilled through?
#18
AORNova The only guitar I have ATM, with what I'm fairly certain is a bolt-me-down bridge, is a Crafter "SA-12". It's a hybrid, with elements of both the Taylor T-5, and Gibson ES-335.. It pretty much has to have bolt assisted bridge hold down, since it is a 12 string, with a pin-less bridge. Unfortunately, I can't tell what the hell is going on underneath, since the guitar has a full length "tone block", and the bridge assembly is pretty much embedded.

The pins, bolts, screws, or whatever we're going to call then, are under two plastic blisters behind the saddle. IIRC, Ovation used to hide the fasteners under the same dot inlay you'd find on a fret board.

What I would suggest you do, is surf this site for all it's worth: http://www.stewmac.com/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIp8jRh4er1QIVgoWzCh0jbQPQEAAYASAAEgLZUvD_BwE

A lot can be learned on what tool does what, how stuff is put together, what parts are available and more, just by doing some serious lurking at StewMac. Give it a shot, why don'tcha?
Last edited by Captaincranky at Jul 27, 2017,