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70's Alvarez 5034 bridge replacement (?)

Discussion in 'Acoustic Heaven' started by Jerry_Mountains, Dec 3, 2020.

  1. Jerry_Mountains

    Jerry_Mountains Tele-Holic

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    I bought this thing for $25, I don't know if it worth the effort to restore it, it's in a very bad shape.
    It have a bad headstock repair, it looks solid but ugly, it needs tuners too.

    My main concern right now it's the bridge, I guess it used to have an adjustable bridge and it fell off.

    2018-07-28 13.03.00.jpg
    2018-07-28 13.04.42.jpg

    I think I can do a rosewood or bone inlay to mount the saddle... What do you guys think? I don't even know how these guitars sounds.
     
  2. Middleman

    Middleman Friend of Leo's

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    I did this very thing with my old Alvarez. Turned out great. Kind of a midrange sounding guitar. Lacking in bass resonance and high end clarity. Very prominent in the midrange.
     
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  3. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Poster Extraordinaire

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    That is actually a fairly common modification but there are some things that look. First, all of the ones that I have seen have been compensated (set at an angle) - yours is not. However that can be fixed when you do the modification. Second, the ones that I have seen have a metal insert that carries the saddle and usually has two thumb screws that adjust the whole assembly up and down (that was its selling point) - I would expect to see holes at the end of the slot or at least indentation in the spruce.

    There is one that I modified. Starting, you can see that the slot is angled, has holes in the ends and does not go thru to the spruce

    IMG_2717.JPG

    The slot is filled with a piece of rosewood

    IMG_2723.JPG

    And a new slot is routed at the correct scale length plus compensation

    IMG_2724.JPG

    Finally a new compensated bone saddle is fitted

    IMG_2726.JPG

    One other possibility is replacing the entire bridge with one with the proper slot. A premade bridge would not work on my guitar and I just didn't want to go thru the work of making one from scratch. I don't think it would work on your either because of the curve in the pin holes

    IMG_2716.JPG

    The last possibility and honestly a pretty good one it to get an oversized saddle blank and make a super wide saddle that is properly compensated.

    I'll add one more thing - with the other problems and probability needing a neck reset it might be a lot of effort for a guitar that isn't worth it. I always try to fix a guitar when I can, you'll have to make that call
     
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  4. Jerry_Mountains

    Jerry_Mountains Tele-Holic

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    Thanks for the reply @Freeman Keller, your responses and posts are always the best!

    Look I'm a hack and I will probably go with the oversized sadle blank idea, maybe I can do that myself, I had cuted nuts and saddles in the past, this however its another animal entirely.

    The last resort is to find the dreadful adjustable bridge and see how the guitar sounds and holds on.
     
  5. Jerry_Mountains

    Jerry_Mountains Tele-Holic

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    Between the bridge, the tuners, pins, strings, etc... I'll probably just buy a Yamaha instead :D
     
  6. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Poster Extraordinaire

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    That adjustable bridge idea cropped up on a number of guitars during the '70's - it was a good idea, gave the player an easy way to adjust the action both up and down (its pretty easy so sand a saddle but hard to un-sand it). The feeling is that it was a tone suck - all that mechanism resulted in a poor mechanical connection between the string and the top. I have removed a couple of them like the one in the pictures and assuming the old bridge hadn't been lost like yours I always gave it to the owner. In theory the guitar could always be put back if wanted.

    Fixing up an old guitar is always a crap shoot - I do it for practice and experience and I frequently give the guitars to our school music program. But the things you list - pins, strings, tuners - might be the least of your problems - if the neck angle is bad then the guitar is more or less toast (or a good candidate for a budding luthier to practice neck setting).

    Good luck, let me know if I can help
     
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  7. Jerry_Mountains

    Jerry_Mountains Tele-Holic

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    Thanks man!
    That's a good idea, I can use it to practice some skills I don't have, if ultimately I don't like it I can always give it away to some young musician.
     
  8. 55TeleRat

    55TeleRat TDPRI Member

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    The foreleg of a sheep dried is the best nut or saddle material period, you should drop another saddle in it and it will have a lot of room for intonation adjustments, don't worry about it touching the top, it may sound better!! It certainly will sound better than the original idea, I remember those Tone Suckers !!!:lol:
     
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  9. still_fiddlin

    still_fiddlin Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

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    It bothers me a little that I'm pretty sure I'm seeing the top through that bridge rout. I'd guess it was a kind of adjustable saddle that operated against the top of the bridge and not inside the cutout (as the other pic, which does show bridge wood at the bottom).

    I would check out the neck angle and fret condition to make sure this thing is worth the effort.

    A piece of bone to fill that hole is going to be a little hard to source. Even the wide micarta blank for the adjustable bridges isn't as long as that gaping hole. I would spend some time thinking about this - replacing the wood first is going to be a better solution, though will require a few more skills than just filing bone. Good luck!
     
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  10. Jerry_Mountains

    Jerry_Mountains Tele-Holic

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    Maybe it's a fool's errand... Im gonna do it anyway... 'coz I'm a fool :lol:

    I was thinking that this guitar it's probably a good specimen for an experiment, I have always wanted a sitar. Maybe I can make and install some kind of bone jawari instead of a traditional bridge saddle...
     
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