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JLD Bridge Doctor

Discussion in 'Acoustic Heaven' started by rstaaf, Sep 8, 2020.

  1. Stubee

    Stubee Doctor of Teleocity Gold Supporter

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    I’d use lights on that guitar anyway. I have a pretty good dose of arthritis and after 30+ years of using mediums on all dreadnaughts I switched to lights on my old J-45 and AJRI maybe nine years ago. They actually sound great.
     
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  2. rstaaf

    rstaaf Tele-Holic Gold Supporter

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    The bellying is under 1/8 side to side behind the bridge, the gap is right about 5/64 on either side. Front to back, along side the bridge, the gap is right about 1/32 at the back. What got all this started though was the dip in front of the bridge. Laying a straight edge from the front along side the neck to the front of the bridge, there is a dip in the top between the bridge and the sound hole of .015". Not much, but definitely something that I will keep an eye on.

    I keep a binder of data on all the guitars, will add this to it so I can compare over time. The binder is definitely light on info on my acoustics :(

    I have to admit, I did not pay much attention to the top of this guitar over the years. Don't get me wrong, I am extremely meticulous about humidification and caring for all my guitars. But, I did not pay enough attention to how the top was doing until this year. Being locked up at home for 6 months surrounded by guitars, they have never gotten this much attention. I reached out to Recording King to see if there was a spec for the top and what I should look for. Their reply just leaves me with more questions, don't even ask me about what Fender said when I asked them about the specs of their acoustic tops. I know to take with a grain of salt what you hear from the people that answer the phones and the email at the manufacturer's, kind of discouraging how hard it is to get accurate information from them.
    As to humidification, I started out years ago with Planet Waves Humidipaks. They were OK, but they became a money pit and didn't last nearly as long as they claim or what one would hope for.

    I have been using Oasis humidifiers ever since. I use two Ukulele humidifiers in the case, one hanging in the sound hole and the other in the headstock area and that seems to keep it in the ideal range.

    IMG_3975.jpg 20200909_162600070_iOS.jpg
     
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2020
  3. Stubee

    Stubee Doctor of Teleocity Gold Supporter

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    You are paying far closer attention to your guitars than I have. I used to buy and sell a lotta acoustic guitars, adding up to at least 36 of ‘em from approximately 1980 until about 2003. These were mostly old Gibsons along with some Martins and others and most were old, ranging from 1936 on through the mid 1960s. Most were 1951-1965. My favorites have been early ‘50s Gibsons.

    Given that, I never took the kind of measurements you’re talking about and I’m not sure it would have benefited me? I got nearly every guitar to play very well through plain old attention to set up: nut & saddle height + relief. I had exactly one beautiful ‘56 cherry red Gibson SJ in a rather unusual cherry red sunburst that had an intonation thing I couldn’t figure out, but looking back I wish I’d known what I do now, because if so I’d likely still cherish it. She was a beautiful sounding guitar.

    One of my favorite guitars the past twenty-odd years is a beat up ‘52 J-45 that replaced an even more whipped out ‘51 J-50 I’d enjoyed for ten years earlier. Both guitars had multiple cracks including some alarming side cracks and a good belly. They were very stable with minimal care in MI, played in every possible environment including campfires and on one fun night, in a limo.

    I offer this just to suggest that a decent flattop is far from a fragile thing to own, with just minimal judicious care. They are to enjoy.
     
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  4. Musekatcher

    Musekatcher Friend of Leo's

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    I've used two. The first one installed, left it for a year, and removed it during some servicing, and forgot to put it back in after I'd restrung and tuned up. I noticed the top had flattened, and was staying there. That was about 22 years ago, that top is still flat.

    The second, I installed in a guitar and left it till I sold it, at which point I removed it. Both are in a box for future use.

    In general, they weigh the top down, increase sustain, reduce dynamic attack. For a flattop, I prefer less sustain, and more dynamic attack. Still, they are cool, and useful.
     
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  5. CJM3309

    CJM3309 Tele-Meister

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    Is your guitar stored in a case or out in the open? Do you humidify your guitar in any way?

    I always try and start with an easy solution and maybe a bit of humidity will help things before the bridge doctor or anything more invasive. I use a planet waves humidifier in the case with my old D-35. I had slacked a bit on keeping the sponge damp for a little while and took the guitar out and it was little buzzy on a few frets. Set the sponge back up, put in the humidifier and left it in the case for a few days and it felt normal after that.

    Wood can be fickle, especially acoustics, I start simple and move from there. Humidity might help, but might not. Either way its a cheap option before any serious work. Seasons are changing and woods will move a bit. Good luck and keep us posted.
     
  6. rstaaf

    rstaaf Tele-Holic Gold Supporter

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    Here is a snippet of one of my posts just a few up from this one ;) I have a lot of money tied up in humidification futures :lol::lol::lol:
    20200909_162600070_iOS.jpg IMG_3975.jpg
     
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2020
  7. CJM3309

    CJM3309 Tele-Meister

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    Oh jeeze, I misread that portion and thought it was another poster who chimed in on humidity.

    You are set in that regard! Looks like the easy step is accounted for. Good luck moving forward!
     
  8. rstaaf

    rstaaf Tele-Holic Gold Supporter

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    Well, after going back and forth on this, I have decided I am going ahead with the install.

    The Bridge Doctor arrived today. Just need to pick up a few items to do the install.

    I need to pick up a brad point drill bit to drill the larger hole for the machine screw head and the plug.

    I also need an Ebony bridge blank to make a plug for the hole, don't want the Abalone.

    Lastly, I need to pick up a plug cutter to cut the plug from the Ebony bridge blank.

    I came to the realization that the tone of this guitar is going to change anyway considering I am moving from Medium-Light strings to Custom Lights or possibly even Extra Lights due to my arthritis.

    .
     
  9. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Friend of Leo's

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    May I humbly suggest recording it before the change and after. If you want to do some single notes I will be happy to run them thru my spectrum analyzing software and post the results here.
     
  10. rstaaf

    rstaaf Tele-Holic Gold Supporter

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    I will see what I can do. Don't have any recording hardware, just the old iPhone ;)
     
  11. Stubee

    Stubee Doctor of Teleocity Gold Supporter

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    I use my iPhone for recording guitar + vocals, plain old Music Memos. Good luck with your project.
     
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  12. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Friend of Leo's

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    Modern phone technology is pretty good, the important thing is to have the before and after recordings as similar as possible (ie put the phone it the same location relative to the guitar, same settings, pick, yadda yadda). What my software shows is how similar or different two signals are - if we are just trying to see the results of the change then try to eliminate everything else.

    It does show the time domain behavior of the signal - attack, decay, sustain and any modulation, as well as the frequency content - fundamentals and partials. I've used it to predict how a modification was going to sound and to understand why. It would be fun to do, but listening to your clips will tell a lot also.
     
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  13. rstaaf

    rstaaf Tele-Holic Gold Supporter

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    Not a great day, this project just got bigger :(

    I noticed a tiny gap at the back of the bridge behind the low E.

    This is what I found, you can push the paper in far enough to see it through the E and A holes.

    20200920_162336713_iOS.jpg 20200920_162419344_iOS.jpg

    I guess I am lucky I found it now rather than later. Just have to decide where to go from here.

    I am NOT going to get rid of this guitar, been with me too long.

    I don't have any luthiers locally that I trust. It would NOT be cost effect for this guitar to send it off to someone.

    Since there is no damage, it is just loose, I am considering taking this on myself.

    I am going to treat it as a mostly built kit guitar :)

    Any tips other than "send it to a luthier" would be greatly appreciated!

    .
     
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2020
  14. Deeve

    Deeve Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    o-sadness:cry:

    on the bright side, this (new)problem was found before new work started

    the bridge re-attachment would either be done via full removal and clamp-assisted re-glue or thin glue injection wicked into gap, I suppose

    the abalone dot was not a distraction for me, and the extra work to make an ebony dot sounds like a Lot of work

    Peace - Deeve
     
  15. rstaaf

    rstaaf Tele-Holic Gold Supporter

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    Things are going from bad to worse :cry:

    I was thinking that I could just inject some glue into the small area I had found.

    Turns out the whole back of the bridge is loose, it appears the glue is only on the edges and it is brittle.

    I was able to work that piece of paper from one end of the bridge to the other.

    Looks like I am going to have to remove it and re-attach it.

    My fear is that rather than removing the finish completely under the bridge before gluing, there is enough finish under the bridge to create a lip.

    So far it seems, from what I have seen, there is only glue around the edges :mad:

    That seems to confirm my theory that there is a lip of finish just inside the edge of the bridge and that is what it is resting on rather than making full contact with the top.

    This is the only reason I can imagine there would only be glue around the edges.

    20200920_174027997_iOS.jpg 20200920_174021797_iOS.jpg
     
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2020
  16. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Friend of Leo's

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    DO NOT INJECT GLUE AROUND THE EDGES. The correct fix is to remove the bridge, clean all the old glue off and reglue it . I do it all the time, the cost is relatively low. I can show you lots of pictures of how I do it, but please don't mess it up.

    Two possible causes - the guitar was left in a car on a hot day. The factory didn't remove enough of the finish from the top before they glued the bridge on. AR glue does not stick well to finish (or to old AR glue which is why you need to remove the bridge and clean it up).

    Where is "here"?

    Ps - if you want to take it on yourself let me walk you thru it and show you the tools you will need. The biggies are a couple of very deep clamps and an caul for the inside.

    Pps - while I am thinking of it, there are two glues that are acceptable for this repair, hot hide which you won't have or know how to work with, and AR (Titebond original) please do not let anyone talk you into anything else - this is the highest stressed joint on the guitar and needs to be done right. Period.
     
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2020
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  17. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Friend of Leo's

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  18. jkats

    jkats Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

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    I recommend following Freeman Keller's advice first and reglue the bridge. Then see whether you still have a bridge dip/bellying issue. If so, it won't hurt to try a Bridge Doctor. I installed one on the Epiphone version of the Gibson LG 0 and it did a fine job of making the guitar playable without a neck set, and it didn't harm the tone.
     
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  19. rstaaf

    rstaaf Tele-Holic Gold Supporter

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    When I initially thought it was just a small area that had worked loose, I did briefly consider injecting some glue. I quickly discovered though that it was far worse and realized it needs to come off.

    If you re-read my posts above, I came to the same conclusion that the finish was not completely removed from below the bridge and that there is likely a band of finish around the edges that the bridge is sitting on rather than making full contact with the top. It also seems that didn't use nearly enough glue. I will be able to tell more once I get the bridge off, I am beyond what you can remove with paper :lol::lol::lol:

    Granted, I have never done this before, but I am a pretty decent woodworker. I had intended to use Original Titebond.

    The thing that has me most concerned that I do precisely is trimming back the excess finish. I may not need to if the issue is that they just didn't use enough glue in the first place. I will be able to tell more about that when I get the bridge off. I am hoping I can get away with just cleaning up the two surfaces and using enough Titebond to ensure good adhesion.

    I have bridge clamps and the other tools I need that I don't already have on order with Stewmac.

    I would appreciate any help you are willing to offer...
     
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2020
  20. rstaaf

    rstaaf Tele-Holic Gold Supporter

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