NGD old Aria at garage sale. Update: bridge looks bad.

jimdgreat1

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Bought this last weekend at a church garage sale. Saw a Fender soft bag with $20 on it. Thought that was a little high for a case but looked anyway. When I realized there was a guitar in there 😲. Nice little late 70s? WJ 251 Aria. Cleaned it up and got new strings. Plays well for a first acoustic. Sadly I had stopped playing the teles a couple of years ago. This is going to get me back in to playing. Just have to rebuild some calluses on the fingers.

Pictures!
 

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jimdgreat1

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Forgot to mention one of the bridge pins is a plastic replacement. Guessing the others are original, would they be ebony? What size? Kind of would like to replace the plastic one.


ETA: Not trying to start a bridge pin debate. Just want them to be the same and close to original.
 
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Freeman Keller

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There are two common tapers for bridge pins and multiple sizes. Bob Colosi tells how to measure them at the bottom of this.


I won't enter the bridge pin debate. However, since I'm the guy that ends up fixing them I have a slightly different approach to used guitars than many people. This one says "martin" but its not martin specific, just things I look for in a used guitar


Enjoy yours. Might have been a score.
 

jimdgreat1

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I can walk you thru removal and reattachment. Have you also checked neck angle and some of the other things in the link I gave you? That saddle looks awfully low......

Looked at the link and didn't see the neck angle check. I'll take a look later and post.

The top also looks bowed. Couldn't really get it in a picture. May try to get a picture of the inside.
Thanks for the help. I've got to go run around this afternoon.
I have restored a few old gun stocks so I'm familiar with wood working.
 

Freeman Keller

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Looked at the link and didn't see the neck angle check. I'll take a look later and post.

The top also looks bowed. Couldn't really get it in a picture. May try to get a picture of the inside.
Thanks for the help. I've got to go run around this afternoon.
I have restored a few old gun stocks so I'm familiar with wood working.

Neck angle check is post #4, it is the single most import part of the geometry if you are going to have a playable guitar. The top should have a small dome, too much can be bad (and an indicator of bad neck angle), too little means the guitar is dehydrated. Its all in the link.

I don't cover removing and regluing the bridge but that is the single most common failure that I see with acoustic guitars. Often caused by leaving it in the trunk of a car on a hot day, sometimes the manufacturer just did a crappy job with their glue up. When you are ready to tackle that I can walk you thru it - I've got lots of pictures (unfortunately).
 

jimdgreat1

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Don't have a skinny straight edge but used a 2 foot level along the 6th string and the neck angle looks good. Still wondering if there is some separation of the bracing beneath the top.
 

Peegoo

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There may be a loose brace (braces?) on the top. That're pretty bellied-lookin'.

The good news is this stuff is usually fixable!
 

Freeman Keller

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Don't have a skinny straight edge but used a 2 foot level along the 6th string and the neck angle looks good. Still wondering if there is some separation of the bracing beneath the top.

Sometimes if you tap on the top you will hear a loose brace rattling. You can also reach inside and feel around or shine a flashlight and look with an inspection mirror. Most of the loose braces that I have seen are the ends where they are scalloped down to almost nothing. Often these are tucked into the kerfing, sometimes they split right at the ends.

It will be slightly difficult to check the neck angle until you get the bridge reglued - with it pulled up like that it will look like the angle is bad.
 
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Freeman Keller

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I only strum cords 5th fret and above. Really tempted to leave it as is for now unless there is risk of more damage.

That of course is up to you. The bridge will come off on its own someday, maybe dramatically. I would at least fix that and figure out how bad the rest of the guitar is. Its a pretty simple repair but you will need some deep clamps that might make it worth while taking to someone who has them. As I said before, I can walk you thru the process.
 

Freeman Keller

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I have some deep clamps. Going to pick up a mirror on the way home. Have a heat gun to soften the glue, or is there another way?
A heat gun runs the risk of damaging finish. I use a silicon heating blanket that is the approximate size of the bridge and I warm my pallet knives in hot water before trying to work them into the joint. The clamps in this picture are just lightly holding the blanket down on the bridge

0607201404.jpg


A clothes iron would work also.

For what it is worth, here is an interior shot of the caul that I use. It is made out of UHMW so glue won't stick to it - its rather embarrassing to glue your cauls to your guitar

IMG_0477.JPG


The idea of the caul is to avoid damaging braces with your clamps. It has two 3/16 inch bolts that go thru pin holes to align the bridge on the top - in the case of my caul the bolt holes are slotted so I can fit different pin spacings. The nut on the heads of the bolts let me reach in with a box end wrench and unscrew the bolts from the inside - they often get glued in place

IMG_0476.JPG
 
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jimdgreat1

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Managed to get a picture of the brace and top separation. Any chase I could prep and glue this through the sound hole?

Guess I could always screw down through the top. (jk)

Not sure if you can see it well enough. Will the back have to come off?

20220429_152739.jpg
 

schoolie

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I would take it to somebody who does this work every day and has the right tools. Shouldn't be very expensive to reglue the brace, and should be able to do the work through the sound hole.
 




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