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An Un-finished Guitar is Finished

This instrument from 2014

is one of three Workshop guitars. The Workshop model was a guitar made by a student guitar maker with my instruction. This, the 3rd was made by Mark Burnet, now a young luthier with a growing reputation. Mark joined me one or two days a week and we made this guitar; unfortunately for a variety at the time it was never totally finished. Mark ran out of time before leaving for a lutherie school in Belgium and there were some aspects of the build that I wanted to change. One of those being the bridge. So here is the guitar at the stage where I finally found the time to replace the original bridge with a new one. The other curious aspect of this instrument is the three piece top.




First thing first, plane off the old bridge. I view these jobs as a chance to see how well the original pieces were glued together!



So far it looks like the original was pretty well glued.



Modern glues work by creating a thin layer between the woods but with hide glue the glue penetrates the timbers and locks them together when it cures, finding the point where one wood ends and the other begins is difficult. I could have used a thin spatula to try and separate the two pieces but when they are so tightly glued it is hard to divide them without damaging the timber and as the spruce is softer it is usually it that suffers; as I didn't care to preserve the original bridge I opted to plane the bridge away.



Slowly reducing the remains of the rosewood. When I glue the bridge I prepare it is such a way that the underside that contacts the soundboard is slightly concave, this is a common practice when using hide glue and allows for the timbers expansion, the water in the glue causes the timber to expand and so if the surface started out flat it would expand to convex; it is encouraging to see that the centre of the bridge has glued best, proof that the practice I describe is effective.



Finally the remains of the old bridge are gone.



A quick check of the top's curvature, still good after nearly 10 years!


Now for the new bridge.


The string allows the wedged sticks to apply pressure to the bridge wing which in turn applies pressure to the centre of the bridge. The locating stick makes for easy positioning of the bridge.


The next stage for this guitar is set up and polishing. I expect this guitar to be available by November 2023 at a price of £3800. To lodge interest drop me a line info@michaelritchie.co.uk






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