Vintage Acoustic Guitar Repair: Gibson Hummingbird 1968

Just off of the workbench is a 1968 Gibson Hummingbird.

It’s a lovely old acoustic guitar with a few problems. The bridge had several issues and some of the frets were badly pitted.

The Bridge

The bridge was split across the bridge pins holes

The Rosewood saddle was worn and ineffective

Also it had two ugly bolts through its treble wing(?)

And it was lifting away from the soundboard

The obvious remedy for this bridge problem would have been to make a new replacement. However, for the sake of authenticity, the owner was very keen to keep the original.

The bridge had to be removed to be re-fitted correctly.

Prior to the bridge re-fit the soundboard area beneath the bridge was repaired and cleaned up.  The bridge pin holes had become elongated over time. These were reamed out and the holes were plugged with spruce inserts.

1.    Bridge removed
2.    Initial clean-up to remove the remaining glue
3.    Re-establishing the lines
4.    Cutting back the a chisel
5.    Reaming out the elongated bridge pin holes
6.    Cutting back the spruce dowels

Initial split repair

Two holes had been drilled through the treble wing of the bridge. These holes took two bolts that attached a Barcus Berry pickup to the underside of the soundboard. When this pickup was installed, it was fitted badly and skewed between the cross-brace and the soundboard. It was decided that it should be removed. Not only was it badly fitted, it had a very low output and didn’t work too well.

  1. Measuring up for the dowels
  2. Roughing-out on the band saw
  3. Sanding into the “round”
  4. Checking diameter
  5. Dowels glued into place

Invisible repairs were made to the top of the bridge and a reinforcing strip inserted into the underneath.

1.    Routing out for the reinforcing insert
2.    Skimming level
3.    Drilling out the bridge pin holes

A new Rosewood adjustable saddle was made

1.    Drilling the adjuster holes for the new Rosewood saddle
2.    Cleaning-up and re-establishing the saddle slot

The Frets

Frets 1 – 4 had severe wear and fret # 2 was badly damaged

The 4 frets were removed and replaced. The remainder were lightly honed and re-profiled

Re-fitting the bridge

The guitar was set-up and strung up with 12 – 54 strings it’s now playing beautifully.

Repaired Bridge

Finished Hummingbird

Enlarged photos here…

3 Responses to “Vintage Acoustic Guitar Repair: Gibson Hummingbird 1968”

  1. nate Says:

    Where are you based out of? That is amazing work!

  2. Don Says:

    Awsome job buddy guy has a beat up hummingbird around here and im wondering if its worth the cash i gotta put into… Nice post

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