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 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.
- Measuring up for the dowels
- Roughing-out on the band saw
- Sanding into the “round”
- Checking diameter
- 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
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.
Enlarged photos here…