Martin 0-16ny bridge repair

If you have a string instrument of any kind that needs fixing, a mistake you made in building a new instrument that you need to "disappear," or a question about the ethics of altering an older instrument, ask here. Please note that it will be much easier for us to help you decide on the best repair method if you post some pictures of the problem.

Martin 0-16ny bridge repair

Postby Steven Wilson » Tue Dec 04, 2012 12:16 am

Thank you all for the wonderfull advice.
I have a 0-16ny martin in for a lifting bridge. I know these are very lightly built guitars and the top has become quite bellied. The bridge also seems to have developed a twist. I have an idea how to go forward just like to put things here to utilize the vast knowedge.
0-16ny 009.jpg
0-16ny 008.jpg
Steven Wilson
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Location: Eastern Shore Maryland

Re: Martin 0-16ny bridge repair

Postby Mario Proulx » Tue Dec 04, 2012 8:56 am

The "twist", as well as the belly itself, are likely the result of the bridge having come loose a long time ago, and left strung to pitch none the less, which is a bad, bad idea! With the bridge only partially glued to the top, the string tension is spread across a smaller area of the top, often causing the "sharp" belly we see here.

Remove the bridge, and flatten the top with gentle heating, a pair of cauls and some clamps. Repeat the process as many times as necessary, to attain a decently flat top. I say decently, because these guitars -should- have a belly at this point in their lives, so don't attempt to get a "like new" degree of flatness. Just enough so that the top has a gentle belly to it. Also, I say "repeat" the process if necessary, because I believe it is much better to use just a little heat/warmth and overnight(or longer) clamping versus a good bit of heat and one clamping session. It may take a week or more to get the top where you want it, but methinks it's both safer, and better for the long term, to do it slowly. After all, it took years and years to get this way....

Once done with the top, evaluate the bridge, and decide whether it can be reused, or if it will need replacing.

As always, there is more than one way to approach this repair, and having the instrument in hand could lead me to another conclusion or plan of attack, but that's my take on it from what I see in the two photos.
Mario Proulx
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Re: Martin 0-16ny bridge repair

Postby Mark Swanson » Tue Dec 04, 2012 9:22 am

Sounds like good advice. And I have flattened bridges like that by clamping them between two heated metal plates.
    Mark Swanson, guitarist, MIMForum Staff
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Mark Swanson
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Re: Martin 0-16ny bridge repair

Postby Steven Wilson » Tue Dec 04, 2012 11:37 pm

Thank you
Mario-you are most right, it was still stung up when I got it. With the bridge off you can see all the tension was right under the saddle(surprised the plate didn't split).
I dont have much hope for the bridge-it had some very crazy grain to start with.
on anther note- checked the serial number and it's cool to be working on a guitar the same vintage I am.

Thanks again
Steven Wilson
Posts: 103
Joined: Sun Jan 08, 2012 3:11 pm
Location: Eastern Shore Maryland

Re: Martin 0-16ny bridge repair

Postby Michael Lewis » Fri Dec 07, 2012 2:50 am

You MIGHT be able to save the bridge, but I would feel better with another. One that has not been warped out of shape, and might return to that shape sooner rather than later. Do you have a sanding drum? Or a belt sander? It is pretty easy to make these bridges if you have one of those tools and brad point drills. Oh, you would need a fixture to hold things so you can make the saddle slot. Other than scrapers and sand paper these are all you need to make an exact copy of the original bridge.

Otherwise you can buy a bridge that should come close to matching from Stew/Mac. The possible catch is that bridge pin holes and saddle slots have been changed over the years and new parts may not match. The pin holes can be 2 1/8" to 2 3/8" spacing, and can be forward or back about 1/16" in relation to the saddle slot. This is an important point if you want the guitar to play in tune. Buy one if you can, otherwise make the replacement. Make it as like the original as you can.
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