Alvarez “bridge”

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Bob Gramann
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Alvarez “bridge”

Post by Bob Gramann »

I haven’t worked in one of these before. I would like to believe that the crack in the flush bridge section is of cosmetic consequence only. Does anyone know what the inlay material is? But, the guitar has slotted plastic bridge pins and the string balls are starting to pull up into the bridgeplate (which is over 1/8” thick and providing some of the structure not present in the bridge). What I would like to do is slot the bridge pin holes and replace the slotted pins with unslotted ones so that the bridgeplate will capture the string balls. Has anyone dealt with one of these? Is my plan unwise?
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Andy Bounsall
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Re: Alvarez “bridge”

Post by Andy Bounsall »

What a curious design.
I suppose it at least prevents the back of the bridge from lifting up if the bridge has a less-than-perfect glue joint.

Clay Schaeffer
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Re: Alvarez “bridge”

Post by Clay Schaeffer »

If you slot the "plug" how much wood will it leave in the front?
What I might consider doing is to cap the existing bridge plate with a dense hardwood (African blackwood, Honduran rosewood, or similar) and fit better quality slotted pins (or cut slots in unslotted pins to match individual string gauges).

I would also fill that crack with ebony dust and CA.

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Barry Daniels
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Re: Alvarez “bridge”

Post by Barry Daniels »

I would rout out the plug and replace it with a similar material. Then patch the bridge plate with the cones from the Stew-Mac bridge plate repair tool.

Unslotted pins are not a bad idea either, but that is not a full fix for this damage.
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Steven Wheeler
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Re: Alvarez “bridge”

Post by Steven Wheeler »

If you google Yairi Direct Coupled Bridge you'll get some images of the back side. I saw a cut away in a music store years ago. There is a standard maple bridge plate and the string anchor which has a "T" shaped cross section. The string anchor looked to be one piece of ebony.

I would be tempted to use black CA to fill from the top and add an additional cap to the inside, perhaps even a brass bridge plate saver.

Steve

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Bob Gramann
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Re: Alvarez “bridge”

Post by Bob Gramann »

Steven, thank you for that reference. Now I understand why it looks like it does. This one seems to have a large ebony (or some blackened wood) rather than the T-insert through a maple plate. I don’t know how old the guitar is. The owner has had it about 16 years and says the between pin cracks came with it and have not progressed. I could not find any evidence of cracking on the inside. I sent the guitar on with its owner to finish her tour. When I get it back next month, I plan to follow Barry’s suggestion and repair the enlarged holes with the StewMac tool, slot all of the holes, and install unslotted pins. I considered a brass reinforcement plate for a temporary fix, but with the enlarged holes, that would make replacing the strings a hassle each time (poking the ball ends through the plate). I don’t plan to fix the cracks unless I find them inside, too, in which case, I’ll have to replace the plate. I don’t want to do that. I don’t like this design.

I’ve got a few weeks before it returns. If anyone else has chased this, I’m listening.

Michael Lewis
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Re: Alvarez “bridge”

Post by Michael Lewis »

Is there a pick up involved? Putting a hardwood cap on the bridge plate can reduce the tone and volume quality. I heartily agree with the StewMac Bridge Saver tool to save the bridge plate. If this guitar has been like this for 16 years why do anything to it? The design looks to be rather difficult to work around, could be difficult to level and buff the area because of the 'protection' the bridge offers.

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Bob Gramann
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Re: Alvarez “bridge”

Post by Bob Gramann »

I’m going to leave the crack, but I feel like I have to fix the string balls pulling through or there will be a much uglier repair to do later. The pickup is in the bridge part of this concoction. Note the individual saddles. I’m not going there.

Michael Lewis
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Re: Alvarez “bridge”

Post by Michael Lewis »

Have fun with the StewMac Bridge Saver. It is a very good tool for this application.

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Bob Gramann
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Re: Alvarez “bridge”

Post by Bob Gramann »

I will. I’ve often thought I ought to have one.

Steven Smith
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Re: Alvarez “bridge”

Post by Steven Smith »

Michael Lewis wrote:Have fun with the StewMac Bridge Saver. It is a very good tool for this application.
It sure is a handy tool when things aren't too far gone, I hate pulling bridge plates.

Michael Lewis
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Re: Alvarez “bridge”

Post by Michael Lewis »

If you are operating a repair service the Bridge Saver from StewMac can be a real money maker. I used to charge $25 per hole, or $100 for repairing the whole bridge plate. It sure beats removing and replacing the whole bridge plate. The exception would be if the hole has been excessively eroded, in which case the bridge would need to be removed so the sound board could be repaired also. This would require the Bridge Saver be used from above to repair the soundboard, as well as from below to repair the bridge plate. Time and materials becomes the rule.

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