El Luthier

I have this classical guitar that was given to me years back by a neighbor.  Somehow the action became very low, so I jammed a matchstick under the saddle to prop it up.  That was a bad idea.  The added tension of the strings in that high position ended up snapping the bridge.

I spoke with a luthier and he suggested it might cost as much as $130 to fix, which is pretty much in the range of a new, low-end classical guitar.  I decided that I’d try to fix the bridge myself.  Last weekend while out at my folks I attempted to glue the broken piece back on using high-bond wood glue.  But as soon as I tried to string it up again, it snapped.

The entire bridge needed to be replaced.  So I spent several hours using various implements like razor blades and letter openers to pry off the bridge without cracking the guitar’s soundboard.  Success came late last night.  And while high on 85% cocoa chocolate I decided to try and make my own bridge out of a piece of pine from an unused bookshelf.  Well, ninety minutes and quarter-of-an-inch of cutting later I decided I would need more tools than I had to make the bridge properly.  And besides, the pine I was using was too soft a wood and I feared it might crack under tension.  So I broke down this morning and bought a classical rosewood bridge from Stewart-MacDonald for about $15.

I’m hoping that the new bridge will turn my lame guitar (lame in the traditional sense) into a working instrument again.  Eventually, I hope to do a more detailed blog post about it, as I’ve been taking pictures along the way.  For example, here’s me with a hacksaw: