If you're a musician, you need to know how to reglue a bridge on a buitar. You decided to replace those soft nylon strings on your classical guitar with some nice brassy steel strings. We won't even begin to speculate on why you did that. Let us say that there was a loud pop and your bridge shot past your nose trailing strings. What do you do? You've no idea how to reglue the bridge on a guitar. Neither had we, but the project turns out to be not too hard and a lot of fun – plus you get to brag about your guitar-mending skills later.
- Old or replacement bridge
- Hide glue or Gorilla Glue ™
- Deep legged c-clamps or a pile of books.
- Sandpaper medium to extra fine grade sandpaper
- X-acto Knife
- Damp Rag
- Wood filler
- Clean around the damaged area where the bridge was pulled away. Glue back any shards or splinters that were pulled away and apply wood filler to any chips or cuts in the area to be glued.
- Sand the damaged area lightly. While you sand, place a straightedge between the finished surface of the guitar and the area where the bridge was. That way, when you sand the area smooth, you won't scratch the finish. Make sure the surface to be glued is as flat as you can make it without creating a depression.
- Prime the surface where you will glue the bridge by wetting it with a damp rag. This will activate the glue and help the bridge adhere to the body of the guitar.
- Spread hide glue or gorilla glue thinly over the area to be repaired. Feather the glue up close to the edge of the repair, but stop an eighth inch from the edge. The glue will spread to the edges when you clamp the bridge.
- Position the bridge exactly over the place where the old one was. This assumes you are replacing the old bridge with an identical new one so that the bridge will be in the same position as before. Carefully slip the c-clamps into the sound hole of the guitar and clamp the bridge at a third of the way from the ends of the bridge. Lay a strip of soft wood between the bridge and the metal clamps to protect the bridge from damage while clamping. Do not over-tighten the clamps to prevent damage to the body of the guitar. You can also prop a pile of heavy books on top of the bridge, just make sure you don't move the bridge in the process.
- As you press down on the bridge, a little glue may squeeze out from under the edges. Immediately remove the overflow with the point of your X-acto knife to keep it from adhering to the finish. Wipe with whatever the manufacturer recommends for cleaning up glue spills. Be careful with solvents that may damage the guitar finish and immediately wipe up spills with soap and hot water. Allow the bridge to dry and cure for 24 hours before unclamping or unpiling.
- Remove the clamps or the pile of books and examine the repair to make sure the bridge is level and properly positioned. If you mess up, you'll have to break the bridge loose and start over. A chisel, hammer and wooden wedges work for that. It seems extreme, but if the bridge is even a fraction of an inch out of position the strings will be out of tune as you fret the guitar higher up the bridge. If everything went well, the next step is to string up the guitar and tune it. If it holds, you have every right to go brag about it.
- Work inside where it's dry and between 65 and 85 degrees.
- Make sure the guitar will not be bumped or moved during the first two or three hours of glue drying
- Double check the positioning of the bridge. Exact placement is everything.
- Work slowly. Don't get in a hurry.