View Full Version : Removing bridge?

01-30-2016, 07:34 AM
I'm just looking for some generic advice here or best guesses.

A friend went to Ecuador and gave me a gift from there knowing that I like any kind of stringed musical instruments.

It's just a cheap, tourist gift shop kind of thing. I'm guessing it cost about $20 given that this was in Quito and that my friend wouldn't be buying anything much more expensive than that as a present for me.

It's called a Charango. It's a 10 stringed (5 courses) instrument with a body about the size of a soprano ukulele. The 5th through 2nd courses are tuned like a ukulele as well and the first string is tuned to E.

It has a glued on bridge similar to a ukulele but it has no saddle.

The action is pretty high. The only way to lower it would be to remove the bridge. How would I go about doing this? Is it likely to be glued on with Super Glue (I'm guessing this is the case).

If it's impossible to remove without screwing up the instrument I'll live it alone as it is a gift. If there is some easy way to remove it I'll do so and sand about 1/8" off of the base and glue it back on.

I don't currently have access to a good camera but I don't think pictures would help answer this question anyway.

Any guesses as to how a gift shop instrument would have it's fixed bridge glued on and how to remove it?

01-30-2016, 08:04 AM
As a cynical consumer, and victim of capitalism, you'd have to assume they'd've done it as cheaply as humanly, or inhumanly, possible.

My first guess would be to try to knock it off from the side facing the neck, although it may damage the instrument
Second guess, melt the glue. I haven't the foggiest on what materials are used to create either the body or the bridge.
Third guess, making them up now to fill a post, try knocking the side of the bridge facing you by placing the end of a piece of cutlery on it and using a book or something to knock the cutlery.

These are all likely to damage the instrument; but, they might just work. Might.

01-30-2016, 08:15 AM
Why not just plane down the bridge.

01-30-2016, 08:27 AM
Why not just plane down the bridge.

That doesn't lower the action. It has no saddle and the through holes are near the top of the bridge. To lower anything it has to come off the bottom of the bridge.

Beau Hannam Ukuleles
01-30-2016, 08:32 AM
picture .

Michael N.
01-30-2016, 08:49 AM
I guess it's a Lute style bridge, which does allow for both action adjustment and compensation too. It's all about how you tie the strings, but of course it depends on whether they got the bridge right in the first place. The holes would be much better being placed too low rather than too high. Seems they placed them too high. That or the neck angle is wrong.
You have the option of plugging the holes and redrilling new ones in a lower position. It is possible to do this with the bridge in position.
if you want to remove the bridge you will need to heat it and use a parting knife. The sucess of this depends on what glue was used and your experience. Hitting the bridge off in one big blow is also possible but can be dangerous, dependent on glue and any grain run out.

01-30-2016, 10:58 AM
If you want pertinent advice you need to post a few pictures. Taking a bridge off isn't necessarily difficult but it won't help you if you don't have the means to glue it back on properly. First things first, post some pictures.

01-30-2016, 11:21 AM
Here are two.



01-30-2016, 11:45 AM
I would follow Michael N's advice and remove the bridge with some heat and a parting knife. Tape around the bridge area and slowly work your way around the entire bridge a little at a time. If the parting tool is sharp and thin, you shouldn't have much problem. If once the bridge is off you have wood stuck to underside of the bridge, remove it and glue it back down to the top. Sand the top area and bridge to the proper thickness and re-glue. Since this is a cheap instrument, I wouldn't worry too much about using hot hide glue, use Titebond red cap, clamp lightly and you should be fine. If you don't want to do the job yourself, take it to a good luthier. This is an easy job in the right hands.

Here are two.



01-30-2016, 04:46 PM
Thanks. I'll probably just live with it for a little while and just try to make some music with the thing :) and then I'll give it a go.