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View Full Version : How to hack the bridge off a vintage uke :)



oldetymey
03-03-2013, 04:37 PM
If you saw my Silvertone soprano thread the other day youll know this little number I picked up had a nice sound but a terrible high action, and a poor reglue job on the bridge. I had been debating on trying to remove the bridge and lower it and clean up the glue mess, and today I decided the hell with it Id give it a go, after all I only have 22 dollars in this uke to begin with. I covered the top of the uke in painters tape then took a hacksaw blade, and slowly sawed off the bridge using the flex in the blade to keep it tight to the body of the uke. I stopped every few strokes to make sure I hadnt cut through the tape anywhere, and a mere 45 minutes later voila! I had the bridge off with no damage what so ever. I also had a set of geared tuners kickin around that someone had given me for christmas so I figured as long as I was cutting it up.......I drilled out the headstock and installed them as well. As a last upgrade I cut a slot a slot in the bridge and made a new insert from a scrap of corian to replace the built in wood one. Just waiting for the glue to cure on it now, and for the aquilas to show up and I should have a pretty decent little uke for very little cash....oh and before anyone mentions it I know the tuner in the pic is upside down I had to reverse the top ones so they would fit. A minor annoyance for a big upgrade.4971349714

UKEonomics
03-03-2013, 04:51 PM
I did a similar unorthodox operation to an old Harmony uke that I found at a flea market. It wasn't pretty, but I got the old bridge off and replaced it. Needless to say, I wouldn't attempt something this radical with a uke that was worth anything. :)

mm stan
03-03-2013, 04:57 PM
you could have simply cut the groove for the saddle deeper and shaved down the bridge...know....

oldetymey
03-03-2013, 04:59 PM
Agreed. Although it worked great Id rather saw off a pinkie than try to saw the bridge off my mainland. Thats a pinkie on my picking hand btw......

oldetymey
03-03-2013, 05:02 PM
you could have simply cut the groove for the saddle deeper and shaved down the bridge...know....

Stan i thought of that but I would have shaved off the slots for the strings and cut into the pockets where the knots sit then Id be on stew mac ordering a new bridge. The only way to do it was from the bottom. Ill post a pic of the bridge tommorow youll see what i mean

gyosh
03-03-2013, 05:56 PM
Stan i thought of that but I would have shaved off the slots for the strings and cut into the pockets where the knots sit then Id be on stew mac ordering a new bridge. The only way to do it was from the bottom. Ill post a pic of the bridge tommorow youll see what i mean

I would have layered aluminum and cardboard templates around the bridge to protect the top and then used a heat lamp to carefully melt the glue (not my idea btw; it was the suggestion of a well known repairman/builder extraordinaire). It's how I removed the bridge from my uke.

oldetymey
03-03-2013, 11:27 PM
Thats a good idea too, and one I also considered. If it had been the factory glue it might have worked, but the previous owner used gorilla glue, evident from the fact it had foamed out into the string pockets, and around the edges of the bridge. A internet search revealed no method to remove gorilla glue outside of chiseling, or sanding it off. It will react to extreme heat apparently, but its the kind of extreme heat that would set fire to the uke before it loosened the glue.

oldetymey
03-03-2013, 11:33 PM
Heres how it came out. You can see the new corian insert, it is actually a piece of a trim tile for a kitchen counter. Heres the before picture I posted on the last thread too for comparison. Not bad huh? I did put a little tension on it this morning to see how it worked, and all appears well so far, Ill give the glue today to cure yet, and tune it up after work.4973049731

hmgberg
03-04-2013, 12:49 AM
All's well that ends well!

lakesideglenn
03-04-2013, 12:56 AM
Nice job on that...give us a sound sample when finished. That's the original bridge you reused, correct?