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Thread: Tilting bridge on Martin S1

  1. #1
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    Default Tilting bridge on Martin S1

    IMG_2807.jpgHi all. So I recently purchased a used Martin S1. One of the first things I noticed was that the bridge seemed to be excessively tilting forward and there appears to a bit of dipping between the bridge and the sound hole. I’ve checked the braces as best I could but it’s difficult to get a good look. I’m wondering if this looks excessive, if you can even tell by the photo? Thanks!
    Last edited by Blank Williams; 10-03-2020 at 06:29 AM.

  2. #2
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    That does look wrong, as if the top has warped under the strain of the string tension. If the bridge secure? Can you fit paper under the back edge of the bridge? My next question would be how is the action? The good news is that it looks as if you have plenty of saddle showing if you need to reduce the string height.

    The only way I know to affordably fix something like that is using the Bridge Doctor, a gadget that fits inside the instrument and pushes up on the top from underneath.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nxJpM4xoXg0

    But I'm not sure if they make them for ukes.
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  3. #3
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    Yeah it’s really noticeable in person. So far the bridge has not lifted from the body. When I loosened the strings it went away for the most part, so yeah it’s definitely from the string tension...
    I’m pretty bummed since it sounds great. The action isn’t bad and I also noticed that there is still plenty of saddle left. The action could come down a bit, but currently it’s perfectly playable. Thanks for the response.

  4. #4
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    Is this something I can just leave as is? Or will it eventually implode?

  5. #5
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    This is a common issue and has been discussed at least a couple of other times in the last few months in the UU forums. Consensus seems to be if the dip is less than a couple of mm and the bridge is secure (cannot slide a piece of paper under any of the corners) and the intonation is still good (notes ring true on all the frets) and there are no cracks in the soundboard, then most people are willing to live with it and just enjoy the instrument.

  6. #6
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    A small amount of lean, dip and bulge is perfectly acceptable, even normal, but that looks to be at the limit of what I like to see. It might not get any worse. If it is playing well, I'd leave it alone and just enjoy the uke.

    John Colter

  7. #7
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    Ok. As long as it doesn’t get worse I can live with it. I haven’t checked the intonation, but so far it plays and sounds great. I keep all my solid wood instruments in a hard case with a sound hole humidifier. I’ll keep an eye on it though. Luckily it’s not a terribly expensive uke, but man I love the way it sounds way better than the couple of other S1s I’ve played in the past...

  8. #8
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    I have removed such a belly from old guitars by placing it in a plasticbag with an elelectronic humidifier, keeping it at around 85%. Then jacking up the top between the soundhole and the bridge a little by little and pressing down the bulge behind the bridge.
    When it is (a bit over-)corrected, I leave the guitar in the bag for around 2 weeks, to let it return to room humidity.
    The wood will bounce back a bit, but it works and looks like it will take another half century, to go as bad again
    Last edited by Poul Hansen; 10-03-2020 at 10:04 AM.
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Poul Hansen View Post
    I have removed such a belly from old guitars by placing it in a plasticbag with an elelectronic humidifier, keeping it at around 85%. Then jacking up the top between the soundhole and the bridge a little by little and pressing down the bulge behind the bridge.
    When it is (a bit over-)corrected, I leave the guitar in the bag for around 2 weeks, to let it return to room humidity.
    The wood will bounce back a bit, but it works and looks like it will take another half century, to go as bad again
    Interesting..how do you "jack up the top"?
    John

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ukecaster View Post
    Interesting..how do you "jack up the top"?
    If the OP's problem is caused by too-dry storage conditions, then adding humidity will cause the top to swell and fix the concaved top.
    The issue is, there may be other damage from storage not so obvious.

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