Help with string stuck in a slotted bridge


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Jan 20, 2014
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Twin Cities, MN

I have a Martin soprano due for a string change, however after attempting to loosen and replace the A string, I'm having difficulty removing the knot from the slotted bridge. The string popped out while playing a few months back, thus tied a fairly large knot to avoid reoccurrence. This uke is less than a yr old, so no visual signs of slot damage. Any suggestions for knot removal from the slot would be greatly appreciated.

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Cut the string... cut the knot off with a pair of wire cutters...pull string out of slot.

The knot is stuck. Ive tried lightly pulling it, but it’s jammed in there. I own many slotted bridged sopranos. This has never happened.
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The knot is stuck. Ive tried lightly pulling it, but it’s jammed in there. I own many slotted bridged sopranos. This has never happened.

I would tape down a thin strip of steel (6 inch rule) at the back of the bridge to avoid damaging the finished top and use a pair of needle nosed pliers to pull out the knot...if this didn’t work I would then go to plan B and melt out the knot with a length of red hot wire shoved into the string hole ..or even drill/grind it out with a Dremel bit.
You are going to have to poke something in there to get it out maybe small scalpel or a small chisel. Just make sure you cover the soundboard with something to stop it getting scratched. E.g. cut a strip of aluminium from a cola can and tape it down lightly with masking tape. Then poke away. Just be really careful and slow when removing the tape.
When the knot gets stuck in the bridge the difficulty that arises is that the only way to pull it out is by pulling on the string. This requires the knot to rotate180 deg. so that you can pull it out. This can cause damage to the bridge. For this reason, I always leave a "tail" at least 1/2" long on the knot. This way, you can pull the knot out backwards.

However, this does not help you with your stuck knot. I'm interested to hear what people suggest.

John Colter
There are two methods that may work for you. One is relatively safe and easy, the other is more involved.
Try the easy one first.
Leave the stuck string attached to the tuner post and detune it so that it remains under a reduced tension.
Wrap another string around the the stuck one where it enters the bridge, in the form of a loop.
Pull back on the looped string with moderate pressure (directly towards the tail block and keeping it pressed low to the soundboard.). The knot should slide away without excessive force.
A few points to keep in mind when trying this are:
Keep sufficient tension on the stuck string so that it will not reverse in the slot. We are trying slide the knot backwards, not roll it over. Rolling it over is not recommended.
If this does not work with moderate force there is a 'plan B'.
I know that the definition of 'moderate force' may be equivocal, so you will have to decide that for yourself.
Use a soundboard protector, thin cardboard should suffice.
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Thank you everyone for the ideas! After contemplating over how I was going to go about this, the string popped out overnight. It definitely seems to have a mind of its own by either randomly popping out, or getting stuck in the bridge. :wallbash: To hopefully avoid reoccurrence, I will try a small bead between 2 knots in addition to a longer tail on the end of the string.

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