Guitar Making Tip No. 534 is about getting the bridge to adhere to the soundboard. There is a lot of force that the bridge helps to control. Rushing this critical glue joint is not something worth messing with. Here is why.
The Guitar Bridge and String Tension
The ball ends of the strings pull against the bridge patch below the soundboard, and the string tension exerts force forward on the bridge.
If you are using a guitar with a bridge where the strings terminate at the back of the bridge, then you are putting even more stress on that single glue joint.
Over time, this can weaken the joint, and even cause failure.
Sometimes, as guitar makers do things, they can rush a little. When you glue the bridge, this is one of the areas when you want to give it all the time it needs. Allow the joint for the bridge to cure overnight before stringing up the guitar.
It’s one way to be sure that your guitar will not fall apart at the last minute…but this is why it will be hard for you.
Guitar Makers Love New Toys
It is going to be incredibly hard to wait to put strings on your new guitar. I completely and totally understand. On one of my first guitars, I strung it up before I even applied a finish just to play it a while.
As a guitar maker, or any instrument maker I bet, the urge to play this thing that you have created can be overwhelming. Resist that urge. Give the bridge enough time to completely cure before you tune the guitar up and start playing. The small gift of time for the guitar means a lifetime of great performance for you.
For Impatient Guitar Makers
If you absolutely cannot wait for that last bit of glue to dry, you can change your build. There are many guitar makers that glue on their bridge and finish everything together. This means you are going to have to wait a couple weeks anyway for the finish to dry.
When you make your guitar like this, the process itself forces you to wait. Since you can’t play a wet guitar, the bridge will be safe from your haste.
You can also start another build right away. This will keep you from having nothing to work on, and taking out the guitar too early. Most builders have a couple things going on at the same time. Switching to one of those things sometimes tricks the brain into thinking that there is still a lot of work to do before you can play the guitar.
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