How to remove bridge from acoustic guitar?

If you want to learn how to remove a bridge from the acoustic guitar you come to the right place…

Your acoustic guitar’s bridge may become harmed, twisted, or even fall over time. Because these elements impact the adhesive holding the bridge in position, humidity and temperature are frequently responsible for a broken bridge. Excessive use can harm the bridge or even cause it to fall off. Whatever the cause of your bridge problems, don’t panic; you may quickly remove the harmed bridge at home and replace it with a brand-new one! 

String snips, a pair of pliers, a string winder with a built-in bridge pin puller, and some new guitar strings are required for this task. To protect your guitar’s finish from scratches, set it on a cloth and make sure it is solid. 

Several factors can cause a bridge pin to become trapped. For instance, the surrounding where the guitar is stored may cause the wooden components to expand or contract. The bridge pin slots can hold the pins if it shrinks. 

How to remove the bridge from acoustic guitar

How to remove the bridge from acoustic guitar

You must remove the bridge in two steps: 

 Heat Application: Heat aids in loosening the glue, making it simple to detach the bridge. There are many ways to accomplish this; one of the most straightforward could be to place a warm compress on the bridge. You might also cover the bridge using a towel and use a hot iron. Just be careful not to overheat it, or you can ruin the guitar. 

 Remove the Bridge: After it has become loose, carefully remove the bridge using a blunt putty knife. Be careful not to overheat or press the blade too hard and ruin the instrument or the bridge. Only enough heat should’ve been applied for the bridge to loosen, and you don’t need to exert pressure on the knife. 

How to remove the bridge from acoustic guitar

How to remove the bridge from acoustic guitar

You must remove the bridge in two steps: 

Heat Application: Heat aids in loosening the glue, making it simple to detach the bridge. There are many ways to accomplish this; one of the most straightforward could be to place a warm compress on the bridge. You might also cover the bridge using a towel and use a hot iron. Just be careful not to overheat it, or you can ruin the guitar. 

Remove the Bridge: After it has become loose, carefully remove the bridge using a blunt putty knife. Be careful not to overheat or press the blade too hard and ruin the instrument or the bridge. Only enough heat should’ve been applied for the bridge to loosen, and you don’t need to exert pressure on the knife. 

The acoustic guitar's six strings should be unwound and taken out.

Naturally, you’ll need to detach the pins and strings first. Then, carefully score the area surrounding the bridge with a razor knife, stopping just short of the point whereby the bridge joins the guitar’s top to ensure you penetrate the finish. 

 It is done to prevent the finish from flaking along the bridge. Then, as you begin to make your way underneath the bridge, conceal the area around the bridge using painter’s tape to safeguard the top. On your guitar’s neck, turn every tuning peg counterclockwise to release the fastened string. Unravel the string from the peg once it is free.  

 Then, trace the string until you reach the bridge pin that secures it to the bridge. To remove the pin, pull it directly out after loosening the string sufficiently. 

 Most acoustic guitars use wooden bridge pins to secure the steel guitar strings. While a few acoustic guitars lack them, most do. If the strings on your acoustic guitar are kept in place by threading rather than pins, you could draw the string out with a gentle tug. Put your strings gently aside if you intend to reuse them. If you want to install a new set of strings, you can throw away the old ones. 

Use a pencil or an X-ACTO knife to delicately trace all around the old bridge.

Use a pencil or an X-ACTO knife to delicately trace all around the old bridge.

Doing this will make it easier to eventually install the new bridge on your guitar body. To mark the place, you must gently draw the bridge with an ordinary pencil or delicately score the bridge using an X-ACTO knife. 

 It’s acceptable if the original bridge has already collapsed! Later, you can take measurements to ensure ideal positioning. The original bridge may have also left a hazy but distinct outline on your guitar’s body. 

Find the bridge pin puller towards the string winder's end.

Alice-Guitar-String-Winder-Grover-Quick-Speed-Bridge-Pin-Remover-Peg-Puller-Alice-Guitar-Accessories

Most acoustic guitars have a string winder which makes it simple to coil the strings onto the tuning pegs while stringing the instrument. The end has been notched for the bridge pegs to fit perfectly into the slot.  

It’s a worthwhile purchase if you don’t already have a string winder. They normally cost between $10-$20 and are accessible online or at guitar shops. The more costly variants could have a battery or a string cutter.  

Less expensive plastic string winders aren’t strong enough to function as a reliable bridge pin puller. One could still try it, but exercise caution should you damage it. Stronger string winders are made of metal. 

Wrap the bridge pin's head around the exterior of the bridge pin puller.

Adjust the string winder so that the bridge pin puller slot’s open side faces the guitar’s fingerboard and strings to attach the bridge pin’s head; insert the slot at the end of the string winder into the throat of the pin.  

The slot on the string winder must exactly fit the bridge pins if it was included with your instrument. A string winder you purchased separately must still function, but you may need to move it a little to ensure that it is firmly grasping the bridge pin’s head. 

Suppose you’re concerned about inadvertently denting the bridge, place contact information along the bottom edge, underneath the bridge pins. When using a metal string winder, this is particularly crucial. 

To softly pull the pin out, gently push back against the bridge.

To remove the bridge pin, twist the string winder a little to loosen it up, then push rearward toward the notch’s curve. You might need to repeat this action numerous times to get the bridge pin to come out. Avoid using a lot of force, even with a business card, or risk damaging your bridge. 

To break the glue, put a heating cloth over the bridge for one to two minutes.

To break the glue, put a heating cloth over the bridge for one to two minutes.

The quickest technique to remove a bridge cemented down is to heat the glue until it softens and can be pried off. Place a damp cloth over the bridge and then reheat it with the iron while keeping your attention on the place where you wish to begin. Allow the glue underneath the bridge to become lovely and soft by letting it sit for a few minutes.  

�Move the putty knife slowly under the bridge’s edge. Use the rag and heat again before moving the putty knife under and over to the opposite side. 

You should not heat the bridge for more than two mins at a time. The finish of the guitar might be damaged by extended heat exposure. To warm the glue-up, if you don’t even have a heating pad, spread a thick cloth over the bridge and iron it over it. 

Insert a putty knife between the guitar body and bridge.

Put a flexible, dull knife between the bridge and body after the adhesive loosens. Apply heat to the region for an additional minute if you are still unable to fully enter the putty knife from one side of your bridge to the other. After that, keep carefully moving the knife under the span. To fully slide the putty knife underneath the bridge, you might need to add heat many times. 

Take your time and use the putty knife carefully to avoid scratching the finish. 

Slide the displaced bridge away with the putty knife raised.

Until the adhesive is sufficiently loosened to separate the bridge from the body, keep inserting the putty knife underneath the bridge and adding heat. After that, pull the bridge away from the body with the putty knife.  

The outdated bridge might be discarded or laid aside. Usually, you cannot use it again. You don’t need to purchase a new bridge if the old one merely came off by itself and was undamaged. Instead, you may glue the old one back on. You require a new bridge if the existing one is broken or deformed. 

How is the bridge damaged on an acoustic guitar?

An acoustic guitar’s bridge may become damaged for several different causes. Extreme weather and hard environmental circumstances are undoubtedly the greatest enemies of your guitar, whether it be due to cold, dryness, heat, or humidity. The harshness of the climate degrades the guitar’s beauty and acoustic structural robustness and quality. 

Very High Temperatures

The bracing acoustic guitar’s braces might become loose when the adhesive is melted away by intense heat. In this situation, the pressure of the strings may cause the guitar body to distort. Due to the bridge’s inability to support the full load, this causes it had to be detached. 

The connection can also fail when the glue holding the bridge together softens due to high temperatures. Due to the bridge slipping, your guitar’s intonation gets affected. 

Incorrect gluing

Any glue junction must be properly prepared and polished to withstand high pressure. Similarly, this is true of guitar bridges. You could run into issues later if you didn’t clean and sand the guitar properly before gluing it on the bridge. When someone wishes to swap out their bridge for another one, it is a possibility. They pull off the old surface and paste on a newer one, not washing the guitar thoroughly. The new bridge won’t fully attach to the guitar body if the instrument’s top still has a finish. 

 So, as a tip, only get a guitar from a reputable manufacturer. If the bridge needs to be changed, use high-quality glue and the right pasting technique before adding glue; clean and sand the area thoroughly to remove any wood or dirt finish. 

Guitar bridge plates with cracks

To maintain the pressure of the guitar strings, a brace or plate called the bridge plate is placed precisely beneath the bridge. These frequently experience the same issues as the bridge. In most cases, replacing a fractured bridge plate is preferable to re-gluing it. 

Humidity

The effects of temperature and humidity on your guitar are similar. Your guitar takes moisture from the air when it is humid and swells. The issue worsens when a specific area of swelling grows more than others. It not only results in body fractures but also degrades the tone of your guitar. 

You are mistaken if you believe that the acoustic guitar is only at risk from high humidity. The low humidity is what causes it the most harm. Because of it, the wood underneath shrinks while the polished surface keeps its shape. Such shrinking can cause the guitar’s top to bend from the middle, where you paste the bridge, which will loosen the bridge.  

Most renowned luthiers agree that a humidity of 50% is appropriate for all acoustic guitars. A humidifier should be kept inside the case or cover the guitar during the dry winter to prevent the wood from shrinking. 

Instrument Temperature

The acoustic guitar braces may come unglued from the body because too much heat will heat the glue. String stress can cause the top of the guitar to deform if the bracing is not securely fastened to it. One reason for a loose bridge is that. The top typically caves in and transfers most of the string pressure to the bridge if the X-braces loosen and stop supporting the top. The bridge may begin to separate from the body because it was not intended to support this much weight. 

 Overheating can also cause the glue connection of the bridge to heat up. The glue that binds the bridge in position will gradually soften if the guitar becomes too hot, which will cause the string strain to move the bridge ahead (towards the sound hole). The positioning of the bridge is important for accurate intonation. Your guitar’s intonation may also get off if the bridge begins to slide forward. 

 Never abandon your instrument in a car during summer. When traveling during summertime, keep a close eye on the acoustic to prevent most temperature-related problems. 

Take away

Note that you can incorrectly restring your instrument. When you’re not cautious, the string’s ball end could become stuck in the incorrect spot, making it challenging to take out the bridge pins. The strings will position themselves correctly when you put in the bridge pin if you bend it along the region behind the ball-end before installing it. Follow this guide carefully not to miss a step. 

Simon Mattav

I am the owner of The Cook Trio, a three-piece band that has been performing in the Chicago area for over 10 years. I have a passion for music – everything from guitar to songs. I graduated from the music University of Chicago! My passion is writing songs about my life experiences, feelings and emotions through different genres. My inspirations are some of today’s popular songwriters such as Ed Sheeran, Taylor Swift, Justin Timberlake, Selena Gomez among others.

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