1/08/2015

Workshop: Martin C-1 Bridge Woes


So here's a broken original bridge for a Martin C-1 archtop. As you can see, it has a bizarre layout with flat-topped adjuster wheels set far out on the bridge wings. Theoretically this places downward tension in just the right place and may make adjustment easier without the topside friction of an adjuster pole in the bridge itself...


...but it just meant that that 2nd set of stabilizer hole/pole locations weakened the bridge topper and eventually snapped it. Martin archtop bridges on both their mandolins and guitars from this time seem to almost always be replaced because of structural weakness. If you don't believe me, look at pics around the net. Many have replacement bridges.


So... here's my bulkier and more-modern bridge topper. I know that eventually, because of the adjuster placements, this will sag in the middle... but I hope that it lasts a good long time as it's a lot more sturdy than the original.

I did preserve the original's overall radius and string spacing, however, but added some B-string compensation. I hate playing out of tune!


I used some cutoff screws for "alignment posts." I kept them slightly snug so that they'd hold the bridge a bit more rigid than your average archtop.


And now that it's in use? Sounds great... and looks better now that I've polished it and the bridge foot up before stringing. The adjuster wheels do turn nice and smoothly, too. The small ribbing on their edges, however, makes turning more difficult than on your average Kay, Harmony, or Gibson build from the same time, though.

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