Ibanez 12-String Bridge Repair

One thing that makes some guitars less expensive than others is the attention to detail when built. This Ibanez 12-string seems a classic example of cutting corners to save time and money. The guitar came into my shop under full string tension with the bridge peeling up on the back edge. I was amazed that it hadn't come off completely. I was able to get a feeler over 1/2" under the bridge.

While this is not an expensive guitar, it was still worth getting back into playing condition. Removing the bridge revealed that it was most likely put on with some sort of epoxy. It took a long time to get the adhesive to release. Once removed, I could see that the adhesive was never spread across the entire bridge (problem #1). And that the patch of finish was not removed to the edge of the bridge, reducing the gluing surface even more (problem #2). But what was likely the cause of the failure was that when removing the patch of finish for under the bridge, the finish was cut aggressively and through the topmost veneer (problem #3), and this is where the failure happened, starting right where the veneer was cut.

Initially I looked at cleaning up the damaged veneer and seeing if I could get the bridge to key into the existing damaged area enough to get a good bond. But the veneer was poorly attached to the underlying cross ply, so I opted to simply remove the top veneer out to almost the edge of the bridge to create a clean and solid surface to glue to. I cleaned up the back of the bridge and added a small rabbet around the perimeter of the bridge to fit over the step created by the thick poly finish and removed top veneer. The result was a clean fit with fresh wood across the entire back of the bridge. I set it with hot hide glue.



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