Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Battle of the bulge

Any really long term readers out there remember this post from 2009 about the bulge on my 12 string guitar?  Thought not, well I have a bulge on my 12 string or a belly as it is also known.  My recent read through the excellent Haynes Acoustic Guitar Manual introduced me to the JLR Bridge Doctor.  Now the Haynes book shows one where it is fitted without any new holes etc. by a brass pin that screws into the device replacing your normal bridge pins.  After that installation though the guitar isn't strung conventionally but as like an Ovation / Takamine pin less bridge through the replacement brass pins, which seems less than satisfactory to me, you might remove your bulge but the tone may well drop off given it was never designed to be strung like that.

Hmm - that method saves a drilling game through the bridge which given the installation in the book is on a rare 1930s instrument is probably not a bad idea but...
a) I'm not keen on the strings not being strung normally through the bridge
b) mine is a 12 string and they only seem to do 6 string versions with the pins and ...
c) it's twice the price of another version.

The other version is simply screwed in by drilling an additional hole through the back of the bridge.  With this version the whole thing was under £20 including the postage for the USA so I've ordered one and it is on it's way across the Atlantic to chez Furtheron.  I found a video of a guy fitting it to his Yamaha 12 string on Youtube which has a lesson built in - he ended up having to drill twice so I now know one thing to look out for!  His Yamaha is a slightly different model to mine but from the same series so I'm sure with care this will work.

Bottom line is I thought to myself the guitar is a nice but cheapish guitar, second hand in good condition worth about £100 probably.  Given the bulge and the high action I'd struggle to sell it anyway unless I was to lie about it's current condition, and I'm not like that - I even point out repairs that people can't see on cars and guitars when I sell them. So I spend £20 and do it myself and either I get an improvement or not, I've nothing much to lose really.  I will report on this once it all arrives and I have a go at installing it.  BTW if this works I might take the saw to the guitar and install a permanent pickup to make it a stage 12 string again inspired by the Haynes book - which I said before I totally recommend.

1 comment:

  1. 12 string guitars are a mechanical nightmare - tremendous pressure on the neck. My first was a cheap used epiphany.had an undisclosed crack in it when I bought it. Someone had filled it with picks to hide the flaw! It imploded a few years later. Current one is a lovely, pricey ovation... That started bowing 5 years after I got it.

    Not much to lose if you fail. These things are costly AND difficult to maintain...