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1970s Martin Guitar Bridge Plate Removed

Good news on the bridge plate - it's removed!

It took a while, but I was determined to get it out of there.

As with the last post, if you're a bit squeamish, you may not want to look at the last picture.

Here's the plate.  It's sitting 'face up' - the top surface here was the side glued to the guitar.  It didn't take a lot of spruce with it.

You can see it came off in two hunks, which I was pleased about.

Basically I drilled holes into the plate from the top - through the string holes - to insert a steamer needle into.

There was no way it was coming out from below.

Here's the clean side - this side was facing the bottom of the guitar.  You can see the various holes I drilled.

You can also see why it wouldn't come out without steam.  There is a ton of glue along the edges of the plate that held it against the braces.

To be honest, it's pretty sloppy work.  I find it hard to believe that it left the factory this way.  On the other hand, Martin production was at a real high in the 1970s, so anything's possible, I guess.

In addition to being much larger than usual, the plate's about a 2/10ths of an inch thick.  Most builders use a plate that's half that thickness.  You can see why these plates (and Martins of this vintage) have a reputation for tone-sapping.

With all the moisture being applied, the string holes in the top gradually got more torn up.  It actually looks worse than it is.

This isn't a big thing, since I was going to plug the old string holes with nice new spruce anyway.  I kept an eye on the holes as they were disintegrating so they didn't go beyond the area that will be covered by the new bridge.  I'll just cut a rectangle of spruce and glue it in there.  Then I'll drill new string holes when the bridge is going on.

It took a lot of work to get the plate out.  While I was steaming, I used just about all of the removal tools I have.  I hope changing the plate out for a smaller one is worth it!

The Complete Martin Guitar Restoration Saga
Restoration begins
Repairing heel break
DIY chisel for bridge plate removal
DIY bridge plate removal iron, Pt.1
DIY bridge plate removal iron, Pt.2
Steam removal of bridge plate
Bridge plate removed (This page)
Tongue brace removal
Crack repair and brace scallop
New bridge plate Pt. 1
New bridge plate Pt. 2
Patching hole in top
Final fitting of top patch
Installing carbon fiber rod
Fret removal
Fingerboard crack repair, Pt. 1
Fingerboard crack repair, Pt. 2
DIY fret bender tool
Refretting Pt. 1
Refretting Pt. 2
Tuner shaft repair
Neck reset - dovetail fitting
Measuring neck set with DIY jig
Gluing the neck with hide glue
Tortoloid Pickguard
Fitting bridge pins
Brace reglue
Making bone saddle
Making a buffalo horn nut
Restoration completed


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