1964 Gibson J 50 Bridgeplate and Pickguard Repair

July 29, 2013

Today's post will be the repair of a 1964 Gibson J 50. It's in great shape considering it's age, but it needs a few things repaired so it can sound and play it's best.

This is how it arrived. The pickguard has come unglued from the top.

Here's another shot of the pickguard. Luckily it's still in good condition and just needs to be put back on.

The main problem with this guitar is the bridge plate. This is a fairly common problem especially with an older instrument. Over the years of restringing and playing the strings will cause the bridgeplate to get damaged. There may have been some tear out when it was first built as well. A bridgplate in this condition is not good. It will allow the ball ends of strings to ride up into the top. If it gets bad enough the strings can ride through the plate and sit up against the bridge itself. If this happens it's likely the bridge will start to pull off the top of the guitar. I will be dishing out the holes and adding some pieces of hard maple to give this guitar many more years of playing without problems.

This is a shot of a specialized tool just for this job.

Here's shot of this tool in action. It rides up into the bridge and dishes out an area to accept a patch of hardwood.

This is a shot of it from the top side. As I turn the handle the cutter teeth will make a perfect hollowed are in the bridgeplate for the maple patches.

Here you can see how the tool cuts out the damaged area.

Here I'm using an old cello bridge to make the little plugs, or patches that will be glued in the area of which I have dished out.

Here it is getting glued and clamped up with the new plugs of maple.

Half of the plugs glued in and ready for the rest.

This is the final result of all the holes patched up. Now they just need to be drilled out and reamed to the appropriate taper to accept the pins.

Here they are all drilled out and reamed. Now it's ready to be strung and tuned up. The little hole at the top is where a bolt is installed. So that one did not need plugging.

Now the strings ball ends have a place to bear against and won't ride up into the bridge.

This is the final result with the pickguard back on and all strung up.

Once I got it all put back together and tuned up, this guitar sounded fantastic! Not much better then hearing a vintage Gibson for the first time. I could play one of these guitars for hours...... If your guitar has these type of problems, please have them atleast checked out and get it fixed, so your guitar can last many more years...