Last week we took a look at the building of the famous Gibson Acoustic Mustache™ Bridge. As mentioned in the first installment, this week we are going to walk through the location and attachment of the bridge to the guitar top itself. The precise placement of the bridge to the soundboard of the instrument is critical for accuracy in both string alignment and intonation.
Below we see one of Gibson Acoustics Master-builders carefully locating the bridge to the top of a SJ200 True Vintage. The bridge is aligned to the fret board of the instrument and perfectly centered with the instruments premium Adirondack Red Spruce top.
Once the bridge has been located and pinned into place our Gibson Master-builder will very carefully, and with an enormous degree of accuracy cut the finish with a fine blade and remove the exact “footprint” of the bridge from the guitar tops finish (a very exact skill requiring a steady hand and plenty of practice). This allows for a wood to wood joint, for a pure and powerful transfer of energy from the bridge to the top – no bolts, and no screws, as we see below.
Once the “footprint” for the bridge has been made it is time to apply the glue and clamp the bridge to the guitar top. Below we see our Master-builder applying just the right amount of glue to the underside of the bridge. Then the bridge is secured to the guitar top with a specially engineered tool that equalizes the clamping pressure across the span of the bridge.
The bridge will remain in the clamp for a minimum of 2 hours before the pressure is released resulting in a solid, uncompromised joint that will withstand the string tension placed upon the bridge for the life of the guitar.
As you have seen, the processes involved with the creation and attachment of the Gibson Moustache™ Bridge, are rooted in craftsmanship, and uncompromising attention to detail, as so many of the processes used by the Master-builders in Gibson’s Acoustic factory are. You will see more of the Gibson Acoustic Master-builders at work in the near future.