Tonally and structurally, the guitar’s bridge is a delicate and critical fulcrum. The bridge of a standard acoustic guitar with medium gauge strings is being pulled by about 200 pounds of tension! Obviously, for a luthier striving to build a guitar with a light, responsive top, this is a fact that can not be tip-toed around. In the day to day life of a repair person, errors made gluing the bridge down, and the normal effects of age and environment, are the source for a shop’s “bread and butter”: bridge removal before reglue or replacement.
There is a lot to be considered in these repairs. Removing the bridge while taking up as little top-wood as possible is the cornerstone. The top is going to need a lot of attention after removal anyway. Removing old glue, repairing any divots and attending to any damage to the finish will all go easier and quicker if the bridge comes up cleanly.
For decades, busy repair shops have had a friend in the Luthiers Mercantile SPBL1 Bridge heating blanket. Heat is applied directly to the top of the bridge (as opposed to using heat lamps, heat guns, and irons) which helps to minimize damage. Having enough heat, which the blanket amply provides, will assure that the glue is fully ready to release, minimizing grain tear-out. Keeping the blanket at a steady, perfect temperature is the job of the Luthiers Mercantile Temperature controller (TC120), which can be used similarly with any of the other repair blankets we carry.
Please note that if you live outside the United States and need blankets and a temperature controller at 220v, we have you covered!