Guild D-55 possible issue

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I recently received a 2010 New Hartford-built D-55. The guitar plays and sounds beautiful, but I found that it has a fairly pronounced hump behind the bridge, but only on the bass string side. I've tapped on the top trying to determine if it's due to a loose x brace, but can't determine if it is. It may be that the guitar was strung with heavy gauge strings for some portion of it's life. As you can see from the pictures, the back corner of the bridge is starting to separate from the top, though I have no idea if the is something that's stable or will get worse over time.

The third picture is showing the slightly distorted section of top (shown by elongated light reflection behind bridge.)

Any ideas? If I do decide to keep the guitar, any ideas what kind of refund I should ask for to cover possible repair, since the seller did not disclose this issue in the listing?



 

richardp69

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I likely won't be of much help to you. Whenever I buy a used guitar (which is about 98% of the time) I ALWAYS assume that I will need to invest something in the guitar to get it to where I want it. Also, I believe that not all sellers (myself included) will always know every issue on a guitar that should be disclosed. Lastly, If you got the guitar at a below market value price that will likely enter into the equation as well.
 

davismanLV

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Flattop guitar tops are not perfectly flat. They have a little bit of a dome to them. Hard to tell if this is more than normal. That bit of space where the paper slips under the bridge is perfectly normal. The glue doesn't come all the way to the edge. So that's not a real concern to me, unless it's actually LIFTING from the top. I'd have it checked by a tech or luthier and see what work it needs, if any, and get an estimate you can show the seller to assist you in getting the BEST deal possible!!

Also I notice some finish checking on the bass side as well. If it's been subjected to extreme temperature changes, that might also account for a brace on that side letting go. All this can be evaluated, and negotiated.
 
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JohnW63

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Stick a cell phone in the sound hole and take pictures.
 

txbumper57

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Just some info, These Guilds from New Hartford (Including your D55) all had a curved radius built into the tops. I believe it was a 25 or 30 foot radius so there should be a curvature to the top itself from the factory. Take a straight edge and lay it level width ways across the top of the guitar just below the bridge. Be careful of the finish when you do this. It should make contact in the center of the guitar top and not touch either side of the guitar body. Then measure the distance on each end from the straight edge to the top of the sides and that will tell you if there is more curvature on one side or the other. Pictures from the inside with a Cell Phone will help you determine If something has come loose. If it has then take it to a luthier to let them re-attach whatever it is. If nothing is loose this may be a simple issue of proper hydration. The guitar may not have been properly humidified over it's life which can cause things to get a little out of whack. Properly humidifying the guitar may actually fix the issue if there is one.

As far as the bridge lift is concerned it is common and if you decide to fix it normally runs between $75-$150 to have a Bridge properly removed, Planed to match the top, and then properly re-installed. Mind you the guitar needs to be properly Humidified before this repair is done to insure everything winds up back where it needs to be.


If I were you I would take it to a reputable repair shop near you and ask them for a professional assessment and estimate of what it will cost to fix any issues it may have. This will remove any doubt from your mind and give you a solid place to start with any negotiations with the seller for a repair refund. Hope this info helps!

TX
 

Taylor Martin Guild

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My D-55 was about 3 years old when I bought it. The guitar had been living in a closet for at least the last 2 years before I got it.
The bridge was lifting very slightly and the guitar was very dry.
I had my Tech inject glut between the bridge and the top of the guitar and clamp it.
That was all that was needed for the bridge to once again be in full contact with the top of the guitar.


Hope you will enjoy your D-55 as much as I do mine.
 

geoguy

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Guitars with temperature-cracked soundboard finishes sometimes sound better than their intact counterparts, imo.

I agree re: having a competent repair person examine the guitar & determine if it needs any attention beyond proper humidification.

Congrats on the purchase, by the way. A D-55 from New Hartford or Tacoma can be quite special, tone-wise! Very pleasantly chimey, with light or medium D'Addario phosphor bronze strings.
 

chazmo

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I can't tell if that's actual bridge lift or not. If I recall, there was not glue under the entire surface of the bridge when they applied it. Is that where the paper stops when you slide it under there?

A little belly is pretty normal, but I can't really judge your axe from looking at it to tell whether anything's actually fix-worthy. I wouldn't touch that bridge myself if just that little bit is what allows the paper in.
 

The Guilds of Grot

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If I recall, there was not glue under the entire surface of the bridge when they applied it. Is that where the paper stops when you slide it under there?
This!

Indeed the tops have a routed rectangle where the finish is removed and the bridge plugs into in. About 1/8" to 3/16" all the way around the bridge is not glued to the top!
 

Tico

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This!

Indeed the tops have a routed rectangle where the finish is removed and the bridge plugs into in. About 1/8" to 3/16" all the way around the bridge is not glued to the top!
Interesting!

I have 3 wonderful Guilds from the mid 70s, including the D-55 I bought new.
Did Guild do this back then?
 

adorshki

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Interesting!

I have 3 wonderful Guilds from the mid 70s, including the D-55 I bought new.
Did Guild do this back then?
To corroborate Grot, actually for sure they didn't.
Following up on what Chaz said, it was an innovation in New Hartford specifically to help ensure optimum bridge adhesion.
Prior to that (in Westerly at least) they were unusual among makers for masking off a pad for the bridge which was a bit smaller than the bridge outline itself,**** and then finishing the instrument and gluing on the bridge afterward.
Although this allowed for a very clean look of the installed bridge, it meant that most of the time there was an area where glue was bonded to finish instead of wood, and the finish-to-wood bond is weaker than the glue-to-finish bond, so some guitars would develop that gap at the back of the bridge under stress.
My F65ce has it.
Anyway, New Hartford developed that countersunk method to ensure there would always be a completely glued bridge and the edges will always have that very slight gap because the glue was only used in the countersink area, it didn't go all the way to the edges, to maintain that very clean mounting appearance, just like Grot explained.
Re top radius yes all flattops actually have some radius, in New Hartford they changed it a slight amount as TX mentioned.
That allowed 'em to go to medium strings whereas they'd been using lights on regular production dreads for around 20 years at least, it was another NH spec change.
And all 3 of mine have that "hump" behind the bridge, it's perfectly normal although sure if it was easy I'd slip a camera in there and reassure myself about the bracing, too.
@JB83: There is the possibility that if the guitar was strung with heavies it might have caused some actual lift; can only repeat what others have said to check for that: Let an actual luthier judge, and any seller compensation should be based on that.
Since they were already designed for mediums I'd be a little surprised, but it is possible.

***Since that original post I've also seen a report from a member who worked in Westerly from late '80's -'90's that at that time they also simply scraped finish off a finished top for the bridge pad. End result was still the same.
 
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This!

Indeed the tops have a routed rectangle where the finish is removed and the bridge plugs into in. About 1/8" to 3/16" all the way around the bridge is not glued to the top!
Do you know if this is being done currently with the models from China? I have a new ds240 that has less than 1/8" pulling up all along the rear of the bridge. My old yamaha and martin have no bridge gap. I'd hate to not return a guitar that was glued inadequately!
 

adorshki

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Do you know if this is being done currently with the models from China? I have a new ds240 that has less than 1/8" pulling up all along the rear of the bridge. My old yamaha and martin have no bridge gap. I'd hate to not return a guitar that was glued inadequately!
HI Coffee, welcome aboard!
Sadly, can't answer that one with certainty, there's virtually no disclosure about little construction details like that in the Chinese factory.
But it wouldn't surprise me if some kind of technique is used for the same reason that applied traditionally: to ensure a true wood-to-wood bond of bridge-to-top and not a "glue-to-finish" bond that's stronger than the finish-to-wood bond.
If you're the original owner and it was bought from an authorized Guild dealer it's eligible for a free warranty evaluation, at least.
When I had my F65ce checked, the guy said it technically was lift and he could tell just by pushing slightly on the top behind the bridge, guess he had enough experience (or eyesight) to see some movement I still can't see, LOL!
But he also advised a "wait and monitor" action and it has been stable for almost ten years, or even its entire life if it came out of Westerly that way.
I just didn't notice it until about 3 years in.
 

dreadnut

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Even if it's not glued all the way to the edge, you shouldn't be able to slide a piece of paper under it, imho.
 

wileypickett

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I've seen a lot of guitars (many of them Guilds) over the years, and every guitar I've ever seen with a bridge-lift problem also has a bowed top.

Once a top starts to bow, the bridge / top glue bond becomes stressed. (As somone here remarked, "It's hard for flat surface to stay glued to a curved surface!") Add in the possibility that a guitar was stored in a dry environment for long periods of time, tuned to pitch, and bridge lift is almost certain.

Older Guilds are especially vulnerable to bridge-lift because their bridges were not fully glued down to begin with.

You can get the bridge reglued, but once you tune up the guitar you may encounter bowing again, because wood has "memory": if the top WAS bowed, under stress it will want to bow again.

So, in addition to having the bridge reglued, ideally something should be done to alleviate the pull on the top, so it resists bowing.

Some people also have the bridge plate replaced, which can be effective for a good long time. But removing a bridge plate is tricky and it can be costly.

The best solution I know of -- stop me if you've heard this one -- is the JLD Bridge Doctor. They're inexpensive and they work.

Glenn
 

Rayk

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If the price is right could you not negotiate for the issue or is it to late ?
Yes tops are radiused.
Just jumping questions but a lot of guitars higher end would have bare wood to bare wood bridges mounts

As to improrts good question , to me poly is tougher stuff though I wouldn't think it makes sense production wise ..... Pump' em out . Lol

Bottom line if regluing the bridge saying that is the only issue and the price is right and it sings to you it's a no brainier .

Dang it has a pretty top . 😁
 

adorshki

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Just jumping questions but a lot of guitars higher end would have bare wood to bare wood bridges mounts.

As to imports good question , to me poly is tougher stuff though I wouldn't think it makes sense production wise ..... Pump' em out . Lol
Sure poly's tougher but don't think it's got any stronger bond to wood than NCL, in fact seem to recall it's actually a weaker bond (but could be wrong).
It's the glue on the bridge pulling the finish off the top that's problematic in some cases.
Dang it has a pretty top . ��
Guys this is an old thread that was revived by a new member because it was relevant to his question about a completely different instrument.
:friendly_wink:
 
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