Acoustic Guitar Bridge Plates
The bridge plate is an integral part of the internal support structure of an acoustic guitar. As part of the bracing system, it helps to support the instrument top and resist the pulling force exerted upon the instrument by the strings.
Typically made of a hardwood, such as Maple or Rosewood, it provides a firm place for the ball-end potion of the guitar string to rest against. The strings are then held into position by the bridge pins.
Worn / Damaged Bridge Plates
Poor drilling during manufacturing, lazy restringing technique, and/or heavy use, can leave a guitars bridge plate in less than perfect condition.
When viewed from inside the guitar, a damaged bridge plate may be missing wood around the bridge pin holes or the ball-ends may appear to be compressed into the plate rather than sitting on top of it. If the plate is damaged, the top has less protection from the pressure placed upon it by the strings pull.
Since it is hidden inside the guitar, out of sight of the average player, damage often goes unnoticed until the resulting weakness begins to effect other aspects of the instrument via a cracked or lifted bridge.
Potential Signs of a Worn Bridge Plate
Bridge Plate Repair or Replacement
Owing to the hard to reach location, and delicate nature of the job, damaged bridge plates can be difficult and costly to replace. A replaced bridge plate may also have an effect on both the tone and resale value of a vintage instrument.
A common repair for a damaged plate is a handmade maple “cap” glued to the original plate. While this can certainly be an effective reinforcement, there are a few considerations: (1) It requires tools and shop time to make. (2) An appropriately sturdy wooden cap adds quite a bit of thickness to the bridge plate. (3) It is difficult and potentially damaging to remove after installation.
Mitchel's PlateMate Offers A Quick Fix
Mitchel’s PlateMate is designed to protect your guitar’s bridge plate from damage caused by ball-end strings. It helps to prevent costly bridge plate replacement.
Much like a bridge plate cap, this simple .032″ brass plate is held in place by the strings and the supplied adhesive backing. It installs in minutes. Should the need arise, it can be removed nearly as quick!
The solid brass provides a durable surface for the ball end to rest against, sparing the wooden plate from additional wear and tear and providing an alternative to an otherwise invasive repair.
While adding a metal plate underneath the bridge may seem sacrilegious to some, it is not without precedent. For several years, many extremely popular Taylor Guitars equipped with the expression system contained a similar metal plate as the basis for an electronic “string ground“. Brass also is the alloy used for the wrap wire of “80/20 bronze” acoustic guitar strings, and has been widely used for both nuts and saddles on electric guitars.
Hear The Difference
Authorized Dealer of Mitchel's PlateMate
Guitar Repair Long Island is proud to carry these fine products.
They are available in a variety of sizes to match your instrument.
Buy Mitchel's PlateMate
PMR 2-1/16" string spacing
PMW 2-1/8" string spacing
PMS 2-5/32" string spacing
PMT 2-3/16" string spacing
PMV 2-1/4" string spacing
PMU 2-5/16" string spacing
About Guitar Repair Long Island
Guitar Repair Long Island is the area’s premier destination for fretted musical instrument care and maintenance. Led by owner/head technician Erik Salomon, the shop is dedicated to providing quick, honest, and reliable service. Our vast experience in all aspects of instrument repair ensures that we can help with whatever your needs are. Contact us with any questions or book your appointment today.