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I have a Flea ukulele that I bought used several months ago. The bridge is starting to pull away from the top. Surprisingly, the uke still stays in tune and is quite playable, but I can't imagine it will stay that way for long. It is difficult to see from these pictures, but it appears that the bridge itself is breaking; part of the bridge is still glued down, but the top part of the bridge is clearly pulling away.

I've never repaired any instrument before. Any tips for repairing this instrument? Can I just remove the strings and glue the bridge back together, or should I try to find a replacement bridge?

Flea ukulele with broken bridge, side view Flea ukulele with broken bridge, end view

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3 Answers

up vote 2 down vote accepted

I called up the manufacturer when the bridge came clean off my Flea (after a period of tilting up, like you describe). The woman I spoke with advised me to just glue the bridge back on with Superglue. It's stayed put for the several years since I glued it.

I don't see a phone number listed on https://www.fleamarketmusic.com/ any more, but there are a couple of emails listed that you could try for help too.

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I e-mailed The Magic Fluke Company (manufacturers of the Flea; Flea Market Music is their sales arm), and they offered to fix it for me. So I'm sending it in to them instead of trying to fix it myself. Thanks everyone for the repair ideas. –  Ben Miller Sep 19 '13 at 14:25
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This should be repairable. Luckily the tension from ukulele strings is not that high, otherwise it would probably have snapped off altogether by now.

You'll need a strong glue. I can't tell from your pictures whether it is the wood that has snapped, or the join between two pieces. If both halves are wood, a wood floor should be used, otherwise an epoxy, along with a clamp with one end inserted through the sound hole to clamp the bridge onto the sound board for at least 24 hours.

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To add to this: If you want to make sure it's done right or you're not comfortable doing your own repair, I would expect this to be a pretty rudimentary (i.e. cheap) job from your local guitar shop. –  NReilingh Sep 6 '13 at 21:28
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There are a couple of options... If you wanted to really do it proper, I'd recommend removing the bridge entirely and either getting a new one or removing as much of the old glue as possible and re-gluing it.

If the instrument doesn't have great value to you and you just want it in good working order again in a way that should last, I'd just re-glue and clamp it.

It's a little hard to tell, but it looks like it's wood on wood. If this is the case, I'd recommend hide glue or Titebond.

Both will work. Hide glue is more traditional. Though, it is an animal product, just in case that's a concern.

Titebond is easier to work with, but maybe a bit harder to remove down the road.

Personally, I'd recommend Titebond. It's easy to use and the fact that you can buy it just about anywhere is nice.

If the bridge itself is separating, you could try just swabbing glue into the separated area as well, it should go back together ok when clamped properly.

For clamping the bridge down, if you can fit them in the sound hold, use 2 clamps so that you'll get even pressure and connection between the bridge and body. You could also fairly easily rig up something like this... http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2085/2412687254_f8e311629f.jpg

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