Filling a Kahler route on a vintage Gibson Flying V

Back in the 1980s, guitarists were cutting holes into their instruments for double-locking bridge systems like their Aqua Net was cutting holes into the Ozone layer. A popular choice among them was the Kahler Vibrato System: a stationary-mounted bridge with a cam-operated vibrato arm that allows for all the squeals and dive bombs a Spandex clad stadium showboat could ever ask for. It also requires a pretty large cavity to be routed into the top of the guitar to make room for the springs and other moving parts of the bridge. As the popularity of these vibrato systems began to fizzle out, many of our poor guitars were left with the scars of a debaucherous past. This isn’t the first one of these we’ve had to fix. This isn’t even the first one of these that I’ve written a blog about filling a Kahler route. In fact, this isn’t even the first one of these in this color I’ve written a blog post about! But this time it’s a cool vintage Gibson Flying V, so it deserves some airtime.

When our client brought this guitar in it still had the old Kahler bridge in it, which he asked us to replace with a standard Tune-O-Matic bridge.

I removed all of the hardware from the body of the guitar and setup a router template I custom made specifically for this task.

Once the cavity was cleaned up by the router I made a matching wood block to fill the entire void.

After leveling out the block I took it into the spray booth and mixed up some lacquer and pigments to match the patina of the original finish. It’s a little tricky when the existing paint is blotchy like this but I think I got it pretty close.

This Kahler route is now filled! Here it is all polished up, put back together and ready for it’s new life!

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