Is It Possible To Replace The Bridge On A Guitar? On an acoustic guitar, the bridge serves various purposes. It ensures that the strings have good tone, intonation, and motion by keeping them in place. It also serves as an additional bracing for the guitar’s body.
However, the bridge needs be replaced on sometimes! Otherwise, your guitar may not sound as it should and may possibly break due to the compromised extra brace. With the correct knowledge and tools, changing the bridge on a guitar is quite simple.
The Causes Of Bridge Damage
When the bridge on your acoustic guitar is broken, fractured, or separated from the body, it’s time to replace it. Regular bridge checks and listening to the changes in your guitar’s tone will let you know when it’s time to replace it.
The bridge can be damaged by a variety of factors.
Long-term exposure to dry, humid conditions and frigid temperatures. The aesthetic and structural integrity of your instrument are both ruined by these temperature extremes. High humidity can cause the finish on a guitar to crack, while low humidity might cause the bridge to loosen. (If necessary, use a humidifier to keep your guitar in a 50 percent humidity condition.)
Overheating your guitar can cause the glue linking the braces to melt, resulting in a distorted top and the bridge pulling away from the body. It may also cause the bridge to begin slipping forward, altering its intonation. (Leaving your guitar inside your car on a hot summer day is a usual cause.)
Glue was put to the guitar’s top incorrectly during bridge replacement operation. As a result, the new bridge does not attach to the body as well as it should. (This underlines how important it is to clean and sand the guitar’s top before applying the bridge.)
The bridge plate may also be bent or damaged, which is an undesirable occurrence.
Repairing the Bridge in Steps
You’ve determined that the bridge on your guitar needs to be replaced.
Is It Possible To Replace The Bridge On A Guitar?
- Determine the root of the problem. It’s time to replace the bridge if it’s damaged, such as broken, deformed, or cracked, or if it’s come free.
- Heat the adhesive on the bridge to remove it. Placing a heating pad on top of it or using a clothes iron with a towel over the bridge are two options. Just be careful not to overheat the guitar because it will not only ruin the finish but also compromise its structural integrity.
- Working a blunt, flexible putty knife between the bridge and the body, peel away the bridge. Take it slowly this time to avoid damaging the finish.
- Clean the bridge and the joint.
- Before gluing the new bridge in place, make sure it’s straight. Check that the parts are in their right placements with a clamp like the Timiy Solid Mapel Guitar Bridge Clamp. To allow for modifications, don’t apply glue yet.
- Apply Titebond 1413 III Ultimate Wood Glue on the new bridge and clamp it in place to ensure it binds to the top. Immediately wipe away any excess adhesive with a paper towel or moist cloth.
Your guitar’s new bridge is now in place!
Different Electric Guitar Bridges: How to Setup and Repair
Tune-o-matic or Gibson-styled bridges
The Gibson or Tune-o-matic bridge differs significantly from Fender-style bridges. The stop tail and bridge parts of the Gibson or Tune-o-matic bridge are two independent pieces. The stop tail is the section of the bridge through which the strings are stretched and attached to the body. The stop tail is usually made up of studs bolted into the guitar’s top and a stop tail piece that rests in the studs. String tension holds the stop tail in the studs. The stop tail will fall out of the studs once the strings are unfastened. The saddles and intonation pieces are held in place by the bridge, which is attached to the body.
The same saddle movement principles apply to Gibson or Tune-o-matic style bridges as they do to Fender style bridges. The only variation is how the saddle pieces are adjusted in relation to the fretboard. The saddle pieces are fastened to screws threaded through the bridge piece on Gibson or Tune-o-matic style bridges.
The saddle components move forward and backward in respect to the pickups as the screws are tightened or loosened. Individual saddle sections, unlike Fender style bridges, cannot be shifted up or down. On a Gibson or Tune-o-matic bridge, the only way to modify the string height is to adjust the entire bridge piece up or down. The Gibson or Tune-o-matic bridge, like all electric guitar bridges, must be properly set up.
Fender has produced a variety of bridge types over the years, but the basic architecture of the Fender bridges has remained consistent. Each string is attached to a saddle piece and strung through the body or bridge. The saddle components can be moved closer or farther away from the fretboard and from the top of the body.
To raise or lower the individual saddle parts on most Fender bridges, a 1.5mm allen wrench is used. To move the individual saddle pieces closer or farther away from the pickups, you’ll need a Philips screwdriver. Brides in the Fender style are simple to set up and replace.
A Floyd Rose bridge may appear complicated and difficult to work on at first glance. To be honest, working on the Floyd Rose bridge is more of a pain than it is challenging. Understanding how your Floyd Rose bridge works will help you better understand how to set it up. I’ll go over the anatomy of a Floyd Rose bridge and explain how each component works.
The strings are put into the saddles on a standard Floyd Rose bridge and secured with a setscrew that clamps the string in place. These setscrews stretch nearly the whole length of the bridge and may be accessed from the back. You must loosen the setscrews in order to place the strings into the saddle components. The saddle block will be pulled out of the saddle by the setscrews. The setcrew can be tightened once the string has slid into the saddle. A screw that rides in a slot notched in the saddle secures each individual saddle component to the bridge.
The Floyd Rose bridge saddle sections, like Gibson design bridges, cannot be raised or lowered individually. You must raise or lower the entire bridge using the two anchor posts that the bridge pivots on to modify the action on a Floyd Rose Bridge. Please check the Floyd Rose bridge set up page for further information on how the bridge pivots and functions.
Is It Possible To Replace The Bridge On An Acoustic Guitar?
A pre-made new bridge is available for most acoustic guitars at any music store. If the original bridge popped off by itself and did not break or damage itself, re-glue it. Sand the back of the original bridge if there is any glue residue.
Which way should bridge saddles be positioned?
The intonation adjustment screws on Tune-o-matic bridges should face the neck and pickups, not the tailpiece. If the adjustment screw heads are inverted, they could interfere with the strings coming off the saddles. This can generate rattling by causing the string to spin in a different direction.
What Is The Best Place For A Guitar Bridge?
Almost every guitar has a bridge that should be exactly the same distance from the nut as the scale length, so that the string’s break point is exactly at the scale length’s distance. The scale length of any guitar is twice the distance between the nut and the 12th fret, as determined by the tuning.
How Much Does It Cost To Replace A Guitar Bridge?
Spending $125 on a modern guitar with a manufactured replacement seems acceptable.
Can I Lower My Acoustic Guitar’s Bridge?
The bridge of an acoustic guitar does not need to be changed in any manner; only the saddle does. The saddle adjusts the height of the guitar strings in the same way that the nut does. The saddle is held in place by the tension of the strings as they pass through the bridge.
To summarize, the bridge on your guitar may appear to be a minor component, yet its importance cannot be overstated. When necessary, you should learn to replace it yourself or take your guitar to a luthier for a proper replacement.