Beginning guitarists do not always know what the parts of the instrument are called and what they are for. For example, what is a bridge on a guitar, what tasks does it solve.
At the same time, knowledge of the features of all parts and assemblies helps to improve tuning, achieve maximum convenience when playing, and contributes to the development of the instrument.
What is a guitar bridge
A bridge is the name given to the bridge or saddle for an electric guitar. It simultaneously performs several functions:
- serves as a support element for attaching strings (not for all models);
- provides adjustment of the height of the rise of the strings above the fingerboard ;
- distributes the strings in width;
- regulates the scale.
In addition, the bridge on the electric guitar performs the function of a smooth change in tone, for which there is a special lever and spring suspension. This may not be all designs, some types are installed rigidly and cannot move.
There are different types of fixed or movable electric guitar bridges. In practice, only 4 basic designs are used, the rest are less common. Let’s take a closer look at them:
The basic fixed bridge designs were used first on Gibson Les Paul guitars, then on Fenders and other guitars. Models:
- tune-o-matic. In fact, this is a nut , equipped with tuning screws to move the carriages back and forth (scale adjustment), and to raise the entire bridge up (height adjustment). TOM (as tune-o-matic is called for simplicity) is used in tandem with a tailpiece called a stopbar;
- brass barrel. This is a simple bridge used on Fender Telecaster guitars and their later replicas. It differs in the number of carriages – in the traditional design there are only three of them, one for two strings. In combination, it serves as a frame for the bridge pickup;
- hardtail. It consists of 6 carriages mounted on a plate rigidly fixed to the deck. The back part is bent and serves as a knot for fastening the strings, as well as for supporting the tuning screws.
There are other designs that are less common. Manufacturers are trying to improve the bridge by developing their own designs.
Tremolo is not quite the correct name for a bridge that can change the pitch of the strings when using a special lever. This gives melodiousness, allows you to make various sound effects, enlivens the sound. Popular Designs:
- tremolo . Outwardly, it looks like a hard teil, but is supplemented with a protrusion from below for installing a lever. In addition, a metal bar is attached from below – the keel, through which the strings are passed. The lower part is connected to the springs fixed in a special pocket on the back of the case. The springs balance the tension of the strings and allow you to return to the system after using the lever. There are different types of tremolo , for installation on guitars such as Stratocaster, Les Paul and other models;
- Floyd (Floyd Rose). This is an improved modification of the tremolo , which does not have the disadvantages of the traditional design. Here, the strings are fixed on the nut of the neck , and special screws are installed for tuning. Floyd is able not only to lower the system down, but also to raise it by ½ tone, or by a whole tone;
- Bigsby. This is a vintage style tremolo used on Gretch guitars, old Gibsons, etc. Unlike new models, Bigsby does not allow you to drop the system too low, limited only to the usual vibrato. However, due to its smooth running and solid appearance, musicians often install it on their instruments (for example, Telecasters or Les Pauls).
Most often there are different types of floyds, which have increased tuning accuracy and less upset the guitar.
Guitar Bridge Tuning
The bridge of an electric guitar needs some tuning. It is carried out in accordance with the type and construction of the bridge. Let’s consider the procedure in more detail:
To tune the bridge a are usually used:
- hex keys that come with the bridge (with a guitar upon purchase);
- a cross or straight screwdriver;
- pliers (useful for biting off the ends of strings or for other actions).
Sometimes other tools are required if difficulties arise during setup.
Step by step algorithm
The main part of bridge tuning is adjusting the height of the strings above the fretboard and adjusting the scale. Procedure:
- visually determine the height of the strings in the region of 12-15 frets . The best option is 2 mm, but sometimes you have to raise the strings a little higher. However, too much lift makes it difficult to play and the guitar stops building;
- check the scale setting. To do this, you need to compare the height of the harmonic, taken on the 12th string, with the sound of the pressed string. If it is higher than the harmonic, the carriage on the bridge e is slightly moved away from the neck a, and if it is lower, it is served in the opposite direction;
- Tremolo tuning is the hardest part. ideally, after using the lever, the system should be completely restored. In practice, this does not always happen. It is necessary to lubricate the string slots on the saddle with graphite grease, and adjust the tension of the springs under the tremolo keel . Usually they want the bridge to lie on the body of the guitar, but there are lovers of “shaking” the note with the lever up.
Tremolo tuning is not for everyone, sometimes novice musicians simply block it to keep the guitar in tune. However, one should not despair – the tremolo works well for masters without detuning the instrument. You need the skill of handling this element, which will come with time.
Overview of bridges for guitars
Consider several bridge models for her, which can be purchased in our online store Pupil :
- SCHALLER 12090200 (45061) GTM CH . This is a classic TOM from Shaller;
- Signum Schaller 12350400 . Outwardly, this bridge resembles TOM , but it has a fundamental difference, since it is also a string holder;
- Schaller 13050537 . Vintage tremolo of the traditional type. Two-bolt model with roller seats;
- Schaller Tremolo 2000 13060437 . A modern modification of the tremolo . This model is painted black;
- Schaller 3D-6 Piezo 12190300 . One of the varieties of hardtail with a piezoelectric sensor;
- Schaller LockMeister 13200242.12, left . Floyd left-handed guitar with chrome finish and hardened steel backing plate.
There are many models of floyds made in different colors in the assortment of the store. To clarify their cost and resolve issues on the acquisition, please contact the administrator.
The guitar bridge performs several important functions at once. The guitarist must be able to tune and adjust it so that the instrument stays in tune and provides maximum comfort while playing. On sale there are several models that differ in design and functionality. Some types can replace each other, but for this you will need to turn to a guitar technician.