A guitar bridge is a piece of hardware attached to the body of a guitarthat holds the strings in place. On acoustic guitars the bridge also serves to transfer the vibrations of the stringsto the soundboard (the top of the body).
There are a number of different designs and styles of guitar bridge available that all function differently.
Fixed bridge vs. floating bridge
- Fixed bridges are attached to the guitar and they do not move
- Very simple in design
- Allow for simple alteration of tuning – ideal for players that use multiple tunings on one guitar
- Simple and quick to change the strings on
- Often maintain tuning better than some floating bridges
- Usually quite affordable
- Uses a spring system to balance the tension with the strings and hold suspension of the bridge so that it floats above the guitar body
- Required to use a number of techniques such as dive bombs and gargles
- Require more maintenance
- Change of tuning requires the spring tension to be balanced again
- Changing strings is more difficult and not as quick
- More affordable floating bridges often don’t hold tune very well
- Vary in price
- Can create sounds fixed bridges can’t
If you are replacing the bridge on your guitar make sure your replacement is the same style as the one before.
You won’t be able to install a different design of bridge onto your guitar without making permanent modifications.
Common styles of bridge
- Fixed bridge
- Simple design – two posts and a bar
- Used on many Les Paul style guitars
- Easy to adjust
Fender Vintage Style
- Floating tremolo
- Heavily copied principle
- Uses springs to counteract the tension of the strings held by the bridge
- Secured to the body of the guitar by 6 screws
- Floating tremolo
- Uses a double locking system to maintain tuning
- Strings lock at the bridge and nut
- Uses thumbscrews on the bridge to fine tune the guitar