In the following article we’re going to take a closer look at some of the most common guitar bridge types found on kit guitars. This isn’t an exhaustive list of guitar bridges, however the bridges listed below are what you will find on 99% of all kit guitars.
Your bridge is a super important component of your kit guitar and allows you to adjust your action, set your intonation and in the case of a tremolo bridge will allow you to integrate a whammy bar into your playing. It’s important to have a grasp on the capabilities of your bridge and also any potential limitations.
Fixed Guitar Bridges
The TE ‘Ashtray’ Bridge
The TE bridge sits on a large plate with either 3 or 6 saddle configuration and pre-mounted bridge pickup. This is a fixed bridge and as a result no springs are used. To dry fit simply screw the plate into place. The 3 saddle configuration isn’t ideal from an intonation perspective as the saddles cannot be adjusted individually (limited to two strings per saddle). Our kit guitars feature a 6 saddle configuration so this isn’t an issue.
Gibson guitars utilise a fixed bridge known as the ‘Tuneomatic’ bridge which comes equipped with a stud mounted stop tailpiece. These require a little more work to install compred to the TE bridge, but again it’s not rocket science.
Simply sit the bridge and stop bar over the pre drilled holes to check for alignment issues. Next fit the threaded posts the bridge is held in place with. When it does come time to fit the bridge, remember the adjustment screws are mounted to the front of the bridge and not the back as per most guitars. The reason for this is the sharp decline the strings take from the bridge to the tailpiece making it difficult to fit a screwdriver and adjust your intonation.
The ST 6 saddle bridge
This type of bridge features two front mounted screws to hold the bridge in place. The bridge is then attached to three coil springs that run through the body of the guitar allowing tension for playing using the tremolo bar. (If you prefer your bridge to be fixed, you can purchase 5 springs which will generally adjust the tension so the bridge sits flat against the body of the guitar).
The saddles can be adjusted individually to correct intonation issues and can also be raised or lowered to adjust the guitar’s action.
Floyd Rose Tremolo Bridge
The Floyd Rose style Tremolo looks complicated but in actuality isn’t all that difficult to install. As the Floyd Rose is a floating bridge the bridge will be spring loaded much like the ST bridge above.
Floyd Rose style tremolos come with a locking nut, which differs to that of a standard guitar nut and features a lockable cover (3 plates that each cover 2 strings) that sits over the nut preventing your guitar from going out of tune.
Bigsby style bridge
The Bigsby bridge is seen loss often on kit guitars but is available on a select few and can be added as a custom option where available.
This type of bridge utilises a tuneomatic style bridge and tailpiece. This particular design was the first commercially available bridge with vibrato arm otherwise known as a whammy bar.