Learning how to make adjustments to your guitar bridge is as important as knowing how to play it. The bridge of a guitar seats the strings. The height of each string in relation to the fingerboard is affected directly by the location of the bridge saddles. Adjusting the bridge, often referred to as adjusting the action, will help the guitar stay in tune, play easier and eliminate fret buzz.
- Perform the dime test. Slip a dime between the fret board and string at the twelfth fret. Normal string height is 3/64 inch. This mean a dime should fit snugly between the two components if the string is at the correct height. If not, you need to adjust the bridge. Test each string individually to determine which need adjustments.
- Use the appropriate wrench to raise or lower the strings on the saddles of the bridge. This method will work with a fixed bridge. In most cases, an Allen wrench will do the trick. Locate the screw on the bridge saddle. Turn the screw and move the saddle up to lower the string or down to raise it. Use the dime test as your guide. Move the saddle and reinsert the dime, if it is snug, tighten the saddle screw to secure it
- Turn the guitar over if it has a floating bridge and remove the metal faceplate. This provides access to the bridge mechanisms. Floating bridges work differently than fixed units. The instrument has six springs attached to a tremolo unit and the string ends. Use an Allen wrench to adjust the tension of the springs. Check the springs to ensure they sit securely. Loose or broken springs will need replacing.
Inspect the saddle bridge weekly for ware. A worn saddle will effect the intonation and action of the guitar.