For all of the aspiring Jimi Hendrixes and Richie Samboras, a whammy bar is a necessity, so you should know how to put a tremolo on a guitar. This can be an easy or a difficult process, depending on your guitar and skills. We recommend, even with these instructions, having someone who has done it before watch over you.
To put a tremolo on a guitar, you will need:
- A Phillips screwdriver
- A drill press
- A pencil
- A ruler
- Wood filler
- To put a tremolo on a guitar, start by removing the strings from the guitar. Do this by turning the tuning pegs until the sound gets flatter, and when they are loose enough, slide them out of the tuners and out of the bridge of the guitar.
- Remove the pickguard. You can do this by simply unscrewing it with the Phillips screwdriver. Keeping wood scraps off of the pickguard will ensure it stays good looking for a long time!
- Cover the pickups of the guitar. This will help prevent wood scraps from getting into the pickups and possibly screwing up the guitar!
- Trace the bridge on the guitar body and the imaginary line where the strings go across the body. You can do this by taking a ruler, lining it up with the saddles of the current bridge and drawing up to the first pickup.
- Now, you can remove the old stock bridge. Take your Phillips screwdriver and unscrew the six, possibly more, screws holding the bridge to the guitar body. After you take the screws out, the bridge may be set in the wood and a little difficult to pull off. Be gentle but firm!
- Next, mark where the old screw holes from the original bridge are. This will help you to know where to drill the new holes for the new bridge.
- Fill the holes with the wood filler. Make sure to let the filler dry before going on the next step to make sure you're not drilling into any gunk.
- Drill where the old holes were on the bridge with a 1/8 inch bit. Drill in just enough to get the hole started for the new screw. Repeat this step for each hole.
- Using your Phillips screwdriver, screw in the new bridge with the tremolo. Make sure to line all of the holes of the tremolo bridge up with the old holes and the lines you drew earlier so your strings are flush.
- Uncover the pickups on the guitar. You can’t rock out with your pups covered, can you?
- Screw the pickguard back in. Don’t want your guitar’s body getting all scratched up!
- Put on a new set of strings. Don’t try to put on the old set, they are beyond it probably anyway. Don’t try to skimp here; old strings won’t have a good tone at all because they have already been taken off once.
- Enjoy your new tremolo system! Have fun jamming!