Guitar bridges are designed to hold the strings in place as well as keeping them in tune.
There are three main type of design for bridges. Which are different for:
- Classical guitars
- Acoustic guitars
- Electric guitars
Classical Guitar Bridge
A classical bridge is composed of a standard wooden bridge made of mahogany, a saddle made of composites, and nylon strings that are pushed through six holes in the wooden bridge then wrapped around themselves to hold them in tension.
Acoustic Guitar Bridge
For the acoustic bridge, it consists of a wooden bridge made of rosewood, a composite saddle, steel strings that go into the body of the guitar and are held in tension by string pegs.
Electric Guitar Bridges
With the electric guitar, there are 2 main types of bridges, Fixed bridge and Tremolo Bridges:
The first is the standard electric bridge with a single bridge with adjustment screws and six saddles that are adjusted with these screws individually to keep the guitar in perfect intonation. And the strings are fixed.
The steel strings are driven through the body of the guitar from the back and then pulled across the bridge.
The holes through which the strings are pulled through get thinner towards the top of the guitar body making it able to trap the ball bearings at the end of the guitar strings.
Similar to the acoustic guitars, the strings are set in place.
Examples of bridges:
The Strato Bridge
The Strato Bridge can be lifted to loosen the tension of the strings making them lower pitched or lowered to tighten the tension of the strings to make them higher pitched. The strings also pass through the back but with three springs to counter the tension of the strings.
The relationship between the strings and the back springs is such that when the strings are tightened, the spring stretch and when the springs are tightened the bridge is pulled and the strings get stretched. The two work off each other in harmony and balance.
The Ever tune bridge is a new bridge in the market. This bridge has six spring at the back instead of the normal three springs for each guitar string. It also has a floating tensioning area where you can set the bridge so that each of the saddle points is floating. What this means is if you play a note and bend it, you can keep the exact tune. This means that you will always have perfect intonation with this guitar. Also if you want to bend, you can set the saddles all the way out.
A floating tremolo bridge
A floating tremolo bridge found on the Floyd rose guitar. This bridge is similar to the Strato bridge as but with additional locks and gadgets to help keep the guitar in tune. In this setup, the strings' end ball is cut and pulled through the bridge and clamped at their ends with Allan clumps.
A locking system exists on the neck end of the guitar to help keep the strings in tune even when it's bent.
If you bend the guitar too much you could potentially break the strings but as long as the strings don't break the guitar will always get back in tune. Which is pretty cool because you don't have to tune your guitar very often.
And you can do super cool rock star moves on stage and have your guitar stay in tune.
Once I dropped my Floyde-Rose bridged guitar on the floor and it still stayed in tune!
ZR bridge system
The ZR bridge on Ibanez electric guitars works off ball bearings which is also a floating system. The spring guitar relationship is similar to the Strato Bridge and the floating tremolo bridge but instead of springs being tensioned individually using screws it uses Allan key. This guitar has a better floating system than the Floyd rose guitar.
Hope this article has given you some ideas about the design and types of guitar bridges.
To get a general idea of what to look for when buying a guitar, read out guide of buying a guitar.
If you live in London, England and looking for guitar lessons for acoustic or electric guitar.