General tech questions

DIY: How to pin a bridge.

2

Materials needed: guitar, bridge and bridge base, two sets of strings (make sure you love that gauge and brand of strings), 60 grit sandpaper, small brad nails, drill and drill bit the same size as the nails, masking tape, courage (liquid or otherwise).

  1. Remove strings

  2. Put sandpaper face up on guitar body under the bridge

  3. Rub bridge base on sandpaper until it conforms to shape of guitar

  4. Put strings on and intonate guitar. Make sure you're happy with the intonation and bridge height. Give the guitar a full setup.

  5. Put masking tape on guitar top around the bridge base to mark its location. Tape the bridge base to the guitar.

  6. Remove strings, bridge, and thumbscrews

  7. Find some small nails (slightly bigger than a paperclip). Find a drill bit the same diameter.

  8. Mark the drill but with tape so that it will drill through the bridge base and slightly into guitar top, maybe 1/16 to 1/8 of an inch.

  9. Drill through bridge base and into guitar top underneath where the thumbscrews will sit. Be SUPER careful, this is the part where you can ruin something expensive.

  10. Remove bridge base from guitar.

  11. Drive nails into top of bridge base so that the tip pokes slightly below the bridge base, by however much you drilled into the guitar body.

  12. Cut off the part of the nail sticking out the top of the bridge base. Use a dremel or wire cutters.

  13. Test fit the bridge base and nail assembly on the top of the guitar. Drill the guitar top slightly deeper if it doesn't fit right. If you want you can even do this by hand, just spin the drill bit with your fingers.

  14. Reinstall thumbscrews and bridge.

  15. Reinstall strings and tune the guitar.

Hopefully all of that made sense. This is how I pinned the bridge on my 6120. It is not the same way the factory does it. I think I learned this from Jack Daniels on the GDP. I like this method because all drilling happens with the bridge in place.

3

Paul Yandell did it this way... very similar...

"The way I do it is this: I use what they call brads, a small nail that has a small head. My friend, Sonny Thomas, uses a screw like the ones that hold the pickup frames.

........................

Bridge pinning is a somewhat controversial subject among guitarists but I think you should do it or have it done. Chet and I have done it for years. It keeps the bridge from shifting around.

In either case, you do it the same way. I set the intonation and then take masking tape and tape each end of the base of the bridge. Then loosen the strings so you can take off the top of the bridge leaving the base taped down. Drill a small hole for each of the brads (or screws) on the inside of the adjustment screws on each side. I put a small drop of super glue on the brads head to hold them in (be careful not to get any glue on your guitar) then put the top of the bridge back on, tune up the strings and remove the tape and that's it. You'll never have any more trouble.

..................

4

Maybe I got it from you Norm. I remember there was a big long thread about it before the crash.

5

they're different enough...either way, reading both, since they're so similar, might make the job easier.

btw...Chet and Paul had their travel/road guitars pinned to make it easier to put the bridge piece back on without having to intonate. Apparently banging around in the hold, even in custom cases, those bridge tops will come off.

Paul also recommended screwing the bigsby to the top through the string cup.

It's one of those loosen the strings a little. Be sure the bigsby is centering the strings and not shifting to one side or another.
Tape it down. Loosen strings. Take them off the bigsby while you drill your hole. Doesn't have to be a big screw.

Restring it and play it

It is possible that has more to do with bridge slippage than the bridge shifting. You know when you're done you just gave your guitar infrastructure more stability.

6

This post is exactly what I have been looking for! thank you :)

7

Nail gun is quicker - my bridge ain't going nowhere.....

8

The way Joe C showed me that they do them on the new Electromatics is a bit less invasive.

  1. Mark your bridge. we used post it notes but tape will work.

  2. remove the bridge. Drill through the base.

  3. put the screws back in and screw them in until they are sticking out below the bridge maybe an 8th of an inch.

  4. Then we used a sharpie to wet the bottom of those screws. Then we placed into position and gave it a tap.

  5. Now knowing where to drill, we drilled about an 8th of an inch into the top.

the rest is common sense. place the bridge back on the holes and re tune.

9

How about installing a Synchrosonic bridge on a 6120? are the ends of the bridge base all plastic or does the metal strip run through them? Brads, screws, or nail gun? On my Country Club, it looks like the factory used a nail gun.

10

I pinned the bridge on my White Penguin. Was pretty easy, I ended up drilling through the bridge and the top of the guitar with a very small bit. I then took the bridge off, placed small screws into the top, cut the heads off with a Dremel, then drilled the holes in the bridge just big enough to slide the bridge over the screws. Very simple and all you can see from the top of the bridge now is a tiny pin hole. I didn't even consider the metal blade that runs between the two bridge feet but it didn't pose any issue.

11

Thanks, makes sense to me.

12

Materials needed: guitar, bridge and bridge base, two sets of strings (make sure you love that gauge and brand of strings), 60 grit sandpaper, small brad nails, drill and drill bit the same size as the nails, masking tape, courage (liquid or otherwise).

  1. Remove strings

  2. Put sandpaper face up on guitar body under the bridge

  3. Rub bridge base on sandpaper until it conforms to shape of guitar

  4. Put strings on and intonate guitar. Make sure you're happy with the intonation and bridge height. Give the guitar a full setup.

  5. Put masking tape on guitar top around the bridge base to mark its location. Tape the bridge base to the guitar.

  6. Remove strings, bridge, and thumbscrews

  7. Find some small nails (slightly bigger than a paperclip). Find a drill bit the same diameter.

  8. Mark the drill but with tape so that it will drill through the bridge base and slightly into guitar top, maybe 1/16 to 1/8 of an inch.

  9. Drill through bridge base and into guitar top underneath where the thumbscrews will sit. Be SUPER careful, this is the part where you can ruin something expensive.

  10. Remove bridge base from guitar.

  11. Drive nails into top of bridge base so that the tip pokes slightly below the bridge base, by however much you drilled into the guitar body.

  12. Cut off the part of the nail sticking out the top of the bridge base. Use a dremel or wire cutters.

  13. Test fit the bridge base and nail assembly on the top of the guitar. Drill the guitar top slightly deeper if it doesn't fit right. If you want you can even do this by hand, just spin the drill bit with your fingers.

  14. Reinstall thumbscrews and bridge.

  15. Reinstall strings and tune the guitar.

Hopefully all of that made sense. This is how I pinned the bridge on my 6120. It is not the same way the factory does it. I think I learned this from Jack Daniels on the GDP. I like this method because all drilling happens with the bridge in place.

– Otter

I do it this exact way and have since the early 90s except I only use one pin on the bass side. I use heavier strings but i'm also a little heavy handed, It's never been an Issue. The last time I did it I glued the 'pin' into the top of the guitar rather than the bridge base. That works well too.

13

My pet bridge-pinning issue (not entirely selfish) is about exactly where on the top the base is pinned.

I wish that when bases were pinned/secured, they were positioned where a non-adjustable straight-line bridge mounted thereon gave best intonation. This is always going to be at an angle, bass side further from the neck than treble side (the offset differs slightly with scale length).

You can see this angle on (almost) any guitar with fixed bridge posts - like a Les Paul or 335, and similar pro-line Gretschs - as well as on Gretsch pro series models with factory-pinned bridges. (Please don't use any Electromatic for reference.)

Getting the base in this slightly angled position is easy if you're pinning a Rocking Bar, Space Control, or even Bigsby Comp Aluminum - because the guitar won't intonate till the base is in the right place.

But if you're nailing down any bridge with adjustable saddles, you can get the base in some vague almost-random position and still get the guitar intonated with the saddles. (And I realize there's a preference on some guys' part for the base to be positioned straight across/perpendicular to the strings when deploying an adjustable-saddle bridge.)

So why does it matter WHERE you fasten down the base if you're going to use an adjustable-saddle bridge? Because now you're committed to adjustable saddle bridges.

It matters to me, because you may eventually want to try a non-adjustable bridge (yes, like the Tru-Arc™ I make), in either straight-line uncompensated or SerpenTune compensated form.

It matters to you for the same reason: you may change your mind about the bridge you're putting on now, and someday want to try something else. (Yes, I know you've decided on a final solution, and that's why you're nailing it down. But in my experience, there's no such thing as a final solution in guitar gear.)

And if your base is at a non-standard location and you then want to try a bridge without adjustable saddles - it's a problem. It's either unpin and reposition, or work out a completely custom compensation profile and have a bridge made incorporating it. We (that is, Tru-Arc) do such fully custom bridges, and they're expensive challenges. We've developed four different comp profiles just for various fixed bridge locations on factory Gretschs, and would rather not have to do more on a case-by-case basis to suit individual guitars!

Then let's say you get that fully-custom one-piece bridge to suit a unique base position on a particular guitar - and then decide to sell that guitar. You'd like to keep the expensive bridge. Now it has to be positioned in the same non-standard location on any other guitar...

As I say: my recommendations are self-serving to the extent that bridge bases pinned in unique positions have cost me (and customers) considerable time, tedium, and aggravation. But not entirely self-serving: whether or not you ever try a Tru-Arc, it just makes sense to me to allow for future flexibility where possible when doing any mod work. It's a matter of thinking ahead and leaving options open.

If you pin your bridge base in the usual industry-standard position, you're much more free to try any bridge in the future without undue PITA.


And, obviously, my advice doesn't apply to guys who know what they're doing, already do all their own work on their own guitars, have the skills, tools, and experience to make changes at will, and/or know better than I.

Tox, in particular, using wood-and-ebony bridges of your own construction, you're a law unto yourself, and I don't presume to suggest how you should proceed.

14

My pet bridge-pinning issue (not entirely selfish) is about exactly where on the top the base is pinned.

I wish that when bases were pinned/secured, they were positioned where a non-adjustable straight-line bridge mounted thereon gave best intonation. This is always going to be at an angle, bass side further from the neck than treble side (the offset differs slightly with scale length).

You can see this angle on (almost) any guitar with fixed bridge posts - like a Les Paul or 335, and similar pro-line Gretschs - as well as on Gretsch pro series models with factory-pinned bridges. (Please don't use any Electromatic for reference.)

Getting the base in this slightly angled position is easy if you're pinning a Rocking Bar, Space Control, or even Bigsby Comp Aluminum - because the guitar won't intonate till the base is in the right place.

But if you're nailing down any bridge with adjustable saddles, you can get the base in some vague almost-random position and still get the guitar intonated with the saddles. (And I realize there's a preference on some guys' part for the base to be positioned straight across/perpendicular to the strings when deploying an adjustable-saddle bridge.)

So why does it matter WHERE you fasten down the base if you're going to use an adjustable-saddle bridge? Because now you're committed to adjustable saddle bridges.

It matters to me, because you may eventually want to try a non-adjustable bridge (yes, like the Tru-Arc™ I make), in either straight-line uncompensated or SerpenTune compensated form.

It matters to you for the same reason: you may change your mind about the bridge you're putting on now, and someday want to try something else. (Yes, I know you've decided on a final solution, and that's why you're nailing it down. But in my experience, there's no such thing as a final solution in guitar gear.)

And if your base is at a non-standard location and you then want to try a bridge without adjustable saddles - it's a problem. It's either unpin and reposition, or work out a completely custom compensation profile and have a bridge made incorporating it. We (that is, Tru-Arc) do such fully custom bridges, and they're expensive challenges. We've developed four different comp profiles just for various fixed bridge locations on factory Gretschs, and would rather not have to do more on a case-by-case basis to suit individual guitars!

Then let's say you get that fully-custom one-piece bridge to suit a unique base position on a particular guitar - and then decide to sell that guitar. You'd like to keep the expensive bridge. Now it has to be positioned in the same non-standard location on any other guitar...

As I say: my recommendations are self-serving to the extent that bridge bases pinned in unique positions have cost me (and customers) considerable time, tedium, and aggravation. But not entirely self-serving: whether or not you ever try a Tru-Arc, it just makes sense to me to allow for future flexibility where possible when doing any mod work. It's a matter of thinking ahead and leaving options open.

If you pin your bridge base in the usual industry-standard position, you're much more free to try any bridge in the future without undue PITA.


And, obviously, my advice doesn't apply to guys who know what they're doing, already do all their own work on their own guitars, have the skills, tools, and experience to make changes at will, and/or know better than I.

Tox, in particular, using wood-and-ebony bridges of your own construction, you're a law unto yourself, and I don't presume to suggest how you should proceed.

– Proteus

You always have the option of taking the pins out. It's not like getting a tattoo...

15

Of course. But some guys are surprisingly reluctant to...especially if the guitar came with the bridge pinned/secured.

16

On any wood based bridge it's easy to fill and move holes if need be. As they are on the bottom it's no visual or functional impact. I find pinning bridges on just the bass foot is more than adequate and I'm a standup quite physically active live player. Then you have less to move/adjust if you really feel you need to swap bridges around. Some people just don't want to work on their own instruments. I find it fun to bring a guitar to life for me.

17

How about some thin double sided tape on the bottom of the wood base?


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