Bass guitars are relatively easy to work on. Their components come off readily and can be easily swapped for upgrades. Under normal circumstances, a bass bridge will last the lifetime of the guitar. Occasionally, however, they wear out, causing the bass to play out of tune. You can normally compensate for wear by using the tuning screws to set the intonation, but when the screws have been turned to their maximum depth, the intonation can no longer be adjusted, and you'll need to install a new bridge. On a Gibson bridge, the strings are mounted from the face. On a Fender bridge, the strings are inserted from the back of the guitar.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Phillips screwdriver
- Gibson- or Fender-style bridge
- Soft cloth
- Soldering gun
Remove the strings from the bass guitar. Grab the bridge and pull straight up on it. It will lift off of the guitar. If it does not, loosen it by tapping it lightly with the handle of the screwdriver, then lift it up.
Unscrew both bridge posts from the bridge mounting inserts using your fingers. The bridge posts are the serrated chrome knobs about the size of a dime; the bridge sits on them. Wipe off any debris or dirt under the knobs with a soft cloth.
Screw the new bridge posts into the bridge mounting inserts with your fingers. Screw them in all the way until they bottom out. Drop the new bridge onto the new bridge posts. Restring the bass guitar.
Remove the strings from the bass guitar. Move the saddles aside one at a time with the tip of the screwdriver to access the three bridge mounting screws. The saddles are the small V-shaped holders that are attached with springs and small horizontal screws. Unscrew the screws using the screwdriver.
Lift the bridge off the bass guitar body. If there is a wire attached to it, use the soldering gun to melt the solder and pull off the wire.
Solder the wire into place on the new bridge in the same place as the old wire. If the old wire was not soldered on, make sure that the bare wire is underneath the bridge so that when you set the bridge on it, it makes direct contact with the wire. This is the guitar's ground wire.
Screw the new bridge to the bass guitar with the Phillips screwdriver. Use the same holes that the old bridge used. Insert the strings through the back of the guitar, up through the bridge and over the saddles. String the bass guitar.
Tips and warnings
- You may need to set the intonation after installing your new bridge.
- Make sure that your bridge is facing forward. The small Phillips-head screws on the back of the bridge should face toward the back of the guitar body.
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