How to Ground Strings When a Wooden Tailpiece Is Used on an Archtop Guitar?

Written by lisa wampler
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Many arch top electric guitars use a wooden tailpiece for connecting the strings to the guitar body. Unfortunately, if you use a wooden tailpiece, you cannot ground the strings to the electronics using the tailpiece. If this is your situation, you must ground the strings off the guitar bridge. If you do not ground the strings properly, you will produce static when you play your arch top through an amplifier since you will not complete the ground when you touch the strings. The bridge commonly used on these guitars is a TOM (tune-o-matic) style metal bridge held on top of a wooden bridge plate with two metal threaded studs. You must connect the ground to one of those metal studs.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Drill
  • Drill bit
  • Soldering iron
  • Solder
  • Wire cutters

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  1. 1

    Place a piece of blue painter's tape in front of and behind the wooden bridge base plate. This helps you mark the correct location for the bridge when you restring the guitar.

  2. 2

    Remove the strings from the arch top guitar by turning the tuning pegs on the headstock counterclockwise. As a note, take caution when you remove the last string as the guitar bridge could fall off.

  3. 3

    Lift the metal bridge off the wooden base plate, remove the thumb wheel off the right threaded stud and then remove the threaded stud from the wooden base plate by turning it counterclockwise.

  4. 4

    Hold the wooden base plate onto the guitar and then drill a small hose through the bottom of the hole for the threaded post into the face of the guitar. Make the hole just large enough to accept your ground wire.

  5. 5

    Thread the wire through the hole and then solder the ground wire to the side of a potentiometer mounted to the face of the guitar. You should be able to see and reach the side of a potentiometer by looking through the F-hole on the right side of the guitar. Solder the wire to the side of the potentiometer.

  6. 6

    Coil the ground wire at the top of the wooden bridge base plate, coil the wire inside the hole in the wooden base plate and then thread the post back into the bridge. The post will make contact with the wire and complete the ground circuit.

  7. 7

    Thread the thumbscrew back onto the threaded post and place the bridge back onto the bridge plate. Restring the guitar.

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