How to Flip Around the Saddles on a Tune-o-matic Bridge

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How to Flip Around the Saddles on a Tune-o-matic Bridge
Each string sits on a saddle. The strings hold the tailpiece on. (Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images)

The Tune-o-matic bridge is a fixed bridge composed of a saddle bar and a tailpiece. Some Tune-o-matic setups have stings going through the body of the guitar rather than a tailpiece. Each string sits on an adjustable saddle that is attached to the saddle bar with a retainer wire. The position of the saddle on a Tune-o-matic bridge determines string intonation. Move the saddle forward to correct flat intonation. If you have moved the saddle as far forward as possible but still have flat intonation, flip the saddle to face the other direction. This creates extra adjustment room.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • String winder (optional)
  • Flathead screwdriver

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Unwind all strings until they are slack. You do not need to fully remove the strings unless you plan on changing them. Use a string winder to speed this process along. As you are unwinding the strings, hold the tailpiece against the bridge posts.

    How to Flip Around the Saddles on a Tune-o-matic Bridge
    You can't access the saddles fully with the strings tuned. (Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images)
  2. 2

    Lay the guitar flat. The strings hold the tailpiece against the bridge posts. Once the strings are loosened, the tailpiece will hang on the ball-ends of the string. This can cause the tailpiece to bang against the body of the guitar.

    How to Flip Around the Saddles on a Tune-o-matic Bridge
    If the guitar isn't flat, the tailpiece will fall off. (Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images)
  3. 3

    Pull the string in question out of the saddle groove, and move it to the side. Tape it against another string to keep it out of the way.

    How to Flip Around the Saddles on a Tune-o-matic Bridge
    (Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images)
  4. 4

    Fit a small, flathead screwdriver inside the saddle block, directly above the string-screw on the saddle itself. Gently pry the saddle upward, away from the saddle bar. As you move it upward, the retaining wire stretches. The wire stops the saddle from slipping out of the bar when the strings are removed. It adds no stability to the saddle.

  5. 5

    Rotate the saddle 180 degrees, and push it back into the hole on the saddle bar. The saddle will now tilt in the opposite direction as before.

  6. 6

    Remove the tape and slot the string back on the saddle.

  7. 7

    Tighten the strings so that their are in tune.

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