Repair your acoustic guitar bridge in 7 easy steps

The guitar bridge is a major part of the instrument that is under enormous tension during playing. Over time, it wears out, and sooner or later, you will need to repair or replace it.

The easiest option is to take the guitar to an experienced luthier to take care of it. However, if you are one of those handy people who like to do everything yourself, then in this article, you’ll find the exact steps to fix a guitar bridge.

We have described everything you need to know about the bridge – its functions, what types of bridges are there, and what affects its condition.

What is the purpose of the guitar bridge?

The main purpose of the guitar bridge is to keep the strings aligned, but there are other functions besides this.

It transmits the vibrations that the strings give off to the pickups for an electric guitar and the soundboard for an acoustic. This is how the instrument produces the sound we hear.

The guitar bridge also affects the intonation and action of the strings.

Different types of guitar bridges

There are different types of guitar bridges, but they all fall into two main categories – Fixed bridge systems and Floating bridge systems (also called tremolo bridges).

Fixed guitar bridges

Fixed guitar bridges are attached to the guitar’s body and don’t sway. This type of bridge includes:

  • Tune-O-Matic Bridges are mounted to the guitar’s body by two screw pillars and stand out with precise intonation.
  • Wrap Around Bridges has the saddle and bridge combined into one solid piece. They offer individual saddle adjustment, but don’t have precise intonation.
  • Hard Tail Bridges are attached to the guitar’s body using two metal screws, making it very easy to remove. It also holds tuning very well.

Tremolo bridges

Tremolo bridges are called this way because of the tremolo effect created while you play the guitar. This category includes the following types of guitar bridges:

  • Synchronized Tremolos set the motion for both the bridge and the tailpiece. It provides a great range of pitch changes and stable tuning.
  • Floyde Rose / Locking Tremolos have a locking system that allows tuning stability.
  • Bigsby bridges provide a subtle vibrato and have a pleasing design.
  • Stetsbar Tremolo is a roller bridge system that converts a Tune-o-matic bridge into a tremolo bridge system.
  • Duesenberg Les Trem is also a roller bridge system that is easy to install and looks great.

Why do guitar bridges break?

new bridge

There are many factors that can damage the bridge, but the most common reasons for this are:

The extreme temperature

Excessively warm weather can loosen the glue and cause the acoustic guitar bridge to come off. High temperatures are dangerous to the entire guitar, as the braces can also loosen, causing severe tension of the strings. In this way, the entire body of the guitar can be distorted.

The extreme humidity levels

Moisture can seriously damage your guitar, including the bridge. High humidity can swell and warp the guitar body, and low humidity can shrink the wood and loosen the bridge. The optimal humidity level for stringed instruments is considered to be 50%.

Poor-quality guitar bridges

Poor-quality guitar bridges are made with poor-quality materials.

If the glue that holds the bridge to the guitar is of bad quality or not appropriately applied, it can cause the bridge to loosen and even fall off.

Wrong string gauges

Using the wrong string gauges can lead to excessive tension on the bridge, resulting in breakage.

Excessive tension on strings

When strings are excessively tightened, they put too much force on the bridge, potentially warping or breaking it.

Loose or broken bridge braces

The loose or broken bridge braces lead to instability and eventual bridge breakage.

Repair or replace: Making the right decision for your guitar bridge

In making the right decision for your guitar bridge, you must know when to repair or replace it. By considering the specific problem, you can decide whether to repair the guitar bridge or replace it completely for the best performance.

When to repair a guitar bridge:

  • If the bridge is loose or comes off from the guitar body, you can usually reattach it using glue.
  • For bridges with cracks or small chips, a simple fix with wood glue and clamps often does the job.
  • When you notice loose or worn bridge pins, it’s time to replace them with new ones.
  • Damaged saddles or nuts can be easily replaced with new ones.

When to replace a guitar bridge:

  • If the bridge is severely cracked, warped, or damaged beyond repair, it’s best to replace it entirely.
  • If the bridge doesn’t feel secure even after trying to reattach it, it may be time for a new one.
  • If the current bridge doesn’t fit properly or match the guitar’s size and shape, consider replacing it with a new one that is a better fit.
  • Check this guide if you want to know how to replace your guitar bridge.

What tools do you need to repair your guitar bridge

The tools you’ll need to repair your guitar bridge are:

  • Putty knife or razor blade
  • Heating pad
  • C‑Clamp
  • Wood glue
  • A soft cloth or paper towel

7 easy steps for fixing your acoustic guitar bridge

Follow these 7 easy steps for fixing your acoustic guitar bridge, and you’ll save money and time. But before that, make a simple test – if your guitar bridge has no visible damage, check if it’s loose.

Take a piece of paper and try to slide it under the bridge. If this happens easily, the glue has loosened, and the bridge needs repair.

In this case, follow these steps:

Remove the strings and the bridge pins

Remove the strings, and then remove the bridge pins.

Re-examine the bridge to ensure there is no additional damage you haven’t noticed before.

Release the glue on the bridge

Release the glue on the bridge using a heating pad to melt it and remove the bridge smoothly without damaging the guitar. Leave the pad on the bridge and check every few minutes how much the glue has loosed.

Don’t leave it too long because the heat can damage the wood.

Remove the guitar bridge

Remove the guitar bridge using a putty knife or razor blade.

Make sure that the glue has loosened enough before removing the bridge, and be careful not to scratch the surface of the guitar. The knife should move smoothly and without pressure.

Clean off any glue residue

Cleaning off any glue residue is crucial because any dried glue on the guitar or the bridge will create bumps that prevent the bridge from sticking correctly.

Again use the razor blade or putty knife but work slowly and carefully. I also like to use sandpaper to clean the glue from the bottom of the bridge.

Re-glue the bridge

Re-glue the bridge by coating the bridge generously with wood glue. You can also apply the glue on the guitar top where its place is.

Don’t worry about the glue going outside the outline. You will easily clean it. Better to be more than not enough.

Clamp the bridge

bridge is placed

Clamp the bridge with a C-Clamp by placing the bottom part of it in the soundhole. Tighten it enough to hold the bridge in place, but don’t over-tighten it, so all the glue will come out.

Leave the guitar until the bridge is completely glued

Leave the guitar until the bridge is completely glued, but before that, clean up excess glue with a tissue, a piece of cloth, or a cotton swab. Then leave the guitar for at least 12 hours until the glue dries and the bridge is firmly attached. 


Repairing your acoustic guitar bridge doesn’t have to be a daunting task. By following these 7 easy steps, you can restore your instrument’s sound and playability with confidence.

Remember to assess the issue carefully, gather the necessary tools, and take your time throughout the process.

Whether it’s reattaching a loose bridge or fixing cracks, this simple guide empowers you to take matters into your own hands. With a little patience and these easy-to-follow steps, you’ll soon be strumming away on your perfectly repaired acoustic guitar.


What is the best glue for guitar bridge repair?

The most commonly used glue for guitar bridge repair is Franklin Tightbond Original.

As you know, there are many types of glues, and every luthier has preferences based on their experience.

How much does it cost to fix a broken guitar bridge?

The repair price depends on how serious the damage is and the type of guitar bridge. Simpler repairs cost between $50 and $100, while more complex ones can go up to $200.

Should you oil the bridge on an acoustic guitar?

Yes, you should oil the bridge on an acoustic guitar because if it dries out, it can cause cracks. That’s why I usually rub it with lemon oil every time I change the strings.

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How To Fix A Hairline Crack In A Guitar Neck

How To Fix A Warped Guitar Neck

How To Fix A Broken Guitar Headstock

How to fix a broken guitar string?

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