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.

And for beginners, 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 a guitar bridge?

In addition to keeping the strings aligned, the bridge has other important functions.

It imparts 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 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

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

  • 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 on 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

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

When to repair a guitar bridge, and when you should replace it entirely

If your bridge is cracked, warped, or completely broken, it should be replaced with a new one. But if the bridge is loose or it comes off, it will be easy to fix.

Check this guide if you want to know how to replace your guitar bridge.

What tool do you need to repair your guitar bridge

The tools you will need when repairing the bridge are:

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

How to fix your acoustic guitar bridge?

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 all the guitar 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

Use a heating pad to melt the old glue 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 bridge

When the glue has loosened enough, use a putty knife or razor blade to remove the bridge. Be careful not to scratch the surface of the guitar.

The knife should move smoothly and without pressure.

Clean off any glue residue

This is a crucial step 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. You can also use sandpaper to clean the glue from the bottom of the bridge.

Re-glue the bridge

bridge is placed


Coat 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 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.

Clean off the excess glue and leave the guitar until the bridge is completely glued

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.


Well, you now know everything you need to repair your guitar bridge. But if it seems too difficult, you can always seek help from a professional.


What is the best glue for guitar bridge repair?

As you know, there are many types of glues, and every luthier has preferences based on their experience. But perhaps the most commonly used wood glue is Franklin Tightbond Original.

How much does it cost to fix acoustic 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?

If the bridge of an acoustic guitar dries out, it can cause cracks. That’s why it’s a good idea to rub it with lemon oil every time you change the strings.

Related articles:

How to put binding on a guitar?

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