A floating bridge, also known as a floating tremolo or Floyd Rose bridge is a type of guitar bridge system that allows you to manipulate the pitch of the strings by moving the bridge up or down. That gives you the freedom to experiment with different techniques and add more effects to your playing style.
However, let’s be honest – changing the strings of a guitar with a floating bridge can be a bit tricky. But don’t worry!
We’ve got you covered with this easy step-by-step guide that will help you navigate the process with confidence. By following these simple instructions, you’ll be able to restring your electric guitar with a floating bridge on your own, saving both time and money.
Essential tools for restringing an electric guitar with a floating bridge
To successfully restring an electric guitar with a floating bridge, it’s crucial to have the right tools at your disposal. Here are the essential tools you’ll need for this task:
- Allen key – 3 mm: This hex key is essential for adjusting the tension of the bridge and fine-tuning the intonation.
- Wire cutters: Use wire cutters to trim the excess string length once it’s been properly installed and tuned.
- String winder: A string winder will greatly speed up the process of removing and installing the strings, saving you time and effort.
- Backplate: While not mandatory, a backplate can protect the rear cavity of your guitar from dust and debris during the restringing process.
- Fine cloth: A soft, lint-free cloth is handy for wiping down the guitar’s body and neck, ensuring a clean surface before restringing.
- Guitar strings: Of course, you’ll need a fresh set of guitar strings suitable for your playing style and preference. Choose the appropriate gauge and material for optimal sound and feel.
- Neck cradle or headstand: These tools provide stability and support for the guitar’s neck, making it easier to remove and install the strings without damaging the instrument.
- Polishing cloth and other cleaning materials: It’s always a good idea to have a polishing cloth and any necessary cleaning materials on hand to maintain the guitar’s finish and keep it looking its best.
Once you’ve gathered all the essential tools mentioned above, you’re ready to begin the restringing process. With the right tools in your arsenal, changing the strings on an electric guitar with a floating bridge becomes a manageable and rewarding experience.
Step-by-Step Guide: How to Change Strings on a Guitar with a Floating Bridge”
By following these simple step-by-step instructions, you can confidently change the strings on your guitar with a floating bridge, improving playability and achieving great sound.
So let’s get started:
Place the guitar on a flat surface
Place the guitar on a flat surface and use a neck cradle or headstand to hold your guitar securely. It’s a good idea to lay a soft cloth or towel underneath to protect the guitar’s body from scratches. This ensures stability because the floating tremolo bridge is sensitive and needs a balanced setup for easy adjustments.
Remove the old strings
Remove the old strings using an Allen key to loosen the locking nut and set aside the locking blocks (remember their order). Release the tension on the strings and open the bridge to remove them one at a time.
Clean the fretboard
Clean the fretboard using a polishing cloth. I’m always using this moment to apply a small amount of lemon oil.
Measure the new strings
To measure the new strings correctly, pull each string straight and cut it about two machine heads further than the tuner for the corresponding string. For example, if you’re working on the E string, cut it at the tuner for the D string.
Unwind the tuning nuts
Unwind the fine-tuning nuts on the top of the floating bridge before inserting the string into the machine head. Keep unwinding until they’re fully loose, then wind them back in for one complete turn. This provides enough space for fine-tuning and stretching the strings later.
Install the new strings
Install the new strings by threading each string through the machine head hole and stretching it towards the tuner.
Apply tension using a string winder. Make sure the windings on the machine head go from the center of the headstock to the outside, without overlapping.
Lift the string slightly from the nut to avoid sliding, which can cause wear, buzzing, or muted sound while playing.
Fine-Tune the new strings
Fine-Tune the new strings by turning the fine-tuning screws on the floating bridge all the way up, then bring them down about two turns.
This creates enough space to accurately tune the strings. Adjust the fine-tuning screws before removing the backplate from under the bridge. Be patient during this step as you may need to repeatedly tune the strings until they reach the desired pitch.
It’s best to start with the low E string and work your way up to the high E.
Check this guide on how to choose the right electric guitar strings.
Stretch the new strings
As you stretch the strings, pay attention to the angle of the tremolo and ensure that the baseplate remains parallel to the guitar body. Then, fine-tune the strings again, ensuring they are perfectly tuned.
Restringing an electric guitar with a floating bridge may initially seem challenging. However, by following the step-by-step instructions and using the right tools, you can confidently restring your guitar and enjoy the benefits of fresh strings.
Remember to gather the necessary tools, place the guitar on a stable surface, remove the old strings carefully, measure and install the new strings correctly, and fine-tune them for optimal sound. With patience and attention to detail, you can successfully restring your electric guitar and enhance your playing experience.
What is a floating bridge guitar?
A Floating bridge guitar is equipped with a tremolo arm, which allows players to bend or pull the strings while playing, altering the pitch.
How many types of floating bridges are there?
The two most common types of floating bridges are the Fender Tremolo and the Floyd Rose Floating Bridge.
Why is restringing an electric guitar with a floating bridge difficult?
Restringing an electric guitar with a floating bridge is difficult because the strings pass through the guitar body to the back and can easily shift out of place.
Maintaining the required balance is crucial, as the pulling force of the strings should match the force of the springs at the back, ensuring the bridge stays parallel to the guitar body.