There are a number of types of electric guitar bridges, all of which have their own signature characteristics. From hard-tails to floating trems, it can be a bit confusing at first glance. Let’s break down each major type of bridge and what they bring to the table!
But before we get in to the nitty-gritty of each variant, we should first look at the two major categories Fixed and Tremolo.
A tremolo bridge describes any variant of a brigde that allows you to raise or lower the pitch of the note being produced by rocking the bridge back or forth; usually by way of a tremolo arm (also known as a Whammy Bar)
A fixed bridge describes any variant of bridge in which the bridge is fixed in position, and therefore the pitch cannot be altered by rocking the bridge.
Types of Tremolo Bridges
Fender 6-Point Synchronised tremolo bridge
The original form of tremolo bridge, designed and patented by Fender for use on the Stratocaster. This is a very expressive and reliable system, using 6 screws, one at every string. With up to 6 adjustable springs in the back, this type of bridge can be setup for a number of playing styles.
2-Point Synchronised Tremolo Bridge
Very similar in design to the 6-Point system, however this bridge uses two points on either end of the bridge, as opposed to six all the way through. This results in lower tension, making bridges of this type easier to control.
Bigsby Vibrato Bridge
This is a far more subtle variant of tremolo, offering only around a semitone of range up or down, but this is no downside, as Bigsby bridges have one of the most distinct signature sounds. Nothing sounds like a Bigsby. Using only one spring, and a rolling bar, the Bigsby is about as simple as they come.
Floyd Rose Floating Tremolo
The Floyd Rose tremolos provide unmatched tuning stability thanks to their double-locking system. A Floyd Rose equipped guitar locks the strings down at the bridge, and at the nut of the guitar, totally preventing them from moving. This, however, renders the machine heads useless, which is why Floyd Rose bridges include fine tuners at the bridge.
Types of Fixed Bridges
This is a two-piece bridge, wherein the strings are attached at the first piece, and the saddles, with fine intonation adjustment, are attached at a separate point.
A standard hard-tail bridge comprises of a single unit in which the saddles are directly attached to the bridge plate itself, which is directly screwed on to the body of the guitar.
These generally come in two forms:
Top Loaders – this style of bridge, as the name suggests, has the string loaded into and through the bridge itself.
String-Through – a string-through bridge allows the string to pass through and attach via the back of the body of the guitar. This tends to increase the resonance of the guitar.