rich menga books search contact

***Secret FSR Fender guitars? Yes, they exist, and they're right here

Amazon links are affiliated. Learn more.

How to intonate a guitar with a floating bridge

image

This stems from a conversation I had in email recently, and it does make for a good article since not too many guitar players know about this.

My definition of a floating bridge is one that is not fixed into place. This means the only thing holding the bridge down is the strings and absolutely nothing else.

Above is a guitar that I think still uses a floating bridge, the Gretsch G6120T Limited Edition '59 Nashville. Since it has '59 in the title, I'm assuming it's built to vintage spec and has the floating bridge on it.

Most guitar players freak out when they see the floating bridge because they're so scared to move it for fear of completely wrecking the guitar's intonation. This is why there are so many articles out there that say, usually very loudly, ONLY CHANGE ONE STRING AT A TIME SO YOU DON'T MOVE THAT BRIDGE.

Any hollow body guitar that has a floating bridge does in fact have a guide built in to tell you exactly where to place it. It's right in front of your face. The F-holes.

In the middle of both F-holes are two points. One inner, one outer. The inner one literally points to exactly where you place the bridge. That's where it's supposed to go to achieve proper intonation.

However, it's not always universally true that you set the bridge exactly straight.

How you position the bridge depends on the type of string set used.

If using an acoustic style string set with a wound G (4 wound strings, 2 plain), then yes you can usually set the bridge straight and the intonation of the guitar will be fine.

If on the other hand you use a string set with 3 wound strings and 3 plain, then you'll probably need to lean the treble side of the bridge slightly towards the neck to accommodate for that plain G string.

I've seen other electric guitars where the F-hole middle point doesn't line up with the bridge at all. Why?

Whenever you see a guitar with the F-hole in the totally wrong position where the middle point is nowhere near the bridge, that simply means the F-hole is decorative and serves no other purpose.

An example of a guitar with the F-hole in the wrong position is the Fender Telecaster Thinline. The middle point of the F-hole is over the pickup and not the bridge where it's supposed to be.

Why does Fender make the Thinline that way? Because it looks cool. No other reason. Some may argue that the F-hole allows the guitar body to have more acoustic resonance, but that's a bit of a stretch to say that when compared to a full hollow body with properly positioned F-holes.

This isn't to say Thinline Telecasters are bad, because they're not. I owned two of them previously and liked them both. But I know the F-hole is in the completely wrong position on that guitar.

191010

image
Best ZOOM R8 tutorial book
highly rated, get recording quick!

***Guitar deals & steals? Where? Right here. Price drops, B-stock and tons more.
🔥 Popular Articles 🔥
No BOSS DS-1
The BOSS DS-1 is an awful guitar pedal
Yes, I think this pedal sucks...
Fender FSR Mahogany Blacktop Stratocaster HH
The Blacktop Stratocaster Fender got right, FSR Mahogany HH
Blacktop Stratocaster. Remember that one? Probably. Remember the FSR Mahogany version? No? It exists, and it's cool.
Casio F-91W
Casio F-91W cheat sheet
A quick guide on how to set the time, date and a few other tips and tricks.
Scion xD
10-year-old small cars that are worth buying in 2019
I may be buying another small car soon, so I've been doing a lot of research on what's available used. My findings have been interesting.
Fender Blacktop Stratocaster HH Maple Fingerboard
It's all about the belly cut
A solid-body electric with the belly cut will feel more comfortable compared to one that doesn't have it
Tokai Goldstar Sound
Is the Tokai Goldstar Sound all hype?
As luck would have it, I got to play a Tokai Goldstar Sound
⭐ Recent Articles ⭐
Fender FSR Mahogany Blacktop Stratocaster HH
The Blacktop Stratocaster Fender got right, FSR Mahogany HH
Blacktop Stratocaster. Remember that one? Probably. Remember the FSR Mahogany version? No? It exists, and it's cool.
Jackson JS11 Dinky
Jackson JS11 Dinky, the ultimate project guitar?
When it comes to ready-to-mod guitars, it doesn't get much better than this.
Gibson L6-S, a Norlin era beast from the 1970s
Oh, no... not another Norlin era Gibson.
1960 Fender Musicmaster
Fender Musicmaster might be the ultimate retirement guitar
It's real-deal Fender vintage, it's available, and there's one other rather nice advantage to owning one of these.
Gretsch G2655T Streamliner Brownstone Maple
The easiest Bigsby? Gretsch G2655T Streamliner
When you want a Bigsby vibrato on a genuinely well-built guitar for not a lot of money, you go Gretsch.
Epiphone Les Paul Standard 60s Bourbon Burst
Almost perfect, Epiphone Les Paul Standard '60s Bourbon Burst
There is a whole lot of wow to this Les Paul.