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Les Paul Tailpiece Height

Q: I’ve heard the tailpiece on my Les Paul should be screwed down tight to the body. Is this true, or is there benefit to raising it up a bit?

A: Opinions vary on whether the tone or sustain of a guitar with a separate bridge/tailpiece combination – as is used on Gibson Les Paul and other models – are improved if the tailpiece is at one height or another. One thing is definitely true, though: raising the tailpiece will make the strings feel less taut, as if there is less tension on them. Some players like this, others don’t. Some players and techs also believe that having the tailpiece too low may cause the bridge to begin to collapse or bend downward slightly due to the extra downward pressure.

Our suggestion is to experiment a bit. You won’t hurt anything by raising or lowering the tailpiece. You may want to detune the strings to make it easier to change the tailpiece height, then tune up again after making the adjustment. And, of course, be careful that you don’t slip and mar the top of your guitar while turning the tailpiece mounting studs. Easy does it!

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