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NAMM Sneak Peek

Strat Bridge Angle

Q: Where should the angle on my Fender Stratocaster vibrato bridge be set?

A: This setting is really a matter of personal taste. Some players prefer to have the bridge sit flat on the body, for maximum vibration transfer and so that the guitar doesn’t go out of tune if a string breaks.

Other players like the bridge just slightly off the body so that the arm can be used to make notes/chords slightly sharp and flat for vibrato.

Other players like to set the bridge at a much higher angle, so that the pitch of notes and chords can be pulled dramatically up and down.

The Fender spec for most Stratocasters says to set the bridge so that its back is 1/8″ off the top. (Some artist models, such as the Eric Johnson Stratocasters, come from the factory set with the bridge flush against the body.)

Changing the angle of the bridge does change the feel of the guitar, especially when bending strings, and may affect other factors, such as sustain and tone. The good thing is that experimenting with different bridge angles is simply a matter of adjusting the claw springs in the back of the guitar, then retuning. Make note of where your bridge is set now, so you can get back to that angle if you want to. Then feel free to tweak away!

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