How to position your bridge

When buying one of the new Hosco hardtail Strat bodies the builder will be required to position the bridge as there are no string-through holes to use as a guide. This is not as daunting as it sounds, thanks to this wonderful online resource, the Stewart-MacDonald Fret Position Calculator.

Simply enter the number of frets and scale length (in this case 25.5 inches), hit “calculate” and it will give you the position of each fret and below that the location of numerous makes/models of bridge. Specifically the distance from the fretboard edge of the nut to centre of the forward-most mounting screw or pivot post.

From the list presented all our current bridges can be positioned – vintage Telecaster,  Telecaster half bridge and Gotoh and Fender modern Telecaster bridges have the same mount holes as the indicated “Telecaster® style bridges” and our hardtail “hipshot-style” strat bridge has the same footprint as the Hipshot model listed. The Gotoh GTC101/2 has the same positioning as the indicated “non-tremolo” Stratocaster style bridge. I have added a table with the relevant distances below.

With this figure you can mock up the bridge location and mark the position of through holes, if required. (StewMac state the distance +/-0.030″ (0.762mm) and I would be tempted to add 1mm to the figure to allow more space to intonate on thicker string sets – you can always get longer intonation screws if required)

Take great care when measuring and check everything twice before making any permanent changes (finding the centre line of the body will be essential for a correctly positioned bridge.) If drilling string-through holes I would always recommend using a drill press with suitable throat depth.

So a little more work than mounting a Tele string through bridge on a pre-drilled body, but probably not much more than mounting a tremolo on an undrilled body.

Bridge placement for 25.5″ scale length

Distance indicated is from the fretboard edge of the nut to center of forward-most mounting screw or pivot post.
Telecaster® style bridges
Vintage style (Fender spec)
Gotoh GTC201/2
Fender modern 6 saddle bridge
25.750″ (± 0.030″)
Stratocaster® style bridges
Non-tremolo bridge
Gotoh GTC101/2
25.250″ (± 0.030″)
Tremolo bridges
25.250″ (± 0.030″)
Hipshot Hardtail Bridge 26.125″ (± 0.030″)
Tune-o-matic style bridges
25.562″ (± 0.030″) from nut to center of treble-side post. Mount bass-side post 1/16″-1/8″ further from the nut.
Combo Bridge/Tailpieces
25.562″ (± 0.030″) from nut to center of treble-side post. Mount bass-side post 1/16″-1/8″ further from the nut.
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2 Responses to How to position your bridge

  1. Alan Smart says:

    Can you advise on positioning a split saddle bridge on acoustic guitars?

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