Correcting a Collapsed Tune-o-matic Bridge

Nashville bridge bowed

Tune-o-matic bridge as found on Gibson and other guitars was designed by Ted McCarty and introduced in the mid 1950s as the ABR-1. The design was updated by Schaller in the 1970s and the new bridge being termed the “Nashville” bridge by players as its introduction coincided with the Gibson factory’s move from Kalamazoo to Nashville.

These bridges do suffer from one problem – they can collapse under string tension. This makes achieving a consistent string height across the fretboard impossible and can cause the inner strings to buzz.

The image below shows the problem.

Nashville bridge bowed

Nashville bridge bowed

Fortunately this problem can be fixed by gently bending the bridge back using a vice. If this is done carefully and slowly the bridge can be re-straightened as shown below:

Nashville bridge straightened

Nashville bridge straightened

If the bridge has been previously bent and straightened however, metal fatigue can cause the bridge to crack and then there is no alternative but to fir a replacement.

4 Comments on “Correcting a Collapsed Tune-o-matic Bridge”

  1. Would heating the thing up before pressing it not reduce the effects of fatigue? I imagine the plating would suffer but if it only needs doing once a decade..

  2. I am learning the anatomy of a guitar and the function of its different parts. The Tune-O-Matic bridge is an important part and from this article, I came to know about its functions and repair process. I have to repair the Nashville Tune-O-Matic bridge part of my own guitar and this article is very helpful for me. Thanks for the article.

  3. Hi Steve,
    Hope you and yours and keeping well.

    I have a Yamaha SG 2000 that you set up for me some months ago.. Fantastic result by the way and still playing wonderfully.
    You mentioned that the bridge (tune0matic) was starting to collapse and i should think about getting it sorted. I am going to look for a new old stock bridge if available. if not available then i think new stocks have since been made available. I was then going to ask you to fit it for me, as and when possible.. Is there any point in trying to re-bend the original bridge.?
    kind regards

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