What Type of Hardware is Best for my Guitar?

What Type of Hardware is Best for my Guitar?

You’re probably reading this going, “What’s all the fuss about hardware, that’s not where tone comes from?” Well, I’ll respond with a famous quote from a man who knows more than a thing or two about guitars, the legendary Paul Reed Smith…

“Handwound pickups and exotic woods may be sexier, but your guitar’s metal hardware is the secret”.

Before we get going, let’s find out…

What is hardware on a guitar?

Guitars are normally made of wood (one type for the body and neck, or various different combinations), strings, hardware (metal, plastic, or another material), and electronics (including the wiring and pickups).

As Paul said, replacing pickups and discussing tonewoods is far more exciting than a new bridge. But don’t be mistaken, a simple quality bridge replacement will have a far bigger impact on your guitar sound than you think.

Each individual component of your guitar contributes in some way towards the sound, and the areas where the body is in contact with the vibrating string (the source of the sound) are some of the most important. Therefore, a quality nut and bridge are a must for those who are looking to take their guitar’s tone to the next level.

Conversely, if your guitar currently has sub-standard hardware, that will have a negative effect on your tone. Every note you play starts with the true vibration of a string, however, if your hardware is causing it to lose energy and sonic information, this will result in a duller note, less sustain, or a note that has lost particular frequencies, making the guitar sound bassier or more trebly than it should. You can of course compensate with amp settings, but using extreme amp settings is also best avoided, therefore, it is better to tackle the problem at source, with better-quality hardware.

Let’s now move on to…

How to pick the perfect Bridge for my Guitar?

This will mainly depend on what guitar you own and the quality of the bridge currently attached to it. If it is a high-end guitar, there probably isn’t much to be gained from swopping out the bridge unless you are having problems with it, such as consistently breaking strings (at the bridge) or intonation problems.

However, most of us are not blessed with the very best guitars, so if you have a mid-range or budget guitar, putting a new bridge on it could well make a significant difference.

Next, let’s consider what guitar you have, it’s always best to go for a new bridge that can easily replace the old one without the need for taking it to a professional luthier. If it’s a strat or strat copy, you could go for something like the GG1004 GUYKER Tremolo Bridge Vintage Bent Steel Saddles. This will perfectly fit most strats or strat copies (but remember to check to make sure), includes all the necessary parts, and is available in a choice of six colors to go with your guitar's color scheme. Or, if you just need a high-quality block and saddles, try the Guyker BS184 The Double Swing Tremolo Electric Guitar String Spacing 10.5mm Steel Saddles & Block.

Or, are you more of a Les Paul man, if so, this excellent quality Guyker GM003+GS001 Tune-O-Matic LP SG Electric Guitar Bridge +Guitar Stop Bar Tailpiece with Anchors could well be what you’re looking for. Or, if you prefer roller saddles, this Guyker BM015 Tune-O-Matic Roller Saddle Guitar Bridge post hole 4.2MM.

But there are a lot more than just standard bridge replacements available. Got a Telecaster with a Bigsby? Then check out this excellent replacement bridge, the Guyker Vintage Style Tremolo Guitar Bridge With Brass Saddles.

Or, does your Rickenbacker or Mosrite have bridge problems? If so, take a look at the Guyker Chrome Ricken-backer Style Guitar Bridge Cover And Base Plate RK100 or the Guitar Bridge-New-001 6 String Guitar Bridge Roller Bridge For Guitar Mosrite Style. There is a good-quality replacement bridge available regardless of your choice of guitar or modifications you have already made, so swop that bridge and enjoy a whole new world of tone!

Problems with your nut?

As mentioned, the parts where the vibrating string and the hardware of your guitar meet are the most critical in terms of the instrument transferring all the important sonic information to your amplifier.

We’ve already looked at the bridge, so let’s now move on to the nut. However, there is a lot to go through, so I think it’s best to link to an in-depth article I wrote on choosing the perfect nut for your guitar, as opposed to repeating all the information here again.

The rest of the Hardware on your Guitar

Even though every single part of your guitar has some effect on its overall sound, apart from the nut and the bridge/saddles, the rest of your hardware is much less important sonically. However, some changes will have more of an impact on your tone than others, for example, swapping a Strat’s plastic scratchplate for a metal one will create a bigger sonic difference, than changing its knobs from plastic to wood.

Since most of these smaller hardware changes will have less effect on your tone, I think they are led by cosmetic decisions more than sonic ones. And there is nothing wrong with that at all. The better your guitar looks, the more you will want to play it, and the more you play it, the better a guitarist you will become, which will result in you getting the very best out of the instrument.

Therefore changing those tired-looking plastic knobs to something that is more ‘you’ can over time, make the guitar sound better. So what’s stopping you? Nothing! Create your dream guitar, love it, and play it, and let it take you on musical adventures you had never dreamed of.


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