The bridge and saddle of a guitar are debatably two of the most customizable components you'll want to know how to properly adjust. Doing so can make your instrument considerably more playable and eliminate a few major pain points like fret buzz and "bad" action.

The exact steps to adjusting guitar bridges vary based on the bridge’s type. For example, you’ll need to move the slots on Stratocaster-style bridges with an Allen key; unscrew and tune the two slots on Tune-o-Matic bridges, or manually adjust each screw on tremolo saddles.

Today, I’ll break down the bridge adjustment process for each bridge type, starting with the simplest to the most challenging ones.

Adjusting Tune-o-Matic Bridges

Tune-O-Matics are the easiest to adjust because they come with pre-built action adjustment wheels. These handy pieces are located at the top and bottom of the bridge (directly in front of the saddle).

Gently twist both wheels counter-clockwise to increase the action of your guitar, or clockwise to lower it.

Adjusting Stratocaster Bridges

Stratocaster-style bridges typically feature 12 saddle adjustment screws - 2 per string. The easiest, albeit time-consuming, method to adjust this type of guitar bridge is to equally turn each of them with an Allen wrench.

To lower your guitar’s action, gently twist the screws counter-clockwise; to raise it, turn the wrench clockwise.

Since you’ll need to manually adjust multiple screws and need to ensure they’re as lined up as possible, keep checking the action on your guitar whenever you make new tweaks.

Adjusting Tremolo Bridges

The first thing you’ll need to ensure before adjusting a tremolo bridge is that the tremolo is in the right place. Gently place your hand on the tremolo bar and perform slight push/pull actions to see if it’s correctly falling into the designated socket. Ideally, the saddle should run in parallel to your strings.

If not, flip the guitar so that its back is facing you, unscrew the plate, and gently adjust the larger screws holding the tremolo springs. They must be equally tight so that the tremolo doesn’t wiggle too much. If the tremolo is leaning backward, tighten the screws, and vice versa.

Now that you’re ready to adjust the bridge, go up to your guitar’s headstock and look for a small screw directly above the nut. Unscrew it to reveal the truss rod. This is a simpler and easier way than manually adjusting the bridge while serving almost the same purpose.

The only tricky part here is having the appropriate truss rod wrench, as the size varies by brand (e.g. Gibson guitars typically use 5/16” wrenches while Yamaha models use 3/16” wrenches). When the wrench is turned toward you will bend the headstock forward, and vice versa.

If you wish to change the action of your tremolo bridge, insert an Allen Wrench into the sockets placed on each side, gradually turning counterclockwise on both ends to raise, or clockwise to lower the action.