Tune-o-matic bridge repair tools

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Erick Coleman demos the Tune-o-Medic Tool Kit for adjusting and fixing these Gibson-style bridges.

Video Transcription

[on-screen text reads: Erick Coleman - Stewart-MacDonald]

Erick Coleman: Gibson's Ted McCarty designed The Tune-O-Matic Bridge back in the early 1950s. Soon after, it appeared on Archtop and Les Paul custom models.

The history

This bridge, along with a stop tailpiece, is standard equipment on millions of guitars, not just those that say Gibson on the peghead. This setup is time-tested and very little has changed on it in over 50 years. It works perfectly, but it can be difficult to adjust.

The problem

I've had guitars in my shop with dinged up tops and thumb wheels and tailpiece posts that are all chewed up from being adjusted with the wrong tools for the job. This one, for example, had been adjusted at some point with a flat blade screwdriver that didn't fit the slots too well. The result is damage to the slot and plating.

Dan Erlewine designed the Tune-O-Matic Tool Set specifically for working on these bridges and tailpieces. The post tool installs and adjusts bridge posts to the proper height easily and without blowing out the body holes or chewing up your threads with pliers. It comes in two thread sizes, a standard Gibson 632 and a common metric M4 by 0.75.

The Bridge Jack

When it's under string tension, the bridge itself is difficult to raise for adjusting the action. This Bridge Jack is similar to those used by Gibson craftsman years ago in their Kalamazoo Michigan factory. It lets you lift the bridge so it's easy to adjust the thumb wheels, and this protective pad prevents any damage to the top.

The Stop Tailpiece Wrench

The Stop Tailpiece Wrench is a captured flat blade screwdriver that fits perfectly over most stopbar studs. The socket fits snug on the head of the post so it won't slip off and scrape across the guitar top or damage the plating on the tailpiece post.

The Tune-O-Matic Tool Set, these are the right tools for the job.



Erick Coleman

StewMac Senior Technical Advisor

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