Guitar saddles >> Setting Up Your Graph Tech Locking Bridge

Setting Up Your Graph Tech Locking Bridge


Every player has had both the pleasure and pain of using a locking trem at one point or another! If you have ever wanted to change your string gauge or tuning you know how much trouble this can cause. Here is a great setup guide you can use when installing your LB63 bridge for both the String Saver and the ghost version.

Changing strings on your locking tremolo

1. Unlock the three clamps at the nut with the 3mm Allen wrench provided with the guitar or bridge.
2. Set the fine-tuners on the bridge to the middle of there tuning range.
3. Change one string at a time (starting at either E string) by first loosening the string and unclamping it at the saddle with the 3mm Allen wrench.
4. Cut the ball end off the replacement string with a pair of wire cutters.
5. Place the freshly cut string end into the center of the saddle and tighten the clamping screw until it is difficult to turn.
6. Thread the other end of the string under its nut clamp and under the string hold down bar, then to the tuning key and tune the string. [Pull on the string until it is tight around the tuning key and retune.]
7. Repeat 2 thru 5 until all strings are replaced.
8. Check your tuning on all strings once again.
9. Re-clamp the three nut clamps.
10. Check your tuning once again making any adjustments this time with your fine-tuners only.

Tuning your locking tremolo

Tuning your locking bridge is certainly a tricky business when the bridge is floating. This is because the total tension of the strings must balance the total tension of the tremolo springs with the base plate of the bridge parallel to the face of the guitar and with the strings tuned to the desired pitch. So, follow these steps and what I just said will start to make some sense.

1. Loosen the three string clamps at the nut
2. Set your fine tuner screws on the bridge to the middle of their adjustment range.
3. Tune the strings to your desired pitch (this can be drop tuning, open tuning, or standard pitch, the procedure is the same for any tuning) with an electronic tuner starting with the low ‘E’.
4. When you have finished tuning all of the strings, check the tuning on the low ‘E’ again. If the low ‘E’ is now flat, re-tune the strings starting again with the low ‘E’ but this time tune the E, A, D, G, and B strings a little bit sharp, then the high ‘E’ to pitch. If the low ‘E’ is sharp, re-tune as just described only tuning the first five strings a little flat. You must tune the strings a little sharp or flat to get to your tuning because every time you change the tension (or pitch) of one string, the other strings change pitch in the opposite direction.
5. Repeat step 4 until all the strings are at the desired pitch.
6. When the strings are at the desired pitch, check to see if the bridge base plate is sitting parallel with the top surface of the guitar. If the base plate is tilted forward away from the body, you must tighten the tremolo springs tension by turning the spring claw screws clockwise and repeat step 4.  If the base plate is tilted back toward the body, you must loosen the tremolo springs tension by turning the spring claw screws counter-clockwise and repeat step 4. [Step 6 only needs to be done on initial set-up of the bridge or if you change to another gauge of strings or change to a different tuning.]
7. When the bridge is sitting parallel to the face of the guitar and the strings are tuned to the desired pitch, re-clamp the three nut clamps and re-tune (if necessary) once again using only the fine tuners.
8. When tuning is complete, check the action of the strings off the neck. If your action is to high or to low, adjust the action with the two rocker screws (bridge pivot screws) using the 3mm Allen wrench. This adjustment will slightly change your tuning. If your fine tuners run out of range you must repeat steps 1 thru 7.

Intonating your locking tremolo

[before intonating your bridge you must tune your guitar using the tuning instructions above]

Check the intonation:

1. Tune all the strings on your guitar to an electronic tuner with all the nut clamps released.
2. Determine if the intonation of the string you wish to change is sharp or flat by chiming the string directly over the 12th and checking the tuning. Then, carefully press the string down to the 12th fret and check the tuning again with the string fretted. If the fretted note is flat when compared to the chimed note, then the saddle must be moved toward the nut until the chimed note and the fretted note match. If the fretted note is sharp when compared to the chimed note the saddle must be moved away from the nut until the chimed and fretted notes match.

To move the saddle:

1. Once you have determined which direction (toward or away from the nut) to move the saddle, loosen the string until it is limp.
2. Loosen the attachment screw holding the saddle to the bridge plate while holding the saddle in place. Move the saddle in the desired direction a small amount (about 1/16in on the first adjustment and your best guess on subsequent adjustments) and re-tighten the screw. [Note: If the saddle will not move forward because it is resting against the attachment screw, you can move the screw to the next hole forward on the bridge plate. This will give you more adjustment range. Also, if you need to move the saddle away from the nut to a position where the attachment screw can no longer clamp the saddle firmly, you can move the screw to the next hole back on the bridge plate.]
3. Re-tune the string and check the intonation again using the procedure outlined above (check the intonation).
4. Repeat this cycle until each string is properly intonated.

When you’re finished with the intonation procedure re-tighten the nut clamps. This will not change your intonation setting.

1. Check to see if the base plate is sitting parallel with the top surface of the guitar. If it seems to be tilted forward, toward the pickups, then you need to tighten the springs and retune the guitar and check the tilt again. If it is tilted back toward the body of the guitar loosen the springs and retune the guitar. Repeat this procedure until the bridge sits level.
2. Make sure the nut is attached securely by tightening the nut attachment screws. This is critical for tuning stability.
3. Make sure the string clamps at the nut and bridge are very tight.
4. Make sure the saddle intonation screws are tight.

If these things have been done correctly and your bridge still does not come back to the proper pitch when using the tremolo the knife-edges may be damaged. To check this you must remove the bridge. You can easily remove the bridge with the strings still clamped in the bridge by removing the tremolo springs. [Be sure to hold on to the bridge when removing the springs.] If you don’t feel comfortable doing this take the guitar to a good guitar repairman. Check the knife-edges. They should not be dull or rounded or chipped.


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