There are many important factors that influence the sound of your beginner’s electric guitar. Understanding the different components of the instrument will help you select a guitar that suits your needs. Take, for example, the guitar’s bridge. This piece of hardware sits near the bottom of the guitar’s face, holding the strings in place.
There are several types of bridges found on modern electric guitars, and each offers its own unique features that can affect the instrument’s sound. Take a look at this list of several bridge types frequently used on starter guitars.
Types of Electric Guitar Bridges
Locking Tremolo Bridges – There are two factors in locking tremolo that make them the perfect choice for guitarists who intend to play hard rock styles. First, each string is held tightly in place by a vice that can be adjusted using an Allen wrench. Second, there is a series of springs beneath the surface of a locking tremolo bridge that counters the tension of the guitar strings. These two elements prevent the strings from slipping out of place or breaking while performing more complex rock or metal techniques, such as hammer-ons, pull-offs, finger tapping or extensive whammy bar use. Locking tremolo bridges can be found on many entry-level instruments, such as the ESP LTD MH-50 Electric Guitar.
Non-Locking Tremolo Bridges – Non-locking or “vintage” tremolo bridges are similar to the locking variety in that they allow guitarists to pull off more complex guitar techniques without damaging the strings. But they are also easier in terms of maintenance due to the exclusion of vice grips and other complex parts. Some people feel that the simplicity of the non-locking tremolo allows for better string resonance and better overall sound. But keep in mind that this increase in sound quality means that you will be sacrificing some of the ability to bend and stretch the stings that a locking tremolo provides. Non-locking tremolo setups are very common on beginner’s electric guitars, and can be found on models like the Brownsville LC33 Electric Guitar.
Non-Tremolo Bridges – Some musicians simply don’t like the way the springs in a tremolo bridge affect string resonance. Luckily, there are plenty of beginner’s electric guitars that feature the simplicity of the non-tremolo bridge. Non-tremolo setups require the least maintenance, as the bridge is bolted directly to the guitar with no springs, vices or other complex hardware. If your play style doesn’t require the ability to constantly bend strings or use a whammy bar, a non-tremolo bridge is the way to go. Best of all, many musicians feel that the no-frills setup of non-tremolo guitars like the ESP EC50 Electric Guitar allows the best transfer of string vibration to the guitar’s pickups, meaning you’ll get a nice, clean sound from your instrument.
Each type of guitar bridge offers its own set of pros and cons. Many will argue that the simpler the bridge, the better your guitar will sound. More complex bridges may sacrifice some sound quality due to the way the hardware affects string resonance, but they allow you to give your strings a beating with less chance of slipping or breaking. Make sure to take into consideration some of the common techniques used in the genre of music you want to play before choosing a guitar with any of these bridge types.