Best Strat Bridges: Reviews, Buying Guide, and FAQs 2022

by Jay Sandwich

Even if you provide proper care of your guitar, it is possible that you may be involved in an accident and require a bridge repair. The good news is that, given the fact that the Fender Stratocaster is among the most popular guitars in the whole world, there are numerous replacement bridges to choose from.

With its distinctive design, the Fender Stratocaster is one of the most recognizable electric guitars ever created, and it has had a significant impact on the sounds of contemporary music. In the decades since its inception in 1954, the Strat has appeared on many albums and been performed by performers from a wide range of genres including rock, punk, jazz, blues, soul, R&B, and country. Throughout its six-decade existence, the Stratocaster has continuously been one of the most popular (and most imitated) guitars on the market.

The problem is that you don't want to be forced to downgrade from your (sadly) damaged bridge. It's true that you could just get an identical replacement from Fender, and it could be perfectly satisfactory for your instrument. However, since you're shopping for a brand new Stratocaster bridge, why not take advantage of the opportunity?

In this post, I'll go through a few of the most popular Stratocaster bridges, with the goal of assisting you in making a decision on which bridge to purchase.

Despite the fact that not every player employs one, the Stratocaster is often seen with a tremolo. The tremolo bar (also known as the whammy bar) is a metal rod that enables musicians to alter the pitch of the strings that are being played on their instrument.

It is at the bridge that this shift in pitch occurs, and it is for this reason that selecting a bridge that maintains your strings in tune while employing a tremolo is quite vital. In the event that you don't really care about tremolos but just want a nice bridge, I've got you covered there as well.

The Stratocaster's History

As a follow-up to the success of the Telecaster and Precision Bass, Leo Fender, Freddie Tavares, and George Fullerton set out to develop a guitar. With the Stratocaster, the three created a guitar with increased playability and comfort. Its double-cutaway, highly contoured solid body gave greater access to higher frets and sat more gently against the player's body. The Strat's single-coil center pickup allowed it more tonal diversity than the Telecaster's two pickups.

Each pickup has its own 3-way switch. Using a toothpick to wedge the switch between the "factory" settings allowed players to generate individual tones. As we'll see, Fender listened, and the switching and wiring evolved.

The Strat also included a space in the rear for a through-body pivoting bridge. Strat players started removing two of the five restraining springs and changing the anchoring screws to enable the bridge to "float." They may modulate the pitch of the played notes by moving the tremolo arm connected to the bridge. This tremolo effect was popularized by Jimi Hendrix, Ike Turner, and Jeff Beck.

Guitarists like Ron Wood and Eric Clapton responded by modifying their bridges to keep the floating tremolo. Others eliminated the tremolo altogether, resulting in "hard-tail" Strats. Fender was also keeping an eye on this, and future Strat models included many of the changes made by these musicians and their technicians.

In 1965, Leo Fender sold his firm to CBS, a move many Fender enthusiasts connect with a drop in instrument quality. With further growth, the firm launched 5-way pickup switching and a reverse-wound/polarity middle pickup in 1977. This created the tones popularized by legendary guitarists like Jimi Hendrix, Dick Dale, Eric Clapton, and David Gilmour. Most Strats now include a 5-way switch and a reverse-wound center pickup.

In 1982, Fender debuted the Squier Stratocaster, a low-cost variant of the Stratocaster. Built in Japan, it became a corporate favorite. Fender has since built Stratocasters in Korea, Indonesia, and China, striving to keep the Fender tradition and quality standards while keeping prices low.

It was 1985 when a group of Fender workers and investors acquired the firm from CBS, giving it new life. Following the takeover, Fender originally made its instruments in facilities abroad that met the company's specifications.

In 1985, Fender's main facility in Corona, California, opened. Two years later, it opened a second North American facility in Ensenada, Mexico. In 1987, Fender's renowned Custom Shop opened, producing some of the greatest Stratocasters ever made.

Since then, Fender has introduced dozens of Stratocaster models with distinct features and aesthetics. Six decades later, the Strat's form, playability, and tone remain unaltered.

This article will help you learn about the many Stratocaster series and models. We hope this guide helps you sift out all the nuances and eventually choose the finest Stratocaster for your requirements, budget, and aspirations.


Top 4 Best Strat Bridges

Top 4 Best Strat Bridges
Top 4 Best Strat Bridges

Floyd Rose 711-1409A Rail Tail Tremolo - Link

Floyd Rose 711-1409A Rail Tail Tremolo - Narrow (Chrome)
Floyd Rose 711-1409A Rail Tail Tremolo - Narrow (Chrome)

With the Rail Tail Tremolo, you can upgrade your existing Strat®-style 6-point tremolo without having to make any modifications to your guitar. It's a clever design that combines the feel and reliability of a hardtail bridge with the flexibility of a tremolo system, giving you the best of both worlds. Computer developed and expertly manufactured, the Rail Tail delivers maximum performance and an eye-catching aesthetic appeal without sacrificing on either comfort or performance. Its one-of-a-kind characteristics enable it to be adjusted to suit a wide range of guitar bodies and to be installed by the user themselves.

In contrast to the previous tremolo design, which rocked on a bevel positioned behind the screw heads, the Rail Tail tremolo plate revolves around a precise rail that is affixed directly to the guitar body. In order to improve sound quality and tuning stability, the plate must precisely cradle the whole rail as if they were a single piece of equipment. This union also generates a larger breakpoint, which allows open strings to retain pitch while bending another string, similar to how a hardtail works.

String block mounting holes on the tremolo plate are slotted, which not only makes installation easier but also allows the string block to be positioned farther front for more rotational flexibility. This implies that the bridge may dive up to 15 degrees deeper than a typical tremolo bridge. A string block with advanced features also has the following game-changing characteristics: True string saddle contact is aided by tapered string holes that are positioned in the middle of the string. The roller fitted string saddles work in tandem with the rail and string block to provide a stable platform for the strings. This complete assembly allows for the most efficient passage of vibrational energy from the strings to the guitar body, resulting in improved overall sustain and tonal characteristics.

Product Description

With the Rail Tail Tremolo, you can upgrade your existing Strat-style 6-point tremolo without having to make any modifications to your guitar. It's a clever design that combines the feel and reliability of a hardtail bridge with the flexibility of a tremolo system.

Features

  • Increased sustain
  • Hardtail system
  • Stays tuned for a long time

Fender American Series Stratocaster - Link

Fender American Series Stratocaster Tremolo Bridge Assembly - Chrome
Fender American Series Stratocaster Tremolo Bridge Assembly - Chrome

If something isn't broken, don't try to repair it. This Fender tremolo bridge exemplifies the meaning of the adage. Despite the fact that it is made in Mexico, this tremolo bridge has been the standard bridge on American Stratocasters for decades. This tremolo bridge will perform exactly as you would expect it to do. There are no tonal shifts, nor is the sustain lengthened or lengthened any further. It's a Fender bridge that's in good working order.

In order to retain your Fender Stratocaster as near to its original configuration as possible, the use of this bridge is highly recommended. When you use the two heavy-duty pivot screws, you can create vibrato effects, and the solid steel saddles provide true Fender tone and sustain.

The tremolo arm is a screw-in type with six powder-coated steel block saddles with off-center intonation screws. Contains mounting hardware, adjustment wrenches, and a tremolo arm with a white tip for easy operation. Used on the majority of American Standard and American Series (US) Stratocaster models produced between 1986 and 2007.

Product Description

This tremolo bridge has been the standard bridge on American Stratocasters for decades. Solid steel saddles provide true Fender tone and sustain. It is a screw-in type tremolo arm with six powder-coated steel block saddles with off-center intonation screws.

Features

  • Doesn't go out of tune
  • Prevents high E string from slipping off
  • Sturdy and nicely built

Fender Vintage-Style Standard Series Stratocaster - Link

Fender Vintage-Style Standard Series Stratocaster Tremolo Assemblies
Fender Vintage-Style Standard Series Stratocaster Tremolo Assemblies

This vintage-style chrome bridge component is designed to fit most Standard, Deluxe, Roadhouse, Lone Star, and Blacktop Stratocaster models produced between 2006 till now. There are six bent saddles with the lettering ""Fender"" imprinted on them, as well as intonation screws and springs and saddle-height adjustment screws. The tremolo claw, tremolo springs, and tremolo arm are not included, nor is the mounting hardware. Keep in mind that the 2-1/16-inch bridge mounting gap implies that bridge-mounting screws will not fit antique or vintage reissue instruments unless they are changed in some way."

It comprises of Nickel-plated steel vintage-style bridge assembly with six "Fender" stamped saddles that are bent in the middle. Intonation screws/springs, saddles, and saddle height adjustment screws are all included in the assembly. Tremolo block will accommodate regular tremolo strings. tremolo arm with a 10/32 thread. Characteristics of the assembly Bridge mounting spacing is 2-1/16" apart. Used on the majority of Standard Series, Deluxe Roadhouse/Lonestar, and Blacktop Series Stratocaster models (Mexico) made between 2006 till date.

Product Description

Vintage-style chrome bridge component is designed to fit most Standard, Deluxe, Roadhouse, Lone Star, and Blacktop Stratocaster models. Six bent saddles with the lettering ""Fender"" imprinted on them, as well as intonation screws and springs and saddle-height adjustment screws.

Features

  • Used on most standard series
  • Nickel plated steel

Gotoh Traditional Tremolo for Strat - Link

Gotoh Traditional Tremolo for Strat, Chrome
Gotoh Traditional Tremolo for Strat, Chrome

This tremolo is an excellent choice if you want a tremolo system that is similar to that of a Fender but are on a tight budget. The construction is quite similar to Fender's. The Gotoh tremolo bridge, for example, has a lack of attention to detail and polish, which is the most noticeable difference between the two.

Aside from that, everything about this bridge is just as anticipated. It maintains a reasonable level of tuning and operates as it should. At this pricing range, you shouldn't expect to hear any noticeable improvements in sustain or clarity. The installation of this bridge is straightforward, and everything you need is included in the box. While a Fender bridge is ideal for those with the financial means, this Gotoh bridge is an excellent alternative for those on a tighter financial budget.

Product Description

This tremolo system is similar to that of a Fender but on a tight budget. It maintains a reasonable level of tuning and operates as it should. Everything you need is included in the box, and the installation is straightforward. The most noticeable difference between the two is the lack of attention to detail and polish.

Features

  • Good ratio of price to quality
  • Great Fender-like tremolo system

Benefits of Strat Bridges

There are many benefits of using strat bridges in your guitar rig. Some of these benefits include:

  • Increased tonal options
  • A more consistent tone across all pickups
  • More clarity and definition in your overall sound
  • Improved sustain and resonance

This is just a small sampling of the benefits that strat bridges offer. If you're looking for a better tone and more flexibility in your sound, then consider using one of these bridges in your next guitar build or modification project. You won't be disappointed!

Different types of strat bridges

There are three different types of strat bridges:

  • Fixed bridge
  • Tremolo bridge
  • Hardtail bridge

The most common type of strat bridge is the fixed bridge. It is a two-piece design that is bolted onto the body of the guitar. The second most common type of strat bridge is the tremolo bridge. It is a three-piece design that allows the player to vibrato the strings. The tremolo bridge is also known as a whammy bar. The third type of strat bridge is the hardtail bridge. It is a one-piece design that does not allow for any vibrato.

Which type of strat bridge is best for you depends on your playing style. If you want to be able to vibrato the strings, then you need a tremolo bridge. If you don't want to be able to vibrato the strings, then you need a hardtail bridge.

Which type of strat bridge is right for you and your guitar playing style?

There are three main types of strat bridges: the vintage bridge, modern bridge, and hardtail bridge. Each type of bridge has its own unique benefits and drawbacks that you should take into consideration before making a purchase.

The vintage bridge is the original style used on Fender strats in the 1950s and 1960s. This type of bridge is simple and lightweight, which makes it ideal for players who want a traditional strat sound. However, the vintage bridge has a limited range of adjustment, so it may not be suitable for players who need more flexibility in their tone.

The modern bridge is a newer design that offers more adjustment options than the vintage bridge. This type of bridge is ideal for players who want to customize their tone. However, the modern bridge is heavier than the vintage bridge, so it may not be suitable for players who want a lightweight guitar.

The hardtail bridge is a fixed bridge that does not have any moving parts. This type of bridge is ideal for players who want a stable and consistent tone. However, the hardtail bridge does not offer as much flexibility as the other two types of bridges, so it may not be suitable for players who want to experiment with their tone.

Strat Bridges Buying Guide

Why You Should Buy a Stratocaster

Why would you pick a Strat above any of the other electric guitars on the market? While only you can evaluate whether or not a specific guitar is a suitable match for your playing style, there are many convincing reasons why the Stratocaster has proved to be the instrument of choice for so many musicians. With its three pickups and five-way selector switch, the Strat provides guitarists with a wide range of sound choices to get the sound they want. The Strat's tone pallet ranges from loud and twangy to calm and gloomy, and it can cover a wide range of musical styles.

Aside from the tone, the Strat has a really smooth and comfortable feel about it as well. Despite its curved body and neck joint, the Stratocaster is a comfortable instrument to grip and play, and its deep cutaways provide easy access to the whole fretboard. The fact that there are multiple different neck profiles to pick from means that there's a Strat to suit just about everyone's hand and playing style.

Fender Stratocasters

Since they have been in continuous production in one form or another since 1954, Fender Stratocaster guitars have proven to be one of the most durable electric guitars ever created.

The Artists' Series

The Artist Series of Stratocasters is a modestly priced line of guitars that are designed to imitate the sound and appearance of famous axes used by some of the world's most significant guitarists. The electronics, pickups, and cosmetics used on these instruments are inspired by the tastes of the musicians whose names are on them. For instance, the Jimi Hendrix Stratocaster, with its reversed headstock and bridge pickup, pays homage to the southpaw master's practice of restringing and turning over right-handed Strats in order to play them left-handed. The revised string geometry, in conjunction with the Vintage 65 pickups, produces the snap and fire that were hallmarks of Jimi's jaw-dropping approach in the 1960s.

The Fender Player Series

This Series of electric guitars were released in June, 2018 as the next generation of Fender electric guitars that are more affordable. Models from the Fender Player Series Stratocaster series are available in a number of various configurations. There are a variety of pickup setups, color options, and other options available, so there is something for everyone, even lefties. Whether you're rocking out in your bedroom or performing with a full band on stage, the Fender Player Strats are an excellent choice.

After that, let's have a look at few of the most important characteristics and specifications present across the complete Player Series Strat family:

  • Alder body
  • Choice of a maple or Pao Ferro fingerboard
  • Modern C-shaped maple neck
  • 9.5" fingerboard radius
  • Chrome hardware
  • Gloss neck and body finish
  • White plastic parts
  • Made in Mexico
  • Die-cast sealed tuning machines

The Fender Vintera Series

For each instrument in the Vintera Series, Fender provides two separate interpretations: a line inspired by the instruments of the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, and a "modified" version that contains a number of current upgrades, allowing players to have the best of both worlds.

  • Maple neck
  • Alder or Ash body
  • Pao ferro or maple fingerboard
  • Made in Mexico
  • Fingerboard radius varies by model

Strat Bridge FAQs

How Can I Install a Fender Tremolo Bridge?

Step 1

So you'll start by fixing the trim claw, which is where the springs will be attached, and then you'll go on to constructing the bridge. The first thing you'll want to do is wax up your screws, which you can do in few minutes. This will make it much simpler to install if you apply a little amount of wax or soap on the screw head beforehand. A long screwdriver is much more convenient for this procedure since you need to be really careful because it's possible to hit the body with the edge of the screwdriver and produce your first dent in the process. You'll need to place screws about a half-inch or so from the edge of the body since we'll be using them later on to modify the trim, or how loose or tight it is, depending on how it's installed. So that's an excellent place to start, and you'll need to pass your ground wire through into the next cavity at some time as well. So that's the first stage in the process.

Step 2.

You're going to put the posts in place. These are included with the bridge you purchase, and the threaded inserts in this case are already in the body when you purchase it, so you don't have to worry about putting them in and creating chips or anything like that. What you want to do for the time being is pull it down as far as it will go, and then we'll just leave it there for the time being. And then, later on, while we're setting up the bridge, we'll use these poles to alter the height of the front of the bridge. The screwdriver will have to go all the way down on this one since it's too tight. As a matter of fact, you should keep your fingers clear of this because, from my past experience, the blade of that screwdriver will leap out and make a big ugly ding right in your instrument.

Step 3.

Okay, now that you've gotten the first two down to a flush, you'll need to go get the bridge and install it. It should be able to fit inside the pocket without any issue. In addition, you'll see that there are two cuts that correlate with the posts on the wall. As soon as we put the springs on, the springs will hold it up against the post, and as soon as the strings are in, the string tension will raise it, and then we'll adjust it to the proper position. The best plan will be to keep it together while you flip it over since the first spring will come loose before the second spring is installed. You're going to move the spring to the front. Initially there are three springs, so you'll do one in the middle and one on each side. You should secure the bridge to the poles using screws. Ensure that the trim claw and a few of the springs are in place. There are a total of three and there are no restrictions on the number of springs you may use, however most current players prefer three springs at the most.

How Can I Install a Vintage Tremolo On a Fender Stratocaster?

Step 1.

The first thing I do is clean out each of the holes with a screwdriver, namely a Phillips head one. There are six holes in the bridge to accommodate the screws that keep it in place. This will assist you in preventing the paint from chipping around the holes as you install it. As a result, I just tidy them away. Afterwards, I carefully position the bridge along the path, aligning the holes along the way. The next thing I'm going to do is put some wax on the screwdriver. You may use a bar of soap, paraffin, beeswax, or whatever else you like. However, doing so will greatly aid in lubricating the screw and making it much simpler for you to insert the screw. I've screwed them in close to the bridge plate to keep them from moving. What I'm going to do now is take each screw a little bit farther down until the bridge tilts a little bit. After that, I back it off until it's completely flat. Then I'm going to do that on every screw in the house. With this method, you won't have anything preventing the bridge from opening. It has the ability to float freely. So let's get started.

Step 2.

It will lie flat if you rotate it a quarter turn from where it tilts. Take a step back. And repeat the process on all six of them. As a result, there is a very consistent point of contact across all of the screws. The trim claw is going to be installed as the following phase in the process. For the bridge pocket, this is placed near the end of the path to provide room for the springs, which are responsible for the treble's float. I'm going to start by waxing that screw, so it'll be a little bit simpler to insert later in the process. You should use a long screwdriver to ensure that you do not damage the body when putting this part in. And I also like to use the screwdriver to kind of open up the end of the screwdriver. Alternatively, I should mention the beginning of the hole, which makes it simpler to screw these screws into place.

Because of the angle of the screw, this is arguably one of the most difficult tasks to do. I'm going to wrap my fingers around the screwdriver and place them on the body of the screwdriver to make sure that I don't rip the body apart with the screwdriver handle while I'm doing this.

Most likely, it is best not to use a drill to complete this stage. You don't want to use a drill in this situation. It is quite hazardous. I've wrecked bodies in the past by attempting to do so. I'm going to remove the screw from the pocket by maybe a half-inch or so. As you prepare to wire the guitar, keep in mind that the trim claw will actually have a ground on it, which will aid in grounding the bridge. If you are touching the strings and the instrument is not grounded, you will hear noise. When springs are a little difficult to work with, I'll usually take a screwdriver and line them up with a ruler. This is going to be a little difficult. Alternatively, you might leave the claw a little farther out and then connect the springs before tightening it up. However, I want to get it as near to the final destination as possible before putting the springs in. It increases the stability of the bridge. That's all there is to it. The next step would be to assemble the remainder of the guitar, after which you may adjust the springs to get the desired tension for the trim and finish. Some individuals like it to be tightened so that it remains on the body, while others prefer it to float, but all of these options would be included in the arrangement.

Buy on Walmart, eBay, or Etsy

Floyd Rose 711-1409A Rail Tail Tremolo - Narrow (Chrome) - Etsy, eBay

Fender American Series Stratocaster Tremolo Bridge Assembly - Chrome - Etsy, eBay

Gotoh Traditional Tremolo for Strat, Chrome - Etsy, eBay

Babicz Z Series 6 Hole Strat Tremolo Narrow Spacing, Chrome (FCHZ6STNCHP) - Etsy, eBay

Conclusion for Strat Bridge Buyers

Choose a Stratocaster that matches your budget and taste. Maybe you don't want to pay a lot but want a classic Strat appearance and feel. Squier Vintage Modified Series will be a good choice if you want to buy a work of art and not just anything to play with. A Masterbuilt or Custom Deluxe Strat will probably do. Or if you're a pro who wants a Strat he can play every night, year after year. You should go with the American Professional Stratocaster.

About Jay Sandwich

Jay is an ex-shred guitar player and current modular synth noodler from a small town somewhere. Quote: “I’m a salty old sandwich with a perspective as fresh as bread.” No bull.

Leave a Reply