Upgrading and Modifying Your Guitar Hardware

Upgrading and Modifying Your Guitar Hardware

You can improve certain aspects of a poorly performing guitar by upgrading certain hardware components. In some, if not all, cases, a guitar that is stiff in the body and neck, and that feels and plays you enjoy, can only be improved by adding a better bridge and/or tail, for example, improved synths, a new nut, etc. till then.

Going high with everything though may add up to more than your guitar is worth, so in some cases it’s best to just sell what you have and look for a new (or used) guitar that is outfitted with better parts in Primarily.

If you want to upgrade any or all of your hardware, sticking with retro-fit components, which are an exact match in composition to the original equipment on your guitar, often make modifications possible for you to do yourself with a few basic tools.
Be aware, however, that bridge saddles have to be slotted often, a delicate job that requires the correct coils, and setting up the guitar properly after changing hardware so that it plays its best often requires some advanced skills and prior experience.

You can, for example, improve the tone and vibrato function of a relatively cheap overseas-made Strato by upgrading to one of the many high-quality alternatives available.

I prefer this one costing over $135 at the time of writing, and it doesn’t include any labor required to install it if you can’t do the work yourself, which could be a large percentage of the total cost of the budget or entry-level electric guitar you intend to put it on.

Likewise, fully adjustable coil-over replacement bridges (with individual saddles) can sell for anywhere from $80 to $139, so it’s a great investment unless you’re looking for a high-end guitar upgrade that will take advantage of this part. However, if you shop around, you can generally find alternative components that work well for much less, and many of them may still be upgrades over entry level gadgets.

If you’re looking to improve back-to-pitch efficiency for a vibration you use frequently, a roller saddle bridge (with saddles that roll to move the strings back and forth while you use the vibration) and a set of locking tuners can have been at a price well worth the cut in resetting frustration.