After getting my Washburn serviced, including having the double-locking floating bridge re-floated with new strings, I'm reaching the point where one string is right at the limit of tightening using the bridge tuning peg. The others have lots of travel and the strings are nowhere near work out, they haven't had lots of use and I play very gently.

Since it's just one string - the D from memory - can I get away with 'cheating' and give myself a bit more space without messing things up? For instance if I:

  1. slacken the neck bolt
  2. slacken the bridge peg
  3. tighten up the head tuning peg a turn
  4. re-lock the neck bolt
  5. re-tune using bridge pegs

In my mind this would work since I'm never drastically reducing tension in any string and only unlocking one. But I've heard how notoriously fickle these setups can be!

  • 3
    I plead ignorance here: why wouldn't you adjust the machine head so the string's in tune at the midpoint of the bridge adjuster range? Jan 14, 2015 at 16:08
  • That's pretty much what I am suggesting. I think that's how it was with new strings but as they've stretched from new I ran out of room so I'm proposing to "reset" this but am nervous in case I unbalance the floating bridge
    – Mr. Boy
    Jan 14, 2015 at 16:31
  • (Make sure to do your steps in order. -captain obvious)
    – amalgamate
    Jan 14, 2015 at 16:36
  • OK, well... :-) I doubt you'll do anything to the bridge just by releasing tension on a single string (and re-threading into the machine head). Jan 14, 2015 at 17:34
  • Yeah, but with the bullet points I found myself re-reading the question. I was just being pedantic. I imagined a slightly smaller chance of breaking a string than if you started with step 3. I'm guessing none of this should really mess with the set-up, right? People break strings, I imagine that the guitar should still be fine even at that worse case(broken string). (I'm asking, I guess.)
    – amalgamate
    Jan 14, 2015 at 19:21

2 Answers 2


It makes sense for the bridge tuners to be about in the middle of their travel (a couple of turns in from the top is recommended) while the new strings are being tuned using the head machine heads. That way, any subsequent adjustment at the bridge will be available, up or down. Maybe the tech didn't do this, but should have. Yes, your plan should work - and while you're at it, check each bridge adjuster for being in the middle of its travel . Then you've plenty of leeway. Nothing needs taking off, just slackening.When you say neck bolt, hope you don't mean the truss rod!

  • Neck-bolt == locking nuts at the neck :)
    – Mr. Boy
    Jan 14, 2015 at 15:37
  • I have one of these - the best way I've found to get it in tune is what this answer advises. I slacken the locking bolts on the neck, move the fine-tuners to the midrange, then use the machineheads on the head to tune. when in tune, re-lock the nut and tune with the fine tuners. When I'm tuning mine initially, my general rule is tune string 1, then tune 2, then go back and tune 1. then tune 3, and after that, 1 and 2, then 4, 1,2,3, etc. this way you don't get to the high E and realise that the rest of the strings are a half step out now. gradual adjustments.
    – jammypeach
    Jan 14, 2015 at 17:28
  • 2
    @jammypeach - you may find that starting with the bottom strings is slightly more productive as they present more tension, so by the time you're at the top, the guitar has more or less stabilised.
    – Tim
    Jan 14, 2015 at 22:57
  • @Tim right you are, and I usually do - I realise I've given the impression to start with the bottom strings but I really should have said top or just whatever string you normally start with. I'll edit the comment to make it clearer, thanks. Edit - I can't edit it now but your comment stands :)
    – jammypeach
    Jan 15, 2015 at 2:07
  • @jammypeach good advice but this isn't a question about restringing and tuning, but tweaking the setup on an already-tuned guitar. I suppose in theory though, slackening all the neck locking bolts shouldn't cause harm in itself as the tensions aren't altered.
    – Mr. Boy
    Jan 15, 2015 at 8:46

In my experience it is better to move the bridge tuners close to the top, i.e. the position where you can hardly tune down but you have the maximum range for tuning up. Then you tune the guitar properly using the machine heads, and then you lock the system. The reason is that the strings always get lower (i.e. they relax), you hardly ever need to tune them higher, unless you're experiencing drastic (and lasting) temperature changes.

  • Not to mention that overtightening strings is a good way to break them :-( Jan 14, 2015 at 16:09
  • One strings have settled/bedded in I tend to find they are quite stable and detune due to temperature, i.e. in both directions. At least that's the case with my acoustic... maybe some would say once they stop stretching they should be replaced but that's not my approach.
    – Mr. Boy
    Jan 14, 2015 at 16:32
  • @Mr.Boy: I'm just talking about my experience with the electric guitar. At "normal" rehearsal/gig temperatures I never needed to use the bridge tuners to tune down.
    – Matt L.
    Jan 14, 2015 at 17:17

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