I haven't worked on guitars in over 20yrs and even then it was basic basic stuff, but wanted to get back into it again as a hobby.

I got a $10 Washburn (Nuno Bettencourt series) from a flea market last year, which the previous owner painted purple, removed the Floyd and filled in the front hole with wood, and put in a 2-piece bridge like a Les Paul.

Not at all measured out properly and can no longer use the original wood finish so, filled in the back with wood, glued in dowels where the bridge holes were, etc... sanded and now debating what to do.

I was looking at through the body ferrules, and a Gotoh tune-o-matic from Stewmac, had a lot of good reviews and within budget. But, no height adjusters or grooves... so likely will have to buy some tools.

Just wondering, what basics would people here recommend? I don't want to spend a lot on tools, since not sure how into the hobby I'll get, nor do I want to break the bank.

I see under the string radius gauges, guages that are big squares almost that sit on the board, files, sanding blocks, filing blocks, etc....

Basically, most bang for the buck tools for installing the bridge and setting it up properly since the neck seems to be fine (and already built). Thanks

Washburn Nuno Bettencourt N2 (I think)
Last edited by THRobinson at Apr 2, 2016,
Well, for example, a Fender Strat bridge has the small grub screws to adjust the saddle heights.

The Gotoh and Nashville tune-o-matics on Stewmac, flat straight across and no notches for the strings to sit in. Watching setup videos for these bridges, looks like you're supposed to notch yourself and match the radius yourself as well.

Saddle Setup of Tune-O-Matic


I haven't purchased any hardware yet, but, lots of good reviews on the Gotoh, it's within my budget, and since I am going gold, I want to make sure the "shade" of gold is the same for all my hardware so trying to buy all the same brand.
Last edited by THRobinson at Apr 2, 2016,
Well, i personally think it would be better to just get a pre slotted tune o matic bridge. They sell gotoh bridges pre slotted. If your guitar had a floyd before, it should have a 12" radius fretboard.

Last edited by Explorerbuilder at Apr 3, 2016,
I don't know what it had before... well, originally it had a floyd rose on it, the previous owner filled that in and added a 2-piece but, didn't measure it out properly at all. When I got it the part that holds the strings was missing, tune-o-matic was a bit of a mess. Basically, I filled in the holes with wooden dowels/glue, filled in the back where the springs were as well, even filled in where the 3-way switch was because didn't like it there. Essentially starting over.

Looking for bridges, started to notice different radius' and spacing for strings, as well, some people mount the tune-o-matics squared off to the neck and some seem to put it at a slight angle.

That's where I am now... the research phase. I know how I want it to look, just want to make sure things work and go together as easily as possible.
Last edited by THRobinson at Apr 3, 2016,
Stew Mac has a great selection of bridges. I put a Nashville tuneomatic on my Les Paul style build. You need to know some basic things and have some basic tools. Mine has a Fender style bolt on neck which I'm guessing yours has. This means it has a 25 1/2 inch scale length. This is a critical length to know as if the bridge is misplaced you will never get the intonation right. You can also buy a string spacing guide and file to properly space the string grooves. You really need a drill press to drill the holes but might be able to get away with a hand held one if you're very careful.
I have a lot of the tools, like drill press, drills, routers, etc... use to have a full shop almost at my folks house, but when they moved and downsized, well, it was a disorganized move and some stuff is hard to find or missing parts.

Stuff I don't have would be guitar specific stuff like the radius gauges, or the curved fret sanders, files, etc.

Scale length is where I think the previous owner messed up. Tune-o-matic was too far back, and the tail piece was way too far back.

Tune-o-matic wise "...has to be angled more towards the bass string side..." is it towards the bass or the high end? Usually when I see pics of guitars like a Les Paul, the bridge is angles closer towards the pickup on the high end, not the low.

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Last edited by THRobinson at Apr 4, 2016,
@Explorerbuilder - oh good, I was wondering for a bit that all my reading was wrong and I'd have to re-research it all.

I saw that on StewMac, pretty handy site for that stuff, especially the videos. They have a lot of nice stuff, and I'll probably but a few things there, but, being in Canada... exchange, shipping, duty, etc... really gouges into the budget a lot. :S

Especially now, I was working on that Washburn, but came across a good deal on a Gibson Les Paul style archtop body... can't pass on it, so, picking that up on Friday. Which means, I'll probably have more questions to ask on here.