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Do I need to loosen my strings when adjusting a TOM bridge?

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I have an Epiphone dot that has a tune-o-matic bridge. The thumbwheel has a slot for a flathead screwdriver, which I've been using to lower and raise the bridge with full string tension. Is this fine, or should I loosen the strings first? The Epiphone manual mentions nothing about loosening the strings. 

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If you can spin it with full string tension with your fingers then yes..... But if the screwdriver blade slips off there's a good chance you could put a nice gouge in the finish.

I loosen the strings and use my fingers

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1 hour ago, duane v said:

If you can spin it with full string tension with your fingers then yes..... But if the screwdriver blade slips off there's a good chance you could put a nice gouge in the finish.

I loosen the strings and use my fingers

What if I can't spin it with my fingers until full string tension, but it spins with a screwdriver? Is that ok? 

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Chances are you wont be able to spin it. My advice is to take the extra time and loosen the string tension a little. But certainly it's your choice.

The only time I use flathead screwdriver on the bridge is to intonate. And that freaks me out a little.

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Loosen them, no need to add more tension / stress on the threads or screw slots, which is what adjusting with tension will no doubt do.

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Like everyone else said, yes you can, but you risk gouging the screw head and putting stress on the screw and sleeve. I used to do it on my old G310 because it was a fairly cheap and old beater. I don't do it in my LPs because they are nicer and I care about them more.

Edited by RobinTheHood

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I always loosen the strings first. I see no reason not to. Same with adjusting intonation.

Well, actually, if I turn the screws clockwise, i.e., lower the bridge, that's less string tension and not more, so then I don't always loosen the strings. I think! I usually set up a bridge to where I want it, and then leave it there, so it's been a while.

 

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