Jump to content
Gibson Brands Forums

1997 ES-165 bridge came off changing strings first time


Recommended Posts

I bought this guitar used on ebay around last May and just finally changed the strings. I didn't expect the bridge to come off at all but it did. There's marks where it was and some etches suggesting it moved (which is weird because the whole guitar had the best intonation among any I've ever owned even up and down the neck). Are these bridges supposed to be glued? Does anyone know how to or can guide me towards resources showing how to fix this? Any chance this is some sort of knock off? I tried to include my best image showing the bridge marking in the shiny white spot

Serial: 92817510

Thanks, Kevin



bridge marking.JPG

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Completely normal and exactly as it should be.  There is nothing at all wrong.

You have to learn to adjust the position and height of this properly when changing strings.  Many people avoid it by changing one at a time but sooner or later you have to deal with it.

1st, replace the bridge and base as close as possible to where it was before.  It may be that the ends of the base are in line with the mid-part of the f-holes.  The height wheels will have turned a bit so you will have to adjust that.  But before this, to keep the bridge where it is, put on the new high E and low E strings and wind them up just enough to keep the bridge in place.  You are likely going to have to move the bridge on its base back or forward very slightly.  This has to be done carefully so you don't scratch the top of the guitar.

The distance from the nut to the 12th fret should be the same as the distance from the 12th fret to where the string crosses the bridge.  Ideally the E string bridge saddles should be in the middle of their travel.  The base might not be exactly straight/parallel across the body of the guitar, which is also not unusual at all. 

When the string is up to tune, the harmonic at the 12th fret should be exactly the same pitch as the note and you should use an electronic tuner to measure this.  However you also need to adjust the height of the bridge and this is best done before putting the rest of the strings on and tuning right up to pitch. 

It's straightforward, even easy, enough once you know what to do, what you are trying to achieve and what you are doing.  Which is, setting length (and height) of all the strings by getting the bridge in the right spot (with the 2 E strings on), then the exact length/intonation of each one when they are all on and tuned.


Please have a good look at  this video.  He makes it a bit more complicated than it needs to be  IMO, but the basic information is there. 

After all that, you will still have to adjust the bridge saddles for every string which is the same procedure as on a guitar like a Les Paul.  This is intonation of course and there are more videos about that on youtube.  For instance, search for -  adjust tunamatic bridge saddles

Eventually you should be able to do the whole job with only a screwdriver to adjust the string saddles and intonate each string properly.


And -


Alternatively, you could take your guitar to a good guitar tech/repairman and pay him to show you how it's done.  This too is a good idea as he can explain the hows and whys of it all much better and more clearly than any video.  But you have to learn this!

If you know some or all of this already, I apologise for seeming patronising....but if you did I don't think you would have posted!

Good luck!

Edited by jdgm
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Create New...