Do you want to know how to clean a guitar bridge? Is a rusty guitar bridge bad? If your guitar bridge is already dirty and rusty, then you should already start cleaning it before it loses its shine and affects your guitar’s appearance. Whether it is an electric or acoustic, there are always ways to clean them, which are not just effective but also cheap and very easy to do.
So, is a rusty guitar bridge bad? Yes, ideally, the bridge of your guitar should not have any rust on it. Rust can make your guitar bridge look dirty and ugly, but the guitar bridge is also one of the most frequently touched of all the guitar parts, so there is really a high chance that it can acquire rust, especially if not cleaned all the time.
Aside from the dirty appearance, a rusty guitar bridge will also make your guitar sound dull and mute, which is really not good to listen to. This usually happens when the rust starts to corrode the bridge. It also speeds up the corrosion of your guitar strings, which can be uncomfortable to play with. Rusty strings can also cut your fingers, so you should really prevent your guitar from being corroded with rust.
So, what is a guitar bridge, and why is there a need to clean them always? The guitar bridge is what supports the guitar strings on your guitar and transmits the produced vibration from the strumming of the strings to the guitar’s soundboard, which then transfers the sound to the surrounding air. The guitar bridge is one of the essential components that shape the sound of your guitar.
This is why you should never let your guitar bridge be corroded by rust, and as much as possible, you clean it every time you use it.
How To Clean An Electric Guitar Bridge
There are many ways to clean a bridge, especially if it is from an electric guitar, but you can use this method as it is maybe one of the easiest to remove the dirt and rust in your guitar bridge.
For the first step, get a lint-free cloth and use it to wipe it to the bridge. Some dust and dirt can be removed using a cloth, so it would be better to wipe it first before doing anything on the guitar’s bridge. Using cloth is also an effective way to clean a guitar’s bridge if it is not really that dirty yet.
The second step would be to remove all the strings. When the dirt and the rust have really infiltrated your guitar’s bridge, then you should really remove the guitar strings so that you can focus on cleaning it. You should also expect that your strings are already starting to be rusty when there is also some build-up of rust in your guitar bridge.
The next step is to find a toothbrush and dish soap and prepare warm water. As the bridge is one of the most touched guitar parts, the oils and the dirt from the player’s hands can cause the bridge to accumulate rust when it is not adequately cleaned. This is why you will need more than a cloth to clean your bridge.
Although you can use any toothbrush you want, the preference would be to use a soft-bristled one as you would want to avoid scratching the guitar’s bridge. A toothbrush with soft bristles also makes it easier to clean all the parts of the bridge, which would be needed to remove all the stains and rust.
For the soap, you can use any type, even if it is for washing the dishes. You must make a solution out of soap and warm water to clean the guitar bridge. Add some drops of your dish soap into the warm water. Plunge a cloth into the solution and squeeze to remove any excess. Now, wipe the bridge using the cloth, and last, scrub all parts of the bridge using the toothbrush. Put the focus on areas where the rust has started to build up.
After brushing the guitar bridge, you should let it dry first before doing anything, and even avoid restring it immediately. Your guitar must dry out to avoid damaging it if the water soaks into the wood. The guitar can swell if not properly dried out, so you must be careful in doing this.
For electric guitars like Les Pauls and SGs, you can remove their bridge, which is good, as you can protect your guitar from getting wet when cleaning the bridge, but for Strats, it would really be difficult to remove it and can be a hassle to set up again, so you have to clean while it is attached on the guitar.
The fifth step is to use a cotton swab for some spots where it would be tough to reach for a cloth or brush. A floating bridge has one of the most difficult spots to reach, so you would really have to do this step if your guitar has one. It would be a challenging task, but it would still make a great difference if done properly so that the bridge could be cleaned thoroughly.
However, if the bridge can be removed from the guitar, use WD-40 on it, as it is an effective way to remove rust and protects from any build-up. Use the toothbrush to apply the WD-40 to the bridge. Remember that this can only be done if the guitar bridge is removed from the electric guitar.
Lastly, use some polishers for guitar parts to make the bridge shine. Find some polish that also protects the bridge from the residues of fingerprints. This will extend to where you must clean your guitar bridge again.
How To Clean An Acoustic Guitar Bridge
To clean an acoustic guitar bridge, you will need to find two dry and clean cloths, warm water, and a bar of dish soap. Yes, if you notice, these are the same materials used except for the toothbrush in cleaning a bridge of an acoustic guitar.
After you make a solution of warm water and soap, now start to remove the guitar strings and bridge pins. You must have sufficient space when cleaning the bridge, which is why you need to remove the guitar strings, so you can freely clean the bridge without any hindrances. The next step is to remove the saddle.
The third step is to dip the clean cloth into the solution and start to wipe the bridge. Give some importance to the parts where the dirt has really started to build up. Make sure that the dirt is removed before you stop wiping.
After you have cleaned the dirt on your guitar’s bridge, you can now dry your guitar out. You must wipe all the water on your guitar with the second cloth to avoid damaging your guitar. If there is some stubborn dirt on the guitar’s bridge, you can use a toothbrush to remove it.
Lastly, ensure that your guitar is dry before reinserting the saddle and restring your acoustic guitar. A wet spot on your acoustic guitar can result in damage if left uncleaned; that is why you should be mindful when cleaning any parts of your guitar.
So, is a rusty guitar bridge bad? Yes, in terms of aesthetics, a rusty guitar bridge is not really good to look at, which is why it should really be cleaned as frequently as possible. A rusty guitar bridge also affects the guitar sound, especially if it has already corroded a part of the bridge.