FRETS.COM Illustrated Glossary

Not the same on all instruments
© Frank Ford, 9/6/98 Photos by FF

OK, here's a bit of confusion.

On fretted instruments, the saddle is the part of the bridge over which the string passes and which defines the vibrating end of the string.

Here's a regular guitar saddle:

On arch top instruments such as mandolins and jazz guitars, the bridge is often composed of two pieces. In this case, the upper piece is called the "saddle," or more simply, "bridge top."

The bottom of the bridge is usually called the "bridge base."

Here's one for you. The famous Gibson Tune-A-Matic saddle:

OK, if the top part of the bridge is the saddle, then what are the little adjustable pieces called? Saddles, too?

Instruments of the violin family have bridges and saddles, too. The bridge is obvious enough:

It holds the strings up and is analogous to the bridge of fretted instruments.

The saddle however, is the piece that supports the tailpiece against the top:

All this is a bit much, isn't it?

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