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how to make a compensated guitar saddle

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Many people report a better tone, as bone tends to be harder than materials commonly used in many acoustic guitars, and it transfers the strings’ vibration into the guitar’s top more efficiently. The good news for me was that none of the strings were off more than a few cents, so I knew setting the intonation on the new saddle wouldn’t be a problem. By contrast, the ends of an open-slot saddle are exposed and tapered to match the contour of the bridge itself (Fig. PRS SE Hollowbody II Piezo: The PG Review, 3. #dremel #cutoffwheel #, So where’s the rest of it? Your Pedalboards 2020: Part Deux, 1. John LeVan has written five guitar repair books published by Mel Bay. John also authored PG’s Guitar Shop 101 column, hosted several PG DIY videos, and is an authorized warranty technician trainer for Taylor Guitars. 2). Using your fingers to provide continuous pressure, rub the blank back and forth on the sandpaper to flatten it evenly. // Leaf Group Lifestyle. Deal with it. Measuring action. This 000-18 had .010" of relief, which is acceptable, but not ideal. From this point on, things get tedious: a bone saddle should fit easily into the slot, but shouldn’t be so loose that it will fall out. Begin by sanding the bone stock to the correct thickness of the saddle slot. Most modern flattops have a drop-in saddle that’s housed in a slot routed into the bridge. If you don’t have a metal bar to mount your self-adhesive sandpaper, a 1/4" piece of glass will also work well. 1. Measuring intonation. If the saddle’s bottom isn’t perfectly flat, it won’t be making complete contact with the bottom of the slot or with the pickup, and can cause tonal loss or dead strings if a pickup is used. I find that this gives the impression of a lower, more comfortable action, where the player isn’t having to reach over the middle strings to reach the bass strings. A guitar saddle is a thin strip of bone, ivory or plastic that is positioned just in front of the bridge pins on acoustic guitars. When removing material from the bottom of the saddle, it’s important to make sure that it’s DEAD flat, especially if there’s an undersaddle pickup involved. The next step is to shape the top of the saddle. Rub the saddle on the sandpaper again, this time to even out the top and bottom. I mark my measurements to the bone blank, and rough it in to get it close to the right size on the bandsaw and belt sander. A compensated saddle is the Acousic Guitar version of the tune-o-matic type bridge, where the length of each string is individually adjustable so that you can adjust intonation. If the saddle becomes too thin, you'll need to start over. Your guitar is out of tune. The final step of the evaluation is to check intonation with a strobe tuner. I always start with the saddle way too tall, so I can cut it down to it’s proper height. One beautiful bone saddle, perfectly fit. A drop-in saddle is surrounded on its front, back, and both ends by the bridge. Mark the ends as treble and bass. Clamp the sandpaper to a steady surface and place the saddle on it. There’s no quick way to get this kind of tight fit – this takes time, patience, and elbow grease. First, I inspected the bridge route to make sure it was flat and true. Close enough for jazz as they say. Lastly, I install the saddle, string it up, and make careful measurements to set the guitar’s action. The easiest way to do this is with a String Action Gauge—a handy tool available from stewmac.com. So we’re going to have to live with this .010" relief—no change here. Use four fingers to apply pressure when sanding. 2015. Before starting a project like this, it’s important to take four primary measurements: neck relief, action at the 12th fret, action at the 1st fret, and intonation. I use the radius gauge to mark the top of the bone blank (in this case, 40cm (16″)), rough it in on the belt sander, and then use the appropriate radius block to sand it down to exactly the right curve. Notice how the saddle’s ends are exposed,rather than enclosed in a routed slot. 16 When not working on guitars, I create experimental music under the moniker of UFO Death Cult, utilizing microtonal instruments of my own design. */, Copyright ©2020. (The largest gap typically occurs somewhere between the 7th and 10th frets.) I also am slowly learning to speak German. And there you have it! To learn more about John’s repair and restoration workshops for players, technicians, and retail employees, visit guitarservices.com. An action of 4/64" on the treble, and 5/64" on the bass side is ideal. I usually make my saddles and nuts out of cow bone – it works well, looks good, is resistant to wear, and is more readily available than unicorn horn and dragon’s tooth. Next, fret each string at the 12th fret and compare the fretted note to its corresponding harmonic. Once the blank is fairly flat, start trying to fit it into the notch in the guitar. #1921 #gibson #L, Benjamin has written an article on one of his favo, Aaron getting his grind on. I took the strings of my Taylor 210 off and thought tonight when I'm tired would be a great time to "sand down" the bridge. Start by placing a capo directly on the 1st fret. Using each harmonic as a benchmark, check the fretted note against it. Design, CMS, Hosting & Web Development :: ePublishing, On PremierGuitar.com, "Sponsored Content" refers to articles, videos, or audio recordings that are produced or curated by an advertiser but that, Guitar Shop 101: Touch-up a String Nut with Super Glue, Guitar Shop 101: Using Super Glue in Guitar Repair, Guitar Shop 101: Happy Little (String) Trees, Guitar Shop 101: How to Repair Delaminated Neck Binding, Guitar Shop 101: How to Intonate an Acoustic 12-String, Guitar Shop 101: How to Install an Onboard Buffer System in a Strat, Guitar Shop 101: How to Take Your Les Paul into the Slide Zone, Guitar Shop 101: How to Replace a Zero Fret, 1. How to Make an Inlay Sticker for a Guitar, How to Remove Waterslide Decals From the Guitar Headstock, Copyright 2020 Leaf Group Ltd. All Rights Reserved. Carving a new saddle for any flattop guitar takes skill and patience, but crafting an open-slot saddle—the type that’s found on vintage Martins and many other older guitars—is especially tricky. Fig. /* Add your own Mailchimp form style overrides in your site stylesheet or in this style block. If you opt to use the top of your bench for this, make sure it’s dead flat, otherwise the saddle won’t fit properly. Privacy Policy | Again, this takes some time, but anything worth doing is worth doing right. Round off the corners of the blank on the sandpaper as well. I start by marking the saddle between the G and B strings, and then marking over the parts of the saddle that I want to carve away. I rough in the curves on the saddle’s ends using the above method, and then put a perfect round on it using a fret file loaded in to a vice. A client recently brought in a beautiful sounding 1937 Martin 000-18 that needed a new saddle because the action was too low.

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November 13, 2020 |

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