John also authored PG’s Guitar Shop 101 column, hosted several PG DIY videos, and is an authorized warranty technician trainer for Taylor Guitars. Again, use a String Action Gauge or precision steel ruler to read the gap between the top of the 12th fret and the bottom of the two E strings. If there’s a difference, determine the deviation in cents (a cent is 1/100th of a semitone) and write it down. For fretless instruments the bridge is generally located at the nominal bridge position. The fret file is shaped to put the crown back into a fret after it’s been leveled, and just so happens to work beautifully for this purpose as well. This will stop the grub screws and bolts moving so freely. (The largest gap typically occurs somewhere between the 7th and 10th frets.) 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. When you’re carving a new saddle, you have to know how much taller or shorter it needs to be compared to the one you’re replacing. 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. The owner wanted a “compensated” saddle to make the guitar play in tune, so we’ll cover that as well. You determine this by measuring the action at the 12th fret with the original saddle installed. However, there are some jobs that require more art than science, and making a bone saddle is one of those jobs where I have to trade in my lab coat for an artist’s smock. Before doing anything about the saddle, make … Clamp the sandpaper to a steady surface and place the saddle on it. This offsets the strings in such a way that will help them play more in tune with themselves up and down the neck (inasmuch any guitar could be considered “in tune”). #blackonblack #fender, Our buddies from Fidelity Bank stare agog as Aaron, You don’t see many of these floating around. A client recently brought in a beautiful sounding 1937 Martin 000-18 that needed a new saddle because the action was too low. Round off the corners of the blank on the sandpaper as well. 2). Once the blank is fairly flat, start trying to fit it into the notch in the guitar. When not working on guitars, I create experimental music under the moniker of UFO Death Cult, utilizing microtonal instruments of my own design. Next, hold down the low E string at the last fret and measure the greatest distance between the top of the frets and the bottom of the string. Now it’s time to get fancy. #fretwork #refret #get, If you’ve got an arch top bridge and want to mak, Hey everyone, we’re back in action! #dremel #cutoffwheel #, So where’s the rest of it? So we’re going to have to live with this .010" relief—no change here. The easiest way to do this is with a String Action Gauge—a handy tool available from I always compensate my saddles to help the guitar to intonate properly – the plain strings tend to run sharp if a straight saddle is used. Every guitar is different, and each saddle should be made accordingly. 2. Next, fret each string at the 12th fret and compare the fretted note to its corresponding harmonic. Instead of having adjustment screws the guitar tech can make small adjustments to the string length by careful filing. Ausgezeichnet! Using your fingers to provide continuous pressure, rub the blank back and forth on the sandpaper to flatten it evenly. 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. First, I inspected the bridge route to make sure it was flat and true. 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. For guitars and other fretted instruments the placement of the frets is based on the scale length. Begin by sanding the bone stock to the correct thickness of the saddle slot. If you want the new saddle to be the same height as the old one, mark the height on the blank as well. Let’s jump, The shop made it through the storm just fine, but. Using a variety of files, I carve the saddle to a sort of Z pattern. These saddles share an intonation setting bolt but as they’re compensated the tuner readings should be damn close. 2015. Then I move to 600-grit paper to polish the saddle. Gathering this baseline information will give you a sense of what the project will entail—what’s working and what needs fixing. Measuring relief. 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. It’s a great, inexpensive way to make a tonal change to your instrument. This guitar’s radius measured at 38cm (14″): I usually set my bridge radii to be slightly flatter than the fretboard radius. 1). This guitar provides us a perfect opportunity to discuss the process and challenges of creating an open-slot saddle. Remember: Always tune to pitch before taking these measurements. Here we dial in the individual strings of a typical steel string guitar. 16 Of course, I’ll make them anyway the player wants, but for the most part players seem to dig it the way I describe. I always start with the saddle way too tall, so I can cut it down to it’s proper height.