6 piece saddle hex screws question

Swingcat

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This may be a very dumb question and I searched and found some info but not quite what i was looking for. Sorry if this has been covered (I'm guessing it probably has) but for 6 piece saddles, is even height for the hex screws on both sides of any given string piece always the goal, or do asymmetrical heights (one higher/lower) provide some adjustment benefit? If so, can someone please explain what benefit and summarize best practices on adjustments?

I read that they should be even, but mine are not usually. Once I get the string length and height where the guitar intonates and plays how I want, i always find myself make a bunch of little adjustments and they never end up even. I got tired of trial and error and not really knowing so I figured I ask.

To rephrase, my question is not how or why to adjust, or anything about differences between strings, it's for one string, should it be even height on both sides or is uneven height an adjustment feature of some kind?
It sounds like you have saddles with two height adjusting screws on each saddle, and if I read your question correctly, you wish to know if the saddles should be adjusted with both screws at the same height?
If that's the question, yes, they should be approximately the same. If they are uneven, the shorter side has less pressure on the bridge, potentially allowing it to buzz, or not have enough pressure to properly transfer string vibrations.
When adjusting string height, simply adjust BOTH height screws a little at a time to keep them even. They don't have to be exact, but should be close.
I am a guitar builder, so not just guessing.
 

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dax44

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Level, angled saddles do not follow fingerboard radius any differently than flat saddles adjusted to the correct height. The only time I have angled the saddles was to compensate for a alignment issues between bridge and neck, or a non-standard too-wide or too-narrow bridge and I wanted to encourage the strings to shift slightly one way or another. Ducking around in other words.
 

Wrighty

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I think in principle uneven is ok, except that if we're talking about blocks that are truly cheek-by-jowl, unevenness means they are tilted and possibly crowding each other. I have such saddles in a partscaster and I suspect that some of the sitar-like sounds I get (usually on the B string) is due in part to the saddles not being held down properly by string tension when they are tilted. So I try to keep them very even.
Yep, exactly what I’ve found, only with blocks though.
 

KCFretsAB763

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Your strings should approximate the radius of the fretboard, but the individual saddles should be level and parallel to the front of the guitar body.

The saddles should stair step higher in the middle and lower on the outside, but each saddle should be level.

It might not be an issue if some are slightly angled, but there’s no reason to do so, and it can cause problems, so I keep mine level. OMMV.
THIS is the answer....
 

Monoprice99

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Why the feet should be even ? The bridge plate is a flat piece of metal. When the string pulls down in the center of the saddle, the screw that is higher is bearing all the tension from the break angle. Adjusting the screws for any given saddle you can feel that tension difference. Either the screw is moving freely or bearing some of the string tension load force. The 2 screws for a saddle are designed to work as pairs at even heights. If only 1 screw did the job, there wouldn't be 2 of them per saddle. Is the world going to end if it isn't perfect even ? Nope, do as you like, but the saddle screw may further loosen and make a rattle noise, because that's what loose things do when they vibrate.

Another thing about the saddle itself, it may not be perfectly cast or bent and in that case to level the saddle, one screw may need to be screwed in deeper than another on the same saddle. They are independent saddles and manufactured to a tolerance.

Barrel Saddles that have 2 strings per saddle are another thing altogether, they have to be uneven otherwise to be even, have 1 string slot cut deeper to account for fretboard radius.
 
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76standard

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This may be a very dumb question and I searched and found some info but not quite what i was looking for. Sorry if this has been covered (I'm guessing it probably has) but for 6 piece saddles, is even height for the hex screws on both sides of any given string piece always the goal, or do asymmetrical heights (one higher/lower) provide some adjustment benefit? If so, can someone please explain what benefit and summarize best practices on adjustments?

I read that they should be even, but mine are not usually. Once I get the string length and height where the guitar intonates and plays how I want, i always find myself make a bunch of little adjustments and they never end up even. I got tired of trial and error and not really knowing so I figured I ask.

To rephrase, my question is not how or why to adjust, or anything about differences between strings, it's for one string, should it be even height on both sides or is uneven height an adjustment feature of some kind?
Here is how and when I adjust the hex screws on the bridge saddles.

First, I set string height at a starting point of 4/64” for all strings at the 17th fret. Doing so will theoretically match the neck radius. The top of the saddles should be level, not high or low, or tip to one side or the other, regardless of the height of the hex screws. A quick check is to look down the neck from the headstock towards the bridge to ensure the top each saddle is level with the bridge plate.

If Fender put the correct hex screws on each saddle, meaning the appropriate height, both screws on each saddle should be at the same height if you adjust them for the string height I mentioned.
 

jescoelvis

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Are the height adjustment screws hex screws? (Allen wrench). If so get a second and have wrenches in both screws and adjust until level/both touching…make micro adjustments until height is right and both screw contacting the plate. Take your time. Don’t drink coffee beforehand.
 

telemnemonics

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Certain individuals get quite militant in their opinion in this, staring that it is very very bad to have those saddles tilted.
Three saddle Tele bridges are bad, very bad.

If your guitar has problems wih saddles tilted a bit?
Straighten them out.
If no problem, then no problem.

G&L puts a set screw in the side of some bridges allowing you to clamp them all together side to side. Those must be level.
 

Thadocaster

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Ideally they should be flat. IME have had to tilt the high E to get it to not buzz.
 

redhouse_ca

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Certain individuals get quite militant in their opinion in this, staring that it is very very bad to have those saddles tilted.
Three saddle Tele bridges are bad, very bad.

If your guitar has problems wih saddles tilted a bit?
Straighten them out.
If no problem, then no problem.

G&L puts a set screw in the side of some bridges allowing you to clamp them all together side to side. Those must be level.
Yeah man, better to not know and still get it right than know and still not get it!
 

redhouse_ca

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It sounds like you have saddles with two height adjusting screws on each saddle, and if I read your question correctly, you wish to know if the saddles should be adjusted with both screws at the same height?
If that's the question, yes, they should be approximately the same. If they are uneven, the shorter side has less pressure on the bridge, potentially allowing it to buzz, or not have enough pressure to properly transfer string vibrations.
When adjusting string height, simply adjust BOTH height screws a little at a time to keep them even. They don't have to be exact, but should be close.
I am a guitar builder, so not just guessing.
Thanks, yeah that's pretty much the question. I guess I could have just asked "is there any reason to have the screws uneven?"
 

redhouse_ca

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Level, angled saddles do not follow fingerboard radius any differently than flat saddles adjusted to the correct height. The only time I have angled the saddles was to compensate for a alignment issues between bridge and neck, or a non-standard too-wide or too-narrow bridge and I wanted to encourage the strings to shift slightly one way or another. Ducking around in other words.
Thanks, you hit on exactly what I was asking. I've had the latter situation, as others have posted, the little nudge can be helpful Could you explain the compensation part a bit more? if there is some small compensation benefit, I may have stumbled on it to remedy some small issue in alignment and just not known it. I shoot for even, but as stated, when fine tuning after set up I sometimes end up uneven here or there, but I don't quite understand why (I mean, the tweak gets it how I want it, so I know "why" I'm making the adjustment, just not what it might be compensating for). Thank you!
 

redhouse_ca

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Are the height adjustment screws hex screws? (Allen wrench). If so get a second and have wrenches in both screws and adjust until level/both touching…make micro adjustments until height is right and both screw contacting the plate. Take your time. Don’t drink coffee beforehand.
Ha, your right about the coffee. I also try and avoid talking on the phone to my mother while I do it.
 

redhouse_ca

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the idea is to provide YOU with virtually unlimited adjustment to achieve the right metrics for your preferred setup... thus the height of the screws is dictated by what YOU prefer, not some list of specifics someone else has determined is correct..
Right on.
 

redhouse_ca

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Why the feet should be even ? The bridge plate is a flat piece of metal. When the string pulls down in the center of the saddle, the screw that is higher is bearing all the tension from the break angle. Adjusting the screws for any given saddle you can feel that tension difference. Either the screw is moving freely or bearing some of the string tension load force. The 2 screws for a saddle are designed to work as pairs at even heights. If only 1 screw did the job, there wouldn't be 2 of them per saddle. Is the world going to end if it isn't perfect even ? Nope, do as you like, but the saddle screw may further loosen and make a rattle noise, because that's what loose things do when they vibrate.

Another thing about the saddle itself, it may not be perfectly cast or bent and in that case to level the saddle, one screw may need to be screwed in deeper than another on the same saddle. They are independent saddles and manufactured to a tolerance.

That's interesting. I didn't even think about that. Thanks.


Barrel Saddles that have 2 strings per saddle are another thing altogether, they have to be uneven otherwise to be even, have 1 string slot cut deeper to account for fretboard radius.
 

Monoprice99

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That's interesting. I didn't even think about that. Thanks.


Barrel Saddles that have 2 strings per saddle are another thing altogether, they have to be uneven otherwise to be even, have 1 string slot cut deeper to account for fretboard radius.
The other thing about having the saddle feet posts leveled as a pair, the sides of the individual saddles are flush, at least the block shaped modern individual saddles are and when all 6 of those saddles are side by side they are free to slide & intonate. They are like steel bricks that move with a minimal gap between them. The strings are supposed to approximate the fretboard radius, since they are individual saddles bot screws would need to be adjusted for height to the frets radius & thus the radius of the fretboard. (1st photo)

Barrel saddles have a much wider stance and have the pair of deeper grooves. There are compensated barrel saddles too. They are also drilled & threaded at an angle to intonate as a pair of strings. The trade off is relative accuracy of the intonation for 1 or both strings that the barrel adjusts for, may not even have a string guide groove. (2nd & 4th photos)

And the bent saddles, even though they aren't brick shaped, the edges of them at the base and areas where they bend still need to be flush for whatever portions of them interact with one another. (3rd photo)
 

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T Prior

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I set my guitars up so that the saddles approximate the radius curve. I've been doing this for a couple of decades. I have never noticed or observed strings moving on the saddle . I suspect there is perhaps a reason why "6 saddle bridges and 3 saddle bridges " have "TWO" set screws, one on each end of the saddle.

I am guessing we can have a 1000 post thread on this subject, ever few months ! :) I hope so !
 
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