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Acoustic Bridge insert...

Discussion in 'Other Guitars, other instruments' started by schmee, Mar 5, 2021.

  1. schmee

    schmee Doctor of Teleocity

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    ... who'da thought it would be so hard to find the right one?
    First: many sellers don't say what the radius is,
    Next:many sellers don't say what string spacings will work.
    and: Most have a radius, most dont say what it is!

    I'm lazy, I want to buy one with the radius done and was leaning toward a compensated bone or Tusc bridge insert.
    I have a new one here I bought last fall but, it's a compensated bridge and my 2" spacing wont work on it. The low E string ends up right on the transition between compensations.

    So yesterday i just thought "I'll just buy another". An hour later still haden't found all the specs.
     
  2. Boreas

    Boreas Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    I am not sure I follow. By "bridge insert" are you talking about saddles for an acoustic guitar?

    Most acoustics are a pretty flat radius so I don't thing many manufacturers specify, because it doesn't matter much.

    With a wide spacing, you may have to make a custom saddle if you want abrupt, zig-zag type string compensation. Many luthiers prefer to stay with a traditional smooth saddle (in an angled slot of course), and roll (file) the top of the saddle front or back to change intonation. They just start with a smooth uncompensated blank and compensate it themselves. It is really fairly easy to do yourself, and you can even get fiddly with the radius if you wish.

    You can also compensate the nut if you are so inclined...
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2021
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  3. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Poster Extraordinaire

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    Schmee, the most common saddle blanks are either 3/32 (Martin) or 1/8 (Gibson) thick. Most common fretboard radius is 16 inch altho you will see 12 and 20 on some guitars. Most saddles are either not compensate or the high E and G are pushed to the front of the saddle, the B and low E to the very back. Most acoustic saddles are flat on the bottom.

    You can buy pre shaped and pre compensated saddles from any of a number of sources including StewMac, LMII, Bob Colosi. I prefer to make my own because I can get a better fit in the slot and maybe do a better job of compensating. If you buy a premade saddle you will have to sand its bottom to set the action anyway.
     
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  4. schmee

    schmee Doctor of Teleocity

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    it's an old Guild with a 12" radius.
    I'm lazy and want the radius pre done.
    Yeah I know I have to adjust the height.
    Yeah, it's the Zig Zag that interferes with some string spacings, so it matters and few specify.
    I dont really have to have the compensation, but surprisingly it's easier to find compensated saddles than to find plain ones in the specs I need!

    At any rate one seller is sending me a bone saddle free! So we'll see.... Thanks
     
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  5. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Poster Extraordinaire

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    I could make you one in about an hour but I would have to have the guitar in front of me. I don't believe you can buy a premade saddle (or nut) off the internet that will work optimally in almost any guitar. Something like a Taylor, maybe, but not an old guild.
     
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  6. schmee

    schmee Doctor of Teleocity

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    Yeah, well it's free so it will be interesting to see. it's much flatter than my other guitars which are shapped so the strings mimic the fret radius. I ind when switching guitars that my picking isn't that precise on this one. Small nuances seem to matter. So I thoguht I would radius the saddle to fit the fretboard.
    I could just reshape the one that's on it probably, but this is a bit of an "experiment animal" I have. It had a headstock/neck crack and I got it cheap, so I don't mind messing with it a bit. I have another almost identical to it also. The crack was fixed fairly easy. I refretted this and decided to try a bit larger than normal frets for an acoustic. (046 x 102).
    I have a P90 in the soundhole as well as the onboard electronics. before covid I was using it for duo shows. But I keep flipping from the Jazzbox to this. (thus I added the P90)
    The bridge on it is not compensated, but I thought I would try one for giggles. Frankly, I dont play that high up on acoustic stuff anyway so super precise intonation is not a huge deal to me.

    Have you ever tried one of those saddles that contacts only below each string, (kinda notched) supposedly better for piezo underbridge pickups? I thought about trying one of those.
     
  7. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Poster Extraordinaire

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    I have pretty much stopped installing UST's because so many times I have a hard time balancing each string. I think those notched saddles would be a nightmare. And of course it the bottom of the saddle that you sand to lower action as you are doing the setup. I did have a kind of interesting one cross my bench - the piezo was actually built into the saddle so you didn't have the problem of the interface (but you had to do all the action setting on the top).

    No, I make very nice bone saddles to fit each guitar, I intonate them as well as I can given the slot (or I can fill the slot), I will install a UST if I really have to but there are other transducers that I like better.
     
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  8. PhredE

    PhredE Tele-Afflicted

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    Yup. My experience as well. Every guitar is slightly different.

    And.. the fit of the saddle in the slot is very important in determining sound qualities the guitar can produce.
     
  9. Peegoo

    Peegoo Poster Extraordinaire

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    You can certainly drop in a pre-made nut or saddle and the guitar will make sound. But it won't sound and play as well as it can without some careful tweaking. This is the main reason you run into so many poorly-playing guitars.

    Shooting a guitar with a Parts Cannon is like going for a haircut, and when the lady with the scissors asks how you like it, you say, "just cut it."

    Good luck, my friend.

    [​IMG]
     
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  10. Collin D Plonker

    Collin D Plonker Tele-Afflicted

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    You can't just pop in a saddle and expect it to work, any more than you can buy a pre-cut nut. If you don't have the skills or tools, best to take it to a shop.
     
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  11. PhredE

    PhredE Tele-Afflicted

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    If you file small notches (I would refer to them as 'separators') between adjacent strings, you can make the portion of the saddle directly under each string unique 'discrete' -- for lack of a better term. Once you have the saddle section unique to each string, it is very easy to 'adjust' the height and forward/backward contact point for intonation correction.

    Here's a steel string example (Polish builder):
    https://turkowiakguitars.com/innovations/bridge-with-drilled-holes/
    (Check out that bridge too!)


    Here is what my classical saddle looks as of about 3 months ago:
    (Note intonation correction on G string -- the others have been tweaked since the photo too however):

    DSCN1023.JPG

    A simple triangle file works fine. I went a step further and kept on filing with a small flat bastard file to give sawtooth kind of pattern. The separators make it easier to tweak for each string AND lessens the weight of the saddle -- which, on most guitars, is going to allow the top to respond (vibrate) more easily (yes, ever so minutely). I recommend that a person keep separator depth to about 35% of it's total height at a max. for structural integrity.

    Yeah, I've posted the pic before at some point. So, apologies are extended to those that find it boring or just too weird. :oops:
     
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