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Guitar saddles

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Richard Bridge 29 Feb 04 - 01:03 PM
Allan C. 29 Feb 04 - 01:18 PM
Richard Bridge 29 Feb 04 - 01:46 PM
Ned Ludd 29 Feb 04 - 02:52 PM
Allan C. 29 Feb 04 - 02:59 PM
Murray MacLeod 29 Feb 04 - 03:52 PM
mooman 29 Feb 04 - 04:11 PM
freightdawg 29 Feb 04 - 05:07 PM
Ned Ludd 29 Feb 04 - 05:09 PM
GUEST,HiHo_Silver 29 Feb 04 - 06:34 PM
Richard Bridge 29 Feb 04 - 07:21 PM
s&r 01 Mar 04 - 09:15 AM
Richard Bridge 01 Mar 04 - 09:46 AM
GUEST,chris 01 Mar 04 - 11:57 AM
the lemonade lady 01 Mar 04 - 01:08 PM
GUEST 02 Mar 04 - 10:16 AM
Mooh 02 Mar 04 - 11:45 PM
Cluin 02 Mar 04 - 11:58 PM
mooman 03 Mar 04 - 04:41 AM
clansfolk 03 Mar 04 - 02:44 PM
Mooh 04 Mar 04 - 12:15 AM
Cluin 04 Mar 04 - 02:19 AM
mooman 04 Mar 04 - 08:17 AM
Mooh 04 Mar 04 - 02:18 PM
GUEST 12 Jul 04 - 06:29 PM
Mark Clark 12 Jul 04 - 08:09 PM
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Subject: Guitar saddles
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 29 Feb 04 - 01:03 PM

I have been thinking (bad habit).

One of the big problems with guitar saddles is ensuring an absolutely uniform contact between the bottom of the saddle and the bottom of the saddle slot. It gets particularly important if you use an undersaddle pickup.

So why are saddles almost always one-piece? Why is it not universal to have six little sections of saddle (or a six-piece saddle if you prefer that description)so that each will apply its own pressure to the piezo crystals?


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Subject: RE: Guitar saddles
From: Allan C.
Date: 29 Feb 04 - 01:18 PM

Would these do the trick?


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Subject: RE: Guitar saddles
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 29 Feb 04 - 01:46 PM

No, they are for an electric guitar, using what is I think called a badass style bridge. I was talking about acoustic guitars.


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Subject: RE: Guitar saddles
From: Ned Ludd
Date: 29 Feb 04 - 02:52 PM

It has been tried in the past, one disadvantage is loss of some of the bits when changing strings.Anyway a good guitar tech can level them ok.


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Subject: RE: Guitar saddles
From: Allan C.
Date: 29 Feb 04 - 02:59 PM

So am I wrong in thinking that the Baggs Hex Pickups would be among those that have the bits that get lost?


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Subject: RE: Guitar saddles
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 29 Feb 04 - 03:52 PM

Richard, you are absolutely correct, six separate pieces is a much better idea, and while there is not one single valid technical reason against the practice, there are several in favor.

The only reason it is not done is simple economics. It is obviously much less labor intensive to fit a single saddle than to fit six separate pieces.

As far as losing the pieces is concerned, a well fitted guitar saddle should allow the unstrung instrument to be lifted by gripping the saddle with a pair of pliers without coming out of the slot. If the six separate pieces were fitted with similar precision there would be no problenm with them coming out while changing strings.


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Subject: RE: Guitar saddles
From: mooman
Date: 29 Feb 04 - 04:11 PM

I sometimes fit saddles this way if requested. It takes a little longer but not very much so. My fretless bass design has individual saddles for each string bearing onto a PUTW 27 which works perfectly. As Ned says it is also quite easy to get a perfectly flat surface on the base of the saddle to bed onto a piezo strip with little loss in tome over separate saddles. Murray is correct in saying the saddle should be a snug fit, otherwise it will rotate and give an incorrect string break angle over the saddle.

Peace

moo


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Subject: RE: Guitar saddles
From: freightdawg
Date: 29 Feb 04 - 05:07 PM

Being out here in horse country, I thought this thread was about a new way to play a guitar while sitting on it.

I guess that's what a dawg get for thinking in the first place.

(the one who should never think),

Freightdawg


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Subject: RE: Guitar saddles
From: Ned Ludd
Date: 29 Feb 04 - 05:09 PM

Ah but can everyone afford $200


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Subject: RE: Guitar saddles
From: GUEST,HiHo_Silver
Date: 29 Feb 04 - 06:34 PM

For what it is worth: I have worked on several guitars with under the saddle pickup (cannot recall the models. I believe one was Alcavar) where the saddle was in two equal pieces , cut between the D and G string. Could not see any great advantage however. As stated before with a little patience a quality fit can be achieved with a one piece saddle.


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Subject: RE: Guitar saddles
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 29 Feb 04 - 07:21 PM

I would have thought that it would have been much quicker NOT to have to produce two perfectly mating flat surfaces - an obvious source of technical difficulty - so for the aftermarket luthier it ought to be quicker and easier fitting an undersaddle to use a 6-piece saddle both to get string height correct and to get uniform pressure on (and hence even string respoonse from) the undersaddle.

Is it usual when fitting an undersaddle to deepen the slot, or to reduce the height of the saddle? If the former, how is the base of the slot made even? Does it involve a precision router? All thinks seem to point to the 6-piece.

I have successfully fitted a Shadow which comes as a unit complete with brass or similar holder and 6 little white bits, and it sounds really good. I have never got as good a result from a one piece with an undersaddle.

Does anyone still make a 6-piece power saddle at a reasonable price?

THe Baggs price above is way over the top.


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Subject: RE: Guitar saddles
From: s&r
Date: 01 Mar 04 - 09:15 AM

Cheap copies of Ovations by Encore used to have six piece saddles. They'd have been OK except they were made of metal plate over quite a soft plastic, and wore rapidly.

I've seen saddles with five slots cut in the underside to give six mating surfaces. Don't know that it made much difference.

I file the bottom of saddles flat in a machine vice using the metal jaws as a guide for file/emery paper

Stu


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Subject: RE: Guitar saddles
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 01 Mar 04 - 09:46 AM

I've tried filing like that.

I find it more accurate to use emery cloth backed on to a mirror - you can see the mirror is flat by looking, but I am still not really satisfied that I am getting a mate between the bottom of the saddle and the top of the transducer.


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Subject: RE: Guitar saddles
From: GUEST,chris
Date: 01 Mar 04 - 11:57 AM

I used to have a Levin (25years ago) that had 6 screw in bridge pieces that were screwed in and out using a slot cut in the truss rod adjusting spanner that came with the guitar. the idea was good but the screw in peices were nylon and the saddle bit tended to chew up if you were carelesswith the spanner. It was the only one that I have ever seen like this. Don't know if this was the only one in existance.


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Subject: RE: Guitar saddles
From: the lemonade lady
Date: 01 Mar 04 - 01:08 PM

Dunna be darft, man, wouldn't the stirrups scratch the paint work?

8-))

Sal


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Subject: RE: Guitar saddles
From: GUEST
Date: 02 Mar 04 - 10:16 AM

Question:
Taking all of the strings off my old Epiphone 12 string is a very rare event -- last time was to install a JLD "bridge doctor" system. (That works fine!) But under the (adjustable) wooden saddle I found a thin piece of steel. I put it back in, but can someone explain exactly what that's doing for me?
Thanks!


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Subject: RE: Guitar saddles
From: Mooh
Date: 02 Mar 04 - 11:45 PM

I surface the saddle bottom by sanding it on appropriately course sandpaper held flat on a thick piece of Corian. (I used to use plate glass until I busted it.) I check the flatness with a machinist's square. I also make sure the saddle slot is flat and correct it with a homemade scraper.

If the saddle needs to be higher I have sometimes superglued a piece of bone, Corian, or Tusq (the 3 materials I use) to the original and resurfaced the bottom at the correct height. Shims eat tone in my opinion, but my method seems to work okay.

An one piece saddle is fine if it's got the right intonation offset and/or has the top edge shaped to intonate better.

I'm not sure of the physics of the thing but I fail to see or hear how undersaddle piezos are better than the soundboard/bridgeplate variety, so I prefer not to have an undersaddle pickup....but to each his own.

Peace, Mooh.


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Subject: RE: Guitar saddles
From: Cluin
Date: 02 Mar 04 - 11:58 PM

Undersaddle piezos feed back less than soundboard ones in general... mainly a consideration when performing at louder volumes.


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Subject: RE: Guitar saddles
From: mooman
Date: 03 Mar 04 - 04:41 AM

Mooh,

I tend to agree. Most undersaddle piezos I have tried, or have installed for customers, produce an acceptable and feedback-resistant sound but it isn't the natural sound of the guitar. For this reason, I changed to PUTW pickups (usually no. 27 for a guitar) which are bridgeplate mounted. They have good feedback resistance (I use them on all my stage instruments) but give (to my ears anyway) a more "natural" sound. They do need a good preamp, I use a PUTW Powerplug and a Fishman G II. Of these the PUTW is more "transparent" but the Fishman benefits from tone controls which are useful on a couple of instruments. For any really high volume work I tend to incorporate a Behringer Shark feedback suppressor into my setup which blocks feedback at a number of customizable frequencies.

Guest, that steel piece is probably integral to the adjustable mechanism by the description of it.

Peace

moo


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Subject: RE: Guitar saddles
From: clansfolk
Date: 03 Mar 04 - 02:44 PM

I find guitars saddles much the same as horse saddles - a pain in the bum!

sorry - far less feed back with an under saddle transducer but they do colour the sound when playing acoustically especially if your guitar has a built in graphic. Also well worth purchasing a "Feedback Buster" they only cost a few pounds/dollars and do help in preventing feedback also keep away from your drummer if you have one!

I have made some changes to saddles over the years to try and improve sound quality when played acoustically and through a PA, these have included using various shims of metals under the saddle, different materials for the saddle and drilling holes through the saddle between and below the string notches then sawing from the base of the saddle to the holes this helps to separate the tone from each string and also works well with an under saddle transducer to give more clarity to each string, various "tricks" work for various instruments - have a play and enjoy just keep your original saddle.

Pete


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Subject: RE: Guitar saddles
From: Mooh
Date: 04 Mar 04 - 12:15 AM

Cluin et mooman...I wasn't really speaking for myself, though I do have soundboard transducers in two guitars, just talking about what I've done for others. Unless in extreme circumstances, I use condenser mics, and once in a while (like when I need a particular sound) a soundhole pickup through my electric rig. I never take loud folk gigs anymore it seems...sigh. There's nothing quite like a shotgun mic and a nice warm preamp, imho.

I'm considering rewiring 3 guitars with Fishman magnetic & mic units (Blends?), but the bride will likely think the money could pay down the mortgage, such things not being cheap hereabouts. I was glad recently when I brought my mic to a one-off show backing a group of singers when the otherwise pro sound company only had road worn sm57 mics for me. Maybe the plug and play convenience of a pickup would have been simpler, but the mic sure sounded great. Anyway, it's nice to have options.

I've never met a guitar which was perfect in every way, but way too many factory guitars need setup work right off the rack, often starting with the saddle. Such work can transform a guitar in minutes.

More to the point of this thread...I once saw a guitar which had six seperate saddles each comprised of bone dowels set in matching holes in the bridge. Each saddle had a perfectly shaped crown. Intonation sounded dead on. Might have been a Wendler but I'm not certain of that.

Peace, Mooh.


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Subject: RE: Guitar saddles
From: Cluin
Date: 04 Mar 04 - 02:19 AM

I'm gonna order one of these Fishman Blend pickup/preamps with the add-on mic for installation in an Epiphone version of a J-200 I have. I need another working machine. It has a laminate top but it sounds nice acoustically anyway. Besides, in my reading last summer, I learned that those old Epiphone and Gibson electric-acoustics the Beatles used had laminate tops. The writer claimed the laminate tops worked better with the pick-ups installed on them and reduced feedback problems too. I'll let you know how it goes.

Oh and the pickup system above also has the added bonus of a built-in electronic tuner. Sweeeeeeeeeet!


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Subject: RE: Guitar saddles
From: mooman
Date: 04 Mar 04 - 08:17 AM

Dear Mooh,

The individual shaped circular cross-section dowels fitting into holes is exactly the principle I used in my fretless bass project mentioned earlier!

Peace

moo


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Subject: RE: Guitar saddles
From: Mooh
Date: 04 Mar 04 - 02:18 PM

Mooh to moo,

Cool! How long have you been doing this? Maybe it was one of yours that I saw. I'm curious, how do you dimension the saddles? Lathe? I use Corian scavenged from a kitchen renovator for jigs, guides, stops and nuts and saddles...I suppose it could be turned down to dowel saddle size too. Any thoughts?

Peace, Mooh, too.


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Subject: RE: Guitar saddle what types of saddles are th
From: GUEST
Date: 12 Jul 04 - 06:29 PM


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Subject: RE: Guitar saddles
From: Mark Clark
Date: 12 Jul 04 - 08:09 PM

Thom Bresh an amazing guitarist and son of the late Merle Travis, uses RMC Acoustic Gold saddle pickups. This solves both problems discussed in this thread and Thom says they provide better articulation. He uses them with digital equipment as well as PA.

      - Mark


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