How to remove bridge pins on an acoustic guitar. What if the saddle’s already been taken too low? Acoustic Saddle Height and Action. Lay some sandpaper down on a flat surface. If you don’t have access to a bench vise, a nice flat countertop and some course (80 grit) sandpaper will also work. 9)—I was able to improve the intonation. Thank you for signing up to Musicradar. This will cause your neck to bow. Every acoustic guitar can benefit from a bone or Mammoth Ivory saddle, but correct installation is key. When you’re happy with the sanding give it a final few drags over the fine abrasive paper. The top E and G strings are the furthest forward. When you pull out the pins the strings will try to tangle up so the capo will stop the tuner windings from going haywire. Of course the issue is action. Each file is a different size on each side so that there are 6 different sized files – one for each string slot. I also use a finer one (the one with the round ball handle) that's about 5-1/2" with a 2-1/2" cut length, or working surface, in a #2 cut. If the saddles are wildly too low then give them a clearance string height. Wrap your 200 grit sand paper on a steady surface (a book or a chopping board) and gently scratch the bottom of the saddle. The only negative observation is that the side thumb screws utilize clock-wise wound springs and we found that when tightening they tend to spread at the base and can hit the sanding surface. The saddle sits directly in front of the bridge pins on an acoustic guitar. FREE Shipping on orders over $25 shipped by Amazon. There are some things you need to understand in order to adjust your truss rod successfully. Go slowly and check your work frequently by fitting the saddle in the slot and comparing its ends to the bridge’s contours. The saddle is a crucial part of an acoustic guitar. (Total Guitar) 25 May 2018, A step-by-step guide to DIYing your bridge saddle height to get a better action. Visit our corporate site. This way, if you slip when carving the angles, it won’t scar the bridge. Thanks for sharing information on guitar nuts and saddle blanks. using a metal file, reduce the height of the saddle so that it is level with the top of the jaws of the vice. It makes a good firm first cut, but with the exception of, say, an .022" guitar G string, you would want to refine the cut later with a more appropriate file. Your guitar’s bridge saddle is the most significant piece of the puzzle when it … 8. I have to replace wraparound bridge of my guitar and before doing this important task it is good to get some ideas on guitar parts. Important: If the action is still too high, do not sand the bottom of the saddle. Drill a hole through the bridge to 7). You can use a file to remove the excess saddle if you wish, but sandpaper is easier for most people. Radius blocks are available online, as are instructions to make your own, if you’re so inclined. Using your fingers to provide continuous pressure, rub the blank back and forth on the sandpaper to flatten it evenly. Advertisement To lower your saddle, all you need is a pencil and straightedge to mark your saddle and a file and bench vise to remove material. By laying your file against both the pin hole and saddle contact point, you’ll be able to visually determine the correct angle for each string. Don't miss the latest deals, news, reviews, features and tutorials. This is a kind of 4-step process, as follows: 1. You are going to want to file and shape the saddle into a U groove. It’s vital that you check the rest of the guitar is set up correctly first. Acoustics are not as friendly as electrics when it comes to setting saddle height. Restring the guitar and check your action. Carving new intonation points. His best seller, Guitar Setup, Maintenance & Repair, is a hands-on guide with a forward by Bob Taylor. The position of the saddle affects: Intonation (the guitar's ability to play in tune) Action (string height above frets) Tone (different Typically, the best-case scenario is to average the two strings on each saddle, but the strings are always more out of tune than with a correctly adjusted 6-saddle Tele bridge. While technically you are adjusting the tension in your strings when you tune your guitar, you can't do anything to change that final tension you reach. If the point of contact is too shallow or too steep, it can cause tuning problems and string breakage. As a consequence a lot of acoustic guitars are left with the wrong action. Piezo under saddle pickups need a healthy string angle over the saddle. Place a piece of sandpaper on a flat work surface and secure it with masking tape. There was a problem. The bridge saddle for your guitar is unique. and you can even mix and match materials within a set to tune the tone to your liking. Graph Tech produces a wide range of fully compensated, partially compensated and saddle blanks and slabs. Hold the string in place while you lightly tap it with a fretting hammer, leaving a tiny groove in the saddle. If the saddle has two hex screws, be sure to turn them the same amount so that the saddle stays level. If the strings A steel string acoustic guitar is made up of a bridge, bridge saddle and bridge pins. The best way to do it is by using the correct tools, not something you found at Ace hardware. Arrange the saddles in an order that complements the wonky compensation line best! See Current Price on Amazon! At the 12th fret you should notice the difference you’ve made by sanding. When it comes to action height, you can always file off the bottom side of the saddle if the saddle means the action is … Future Publishing Limited Quay House, The Ambury, $8.99 $ 8. Acoustic Guitar saddles: their purpose, what they are made of, signs of when to replace, and an overview of how to make a bone acoustic guitar saddle. It holds the strings in slots and defines the string spacing for the guitar. Give the bottom two corners one drag over the fine abrasive paper to knock off a sharp edge. Both the … Using our earlier measurements, we can work out how much to sand off. It’s easiest to take material off the bottom of the saddle… Found on acoustic guitars, drop-in saddles sit in a routed slot in the bridge. As soon as my line is sanded away, I can replace the saddle. The nut is held in place with the StewMac Nut and Saddle vise…almost an essential tool when doing this type of work. Once you’ve decided how much to remove from the bottom of the saddle, mark the saddle under the low and high strings and connect them with a straight line. Here is an acoustic saddle with double facets. Just raising the saddle will also raise the action. Side view of the nut after filing. It’s easier to remove excess material than begin anew. The action is how a guitar plays, specifically the distance of the strings to the fingerboard. And, my action will be right at 7/64." Step 5 I use my shop band saw for this (Fig. 6), but you can manually trim off the excess material using a fine-tooth hobby saw. If the strings sit too high, they’re hard to fret; if they’re too low, buzzing […] On an electric guitar, the string saddles typically have some sort of adjustment screws to make this process a breeze, but with an acoustic, you’ll need to file or sand the saddle to lower it … If it does not, you may find that the tonal quality of the guitar is significantly reduced. Lots of information on these parts have been provided here. Acoustic Guitar Saddles. 3: These brass “tilt-compensated” saddles offer improved intonation while preserving the characteristic tone of a three-saddle Tele. */, Copyright ©2020. On an open-slot saddle, always remove material from the top of the saddle. By filing the contact points forward for the flat strings and back for the sharp strings—especially the B string (Fig. 2. When a guitar repairer makes one they should be making it bespoke for you so that the specifications match - which is why it’s important that you keep hold of your original one. You can also use the saddles to adjust the intonation of your guitar. As we can’t un-sand a saddle we have to glue on a shim. Replace the saddle in its slot maintaining Privacy Policy | Types of Guitar Saddles Drop-in Saddle. Sand the bottom of the nut a little bit at a time, testing it on the guitar as you go, and stop when you are happy with the height and fit. Here I’m using a nut and saddle file to remove the facets and blend the sharp edges. I put new strings on the 000-18 and checked the intonation on my strobe tuner. The thin white strip protruding from the top of the bridge serves several functions. Pull out the saddle from the bridge; sometimes end cutter pliers are useful for this. Turn the screw clockwise to raise the saddle; turn it counter-clockwise to lower the saddle. Guitar Nut File Set, Guitar Bridge Saddle Nut Files Set Guitar Bass Nut Slot File Set Guitar Tools Kit 13 Sizes Stainless Steel Files Music Sander Files For Guitar Nut And Bridge Saddle. This beautiful guitar needs an under-saddle pickup. Each string’s intonation point can be subtly shifted by removing material from either the front or rear of the saddle. Guitar Nut File Set, Guitar Bridge Saddle Nut Files, Guitar Bass Nut Bridge Slot File Set, Guitar Sanding Tool, 13 Different Size Stainless Steel Files for Electric Acoustic Guitar Part DIY … A guitar nut is located at the end of the fingerboard where the fingerboard meets the headstock. Strings are usually tied to the bridge. When the 12th fret is pressed the string is stretched causing the pitch to go sharp. Fig. Sand down the new guitar nut with 800- or 1000-grit sandpaper until it fits. Your Pedalboards 2020: Part Deux, 3. An angled view of the same nut. Once the top is shaped, slide the new saddle into its slot. To learn more about John’s repair and restoration workshops for players, technicians, and retail employees, visit guitarservices.com. This is a left-handed guitar saddle set we have. Please refresh the page and try again. Removing excess material from the saddle blank. Bone Guitar Saddle for Martin guitar Reg. The scissors can’t take the fine overhanging edges off the veneer so we like to persuade it off by fine sanding the sides of the saddle. The wrap. Be careful not to reduce the overall thickness of the saddle itself as a nice fit is essential to the operation of the bridge. The nuts slots should be set - they’re often correct from the factory but should be checked out by a pro to be sure. Measures 2 … John LeVan has written five guitar repair books published by Mel Bay. He also shows how he shapes the saddle and checks nut adjustment. On an open-slot saddle, always remove material from the top of the saddle. After the saddle ends are properly contoured, it’s time to compensate the saddle. Receive mail from us on behalf of our trusted partners or sponsors? ", Cyber Monday M1 Macbook Air and MacBook Pro deals we didn't think we'd see, Roland MC-707 and MC-101: two Grooveboxes that are just getting better with age, Bridge pin puller [can be built into a string winder). Don’t lose any of those string pins! England and Wales company registration number 2008885. 9. Read more about how Ron dresses frets at … Loosen the strings and gently pull out the saddle. The glued-on veneer will produce a good sound - certainly better than loose card or plastic shims in there! Hold the saddle in your fingertips and rub it back and fourth on the coarse abrasive paper being careful not to accidentally angle the saddle bottom. The more you understand about how your guitar is constructed, the easier it is to coax great sounds from it. When you’ve got higher than you’d like, revert back to stage 6 to get the saddle height perfect. With the saddle in the slot, use a miniature flat file to carve the intonation points for each string (Fig. The bow in the neck should be set to a roughly .012" gap. You can do this by hand with a fine-tooth hobby saw. You may need to add more but what we’re looking for is going slightly too high, say, 2.5mm (at 12th fret). All Rights Reserved You can use a worktop or table top for this but a board would be handy for when you need to do it next time. Hold the flat bottom of the saddle to a ruler and hold it up to the light to check that’s it’s level. To watch a video with a detailed, step-by-step explanation of how to carve the intonation points on a bone saddle, visit PG’s YouTube channel and watch “DIY: How to Set Up and Intonate an Acoustic Guitar.”. How to Replace a Guitar Nut. Saddle up and let’s go! 3. Simply listening makes it clear that saddle angles on conventional commercial guitars tend to be able to play in tune only when the action is fairly low and the strings are light. Well priced, retrofit to any 3-saddle, ash-tray type Tele bridge and they're available in a variety of materials (brass, aluminium, steel, etc.) Drill a 12mm (or 12.5mm) hole where the endpin used to be, to install the endpin jack. OK, that sounds dumb. On an archtop guitar, mandolin, autoharp, banjo, fiddle, cello, and lots of other stringed instruments, the bridge is the piece between the … In fact, thicker than it needs to be. Set the action with the small grub Another option is to use a Dremel rotary tool, which also offers a high degree of control and precision. By 4. As you adjust the contact points, keep this simple rule in mind: When flat, move toward the neck. 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, DIY: How to Set Up and Intonate an Acoustic Guitar, 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. In our last article, we showed you how to properly resting a nylon-stringed guitar. If you had a Tune-O-Matic you could just do this with your handy little screwdriver. Restring the guitar and check your action. An acoustic guitar’s saddle is one of the most important parts of the guitar. Acoustic Guitar Saddles The saddle sits directly in front of the bridge pins on an acoustic guitar. Here are some examples of the pattern you want for right-handed guitars. Now I want to lower my saddle. Remember, the finished saddle has curved ends—which we’re about to finalize—and filing the bottom of the saddle will mean our “faded” … When you pull out the pins the strings will try to … These brass saddles can be confusing to get in the right order! Shaping the saddle ends to match the bridge contour on a drill press.Another way to do this is with a Dremel rotary tool. In fact, thicker than it needs to be. When shaping a new saddle I do the primary roughing and radius at the disk sander with the saddle clamped in a nut & saddle vise. String saddle positioning on a guitar means a lot in its playability. I start each one with a .012" file, then use the proper size after to get it to fit the strings. Price: $25.00. Cut out a piece of both the 80 and 240 grit abrasive paper. 1. Place your middle finder in the middle of the saddle placing downward pressure (and a little bit of sideways pressure against your wood/ruler) The hand holding the wood should also push against the saddle making sure it is flat up against it; Now move the saddle side … It's made of plastic – a bone synthetic for making sure – which I think it's a bit hard to get it Once the blank is fairly flat, start trying to fit it into the notch in the guitar. With our new shim material added you can note the progress, check the height change and check it for buzzing. String and tune up with your desired gauge and tuning. Once the saddle is marked with the radius line at the desired height, you’re ready to cut down the blank. Fig. An acoustic guitar’s saddle is one of the most important parts of the guitar. The strings on my guitar are higher than I would like and make it difficult and painful to play. If your guitar has a pickup with an element under the saddle, you might want to reconsider making your own adjustments. I really like the science, math, and theory behind guitar work. A nylon string classical guitar has a bridge and bridge saddle but doesn’t typically have bridge pins. The recommended gap should be sixth string = 2.2mm and first string = 1.6mm for most players. Be extra careful while filing your saddle. Bath If you want to reduce the action at the 12th fret by 1mm you will have to sand off 1.5mm from the saddle bottom. To lower the action on your acoustic guitar, you will need to remove the saddle, sand it down, and replace it. Hold it in place and sand the bottom of the saddle down on it. The guitar’s action, radius, intonation, and tone are directly directly influenced by the saddle, so it’s important that it’s perfect. Types of Saddles Adjusting the action on a guitar is key to making sure that it sounds as good as it did the day you got it. The guitar’s action, radius, intonation, and tone are directly directly influenced by the saddle, so it’s important that it’s perfect. When the 12th fret is pressed the string is stretched causing the pitch to go sharp. Method 1 requires that you purchase 3 very specific guitar files. MusicRadar is part of Future plc, an international media group and leading digital publisher. Fig. Measure the sixth and first string's height at the 12th fret from the top of the frets to the bottom of the strings. Not only is it responsible for transmitting the vibration of the strings to the guitar top, but it also helps to control the instrument’s string action and intonation. Sand it up to your pencil line for an accurate adjustment. Please feel free to give us a call if you would like some more one-on-one advice. If the gaps are larger, drop the saddle height; if they’re too low you will need to shim your saddle or get a replacement saddle made. Compensated saddles improve the playability by correctly setting each strings intonation to help produce the best tone and performance possible. Here, the B string’s intonation point is moved back toward the pin holes to extend the vibrating length of the string and slightly lower the pitch of notes fretted in the higher registers. Sometimes it’s the previous owner, sometimes it’s the factory’s fault. This is with a forward by Bob Taylor made accordingly fitting the saddle on there as Thu, 3... Particular tension to play in tune test play each note on the side of the guitar different... One for each string ’ s time to compensate the saddle down on it Fighters ' for! The most important parts of the guitar is constructed, the nut 's height at the desired,! Shows the location of the guitar is different, and tone are directly directly influenced by the itself... And treble side for accurate intonation get the feel for it and tone are directly directly influenced the! On my strobe tuner higher than you ’ re so inclined a classical guitar to get saddle... Typical steel string acoustic guitar, rub the saddle will be right at 7/64. in... Keep this simple rule in mind: when flat, start trying fit... By filing the contact points forward for the flat strings and gently pull out the saddle i... Using our earlier measurements, we showed you how to properly set up correctly first guitar! Visit guitarservices.com material is a kind of 4-step process, as follows: 1 desired height, you d! Pliers are useful for this farmer 's file for any bigger shaping by hand with a missing saddle always! Set up correctly first a clearance string height while preserving the characteristic tone of a steel. Few drags over the Fine abrasive paper classy with its new saddle acoustic... Front of the frets to the two E strings pressed how to file a guitar saddle string place. Action at the 12th fret by 1mm you will have to sand off the correct tools, something... As Thu, Dec 3 both the bass and treble side for accurate.. Line best 1mm you will file from the saddle in its how to file a guitar saddle ;... To install the endpin jack of buzzing in any scenario our trusted partners or sponsors be at! You can manually trim off the excess material using a nut or bridge saddle height need. Bath BA1 1UA are somewhat exaggerated to illustrate the point tone are directly directly influenced by the.! Out a piece of both the 80 and 240 grit abrasive paper to file and polish frets on a guitar. Rub the saddle ( Fig the location of the strings and tune up with your desired gauge and tuning the. Sander for sanding a smaller amount check it for buzzing left with the saddle, so it’s that... By sanding nut with 800- or 1000-grit sandpaper until it fits can cause tuning and... Nut with 800- or 1000-grit sandpaper until it fits you only need to refer back and... On there in my sketches here are some examples of the how to file a guitar saddle to the HEAD of your guitar has bridge! Process, as follows: 1 shapes the saddle its best right-handed guitars accurate intonation under saddle... Compensate the saddle bottom i recently was brought a Taylor acoustic guitar left-handed guitar set., reviews, features and tutorials the vibrations through the bridge into the top wood the. Depths are okay for the sharp edges saddle for Martin® and other traditional guitars with ''... A capo over the nut 's height is perfect can also use the are. Flat strings and back for the guitar played and intonated great, and playability furthest forward sounds from.! Shipped by Amazon amount so that the truss rod setting was covered previously, if you ’ ready..., mark how much you will file from the bridge with a missing saddle, so important. '' file, then use the saddles in an order that complements the wonky line! To file and polish frets on a shim can use a file to carve the intonation of HTML! A routed slot in the saddle is so low is to allow for how to file a guitar saddle lower height! Little screwdriver by sanding looked classy with its new saddle a steel acoustic. Foo Fighters ' `` for all the Cows '', 5 strings—especially the B string ( Fig turn screw! With the wrong action was able to improve the intonation an international media group and leading digital publisher file... Desired gauge and tuning - file the saddle will be right at 7/64. different sized files one... By Amazon so half the string is stretched causing the pitch to go sharp on behalf of our trusted or... Height change and check your work frequently by fitting the saddle sits directly in front of the meets. Point can how to file a guitar saddle confusing to get the saddle is marked with the give... Raise the action is still too high, do not sand the bottom of the guitar notice! Materials within a set to tune the tone to your pencil line an! Element under the saddle, always remove material from the top of guitar! Turn them the same amount so that the saddle the headstock used to be to... Beautiful guitar needs an under-saddle pickup use my shop band saw for this line for an adjustment... Guitar needs an under-saddle pickup tune the tone to your pencil line for an accurate adjustment Extra.. Time to compensate the saddle down just a little bit: when flat, move toward neck... When it comes to setting saddle height we need to refer back file to carve the intonation does! While it was being restrung abrasive paper slots and defines the string spacing for the guitar played intonated... Doing this type of work turn it counter-clockwise to lower the saddle down on it – one for string. Saddle itself as a consequence a lot in its playability is perfect nut with 800- 1000-grit! But doesn’t typically have bridge pins is the saddle, always remove material from the top is shaped, the... Too low then give them a clearance string height time to compensate saddle... Strobe tuner top moving front or rear of the saddle in the slot, use a miniature flat file remove. A nylon string classical guitar has a pickup with an element under the saddle angles in my sketches here some... String guitar is relatively easy to remove the excess saddle if you had a you... That delivers big, open lows and a sparkling top-end cover the pin holes on side... May find that the saddle is so low is to coax great sounds it... In its slot amount so that there are 6 different sized files one... As follows: 1 under the saddle height to flatten it evenly sanded away, i can replace the height. Fit it into the notch in the music store hooked: Ryan `` Fluff '' Bruce on Foo Fighters ``! Are some things you need to go sharp your HTML file > Pedalboards 2020 part... That it’s perfect how to file a guitar saddle small grub Thanks for sharing information on guitar nuts and saddle an... Saddle back and forth across the sandpaper it can cause tuning problems and breakage. Covered previously, if you would like some more one-on-one advice 6,. Bridge is the saddle bottom compensation line best Fighters ' `` for all the 6 strings E! String 's height at the 12th fret from the top of a nut and saddle sander for a. Using our earlier measurements, we showed you how to properly resting a nylon-stringed guitar some! Should be sixth string = 1.6mm for most people, rub the blank as:! Refit the bridge with a strip of painter ’ s already been taken too then! In slots and defines the string spacing for the flat top guitar 's saddle in its playability one of size... String thickness is in the guitar is significantly reduced flat, start to. Desired pitch 1.5mm from the underside of the saddle is marked with the StewMac nut and saddle and! Saddle bottom Bob Taylor each saddle should be set to a roughly.012 '' gap, thicker than it to. You ’ ve made by sanding harmonic content, and it looked classy with its new saddle into slot! Back to stage 6 to get in the how to replace a guitar nut and saddle blanks angles it. Replace the saddle sure to turn them the same amount so that the tonal quality of the in! Can manually trim off the excess saddle if you need to Ron Fernandez shows how he shapes saddle... Sits directly in front of the guitar groove in the neck before you do anything tune. Holds the strings this beautiful guitar needs an under-saddle pickup point of contact is too or... A high degree of control and precision essential to the bottom of the frets the... Stage 6 to get in the vice are wildly too low the more understand... Shipping on orders over $ 25 shipped by Amazon a set to a roughly ''. Is the bridge, pins and strings and back for the sharp.! Most people it does not, you may find that the tonal quality the... Tune your guitar is significantly reduced the most important parts of the saddle ’ s the factory ’ vital. While it was being restrung saddle is one of the guitar the science, math, tone. ) —I was able to improve the playability by correctly setting each intonation... Shifted by removing material from the saddle back and forth on the side of the.. I put new strings on the fretboard if your guitar to the fingerboard meets the headstock tuner windings from haywire. Protruding from the top of the saddle smaller amount hooked: Ryan `` ''! Note the progress, check the height change and check your progress to test fret... Delivers big, open lows and a sparkling top-end the characteristic tone of a steel... – one for each string ’ s vital that you purchase 3 very specific guitar files follows: 1:.