The Acoustic Guitar Forum  

Go Back   The Acoustic Guitar Forum > General Acoustic Guitar and Amplification Discussion > General Acoustic Guitar Discussion

Reply
 
Thread Tools
  #1  
Old 12-24-2008, 11:03 PM
Brian85 Brian85 is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Farmington, CT
Posts: 331
Default what is a compensated bridge?

So, what exactly is it?
__________________
Acoustic
Taylor Grand Concert 8


Electric
Gibson Les Paul Classic
Fender Blues Junior
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 12-24-2008, 11:17 PM
L20A L20A is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Roy Utah
Posts: 2,816
Default

I don't know what a compensated bridge is.

You don't mean a compensated saddle, do you?
__________________
Happiness Is A New Set Of Strings
L-20A
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 12-24-2008, 11:25 PM
ljguitar's Avatar
ljguitar ljguitar is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: wyoming
Posts: 32,305
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by gtrwanka View Post
So, what exactly is it?
Hi gtrwanka...
Actually, it's the saddle of guitars that is compensated and the bridge of mandolins.

Compensating the saddle is a way of micro-tuning (fine tuning) the intonation of the string so it plays as closely to in-tune as possible.

With electric guitars it is accomplished with a high precision tuner and small allen wrenches and screwdrivers and the assembly at the bridge allows the mechanical shortening or lengthening of the strings. This is pretty straight forward and simple.

With Acoustic guitars, compensating is accomplished by using a precision tuner, and carving the top of the saddle so the point where the string breaks over the saddle is near the front of the string...which shortens it (makes it sharper) or toward the back of the saddle to lengthen it (making it flatter).



Note the carving away (to lengthen) the area under the 2nd string and the 6th string on this saddle.

Compensating the saddle of an acoustic guitar greatly improves the intonation, especially when playing further up the neck, though it affects intonation for the better the entire length of the neck.

Hope this helps...

__________________
Larry J

Baby #01
Baby #02
Baby #03
Baby #04
Full-size Full-Scale Baby #4

Larry's songs...

…Just because you've argued till a discussion turns silent doesn't mean you have convinced anyone…
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 12-24-2008, 11:41 PM
Brian85 Brian85 is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Farmington, CT
Posts: 331
Default

aw, so its the acoustic version for intonating your guitar.

Since every guitar is different and all require different setups for intonation, any acoustic you buy will not come with the correct intonation? You must buy a custom made saddle?
__________________
Acoustic
Taylor Grand Concert 8


Electric
Gibson Les Paul Classic
Fender Blues Junior
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 12-24-2008, 11:47 PM
ljguitar's Avatar
ljguitar ljguitar is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: wyoming
Posts: 32,305
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by gtrwanka View Post
...Since every guitar is different and all require different setups for intonation, any acoustic you buy will not come with the correct intonation? You must buy a custom made saddle?
Hi gw...
No. If you purchase a handbuilt, it is likely to come with a compensated bone saddle from the start.

Other considerations (not all them by any means) which factor into intonation are:
  • Age of the guitar (as guitars age and the top lifts, the saddle tilts toward the nut)
  • Height of your playing action - if it's high you'll bend the string sharper just pressing it down to the fret wire
  • Quality of the build

Compensation is not necessarily a one-shot deal. Depending on your environment, humidity, and frequency of play, and if you travel to radically different locations in a hurry, intonation may need to be checked and readjusted every year or two.

If you never leave your home and the environment is stable, and you don't change your playing style then it may be set and remain spot-on for years.

If the guitar is poorly built, compensating will only provide a partial answer.

If your hearing of pitch is extremely acute, compensation will become more important to you as your guitar skills grow.

Hope this helps...
__________________
Larry J

Baby #01
Baby #02
Baby #03
Baby #04
Full-size Full-Scale Baby #4

Larry's songs...

…Just because you've argued till a discussion turns silent doesn't mean you have convinced anyone…
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 12-24-2008, 11:59 PM
Brian85 Brian85 is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Farmington, CT
Posts: 331
Default

The saddle must be specifically compensated for the specific guitar no?

How do you buy a compensated saddle? IE on taylors website, you can purchase one. Sorry if this isnt getting through my head, im a little confused!
__________________
Acoustic
Taylor Grand Concert 8


Electric
Gibson Les Paul Classic
Fender Blues Junior
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 12-25-2008, 12:07 AM
ljguitar's Avatar
ljguitar ljguitar is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: wyoming
Posts: 32,305
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by gtrwanka View Post
The saddle must be specifically compensated for the specific guitar no?

How do you buy a compensated saddle? IE on taylors website, you can purchase one. Sorry if this isnt getting through my head, im a little confused!
Hi gw...
On average the factory compensation will be good, and if your ears are sensitive, then perhaps you will compensate it even more (or have it done).

Many folks want to change the plastic or micarta or tusq saddles (all man-made materials) with bone or ivory.

You can buy compensated saddles for many makes of guitars here...

Colosi saddles - click

Bob is a great guy to work with and plays well too. His duplicates of factory compensated saddles are very good, and will work in many guitars with little or no adjustment.

How finicky one is really determines what tweaks need to be performed beyond the factory compensating. As I mentioned before, age, and shifting environment can affect the guitars as they age.
__________________
Larry J

Baby #01
Baby #02
Baby #03
Baby #04
Full-size Full-Scale Baby #4

Larry's songs...

…Just because you've argued till a discussion turns silent doesn't mean you have convinced anyone…
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 12-25-2008, 12:15 AM
Brian85 Brian85 is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Farmington, CT
Posts: 331
Default

Aw, i get it now. SO when you buy a compensated bridge, youre buying a bridge that is in a very fine ball park for a specific brand of guitar. Most people wont want further adjustments unless they are super picky.

Thanks for youre help! I appreciate it and Merry Christmas!
__________________
Acoustic
Taylor Grand Concert 8


Electric
Gibson Les Paul Classic
Fender Blues Junior
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 12-25-2008, 01:55 AM
Wade Hampton Wade Hampton is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Chugiak, Alaska
Posts: 13,774
Default

Gtrwanka, I would be hesitant to buy a compensated saddle via the Net or mail order, for the simple reason that the intonation on an instrument can vary a lot based on local humidity levels, the quirks of that particular instrument, and what gauge and brand of strings you happen to favor.

A saddle that's been intonated for light gauge D'Addarrio strings at sea level might be completely out of whack if you're using medium gauge Newtones and live in Denver.

What I've found to be a much more precise way to approach things is to take a couple of sets of the strings I intend to use along with the guitar to my local repairman to have him make a saddle that's dialed in for my purposes.

I recommend taking two new sets in when having this sort of work done because fitting a saddle involves raising and lowering the tension of the strings quite a bit. This kills strings faster than anything else, the yo-yo-ing back and forth on the tension.

So tuck an extra set in the case pocket besides the first set, so when the work is done, he or she can put on a set that hasn't been killed by all the back and forth tightening and loosening.

The reason to get the saddle intonated for the specific brand of strings you favor is that the core wires on these various brands can vary quite a bit from one brand to another. That in turns affects intonation, so a setup for D'Addarrio strings might not be quite so accurate for a set of LaBellas.

Anyway, my repairman does quite a bit of business fitting these "ready-made" bridge saddles for players here in Anchorage. A lot of players buy them, then end up bringing them to his shop and getting him to do the final adjustments for them.

So I'm not sure you'd save any money doing it that way. To me it makes more sense just to have a local guy do the work, and dial it in more precisely than you can hope for with an "averaged-out" bridge saddle that's been sold to you without having a pro lay his hands on the instrument.

Hope that makes sense.


Wade Hampton Miller
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 12-25-2008, 02:41 AM
Wade Hampton Wade Hampton is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Chugiak, Alaska
Posts: 13,774
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by gtrwanka View Post
Aw, i get it now. SO when you buy a compensated bridge, youre buying a bridge that is in a very fine ball park for a specific brand of guitar. Most people wont want further adjustments unless they are super picky.
I think you must have been writing this at the same time I was writing my post.

That "Most people wont want further adjustments unless they are super picky" quote from you is a bit disconcerting.

What is "super picky?" Wanting the guitar to intonate correctly?

There are more factors involved than just the brand of guitar, and they're impossible to predict completely unless the guitar itself is present. Variations in the top and neck geometry, the gauge and alloy and core wire of the strings - all of these things play a role and interact with each other.

Unless you really want to get this stuff dialed in, there's truly no point whatsoever in having an intonated bridge saddle in the first place. You'll be just as well off with the stock averaged bridge saddle that the guitar came with.

Honestly. It's not as though an intonated saddle is any kind of status symbol. Its only value is if it makes the guitar play in tune better.

And that can't be done from afar. Two identical model guitars, from the same company with successive serial numbers, can have somewhat different neck and bridge geometries from each other. And that affects intonation.


Wade Hampton Miller
Reply With Quote
Reply

  The Acoustic Guitar Forum > General Acoustic Guitar and Amplification Discussion > General Acoustic Guitar Discussion

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


Loading

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 05:42 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, The Acoustic Guitar Forum
vB Ad Management by =RedTyger=