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Old 07-04-2020, 09:03 PM
Quickstep192 Quickstep192 is offline
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Default String Break Angle at Saddle -or- why do my new strings sound dead?

I started a thread on the general forum trying to figure out why a new set of strings sound dead on an otherwise very responsive guitar. Replacing a set of Infeld Plectrum 10-41's with Pearse 11-50's resulted in really dead sounding bass strings. If anything I'd have ben expected them to be brighter.

While tinkering with it, I discovered that the larger gauge strings kind of curved over the saddle whereas the lighter, thinner Infelds seemed to take a sharper angle as they crossed the saddle. In an effort to sharpen the break angle, I enlarged and deepened the slots in the pin holes. It helped, but not dramatically, so I'm wondering what more I can do. I've attached a picture of the Bridge and saddle to solicit opinions to determine if there's more I can do or why the guitar doesn't respond to heavier strings.


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Old 07-05-2020, 09:03 AM
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rick-slo rick-slo is offline
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Excessive break angle IMO and looks like the saddle may be put in backwards (hard to be sure of course) but the saddle ramp should be on the peg hole side.
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Old 07-05-2020, 09:24 AM
Quickstep192 Quickstep192 is offline
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My saddle looks like this.

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Old 07-05-2020, 09:33 AM
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rick-slo rick-slo is offline
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Originally Posted by Quickstep192 View Post
My saddle looks like this.

That is good. Still with the way the bridge is ramped there is such narrow contact point of the thicker, stiffer, string on the saddle. Also, but not likely, the higher tension on the top can choke the sound of some guitars somewhat (you could try lowering the tuning some and see if it rings out better). Below is more typical of the saddles on my guitars (picture from Frets.com website)

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Last edited by rick-slo; 07-05-2020 at 09:41 AM.
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Old 07-05-2020, 09:56 AM
Bass.swimmer Bass.swimmer is offline
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I had a problem where one of my strings sounded dead and muted, so I took it off, and turns out the string got twisted. When I untwisted it, it sounded good again.
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Old 07-05-2020, 12:20 PM
Alan Carruth Alan Carruth is offline
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When the string has thick winding, and makes a sharp break over the saddle the winding can be pushed together on the under side, limiting the amount the string can curve. It will actually rise in front of the saddle for a little way. It can't vibrate properly there in the 'vertical' polarization, but might be able to 'horizontally'. In that case the string could actually end up making two different pitches at the same time, and it won't sound clear.

Increasing the break angle is only likely to make this worse. What you need to do is round off the saddle in back of the contact point to accommodate the winding. The less break angle you have the less curve you need to accommodate.

Changing the break angle in itself should not alter the sound of the guitar so long as the strings are kept at the same height off the top. I did a very careful experiment on that, and will stand behind it. So far as I can tell, 12-15 degrees of break angle is 'enough'. Any more than that just increases the tipping force on the saddle that's trying to break out the front of the bridge slot. So long as the string has enough break so that it doesn't roll sideways on top of the saddle when you pluck it, it should be fine.
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Old 07-05-2020, 07:53 PM
Quickstep192 Quickstep192 is offline
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This may be a dumb question, but if I round the top of the saddle, won't I move the intonation point?

Also, won't I end up also lowering the string height?
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Old 07-05-2020, 09:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Quickstep192 View Post
This may be a dumb question, but if I round the top of the saddle, won't I move the intonation point?

Also, won't I end up also lowering the string height?
A little bit. Judging from where it is now it probably will improve it though you probably won't notice it. You also changed the intonation points by changing the string gauges (due to inharmonicity) and probably raised the action which also changes the intonation points. I.E. don't worry about putting a better contour on the saddle top.
BTW what guitar is this and is that the stock saddle?
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Old 07-06-2020, 09:12 AM
Quickstep192 Quickstep192 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rick-slo View Post
BTW what guitar is this and is that the stock saddle?
The guitar is a McKnight Mini-Mac with a redwood double top. With other strings, the guitar is incredibly responsive; thatís why I had initially used the Infeld Plectrums for their mellowness.
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Old 07-06-2020, 10:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Quickstep192 View Post
The guitar is a McKnight Mini-Mac with a redwood double top. With other strings, the guitar is incredibly responsive; that’s why I had initially used the Infeld Plectrums for their mellowness.
Does not seem to be a stock saddle. Pictures of that guitar I have seen show ramp up on the peg side of the saddle, for example on this website:

https://www.guitargal.com/products/m...ini-mac-guitar
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Last edited by rick-slo; 07-06-2020 at 10:30 AM.
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  #11  
Old 07-06-2020, 11:28 AM
Quickstep192 Quickstep192 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rick-slo View Post
Does not seem to be a stock saddle. Pictures of that guitar I have seen show ramp up on the peg side of the saddle, for example on this website:

https://www.guitargal.com/products/m...ini-mac-guitar

Thanks for that. The saddle in those pictures does seem to show a ramp on the pin side of the saddle. Mine is original to the guitar, but all of the relief is definitely on the other side, apparantly trying to move the intonation point as far as possible. It's definitely not stock as this guitar has an extra wide neck and string spacing.
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Old 07-06-2020, 11:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Quickstep192 View Post
Thanks for that. The saddle in those pictures does seem to show a ramp on the pin side of the saddle. Mine is original to the guitar, but all of the relief is definitely on the other side, apparantly trying to move the intonation point as far as possible. It's definitely not stock as this guitar has an extra wide neck and string spacing.
Interesting. I would contact Tim about this. This does not seem right IMO.
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Old 07-06-2020, 02:02 PM
Howard Klepper Howard Klepper is offline
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Why would you alter the bridge for a problem that originated with your change of strings?
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Old 07-06-2020, 02:34 PM
redir redir is offline
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Yeah if the guitar was working fine till you changed to those specific strings I would suspect the strings. Try another set. How old were the Infeld strings?
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Old 07-06-2020, 03:00 PM
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Tim McKnight Tim McKnight is offline
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I’ll reply in more detail in an email but if you look at the picture that Rick posted...

You will notice that as the string exits the bridge pin hole each string is either touching or nearly touching each pin. I work diligently to increase this mechanical coupling of the string to pin to slot on every guitar I build. When you widened and lengthened the slots you increased the break angle and moved the strings away from the pins which decoupled what I worked so hard at making right in the first place. This modification was unnecessary. I’ll email you shortly.
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