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  #1  
Old 01-09-2018, 03:26 AM
brianhejh brianhejh is offline
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Default Saddle what to do?

I have read a number of threads here in relation to the radius of a saddle in particular those that choose to ignore the radius,selecting instead to step down the strings from (E to e) with suggested increments of 0.005.

Is the step down/graduation in relation to finger comfort only? or is there some other theory re obtaining better tone/intonation? The step down method takes considerable time to achieve accuracy as apposed to the simple method of a radius saddle.

My question: Is the extra work in producing the step down method all that beneficial.

Thanks

Brian
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Old 01-09-2018, 07:14 AM
Ned Milburn Ned Milburn is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brianhejh View Post
I have read a number of threads here in relation to the radius of a saddle in particular those that choose to ignore the radius,selecting instead to step down the strings from (E to e) with suggested increments of 0.005.

Is the step down/graduation in relation to finger comfort only? or is there some other theory re obtaining better tone/intonation? The step down method takes considerable time to achieve accuracy as apposed to the simple method of a radius saddle.

My question: Is the extra work in producing the step down method all that beneficial.

Thanks

Brian
Okay, I think you are missing something....

If you radius a saddle top when prepping it, now you have the radius set. This portion is working on TOP of the saddle. I, and many others, simply trace the fret radius while the saddle blank is held firmly at the end of the fingerboard.

Then, after creating a lovely intonation adjusted peak on the saddle (without touching the radius), you do a final height adjustment from the BOTTOM of the saddle such that the low E is higher than the high E. I usually use near 1.9mm and 2.4mm for "standard" action, adjusting this based upon player preference.

By working in this order, the saddle will end up with 0.1mm increments of height between adjacent strings.

So, there is not any complex or cumbersome work required to create a "step-down" saddle. This is why I stated I think you are missing something.
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  #3  
Old 01-09-2018, 10:32 AM
LouieAtienza LouieAtienza is offline
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There are some builders that use a wider saddle with individual "notches" for each string. As Ned says, sometimes the empirical way is the best.

That won't necessarily work, however, if you use a "compound" radius.

There may be some players, that play near the bridge, that play so hard, that they possibly actually get lateral movement of the plain strings, since they're on a "slope", and having an individual "step" can help alleviate that a little bit, but that's an exception.
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Old 01-09-2018, 11:37 AM
charles Tauber charles Tauber is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brianhejh View Post
My question: Is the extra work in producing the step down method all that beneficial.
What are you asking: is it worth it to make the strings progressively different heights, or is the method of ignoring the fingerboard radius worth the effort?
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Old 01-09-2018, 02:06 PM
brianhejh brianhejh is offline
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Thanks for the feedback;

Below is a reference from Bryan Kimsey in his (Acoustic guitar set tips and ideas article)where he talks about what I am asking- the difference in having a set radius including adjusted E and e preferred heights compared to his method of reducing the string height in steps.

Brian Kimsey said:

A few thousandths one way or the other won't matter much, but the main thing I like to feel is a consistent decrease in action. Many guitars that I work on have a saddle that matches the fret board radius and this results in a higher D/G action than the rest of the strings. Combined with the increased tension of the D string, this produces a very stiff feeling guitar. I've arrived at my measurements by measuring a bunch of well-playing guitars, including those of numerous professional flat pickers.

Thanks

Brian
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  #6  
Old 01-10-2018, 09:56 AM
arie arie is offline
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i think that this is question that is looking for a purpose. as acoustic builders we are exposed to the laws of tradition ("famous maker does it this way -so shall we all") -and sometimes strangled by it, and the various interpretations of that tradition (distilled for us by "learned experts").

after all is said and done, i think that the noise variables in this study would predominately fall into the category of tradition, and the take away result would be the question: what is the significant tonal/playability benefit vs. the reduction of non-value added labor?

imo, find what works best for you and go with it.

Last edited by arie; 01-10-2018 at 10:06 AM.
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Old 01-10-2018, 02:34 PM
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Rodger Knox Rodger Knox is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brianhejh View Post
I have read a number of threads here in relation to the radius of a saddle in particular those that choose to ignore the radius,selecting instead to step down the strings from (E to e) with suggested increments of 0.005.

Is the step down/graduation in relation to finger comfort only? or is there some other theory re obtaining better tone/intonation? The step down method takes considerable time to achieve accuracy as apposed to the simple method of a radius saddle.

My question: Is the extra work in producing the step down method all that beneficial.
Thanks
Brian
There's at least two ways to do this. The easiest way is described by Mr. Milburn below, and involves working the saddle from both the top and bottom.
The other way is to set the action height for each string, working the saddle only from the top. That allows whatever variation you want from string to string, and the top of the saddle ends up with a curve, but probably not exactly the radius of the fretboard.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ned Milburn View Post
Okay, I think you are missing something....

If you radius a saddle top when prepping it, now you have the radius set. This portion is working on TOP of the saddle. I, and many others, simply trace the fret radius while the saddle blank is held firmly at the end of the fingerboard.

Then, after creating a lovely intonation adjusted peak on the saddle (without touching the radius), you do a final height adjustment from the BOTTOM of the saddle such that the low E is higher than the high E. I usually use near 1.9mm and 2.4mm for "standard" action, adjusting this based upon player preference.

By working in this order, the saddle will end up with 0.1mm increments of height between adjacent strings.

So, there is not any complex or cumbersome work required to create a "step-down" saddle. This is why I stated I think you are missing something.
That gets really close with a constant radius fretboard, but it's a little off due to the taper of the fretboard. It's a little further off for a variable radius fretboard, but still close enough to use. The radius needs to be a little flatter than the fretboard due to the taper, otherwise the middle strings will be a little high. We're talking a few thousandths of an inch difference.

Quote:
Originally Posted by brianhejh View Post
Thanks for the feedback;
Below is a reference from Bryan Kimsey in his (Acoustic guitar set tips and ideas article)where he talks about what I am asking- the difference in having a set radius including adjusted E and e preferred heights compared to his method of reducing the string height in steps.

Brian Kimsey said:

A few thousandths one way or the other won't matter much, but the main thing I like to feel is a consistent decrease in action. Many guitars that I work on have a saddle that matches the fret board radius and this results in a higher D/G action than the rest of the strings. Combined with the increased tension of the D string, this produces a very stiff feeling guitar. I've arrived at my measurements by measuring a bunch of well-playing guitars, including those of numerous professional flat pickers.
Thanks
Brian
The bold is the important point, the differences in the results of the two methods, both done correctly, is only a few thousandths.
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Old 01-10-2018, 05:04 PM
Ned Milburn Ned Milburn is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rodger Knox View Post
There's at least two ways to do this. The easiest way is described by Mr. Milburn below, and involves working the saddle from both the top and bottom.
The other way is to set the action height for each string, working the saddle only from the top. That allows whatever variation you want from string to string, and the top of the saddle ends up with a curve, but probably not exactly the radius of the fretboard.


That gets really close with a constant radius fretboard, but it's a little off due to the taper of the fretboard. It's a little further off for a variable radius fretboard, but still close enough to use. The radius needs to be a little flatter than the fretboard due to the taper, otherwise the middle strings will be a little high. We're talking a few thousandths of an inch difference.



The bold is the important point, the differences in the results of the two methods, both done correctly, is only a few thousandths.
And just to add to what Roger is highlighting...

These few thou of an inch can be easily mitigated by a bit of knowledge, experience, and care when shaping the arc on top of the saddle.
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  #9  
Old 01-10-2018, 05:14 PM
mirwa mirwa is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ned Milburn View Post
Okay, I think you are missing something....

If you radius a saddle top when prepping it, now you have the radius set. This portion is working on TOP of the saddle. I, and many others, simply trace the fret radius while the saddle blank is held firmly at the end of the fingerboard.

Then, after creating a lovely intonation adjusted peak on the saddle (without touching the radius), you do a final height adjustment from the BOTTOM of the saddle such that the low E is higher than the high E. I usually use near 1.9mm and 2.4mm for "standard" action, adjusting this based upon player preference.

By working in this order, the saddle will end up with 0.1mm increments of height between adjacent strings.

So, there is not any complex or cumbersome work required to create a "step-down" saddle. This is why I stated I think you are missing something.


I do what Ned does.

Could not add anything further to the conversation.

Steve
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  #10  
Old 01-10-2018, 05:31 PM
brianhejh brianhejh is offline
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Thank you all for your comments.
Put into context / clarification it makes perfect sense.

Brian
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  #11  
Old 01-10-2018, 07:34 PM
LouieAtienza LouieAtienza is offline
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I will add one caveat: for an open saddle slot, such as a classical or certain Martin style bridges, this is fine. But, if you use a pocketed slot, and have a tight fitment of the saddle, then angling the bottom of the saddle may not give contact with the bottom of the saddle slot, because the narrow sides of the slot will hold that saddle in the only direction it can slide in. You must "refit" the saddle ends that it seats properly. It's only a tiny amount off the top of the end that's lower and the bottom of the end that's higher, but with a tight fitment, those little amounts make a difference between perfectly seated and gap.
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Old 01-12-2018, 08:39 PM
Dirty Bill Dirty Bill is offline
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I just use a compensated saddle. It seems to be fine with that. The saddle must also have just a little movement in it,it can't be solid.
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