classical guitar bridge saddle height

- jt You can check out our article here to learn how to remove and make a new nut for your instrument. s With the saddle out, we can check the top of it and make sure it has a nice roundish peak for the strings to break over and down into the back of the tie hole in the bridge. Guitar builders usually will check for proper neck angle by flattening the fretboard and putting a straight edge on it and looking to see that the straight edge just clears the top of the bridge sans saddle. - Again, see the referenced article for more information about this. jb If a large portion of the paper or card goes under the bridge, then it is a more immediate problem and the bridge will need to be properly glued back down to the body so it doesn’t rip off the top of the body causing severe damage. American Lutherie #111 featured an article I wrote about all of the properties of the geometry of the flattop guitar that combine to determine the total height of the bridge and saddle over the surface of the top of the instrument. A poorly set up instrument can present too much resistance and discouragement. t, l If you feel there are some internal issues, please take your guitar to a qualified luthier who has the knowledge and experience to make your guitar structurally sound again. The setup for classical guitars is basically the same as those for steel strings or electrics, but there are a couple of things you have to take into consideration before you tackle the setup. We like to see about .007″ of neck relief on nylon-stringed instruments. You can detune the strings a little and push the saddle from the side to slide it out of the bridge slot to make some final minor adjustments to the string action. l The position of the saddle affects: Intonation (the guitar's ability to play in tune) Action (string height above frets) Tone (different materials change tonal properties) Most acoustic guitar saddles are either 3/32" or 1/8" wide. You can look at the top of the body and see if there are any areas that are sinking down or “bubbling” up. l For the High E and B string, we like to have about .010″ of clearance. So the starting action on this guitar is 12/64″ on the low E or bass side and 10/64″ on the high E or treble side. s, h r 2 The “golden ratio” for lowering the action on a bridge saddle of an acoustic instrument is 1:2. Copyright © 2020 Guitarist Lab – Privacy Policy, How to Properly String a Classical Guitar, The Right Way to Restring Your Acoustic Guitar, https://guitaristlab.com/the-fender-telecaster-setup/, https://guitaristlab.com/the-fret-level-un-dressed/, https://guitaristlab.com/how-to-properly-string-a-classical-guitar/, https://guitaristlab.com/10-steps-to-making-a-new-replacement-nut-for-your-guitar/. You raise or lower the saddle by turning the hex screws with a tine hex wrench. You can check out our fret level article that shows you step by step how to go about one https://guitaristlab.com/the-fret-level-un-dressed/. Or you can use a capo and your hands to create a straightedge with the strings to check the neck relief. You also want to make sure that none of the frets are loose or popping up out of the fret slots. l This will give you the overall action of the strings. 2 If your guitar is free of these issues, then we can move on with the setup! Note that the calculator outputs the total bridge height including the saddle. r = A good set up can help you play better instantly and make it a lot more fun to practice and get better. b Acoustic Guitar Saddles. - The calculator can be used to calculate this as well. Mottola, R.M. Hopefully, we have helped show the steps to getting your instrument playing its best. = In that case the calculator can be used to determine what neck angle is needed to achieve that bridge height, and what top doming height is needed to achieve that bridge height, etc. l Note that a collision or a lack thereof is not necessarily a good or bad thing, but must be accounted for in the construction of the instrument. If you are not comfortable or have the right tools then please let a qualified luthier or repair shop do this for you. - 2 Please check out our previous article here to learn how to restring a nylon-stringed instrument https://guitaristlab.com/how-to-properly-string-a-classical-guitar/. - t s jb, i Subtract a reasonable amount of saddle exposure from the total and that will give you the height of the bridge itself, without the saddle. n Turn the screw clockwise to raise the saddle; turn it counter-clockwise to lower the saddle. l 2 The first thing you want to do even before you cut the old strings off is to protect the top of the body behind the bridge. 2 For the most part the descriptions of the parameters here are self explanatory, but for all practical purposes you'll need to reference the article for its diagrams and terminology before using this calculator. the height of the saddle in the bridge the hieght of the frets above the fretboard How we perceive action is also affected by the tension of the strings – the higher the tension, the harder it is to … Take the edge of the paper and run it along the back edge of the bridge. h For the most part if what you are doing is building a conventional guitar you already have a target bridge height in mind (0.5" for steel string guitars and 10mm for classical guitars for example). If the slots are too low across most or all of the strings, then the nut will need to be removed and shimmed or a new one will have to be made. Some prefer to put a slight radius in these saddles if they feel like the D and G strings are a little buzzy in the middle of the board. 2 Cut a small rectangular piece of plastic or use the string packaging from the new strings and some low tack tape to protect the top of your instrument right behind the bridge. 1 = = Then a fret level and crowning would need to be done to them before moving on. + The variable parameters such as neck angle are then modified and the calculation is repeated until you home in on the target bridge height. And with the tension of the strings and the environment they are living in, who knows how the neck will look like in a couple of years! Take your string action gauge and measure the distance between the top of the 12th fret and the bottom of the low and high E strings. After the nut slot heights have been adjusted to their desired levels, you want to play the instrument and go through everything to make sure it is sounding and playing as well as it possibly can. jt Mottola's Cyclopedic Dictionary of Lutherie Terms is now available here. Make sure to cut the slot in a downward angle towards the face of the headstock in order for the string to sit properly in the slot and not buzz. t Either way is fine. r We are doing this now to help flush out any fret or nut issues that can be taken care of now before we go any further and we can get a string action measurement so we can calculate how much to lower or raise the saddle in the bridge to set the action of the guitar to its optimal height later on in the process.

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