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View Full Version : Crafting Your Own Compensated Saddle?



Luke El U
09-30-2015, 08:30 PM
Usually, I can file down an edge of any given saddle this way or that to get a string in near-perfect intonation. However, sometimes there is a string which needs slightly more or less length than the width of a saddle can provide, just another millimeter or less. I often wish saddles were made in somewhat of a T shape so that a tad more compensation could be possible, but no such saddle is available.

With only a few hand tools available, could a person carve, file and sand such a piece out of bone? If so, what bone would work best?

Or . . . Could I simple superglue a tiny piece of bone/saddle/whatever in the desired place, then file it and the saddle down to get the length I need?

I hope the way I've described this issue and possible solution is clear. Any help is welcome.

Rodney.
09-30-2015, 09:19 PM
Been there, done that. I bought a couple of cheap compensated saddles of eBay to play with, they had plenty of room to tinker with.
http://pages.ebay.com/link/?nav=item.view&id=191274399829&alt=web

Strumdaddy
09-30-2015, 10:02 PM
For you to want to go to these lengths must mean that intonation is very important to you, as it is to me. I only have one uke that I have not needed to adjust the saddle for (that was a Favilla soprano) all the others have needed attention because I can't stand it when they are "out". Bear in mind that all the intonation on all ukes is a compromise, but - for some of us, needs to hit a sweet spot.
I have found it difficult to get wider-than-normal bone blanks. Theses might suit your needs:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/1-pcs-Oversize-Real-Camel-Bone-Blank-For-Acostic-Classic-Guitar-Saddle-Nut-/390345658374?hash=item5ae26a1006

You may need to widen the groove that the saddle sits in - not for the faint hearted
I have also had some success with putting little bits of bone in place to lengthen the string.
You may want to enlist a good repairer, but - however you do it, it will be worth it for the sweet song of your uke

PhilUSAFRet
09-30-2015, 10:18 PM
Re: "carving one out of bone", I hope you realize bone dust is very toxic to breathe.

Luke El U
10-01-2015, 03:30 PM
Thank you all for your input. Yes, I am very keen on good intonation, without it I can not enjoy playing an instrument.
Good to know about toxicity of bone dust. I hadn't even thought about that.

kohanmike
10-01-2015, 08:25 PM
The bone dust warning concerned me since I've sanded bone nuts and saddles without using any kind of mask. I looked it up and the general consensus is you have to inhale a hell of a lot for it to be a problem, which would be a concern for luthiers and repair people. Wearing a mask would be useful for anyone though.

Xtradust
10-02-2015, 04:46 AM
What if you glued another piece of saddle to the back of the your current saddle? Then you could file the first one down so only the new piece catches the string. Here's a pretty basic drawing of what I'm thinking, using the C string as an example.

83987

anthonyg
10-02-2015, 02:40 PM
I'm thinking that I will have to do the same myself. I've had work done for my by a luthier who started with a wider bone blank and milled/routed away some of it to leave him with a wider topped saddle. Take care that the wider part still needs to be supported. It won't last long unsupported.

Anthony

Strumdaddy
10-02-2015, 02:44 PM
If you plan to use an under-saddle pick-up, then adding the extra little piece of bone will cause uneven string-to-string volume. Then you would have to route the slot wider for a wider saddle.

Luke El U
10-03-2015, 02:13 PM
What if you glued another piece of saddle to the back of the your current saddle? Then you could file the first one down so only the new piece catches the string. Here's a pretty basic drawing of what I'm thinking, using the C string as an example.

83987

Yes, Xtradust, that's exactly how I imagined it. Thanks for the illustration. I'm going to try that with a few assumptions: A. The super glue will be strong enough to hold the pieces together while I file, and B. the volume/tone for that particular string will not be significantly impaired compared to the other strings.

If anyone has already done this, I'd like to know your experience with those two points.