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View Full Version : No channels in the saddle? rattle?



pointpergame
03-11-2016, 02:16 PM
I'm a fluent luthier, but I've never built a uke. About to start setting a few up and trying a box or two of my own. One of my recent purchases, a beautiful custom built soprano, rattles a bit at the saddle. There's no channel for the string on the bridge at all. Looking at other ukes in my stable, this seems to be common.
So, a questions, then.
Why not cut a bit of a string groove at the saddle? I mean, generally.

p.s., After a closer look, the string exits the saddle before it reaches the forward edge. Now I have two choices: Form a sharper slope on the saddle or cut a small string channel that guides the string properly, leaving the surrounding saddle where it is. Thoughts on that?

thanks

BlackBearUkes
03-11-2016, 03:42 PM
I consider a groove or slot in the saddle to be wear. A compensated saddle should not have any wear grooves and if it does, the saddle should be replaced. I don't know of any string instrument that uses a saddle (except maybe a mandolin or a guitar that uses a tailpiece) that needs grooves cut into it.


I'm a fluent luthier, but I've never built a uke. About to start setting a few up and trying a box or two of my own. One of my recent purchases, a beautiful custom built soprano, rattles a bit at the saddle. There's no channel for the string on the bridge at all. Looking at other ukes in my stable, this seems to be common.
So, a questions, then.
Why not cut a bit of a string groove at the saddle? I mean, generally.

p.s., After a closer look, the string exits the saddle before it reaches the forward edge. Now I have two choices: Form a sharper slope on the saddle or cut a small string channel that guides the string properly, leaving the surrounding saddle where it is. Thoughts on that?

thanks

Allen
03-11-2016, 08:40 PM
I've never seen a uke with a groove in the saddle, unless it was entirely from wear, and those were in ebony saddles. Never in bone. If I came across one with a groove machined in one, I would suspect it was to rectify some other deficiency. Poor alignment of string spacing at the bridge would come to mind first.

A clean contact point of the string exiting the saddle is what you are looking for. Often I will see the thicker C string not making clean contact over the saddle that will cause a Sitar like buzz. Refining that point will do the trick.

Beau Hannam Ukuleles
03-12-2016, 06:28 AM
I use as much "ramp" on the back side of the saddle as I can. To stop buzz, I drop the saddle immediately away on the front side.

You can leave the areas between the strings on a saddle a bit higher but i wouldn't ever give a saddle 'nut like' string slots.

pointpergame
03-12-2016, 08:12 AM
I've been in the world of mandos for Soooh long now, I've become mando-centric. Ditto fiddle and banjo. Upon inspection, my Flamenco and Classical guitars both have small grooves in the saddles. These appear, as BlackBear suggests, to be the result of 50 years of hard use. Who knew? The other instruments I know well are the harpsichord, clavichord, piano family. They use pins and sometimes double pins at both the "nuts" and the saddles to define the horizontal string positions. That's primarily because those strings need to travel over a highly precise horizontal line, which the uke does not.

Sting buzzes are generally easy to diagnose. But my experiences had left me a little mystified on this one. Thanks to you all. I see the light now.


Often I will see the thicker C string not making clean contact over the saddle that will cause a Sitar like buzz. Refining that point will do the trick.

This is it. The convex shape at the back of the saddle has too large a radius, so the string terminates quite a distance before the precipice. And the cure is obvious.

Thanks again,
Cheers from the SF bay area,
Russ