View Full Version : Saddle height

08-16-2016, 11:37 AM
I worked up a diagram on the effect of fretboard thickness, fret size, and neck angle on saddle height. In this "simple" concert scale diagram, maintaining a constant action height of .09", you can see the effect that a thicker fretboard has on the height of the saddle. As well as the effect that larger frets has on the saddle height! And of course, neck angle has an extreme effect on the saddle. Keep in mind this is a diagram of a simple build with a totally flat top. Other factors such as top radius have additional effect.

Anyway, this has been on my mind and I thought it would be fun to share this with you all and discuss.


I'd like to attach a pdf to be able to zoom in on the parts, if anyone knows a way to link to one, please let me know.

Pete Howlett
08-16-2016, 11:59 AM
Keeping the neck pitch at zero and using a 0.19" fingerboard I need a bridge thickness of 0.3" to give me a saddle that just about pops its crown above the top of the bridge. My fronts are also radiused.... Looking at your diagram explains why neck pitch is unnecessary :) Thank you for this.

It's why classical guitars have a negative neck pitch - to keep the bridge height low :) Pretty much the opposite of steel string guitar construction which many people use as a reference point for uke building but as you can see, does not apply well in this case :)... as it does in most cases. Steel string guitar construction is not a good reference point for ukulele building :(

Vespa Bob
08-16-2016, 12:40 PM
Thanks for the diagrams, very interesting, which raise the question regarding bridge/saddle height and their effect on sound, if any: Is it better to have a low bridge/saddle combination or a tall one? Also what are the benefits of having a thin fret board? Obviously a thicker one provides some strength to the neck and supplies ample room for fret slots and side dots.


08-16-2016, 06:14 PM
Steel string guitar construction is not a good reference point for ukulele building :(

I've always felt this was true. Neck offset and reinforcement just are not the issues they are in steel strings. Ukuleles are not little steel stringed guitars. And yet in a way they are... As I see it, the forces are completely different. It is a question of scale and tension. I'm all for neck reinforcement. It can't hurt. But is it really necessary? I don't know. It is extra work and expense.

Anyway, thanks for the great diagrams. I have to admit I don't really understand them, but nicely presented.

08-16-2016, 11:18 PM
I say forget about neck angle make it zero, dont bother with neck reinforcement nylon strings dont pull hard enough to bend a pencil, use thin fretboards or have no fret boards at all.....These are ukuleles not mini guitars...signed Mr M Nunes ;)
http://i219.photobucket.com/albums/cc143/shiregreenbod/nunes_zpsaf3gqexa.jpg (http://s219.photobucket.com/user/shiregreenbod/media/nunes_zpsaf3gqexa.jpg.html)

Pete Howlett
08-17-2016, 02:43 AM
You are beginning to sound like me Ken!

08-17-2016, 03:46 AM
You are beginning to sound like me Ken!
True Pete! ..I've recently seen some accoustic Soprano ukes with multiple fan bracing 3 degree neck angle, and a saddle 1/2" high and large geetar size bridge pins and heavy geared tuning pegs sticking out like ears :) and more bling than a Xmas tree... Perhaps a first build by an established guitar maker who is trying to get in on the ukulele bubble..Or they could be Chinese imports.:confused: