View Full Version : Compensated saddle question

Jim Hanks
08-27-2016, 06:35 AM
I can't photograph this well, but does this look like a properly compensated saddle to you for standard reentrant tuning?

http://i12.photobucket.com/albums/a206/jimhanksnc/Imua%20iEt/saddle_zpsgalqkcgs.png (http://s12.photobucket.com/user/jimhanksnc/media/Imua%20iEt/saddle_zpsgalqkcgs.png.html)

This is somewhat exaggerated but hopefully gives the gist. The E string is closer to the nut than the C string and the A is closer than the G.

I do know that the previous owner of this uke was left-handed and I'm thinking the saddle might have been flipped. What do you think?

08-27-2016, 06:45 AM
Typically the thicker string break point is further back (flip it). Some ukes do just fine with a straight saddle. Use your tuner and your ear to see (hear) what's best.

Have fun

Jim Hanks
08-27-2016, 10:37 AM
Sorry, I didn't mean to imply this saddle was setup to be played left handed. The uke has a cutaway ("http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?122296-NTMUD-Imua-iET) so I have every reason to believe the saddle was setup to be played right handed. But the previous owner had it strung left handed. I just don't know if he happened to flip the saddle or not.

I am not a builder so making a new one is not really an option. I posted in the builder section as I thought the most likely folks to know the answer. Might should have put in "tech support".

I have also reached out to the previous owner and Imua to see if either can shed any light on the question.

08-27-2016, 10:54 AM
Looks like a flipped right handed compensated saddle to me. Sadly flipping a right handed compensated saddle does not give you a left handed compensated saddle. As stated above, the thicker the strings the more compensation usually needed. Flipping the right handed saddle makes the two inside strings worse, not better.

08-27-2016, 11:04 AM
This is where I got my info from...http://www.ukuleles.com/Technology/compensate.html

Jim Hanks
08-27-2016, 01:18 PM
Ooh, interesting Timbuck. Table 3 has this:
String# Note zero-12th 12th-saddle % Greater
1 A 8.5 8.53 0.4%
2 E 8.5 8.58 0.9%
3 C 8.5 8.66 1.9%
4 G 8.5 8.55 0.6%

Which means the C string would be further from the nut than the E string, as vandlynn said. And G is further than A. That means my saddle is correctly oriented. But both my G and A are further than C and E so I'm not sure what to make of that. Hmm.

Jim Hanks
08-27-2016, 04:56 PM
I certainly do want the correct answer, but it seems that I am getting conflicting answers. Timbuck and vanflynn seem to be saying the saddle is right as-is. You and Tichetheclown think it is flipped. I guess I just need to flip it and see which way is better. But I'll probably wait a couple days and see if I hear back from Imua.

Here's another question. Let's say the saddle was properly compensated for perfect intonation, I loosened the strings, flipped the saddle, and tuned the strings back up. How far off would you expect it to be now?

08-27-2016, 06:59 PM
What IS the intonation like on this instrument?

Nominally I would say that the contact point on the A string needs to be where the E string is and the G string contact point is where it should be for linear strings. Is the A string intonation going flat? Given a theoretically perfect instrument I would expect the intonation of the A string to be going flat based on that saddle but if the intonation isn't going flat then leave it. The funny compensation in the saddle could well be correcting an error elsewhere.

Before you change anything assess what the intonation is currently like first.

EDIT: Is the reentrant G string going flat? Again if its not going flat don't change it. It well could be compensating for an error elsewhere.


08-27-2016, 07:12 PM
It is my opinion you just need to flip the saddle, A should be where G is. I have never seen a saddle compensated like the diagram you posted, that makes no sense.

Jim Hanks
08-28-2016, 03:35 AM
Oops, I guess numbers *would* have helped, eh? Before I wrote the OP, my quick check was "within 5c". Trying to do more accurate checks with the saddle as in the OP, I'd say the C was about -10c, E maybe -4, and G/A pretty close to 0. But I flipped it anyway as y'all suggested and measured again. And honestly, it's about the same. BUT, I've learned some things in that process:

1. I finally see what y'all were seeing - the flipped (or now *un*flipped) saddle looks exactly like Ken's numbers would suggest - I just couldn't picture it before.

2. I also discovered that with these strings/tuning (M600 in Bb) that the pitch is extremely sensitive to finger pressure - I could easily get +-15c with a "vibrato" motion(i.e. parallel to the fretboard). So with that, theoretical intonation is mostly out the window anyway. But that also makes sense - low tension, thin floro instead of high tension, thick nylon which I believe was the stock setup (D'addario Titanium) from Imua.

So thank you all for your insight and advice. I'm confident now that the saddle is back how it should be, and I can quit worrying and just enjoy the uke. :shaka: