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hammer40
09-15-2016, 08:46 AM
My Big Island tenor has a compensated saddle and I noticed that I have a bit of a rut, or groove starting to wear in it from my wound c string. I know by using a wound third, it can/will happen. My question is, is it worth it to replace it with another compensated saddle or just a regular straight one. The shorter scale of the uke may or may not really need a compensated saddle anyway. Though I don't know enough to know the answer to that question.

spookelele
09-15-2016, 10:28 AM
Well... you could try it. If you're getting a new saddle, you can start with it uncompensated, see how it sounds.
If it's fine, then leave it.
If not compensate it like the old one.

Worst case, you can go back to the old one.

Another way to check it quick.. is turn the compensated saddle upside down. The bottom should be straight.
See how it sounds without spending any money.
The tone could be off, because there's less saddle contacting, but you'll get an idea on the pitch with uncompensated.

hammer40
09-24-2016, 03:29 AM
Well... you could try it. If you're getting a new saddle, you can start with it uncompensated, see how it sounds.
If it's fine, then leave it.
If not compensate it like the old one.

Worst case, you can go back to the old one.

Another way to check it quick.. is turn the compensated saddle upside down. The bottom should be straight.
See how it sounds without spending any money.
The tone could be off, because there's less saddle contacting, but you'll get an idea on the pitch with uncompensated.

It is actually a pretty intricate compensation, no way I could duplicate it. I never have filed a saddle before. It would have to be done by a professional, or buy one from the manufacturer. Turns out on closer inspection that there also some fissures, or cracks, on the bass side. Must be because it is shaped very thin at the top at each of the compensated sections.

Good idea though to turn it upside done first!

Here is a photo from the Big Island site of the saddle shape.

http://www.bigislandukulele.com/products/img/l_bi_koa_trad_3.bridge.jpg

UkerDanno
09-24-2016, 04:20 AM
Check your intonation, then just rotate it 180 and/or do the upside down thing and see if there's any difference. Check with Big Island, maybe they can send you a new saddle.

Booli
09-24-2016, 05:53 AM
Check your intonation, then just rotate it 180 and/or do the upside down thing and see if there's any difference. Check with Big Island, maybe they can send you a new saddle.

Even if it is a bone saddle or other exotic composite material like Corian, Micarta or Nubone, a new saddle from the maker should not cost you more than $5-10 and maybe another $5-10 for shipping, otherwise you can get a dozen bone saddle blanks for ukulele from ebay or amazon for about $15, and some diamond-grit files and put the blank in a vise and do the work yourself, which is in fact HIGHLY gratifying and meditative for me.

To compensate all 4 strings on a new saddle blank, maybe it takes about 30-45 mins, and is somewhat tedious, to sand it, then fit it back into the uke, then tune up, test the intonation, and if not correct, remove it, put it back into the vise, and then rinse and repeat until it IS correct...

You dont need a PhD to properly compensate a saddle, and nor do you need expensive tools. I use a metal diamond-grit Revlon nail file that cost me $2 at the grocery store and do not even use a vise, I just place it on the top of my desk, and hold it very carefully...but this is an iterative process that you need to go in slow increments, for it you sand off too much, you have to start over with a new saddle blank...you only want to remove like 0.010mm at a time in between re-fitting the saddle after sanding...

However, if you got cash to spend and little time or hand problems, it may be better to pay someone else to do it for you...

I have free time and little extra cash, so I learn how to DIY many things for myself. :)

hammer40
09-24-2016, 08:24 AM
I will check with Big Island about a new saddle. Moving forward, I would like to try my hand at filing my own nut or saddle.

In general, given the shorter scale of a uke, do you really need to compensate a saddle?

pointpergame
09-24-2016, 10:15 AM
The shorter the scale, the more dramatic the effect of compensation.

hammer40
09-24-2016, 11:49 AM
The shorter the scale, the more dramatic the effect of compensation.

Interesting, I didn't know that. Wonder why more ukes don't have compensated saddles?

spookelele
09-26-2016, 04:11 AM
looking at the pic.. I question that compensation.

It looks to me like a generic compensation for a high g.
So.. when you look at the filing... what you're looking for is the peaks.
On that saddle, it's just moved slightly long for the 1 and 4 and slightly short for the 2/3.
But the 2/3 look the same and the 1/4 look the same.

A good compensated saddle, will be made for the particular uke and the strings used.
When ever I've done it, it does not end up looking that symmetric, which makes me think that it's a "generic" compensation.

If that's the case... you might be just as well off by using a straight saddle.

Michael N.
09-26-2016, 06:46 AM
Interesting, I didn't know that. Wonder why more ukes don't have compensated saddles?

They probably do but you'll never know until you measure things. Some compensate individual strings but that's different to overall string compensation.
The killer is that as soon as you change the brand or type of strings, your individual compensation is likely to be out, especially if you change string type. That's why it's best to settle on one string type and the saddle will be correct, assuming it has been adjusted for those particular strings.
Finally, if you can't hear any intonation issues, either train your ear or forget about it. Forget about it isn't a bad policy.