View Full Version : Help. Saddle fell off my ukulele

04-02-2017, 03:26 AM
Hi. I was hoping you could advise me on what to do. When I went to change the strings on one of my ukuleles last night, the saddle came out of the slot on the bridge. I assume it was just tension fitted int there and the change in humidity here in Wisconsin caused the wood to shrink enough that the slot widened. If I slide the saddle back into the slot myself, it is still very loose and will just fall right out again. Unfortunately the nearest uke store I trust is 5+ hours away and I will not be able to get there anytime soon. Can I just glue it in? If so, do,I just center it on the bridge and use wood glue? Or should I wait and take it to someone who knows what they're doing. I know nothing about building ukuleles and don't want to screw anything up. This is my favorite uke and I'd rather wait than ruin it.

Thanks for any advice. Andrea.

04-02-2017, 03:38 AM
The saddle is supposed to come out...just put it back in and add string tension, and the string tension will hold it in place. If the bridge falls off, that is another matter...that is a glue repair issue.

04-02-2017, 03:39 AM
Hi Andrea. Don't glue the saddle. Just put it back where it was and let the strings hold it down. If it is too floppy in the slot, apply masking tape to both sides of the saddle for a snug, but not too tight, fit. For cosmetic purposes, use an Xacto knife to trim any tape that is visible above the saddle slot. Hope this helps.

04-02-2017, 01:33 PM
Good advice, but wonder for which uke? If it's the Clara or Coco Bolo, tape may not be the best fix as it may dampen the string vibration that the saddle transmits to the saddle, and on to the soundboard.

04-02-2017, 08:13 PM
I wouldn't recommend tape to increase the size of the saddle since this can deaden the contact with the bridge and muffle or kill the vibrations which is all important to how your uke sounds. What I do with a loose saddle is apply a couple of coats of thin shellac. If you don't have shellac Threadinghouse, a couple of coats of fingernail hardener will fatten things up. Definitely do not glue. The bottom line is you want the thing to be snug and tight, but not too snug and tight that you can't get the thing out. Everything needs to make a good contact. It ain't rocket science but remember that this is is where the rubber meets the road so to speak and this is where the string energy is transmitted to your soundboard. Very important to make this contact point as efficient and seamless as possible.

04-04-2017, 01:57 AM
Thank you all for your advice. By the way, it was the Cocobolo. I didn't realize the saddle isn't usually affixed to the ukulele. So I put the strings on and the string tension does hold the saddle in place. Thanks again. :)

04-04-2017, 02:30 AM
The nut is sometimes also loose, though it's more rare. I was all "Oh no!" the first time I changed strings on a ukuMele tenor and the nut dropped to the ground.

04-07-2017, 01:16 AM
The nut is loose on my Snail. I will add drop of superglue next time I have the strings off as the different tensions and over zealous playing can cause it to shift (usually downwards) which messes with the intonation. Not sure I see a good reason for it being loose. You could design a nut with a pin or ridge to keep it located, yet still be removable I would imagine.

phil hague
04-07-2017, 01:28 AM
If the saddle is very loose, buy a new one on line, they are very cheap and come in various sizes and materials. Might need a little sanding down to exact size, but not a major job.
You'll probably be ok if you just replace the existing saddle and re tune your instrument. Nothing to panic about.