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zztush
12-13-2017, 11:02 PM
I've replaced a saddle on my ukulele.

A: We just need new saddle and a piece of sandpaper. I used most coarse grit one. My new saddle is ebony.
B: We need to sand sides first then bottom of the saddle. Otherwise we can not make it even, because saddle is very small.
C: It takes only 10 min. New one fits very nice. I made a straight saddle.

https://s33.postimg.org/5n4sgd4rz/image.png (https://postimages.org/)

Booli
12-14-2017, 08:30 AM
Nice job!

Thanks for the photos too :)

Jarmo_S
12-15-2017, 02:24 AM
I'm still waiting for my nut "files", but yes everyone should know how to make a saddle for a guitar or ukulele. Nut is something I know to be careful and not for everyone. There is the filing angle that is a most delicate subject. I hope I can manage that.

Thank you for sharing the advice. Done that to my guitar.

Could be also that because of humidity we could need summer and winter saddles.
I have only made one for my classical 40 year old guitar. But it felt good be able to fix my instrument without outsiders help. (It's bridge had lifted higher because of my teeny age steel string experiment to a classical guitar lol).

I might add that the the old/existing saddle is very helpful in making of what to sand down. After making the saddle width proper. To mark the outlines someways.

In my case it certainly took more than 10 minutes, but I loved the end result :)

jer
12-15-2017, 05:49 AM
I like the look of that ebony saddle. :)


I'm still waiting for my nut "files", but yes everyone should know how to make a saddle for a guitar or ukulele. Nut is something I know to be careful and not for everyone. There is the filing angle that is a most delicate subject. I hope I can manage that.

You'll do fine with the angle if you just take your time. I usually leave the string on and just let it sit on top of the nut next to the slot being filed. Then you can simply follow as closely to the break angle of the string as you can. That has always worked well for me. I usually find getting the depth is the more tedious thing. I just go really slowly and check often during. A nut or saddle on a uke lasts a loooooooong time compared to a steel string instrument (grooves get worn in) which is nice.

zztush
12-15-2017, 10:57 PM
Hi, Jarmo_S!

https://s8.postimg.org/nu9kh35yt/image.png (https://postimages.org/)

I don't much care about any angle. 4 slots are just parallel as seen in the right figure below.

jer
12-16-2017, 01:44 PM
^ Yes, four slots are parallel in the sense you're talking about. However, I understood it as Jarmo was thinking of the break angle from the front of the nut slot to the back of the slot, which should follow the angle the strings break over the nut as closely as possible. Otherwise, problems can arise.

Jarmo_S
12-16-2017, 09:46 PM
^ Yes, four slots are parallel in the sense you're talking about. However, I understood it as Jarmo was thinking of the break angle from the front of the nut slot to the back of the slot, which should follow the angle the strings break over the nut as closely as possible. Otherwise, problems can arise.

Yes, I have understood that to have proper intonation it is most important to have the first string contact at the neck side of the nut, not in the middle etc. point. So parallel to neck file angle is not a good idea at all. Even with a proper filing angle, if the tip cleaner "file" is flexible, it maybe can cause intonation problems because of that. Just my thoughts, they have not arrived yet :)

zztush
12-17-2017, 12:03 AM
Hi, Jomo_S!


Yes, I have understood that to have proper intonation it is most important to have the first string contact at the neck side of the nut, not in the middle etc. point. So parallel to neck file angle is not a good idea at all. Even with a proper filing angle, if the tip cleaner "file" is flexible, it maybe can cause intonation problems because of that. Just my thoughts, they have not arrived yet :)

I have no idea the angle what you are talking. I make the break angle like the figure below and it is very easy because it is just parallel to the fret board or base of nut. I made many nut but I haven't any trouble about intonation before.


https://s13.postimg.org/m632ab25j/image.png (https://postimages.org/)

1931jim
12-17-2017, 03:48 AM
Good picture zztush of the angle needed. If one keeps the angle of the headstock and the tuners as a guide then all will be good.
Always remember, as you said zztush,check often to prevent unnecessary headaches. How slow can you go is uppermost in the process.

jer
12-17-2017, 09:11 AM
Yes, I have understood that to have proper intonation it is most important to have the first string contact at the neck side of the nut, not in the middle etc. point. So parallel to neck file angle is not a good idea at all. Even with a proper filing angle, if the tip cleaner "file" is flexible, it maybe can cause intonation problems because of that. Just my thoughts, they have not arrived yet :)
In my experience it can have a very minor effect on intonation, yeah...I find the depth of the slot has more of an effect on intonation. If the slot isn't deep enough, the first fret or so will play sharp.
The main problem I've experienced, if the break angle is too far off, is some unclear notes or even pinging type noises or other odd and unwanted noises. One of my first ever nut repairs years ago was something along those lines. Fortunately, someone with experience on a guitar board I was on was able to share about angle and it helped me fix the issue. I have also learned it's better to err on the side of too steep an angle as opposed to too shallow.
The good news is, you don't have to be perfect with it just pretty close. :)

zztush
12-17-2017, 11:17 AM
Hi, jer!

I think your break angle (left figure) is different from my break angle (figure right). I think break angle is always 90 degree because the string is always parallel to the board at this area. And I do not even aware of this angle because it is just parallel.

https://s13.postimg.org/4m1r6pd4n/image.png (https://postimages.org/)

Jarmo_S
12-17-2017, 09:48 PM
Hi, jer!

I think your break angle (left figure) is different from my break angle (figure right). I think break angle is always 90 degree because the string is always parallel to the board at this area. And I do not even aware of this angle because it is just parallel.

https://s13.postimg.org/4m1r6pd4n/image.png (https://postimages.org/)

I have no idea what terms like break angle mean. Well, I am not english, but anyways I always prefer to describe things with plain words and in case some terminology like break angle is mentioned, it should be defined too what it means. One person mentions it and then another person continues using same term, perhaps meaning a different thing and all of a sudden it is a chaos of misunderstanding. I don't know if that is the case here or not, but I rather not use such a term to avoid such confusion.

Your pictures are clear and understood. I tend to agree with the left picture and repeat what I told about intonation, open string intonation to be precise. It is most important to ukulele. Less so maybe for some high on the neck soloing guitar player who seldom uses open strings.

I found another discussion about his subject. It is about steel string guitar, but I think it applies also to nylon or other plastic strings:
https://www.strat-talk.com/threads/cutting-nut-slot-exaggerating-angle.386931/
Notice there are some variations of the filing angle in that discussion, but exactly parallel = 0 it is not.

And since I have not filed any, I am not sure how I should proceed. Maybe a constant 20 degree angle or some variation and also how those tip cleaners will behave and how much patience I will have lol.

Jarmo_S
12-17-2017, 11:49 PM
I have also learned it's better to err on the side of too steep an angle as opposed to too shallow.
The good news is, you don't have to be perfect with it just pretty close. :)

If the angle is too large, isn't all the pressure on the one side of the slot? The correct side of course and quite likely the string can take it. String being plastic the wear on that point would not be too excessive on the nut?
But I am rather now thinking along these lines on that link I included in my above post, the fumbler's reply:


I like to "split the difference" regarding the angle so that the entire slot supports the string. That means that, if, say, the string makes a 20 degree angle on its way through the nut and down to the tuners (or tree) then I'll try to file a slot that's about 10 degrees. (Just judging by eyeball, I don't measure any of this).

I think if you were to create a steeper angle which would put all the force on the front edge of the nut, then it would quickly wear until it created a flatter slot which would support it better. Then it would stop wearing so quickly, but you wouldn't have as precise control over the slot depth.

So a slightly lesser angle than strings make going to tuning pegs. All this so theoretical of course.

jer
12-18-2017, 01:33 PM
Sorry for any confusion. I'll try to clarify what I'm saying...

The way I'm using "break angle" is pretty standard and has been for years in discussing these matters, in my personal experience. So yeah, zztush is talking about what is happening on the opposite side of the nut that I'm talking about. At least that's what I think is happening. Indeed there isn't an angle on that side of things.

These are the terms as I've normally seen and heard them used over the years:
break point: The point where any given string touches the string nut or saddle.
break angle: The angle the string takes after it crosses over the break point.
In the above "over" would be towards the headstock if you're talking about the string nut. It would be towards the bottom of the instrument when speaking in terms of the saddle.



If the angle is too large, isn't all the pressure on the one side of the slot? The correct side of course and quite likely the string can take it. String being plastic the wear on that point would not be too excessive on the nut?

Yes. You got it. It is possible to wear the nut out faster if the angle is too steep, which leaves only a tiny point of contact between nut slot and string. Plain uke strings won't wear on a nut quite like steel strings for a guitar, even if the angle is a bit large.
If you just get as close to you can matching the way the strings break over the nut, it's usually perfectly fine.

This is an old website, but Frank Ford is one of the most respected tech/repairmen in the business and has been for years:
http://frets.com/FretsPages/Musician/GenSetup/Nuts/nuts1.html
That is page one of three in that section (you'll see at the bottom of the page where you can click "more" to go to the next page). He also uses simple terms and is easy to understand. I learned a lot from his frets.com site and a little from him personally in e-mail exchanges quite some years ago. I'm not sure how accessible he is now, as he has grown in popularity seems like. Even though the website looks outdated, it's still a gold mine for good, solid information.

One note on that section: There is a diagram with A, B, C, D nut slots on page three. He notes "A" as being ideal. I think that's most true for steel string instruments with strings that have some decent tension. Uke strings are lower tension and can sometimes pop out of their slot while playing if it's not a bit deeper than "A" in that diagram.

Lastly, there are different ways of doing things amongst techs...so you have to find what works for you within certain boundaries.

Jarmo_S
12-19-2017, 08:43 AM
Thank you for your reply fer, it cleared to me some things that I was not sure about.

I got today also the tip cleaners posted to me. They are like in this page: https://www.amazon.com/torch-tip-cleaner/s?ie=UTF8&page=1&rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3Atorch%20tip%20cleaner
though i bought 6 boxes from a local finnish tool shop: https://webshop.industriacenter.fi/product/2751/suuttimen-puhdistussarja-esab

They are chinese made and some of them, I opened one box that had 13 of these rods, are not really much of a files because they don't have much abrasive surface feeling. Some have ok file like feel, and not too smooth. I don't know how they work for their intented job, but for deepening nut slots they could be better. And as I told the quality between them varies.

Anyways after 2 hours i had lowered my ukulele's nut action to a desired level. The filing angle might have been even larger that what strings made from nut to tuners, because I wanted to be careful of not hurting my uke's neck and strings on it with that box handle. Used only that one tip cleaner box.

I am really happy about the result. I always had so hard fingertips from playing this Kala KA-CEM uke. I did not lower the action as much as possible, but it is now very reasonable. Also the intonation seems good. So I did not ruin it like I was afraid, but I made it better :)

jer
12-19-2017, 01:00 PM
Jarmo,
That's awesome. Congrats on your success!
I meant to mention to you to use some masking tape or painter's tape to cover the headstock or other areas the file shouldn't touch when filing. Any kind of tape that doesn't leave behind a sticky residue is good...or anything else that will protect. I use a couple of layers of tape if I want to be super careful. I let a file slip a bit too far and scratched the face of a headstock when I was first learning to do that kind of work. Lesson learned.