View Full Version : Compensation question

10-01-2013, 12:25 PM
I'm building a mahogany baritone from plans. Plans call for 522mm scale length with 4mm compensation. Does that mean to place the front of the bridge 522 mm from the front of the nut and put the saddle 4mm from the front of the bridge. I learning, so forgive my ignorance

10-01-2013, 02:52 PM
No. It means to put the saddle 526mm from the face of the nut. Although, your idea would amount to the same thing.

Chih-Wei Liu
10-01-2013, 06:42 PM
Agreed with John. But 4mm for 522mm seems too much a compensation to me. I'll put the front of the nut at 522+2 mm if I were you.

10-02-2013, 07:55 AM
The Stewmac calculator says just over 3mm compensation.... http://www.stewmac.com/freeinfo/Fretting/i-fretcalc.html
So the saddle peak should be 525.0798 from the face of the nut. Your saddle is probably 2-3mm wide so you have some room to adjust the peak to the front or back.
I usually just take a stick and butt one end against the nut, then make a mark at the middle of the 12th fret. Then I use that to find the position of the saddle from the 12th fret. (plus compensation). Its easier than getting a good ruler to measure it out from the nut. Also if you buy a slotted fretboard...sometimes the advertized scale length isn't that accurate. Marking from the nut to the 12th and from the 12th to the saddle will always get you in the right place whatever the actual scale length is.

10-02-2013, 10:16 AM
I'd always put the front of the saddle in front of what the compensation is suppose to measure. That way you round over the string positions to where they work out best and having some material on either side. Not having it right at the leading edge of the saddle. As well, if that amount of compensation isn't right for the strings you choose, then you have some wiggle room to come forward.

Remember that those numbers just about always mean +or - 0.5mm.

10-02-2013, 12:47 PM
Using a reference stick is the way to go, in my opinion. On the drawing, I measured from the front of the bridge to the saddle using my digital calipers, and it was 4mm, so I was pretty sure before I asked the question, but I wanted to be sure. On a tenor I built, I rounded the bone saddle with 600 grit to give it an arc, plus it really smooths the bone so as not damage the strings. But on that build, I'm sharp at the 12th fret, and that was before I knew about compensation. I've played with the nut and the saddle, and have just about gotten most of the sharp out of it. But that's trial and error, so I'm wanting to get closer this time. Thanks for the responses.

10-02-2013, 01:16 PM
Stewmacs saddle compensation guidelines are to the contact point, wherever you put it, not to the leading edge of the saddle. Its up to you to decide where within the saddle thickness you want the contact point to be. My understanding is, although you better checkup on me is that SHORTER scale lengths need MORE compensation at the saddle and LONGER scale lengths need LESS compensation. 4mm sounds like a lot of compensation for a Baritone to me. Double check.