View Full Version : Custom (or maybe makeshift?) saddle, New Cordoba 20 TM-CE

12-26-2013, 04:26 AM
FIrst, I've lurked around this forum on and off for a while, but finally made an account to show what I've done and hopefully get some opinions.

A while ago I had a tenor ohana solid top stolen, I guess it wouldve been the TK-20CE. That was a while ago and I finally found a replacement. I wasnt planning on buying anything but Yamaha Guitaleles for gifts (didnt know those existed either, pretty fun) and I saw the Cordoba 20TMCE.

By chance a few days prior I had been messing with my other ukes, playing with the saddles and nuts on my Kala KATT (which I cant find info about. Its not the "exotic mahogany" but it is still stained a pretty bright red.) and Lanikai pineapple. This site was a huge help with the compensation.

The Cordoba came with pretty good intonation, G was already pretty perfect, but the C and E were sharp at the 12th, and the A was flat at the 12th. I had been playing with toothpicks by the saddle on my other ukes to change intonation and also had some bone blanks from a local shop, so I handmade a compensated bone saddle (pain with just a file, sand paper, and steel wool), and a little shim(?) for the A string since I couldnt compensate enough. It is glued down with a tiny dot of CA glue, but Im pretty sure it wicked between the two saddles (Good for now, bad for taking it off probably). I havent had a chance to test the pick up since the fix, but intonation is much better. The only thing off is the C is a tiny bit sharp at the 12th fret.

That is a lot of text, but here are some pics.

edit: the higher action on the A string is helping with intonation too. The action is less than 1 credit card at the first fret and a tiny bit less than three credit cards at the 12th fret. No buzzing anywhere that I can find.


12-26-2013, 04:34 AM
If it works that well, nice compensated saddle. Many ukes of less than professional quality would benefit from one, if only just a little....some a lot.
Nice job, thanks for sharing. I really liked my 20TM-CE, especially after I put some mellow g's on it. Aquilas were way too "brash" for my ears.

12-26-2013, 04:39 AM
Yes I still will change the strings probably, I just hope that I wasnt compensating for a defective set of strings. THe problem seemd pretty consistent through my other ukes though (C and E are sharp, A is flat), so I feel pretty safe doing it. My friends Kohala is compensated away from the nut on the C and E strings, so I pretty much copied that (then added that little extra piece).

12-26-2013, 06:21 AM
The Cordoba came with pretty good intonation, G was already pretty perfect, but the C and E were sharp at the 12th, and the A was flat at the 12th.

Just curious ... how do you check intonation? Do you use an electronic tuner?

12-26-2013, 07:13 AM
I bought a clip on Snark tuner which works pretty well. Its chromatic, so you can check intonation all the way up the fretboard too.

It is easy to just check at the 12th fret by comparing the harmonic at the 12th fret compared to the note when the string is actually fretted. I think its safe to say you will generally hear a sharper note once the string is fretted.