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Thread: Saddle compensation on Low G

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Sweet Home Osaka Japan

    Default Saddle compensation on Low G

    Strings require some compensations for the thickness, more thicker more compensated, on ukuleles and guitars. Most of the ukuleles come as high G. They come with straight saddle (see A) or high G compensated saddle (B). We have never seen Low G compensated saddle.

    There are two saddle compensations. One is performed by the break points (see blue lines) of the saddle tip and called compensated saddle (B). The other one is performed by the angle of the saddle itself (D). This compensation is often seen on acoustic and electric guitars, which have steel strings.

    Before talking about compensated saddle (B), we talk about angle compensation (D). Ukulele (see A below) and classical guitar saddles (C) are located parallel to the nut. Acoustic guitar saddle (D) has about 15 degree angle to nut. This compensation is much bigger compensation than compensated saddle (B).

    Ukulele (A B) and classical guitar (C) have nylon strings. Acoustic guitar and electric guitar (D) have steel strings. Both (A, B,C and D) have plane strings on 1st to 3rd (see the plane in the figure below). Ukulele and classical guitar have nylon plane strings and acoustic and electric guitar have steel plane strings. And all of them have wound strings (see yellow and brown wound) on 4th to 6th. The difference is made by the core strings in the wound strings. Acoustic and electric guitar has a single core (see steel core) string in each wound string. This core string requires compensation, more thicker more compensation. On the other hand, ukulele and classical guitar have many nylon flosses (see the figure) in a wound string. These nylon flosses are all very thin and do not require compensation. Hence ukulele and classical guitar do not require big compensation by the angled saddle.

    In low G ukulele and classical guitar, the 4th string have floss core. This nylon wound string does not require compensation. Many classical guitars have straight saddle (like A), and some have compensation only on the 3rd string which is the thickest string. We can apply this on Low G ukulele. Straight saddle (A in the top figures) is good enough for low G ukulele. Although 4th string looks thickest but the core is very fine thin nylon flosses and no compensation required.

    I actually did not realize angle compensation (D) before booli mentioned it to me. Thanks booli.
    Last edited by zztush; 12-29-2017 at 04:04 AM.
    Kamaka HF-1 100

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    over yonder


    Glad to help!

    Nice diagrams too, as always.
    This FAQ link will help you learn about many things.
    You should click it, as the answers are waiting for you.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2015


    Thanks for the summary. I'd like to add that on some of my acoustic steel string guitars the compensated saddle is adjusted for the B-string, like in this picture:

    Also, concerning low G strings on ukulele, there are several options that use non-would strings, where the core issue is of no concern. They also don't get dirty or go dull. I have an Aquila red installed on my Tenor, which has been going strong for 3 years now and has absolutely no intonation issue with regular high G saddle.

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