Proper shaping of saddle top


Well-known member
Oct 10, 2015
Reaction score
If you have an un-compensated saddle, is there a proper shape it should on top for the strings to break in a clean way?

I have en ukulele with a 3 mm wide bone saddle. It looks like the top is just smoothly curved round over the entire width.

I wondered if it could be holding back the sound a bit that it is not "pointy" where the strings have contact.
The makers know best. All of my saddles are smooth and rounded, like yours. That gives maximum contact transferring vibration from strings to bridge, which is good. You want all those vibrations to flow easily into the body.

A "pointy" top concentrates the string's tension on a tiny dot of saddle, which would wear a groove in the saddle faster. It could also kink the string, making a stress point that could break.

Look at how the strings come off of the rear of the nut. There is a square edge there, but it's next to the string, not under it. I've seen saddles shaped that way, with a flat front.
Last edited:
The round saddle top allows a single point of contact where the string leaves the saddle tot he nut. (Point of tangency. The string will bend slightly around the saddle.) Strings being plastic means they will flatten out a very small amount when pulled down tight under tension at the point of pressure.

In theory, all four strings will contact the saddle in the same places on the curve. The outer G & A strings will be a bit longer from the saddle to the nut due to the bigger angles from the saddle to the nut slots than the C & E travel.

Some makers believe that the scales of ukuleles are short enough that a compensated saddle will have little effect on the intonation. Others insist that they make a noticeable difference.
I'd want a fairly steep curve on the top - profile of the pointed end of an egg, not the rounded end.

Too flat a curve and sometimes the vibration of the strings means they hit another point on the saddle, causing some buzz or sizzle.

Simply though, put a nice curve on the top and, if it sounds good, you're done. If you hear some distortion in the sound, steepen the curve at the headstock-facing side of the saddle.
Thanks for the replies.

I think I will just leave the saddle as is, if nice and rounded sounds good to most. I have a few too many thumbs, only had it off because the action was at least 3 mm at 12th fret. That even I could improve 😆

The particular ukulele is not the clearest ringing in my heard, and it seemed a bit rounder than on my compensated saddles. So I wondered if it was connected.

If I find time to follow up, I will add photos of the difference between this and my other ukes
Top Bottom