Saturday, February 02, 2013

Making a bone saddle for an acoustic guitar

EVERYONE with an acoustic should have a bone nut & saddle, right?

all righty, first carve (or sand) the top of the saddle to the curve you want, about 1mm taller than you want (just copy the plastic one you're replacing.)

These pics are from a doubleneck 6/12 string guitar I built a while back......

click on the pics to enlarge.

I've just noticed that the string spacing in these pics is a hair off, its fine once things are straightened up and all is sorted.

string it up with the gauge of string you'll be using.....

Using an old string, make a temporary saddle and adjust it til the harmonic is the same note as the fretted 12 th fret note.

your ears may be good, but a good digital tuner is better!!  get a free download like AP tuner 3.06

mark on the soundhole side of the wire, repeat for each string.

shade everything on the soundhole side

file away all the pencil marked bone.  then file in from the back to make each individual string support a dome rather than a flat on top

string it up again and you're done.......

although you may want to lower the action a hair by sanding the BOTTOM of the saddle

the theory is simple.

Each string should be the scale length plus the diameter of the CORE.

on unwound strings the core is all there is, but on wound strings it's the steel bit up the middle.

making up the numbers it's roughly


which explains the b string wiggle.......

if you are fitting a piezo under the saddle then just sand the base to make the saddle shallower by the height of the piezo. 

personally, I'd always KEEP the original and make a new one, so I'd have the original if I ever removed the piezo again.

have fun!!


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About Me

Married with 4 kids, Christian, worship leader, luthier