Ever thought of changing your guitar saddle? Or simply upgrading them?
It’s high time you do it.
In this article, we have covered everything you need to understand before you actually start making alterations to your guitar.
Guitar saddles are one of the vital components of a guitar’s bridge. It acts as a spacer for the strings. The saddle also aids the transmission of string vibrations from the bridge to the soundboard or pickups. On acoustic guitars, saddles are usually made of plastic or bone and are glued into the bridge. With electric guitars, the saddles are typically metal and affixed to the bridge with screws. Saddles can also be adjusted on electric guitars to correct intonation problems or make small adjustments to the string action.
Before you decide for installing guitar saddle you should also consider that your saddle must fit deep and snug in the slot without wiggle room, that the saddle top radius should match that of your fingerboard, and that the desired saddle height should probably not average less than 1/32 inch or more than 3/16 inches above the bridge.
Let us discuss why and how to upgrade guitar saddles for a better outcome.
Why Should You Upgrade Your Saddle?
A guitar saddle is designed to transfer the vibrations through the bridge into the top wood of the guitar. This quick and simple upgrade will have an amazing effect on your instrument’s tone, harmonic content, and playability.
Compensated saddles improve playability by correctly setting each string’s intonation to help produce the best tone and performance possible.
Faber Guitar produces a wide range of fully compensated, partially compensated best Guitar parts and saddle blanks and slabs.
How To Upgrade Guitar Saddle?
1. Remove strings and old saddle
Start by removing the strings and bridge pins. Nicole has a drill attachment, but you could also use a simple string winder to complete this task. After removing your strings, the saddle should just come out of the slot without any trouble.
If it does get stuck, or it’s glued in, you definitely want to talk to a guitar tech or luthier. You don’t want to pry it out because it could rip up some of the bridge.
2. Fit The New Saddle
The next step is seeing how the saddle blank fits into the bridge slot. If you find yours isn’t fitting, you don’t want to force it in. What you can do is take a piece of sandpaper, put it on a flat surface, and use that to get the right thickness. The saddle should slip in and out of the saddle slot easily, but it shouldn’t fall out when you tip it. It should fit snugly, but be able to go in and out easily.
3. Adjust string height.
Now that you’ve got the thickness of the saddle and the length of the saddle, you need to get the proper height for the saddle.
Take the old saddle and lay it across the top of the new saddle. Line them up as best you can, and then draw a line with a nice, sharp pencil. Right there you will know how much height you need to take off to get the same action with your new saddle.
4. Sand saddle to height
Use your sandpaper to get the right height. When you get close to the line you have drawn, take two blocks and sand the piece to get a nice, straight, right angle on the bottom of the saddle.
This is important because you want more contact at the bottom of the bridge saddles with the bottom of the saddle slot. You can also use a straightedge to ensure it’s perfectly straight. Or try holding it up to the light to see if there’s any light that passes through.
When you have a piezo pickup, it’s important you have constant contact across the whole bottom of the saddle to the piezo at all times.
5. Determine string height
The final step of installing a new acoustic saddle is checking the string height, Which is called measuring the action, and we measure the action at the top of the 12th fret to the bottom of the string.
You should check the action at the low “E” string, which you want to be about three millimetres or .125 of an inch. You can use about 12 business cards if you don’t have a ruler on hand.
Also, check the action on the high “E” string. On this site, you want to be a little bit lower at two millimetres or about .08 of an inch. You could use about eight business cards to check the action.
Thus you can upgrade your saddles easily. Install Faber Bridge Saddles to fine-tune your guitar performance.