How to fix misplaced bridge?

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Eric Knapp
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How to fix misplaced bridge?

Post by Eric Knapp »

I’m learning, I swear! One of the mistakes I made on guitar number 2 was where I put the bridge. I was thinking it wasn’t in the right place so I made this tool. It’s a copy of the StewMac design. (I buy a lot from them but I love making my own tools. I had all the materials for this already.)

4A381F2B-AFC2-4143-99C1-7E3FB791EE73.jpeg
357DE133-F0F5-48C2-A0A6-3A736938CAC3.jpeg

This photo shows that the saddle slot is a little over 1/8” too close to the nut. That’s too much and I’m wondering what the best way to fix this would be. Would you fill the slot and recut it or take the bridge off? A learning mind needs to know!

D26BB4D8-C33E-4599-8FE9-5F755F97AC32.jpeg

Thanks, one day I hope to make a good guitar. One step/mistake at a time.

-Eric

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Bob Gramann
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Re: How to fix misplaced bridge?

Post by Bob Gramann »

I’m not sure what I see on the placement in the first picture. Which side of the nut do the pins mark? Regardless of your device, the intonation point on the saddle needs to be twice the distance from the fingerboard edge of the nut plus the compensation. You’ve already got the bridge down and drilled. Why not string it up and see how far off your intonation is? If I see what I think I see, your intonation point for the big E will land right at the back edge of the saddle. That would be good. With my saddles canted 1/4” over 6”, my intonation points on a 1/8” saddle are at the back for the fat E, the front for the G, the back for the B and the others varying in the middle of the saddle as necessary.

I have located the bridge short at least once in my short career of 150+ instruments. On the time I remember, I filled the saddle slot and recut it. I suspect that there has been more than one of these instances. If there’s a mistake, I can make it. Removing the bridge risks making an unnecessary mess and would probably require making a new larger bridge to cover the footprint of the misplaced bridge.

Don’t rush into a fix. Tumble it over in your mind for a few days until you’re really sure of the path forward.

Mark McLean
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Re: How to fix misplaced bridge?

Post by Mark McLean »

Yes, I would agree with Bob that at this stage it you might as well just string it up and see how much of a problem you actually have - before you try to decide on the remedy. If it needs a remedy you could try to add some compensation at the nut. That could make you look very clever and prove that the saddle position was intentional.

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Barry Daniels
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Re: How to fix misplaced bridge?

Post by Barry Daniels »

One way to make absolutely sure where your saddle needs to be is to put small pieces of finish nails as temporary saddles on the bridge and move them back and forth until your intonation is spot on for each string. You might need a small strip of wood in the existing saddle slot that makes a flush surface to support the nails. Mark the position of each nail and then find a saddle location that will incorporate each position. Stew-Mac makes a nice version of this but its a bit pricey.
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Eric Knapp
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Re: How to fix misplaced bridge?

Post by Eric Knapp »

Bob Gramann wrote:
Mon Jan 16, 2023 11:49 pm
I’m not sure what I see on the placement in the first picture. Which side of the nut do the pins mark?
The pins are set to the compensation. They are supposed to be at the leading edge of the saddle toward the nut. The pins are on the other side of the saddle. The saddle slot is 1/8” wide so the bridge is over that distance too far forward.
Bob Gramann wrote:
Mon Jan 16, 2023 11:49 pm
Regardless of your device, the intonation point on the saddle needs to be twice the distance from the fingerboard edge of the nut plus the compensation. You’ve already got the bridge down and drilled. Why not string it up and see how far off your intonation is?

Don’t rush into a fix. Tumble it over in your mind for a few days until you’re really sure of the path forward.
That’s a good idea and won’t cause any issues. I will try that before making any changes.

Thanks,

-Eric

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Eric Knapp
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Re: How to fix misplaced bridge?

Post by Eric Knapp »

Barry Daniels wrote:
Tue Jan 17, 2023 10:05 am
One way to make absolutely sure where your saddle needs to be is to put small pieces of finish nails as temporary saddles on the bridge and move them back and forth until your intonation is spot on for each string. You might need a small strip of wood in the existing saddle slot that makes a flush surface to support the nails. Mark the position of each nail and then find a saddle location that will incorporate each position. Stew-Mac makes a nice version of this but its a bit pricey.
If I decide to change the saddle I will do exactly this.

Thanks,

-Eric

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Barry Daniels
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Re: How to fix misplaced bridge?

Post by Barry Daniels »

I'm saying you should do this now to make sure that the saddle is either off or not as bad as you think. My understanding is that you think your bridge is off the mark by taking measurements and using your diy saddlematic. The method I mentioned is more accurate and is empirical instead of a theoretical determination of where your saddle should be. It may not be as bad as you think.
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Bryan Bear
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Re: How to fix misplaced bridge?

Post by Bryan Bear »

As the others have said, find out where you're at first, you might be in good enough shape that you can vary the break angle location for each string and be in good shape.

I came by to tell you about what I did with my homemade tool like yours. I made my pins the same diameter as my saddle rout. I put in the compensation I (think I) want in the pins and mill the matching angle into the bridge blank. My pins have a very stubby point/taper so that I can measure to the center of the pin for compensation but most of the shaft will fit into the saddle slot. When it comes time to locate the bridge, I use my version of the saddle-matic tool to locate the whole bridge. I align the tool with the 12th fret and drop the pins into the saddle slot. Then I just make sure the center line of the bridge matches the centerline of the guitar and the pins determine the north south location. So essentially the center of the pins where I measured my compensation estimate falls in the center of the saddle slot along the whole length of the saddle. This gives me half a saddle width in either direction from my estimate to play with.
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Take care of your feet and your feet will take care of you.

Clay Schaeffer
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Re: How to fix misplaced bridge?

Post by Clay Schaeffer »

Eric Knapp wrote:
Tue Jan 17, 2023 1:58 pm
Bob Gramann wrote:
Mon Jan 16, 2023 11:49 pm
I’m not sure what I see on the placement in the first picture. Which side of the nut do the pins mark?
The pins are set to the compensation. They are supposed to be at the leading edge of the saddle toward the nut. The pins are on the other side of the saddle. The saddle slot is 1/8” wide so the bridge is over that distance too far forward.

Thanks,

-Eric
Keep in mind that the pins usually mark the "break point" of the saddle - the highest point the string rests on that "cuts off" the string length. ideally it will somewhere in the center of the saddle, but often doesn't when compensation is fine tuned for individual strings.
Rather than filling and recutting the slot you could widen it slightly and make a thicker saddle and then file the saddle to move the high point toward the back of the saddle (as you often see on the B string compensation).
I use a simple jig to slot my saddles after they are glued to the top, which could also be used to widen the slot, but if you are handy with an oscillating tool and have an emory board that might also work.
saddle rout jg2.jpg

Clay Schaeffer
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Re: How to fix misplaced bridge?

Post by Clay Schaeffer »

Clay Schaeffer wrote:
Sat Jan 21, 2023 11:52 am
Eric Knapp wrote:
Tue Jan 17, 2023 1:58 pm
Bob Gramann wrote:
Mon Jan 16, 2023 11:49 pm
I’m not sure what I see on the placement in the first picture. Which side of the nut do the pins mark?
The pins are set to the compensation. They are supposed to be at the leading edge of the saddle toward the nut. The pins are on the other side of the saddle. The saddle slot is 1/8” wide so the bridge is over that distance too far forward.

Thanks,

-Eric
Keep in mind that the pins usually mark the "break point" of the saddle - the highest point the string rests on that "cuts off" the string length. ideally it will somewhere in the center of the saddle, but often isn't when compensation is fine tuned for individual strings.
Rather than filling and recutting the slot you could widen it slightly and make a thicker saddle and then file the saddle to move the high point toward the back of the saddle (as you often see on the B string compensation).
I use a simple jig to slot my saddles after they are glued to the top, which could also be used to widen the slot, but if you are handy with an oscillating tool and have an emory board that might also work.saddle rout jg2.jpg

Clay Schaeffer
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Re: How to fix misplaced bridge?

Post by Clay Schaeffer »

Eric Knapp wrote:
Tue Jan 17, 2023 1:58 pm


The pins are set to the compensation. They are supposed to be at the leading edge of the saddle toward the nut. The pins are on the other side of the saddle. The saddle slot is 1/8” wide so the bridge is over that distance too far forward.

Thanks,

-Eric
Keep in mind that the pins usually mark the "break point" of the saddle - the highest point the string rests on that "cuts off" the string length. ideally it will somewhere in the center of the saddle, but often isn't when compensation is fine tuned for individual strings.
Rather than filling and recutting the slot you could widen it slightly and make a thicker saddle and then file the saddle to move the high point toward the back of the saddle (as you often see on the B string compensation).
I use a simple jig to slot my saddles after they are glued to the top, which could also be used to widen the slot, but if you are handy with an oscillating tool and have an emory board that might also work.
saddle rout jg2.jpg

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Bryan Bear
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Re: How to fix misplaced bridge?

Post by Bryan Bear »

Clay’s post was so good, I read it 3 times <G>
PMoMC

Take care of your feet and your feet will take care of you.

Clay Schaeffer
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Re: How to fix misplaced bridge?

Post by Clay Schaeffer »

Try to fix one small syntactic mistake and that's what you get! :roll:

Darrel Friesen
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Re: How to fix misplaced bridge?

Post by Darrel Friesen »

Bryan Bear wrote:
Sat Jan 21, 2023 6:06 pm
Clay’s post was so good, I read it 3 times <G>
Bahaha! Clay is new here. Go easy on him.

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Bryan Bear
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Re: How to fix misplaced bridge?

Post by Bryan Bear »

Ha!
PMoMC

Take care of your feet and your feet will take care of you.

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Eric Knapp
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Re: How to fix misplaced bridge?

Post by Eric Knapp »

A quick aside. I was asked in a private message about the fingerboard extension on my neck. I can’t reply to that newer member as they have disabled their PMs. Here’s what I tried to send them:

That’s called an elevated fingerboard. Here’s a link that describes it better than I can.

https://theartoflutherie.com/the-elevat ... ar-design/

I am doing my best to try something like it and I think I like it. There are a few ways to accomplish it and I don’t really know what I’m doing but it might just work. This is just my 2nd guitar and I have a lot to learn. One step at a time.

-Eric

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