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Author Topic: Do shims mess with tone?  (Read 1810 times)
Austiban
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« on: September 24, 2006, 10:34:33 PM »

Just curious what opinions would be for using shims to raise a saddle. Is there a certain material thats better? Does it affect sound? 
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Randy_R
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« Reply #1 on: September 24, 2006, 11:01:20 PM »

any shim has to affect tone to some degree. The vibrational energy is transfered one additional time with a shim. Different materials propagate vibrations with varying affect on different frequencies.

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« Reply #2 on: September 25, 2006, 01:55:25 AM »

Its just best to have a new saddle made.Shims in most case's suck out tone.
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« Reply #3 on: September 25, 2006, 02:42:15 AM »

Have two saddles made: one for summer when it is more humid, and one for winter when it is drier.
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ronmac
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« Reply #4 on: September 25, 2006, 09:41:06 AM »

I agree with the idea of having two saddles made for your guitar. If you just want to see how the guitar plays and sounds with a higher saddle shims are a good short term solution.
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« Reply #5 on: September 25, 2006, 01:40:45 PM »

Just curious what opinions would be for using shims to raise a saddle. Is there a certain material thats better? Does it affect sound? 

With the price of a saddle, why even mess with shims? Just have a higher one made (or make it yourself if you have the skills).
I live in New england and have two saddles for all of my guitars...one for the dry Winters and another for the humid Summer.

Dan
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aaronjnoone
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« Reply #6 on: September 25, 2006, 11:11:28 PM »

Austiban,

I have my saddle shimmed right now, and to be honest I can't tell a bit of difference in tone. These guys are right, though. With the price of saddles, why not just use two, one for summer, one for winter.

I use a UST, and shimmed/unshimmed I can't tell any difference. But I'm no sound engineer.

FYI, I use those little cable ties, cut the end off, trim to fit, they fit right in the slot perfectly. If you're going to use shims, use something that's real hard, and has the same surface area as the saddle, so these work great.

Hope this helps,
aaron
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« Reply #7 on: September 28, 2006, 02:27:48 PM »

Saddles are cheap. Why bother to shim. I admit that I have used shims on several occasions while experimenting with different setups. I've never heard a difference when the shim is well seated and was suprised that spruce works really well. It compresses in the slot and conforms well making good contact on the saddle and the bridge slot. This is counter to much of the conventional wisdom I've read. I  read a series of posts on this subject on one of the luthiers forums and was suprised to learn that some of them reported no noticable loss of tone or power with a properly installed shim. They also made sure to include the comment that they would NEVER give a customer a guitar with a shimmed saddle.  I've read that some manufacturers occasionally deliver a guitar to a dealer that has a saddle shim. If you experiment with shims you need to be carefull not to have too much saddle sticking up out of the slot. It can create too much tourqe on the bridge and pressure on the soundboard. 1/32 of an inch is a large measurement when changing saddle specs.  BTW those little wood stir sticks are handy to use as shim blanks. They can be easily shaped and sanded to size. On the rare occasion when I visit a fancy coffee shop I grab a dozen or more of them. They also are great for mixing epoxy, cleaning glue squeeze out in corners if you trim one end, etc,,,,
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jiyang71
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« Reply #8 on: September 28, 2006, 07:33:20 PM »

One of the best materials for shim is ebony wood strip.
When I had Goodalls several years ago, one day I felt the saddle was slightly low and sent an e-mail to James Goodall asking opinions. At that time I was in South Korea and kindly enough, he sent me a few ebony shims from Hawaii for free. They were precisely cut and after no-brainer installation I couldn't hear any difference in tone and volume. Kudos for Goodall.
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« Reply #9 on: September 28, 2006, 09:25:12 PM »

For 15 bucks Custom Guitar Saddles sells a shim kit containing ebony shims, super glue, and a razor blade. http://www.guitarsaddles.com/SaddleShim.asp
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