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Author Topic: Triple Compensated Saddle?  (Read 8302 times)
Barefoot Rob
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« Reply #20 on: July 01, 2010, 02:35:57 AM »

 +1 PLEASE DON'T notch the saddle.I tell everyone that once the string has started notching the saddle they should concider replacing it.
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« Reply #21 on: July 01, 2010, 09:36:18 AM »

Of my gits, only the P-09 came with a triple compensated saddle. So when I get around to trying a bone saddle in my parlor, should I go with what the same compensation?

That would be my suggestion unless you are doing the nut too, use the config it originally had.
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« Reply #22 on: July 01, 2010, 02:38:18 PM »

That would be my suggestion unless you are doing the nut too, use the config it originally had.

Doing what with the nut? Won't you have to shave to the fretboard to move the nut forward to compensate for the lengthening of the E and B string?
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« Reply #23 on: July 01, 2010, 03:36:10 PM »

+1 PLEASE DON'T notch the saddle.I tell everyone that once the string has started notching the saddle they should concider replacing it.

   Don't cut any grooves in a saddle.                        If the tusq saddle is OK then just duplicate what it is.

Ok, thanks for your replies, unclrob and dependan.

I made my very first saddle a few months ago out of Corian and notched it, but when I was making the bone saddle last week it kind of struck me as the wrong thing to do, so I just left it unnotched.
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« Reply #24 on: July 01, 2010, 09:05:59 PM »

Ok, dumb question time...

What steps should I take to intonate the guitar?

(Here's what I was thinking: First, tune each open string to correct pitch and then check at the 12th fret. If the note is sharp, move the contact point farther away, thus creating a longer string. And the vice versa for a flat tone.)

I also noticed that it's more "difficult" to tune mahogany than rosewood. On several strings the tone drifts sharp 2 or 3 Hz after plucking, while on the rosewood it stays pretty much right on. Any thoughts?

Anyone care to comment? Please... 
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« Reply #25 on: July 02, 2010, 02:01:14 AM »

Ok, dumb question time...
What steps should I take to intonate the guitar?

(Here's what I was thinking: First, tune each open string to correct pitch and then check at the 12th fret. If the note is sharp, move the contact point farther away, thus creating a longer string. And the vice versa for a flat tone.)

I did try the above but had a difficult time with my cheap tuner. What type of tuners do you gentlemen use?

I also noticed that it's more "difficult" to tune mahogany than rosewood. On several strings the tone drifts sharp 2 or 3 Hz after plucking, while on the rosewood it stays pretty much right on. Any thoughts?

This is what I'd always (well, after I owned a Marting D-18) heard. I hated playing above the 7th fret on the -18; tuning went so out of whack it was miserable playing. Of course, that guitar was made in the mid 60s and, from what I've heard, that was not Martin's golden era. If you play up around the octave you'll get very picky about the tuning and that's where the compensation comes in.

I'd never heard about the difficulty of Mahogany. Maybe that's why I don't have the -18 anymore.

As far as tuners are concerned I would think either perfect pitch or a GOOD strobe tuner would be the necessary equipment.

f
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Barefoot Rob
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« Reply #26 on: July 02, 2010, 02:51:38 AM »

Some tech/luthiers I know will use small bits of plastic under the strings on apiece of paper on the bridge and move them back and forth until they get the intonation were they want it then mark the paper and build a saddle from there.

I also check the intonation at the 19th fret.Hit a harmonic there and compare it to a note fingered on the 7th fret.Sometime's I'll work off the harmonic note in the sound hole and compare it to the fingered note on the 12th fret.This has worked well for me for many years.
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« Reply #27 on: July 02, 2010, 01:24:37 PM »

Thanks for your replies, ffinke and unclrob!
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« Reply #28 on: July 06, 2010, 09:50:41 PM »

I have heard that the nut isn't different. So has anyone put a 'b 'compensated saddle on their parlor that formerly had a triple?
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« Reply #29 on: July 17, 2010, 01:35:33 PM »


On to the piano comparision.You can't really compare an instrument that is hammered to one that need you to press down on a string and pluck or strum it


Rob,

Sorry, but I have to disagree with you here.

You absolutely can compare string length compensation between strummed stringed instruments and hammered stringed instruments.  The governing physics of string vibration make them comparable.  The only difference is the what sets the string into motion.  Once it's in motion, the only physics involved are tension, string length(ruled by the endpoints), the mass per unit length of the string, etc.

The big difference is that a piano spans such a larger musical frequency range, and piano makers have to use a significantly wider range of types of strings (wound/unwound, winding diameter and material, core material, etc.) that the compensation looks more exaggerated than on a six-steel string acoustic.

Folks, this is why you have adjustable string length saddles under each string in most in electric guitars.  You compensate for each individual string.  This can be taken to an even greater extreme with fan-fretted type of necks, where the distances between fret-wires is unique to each string. 

To the OP - guessing at compensation simply is a non-starter.  If you don't have access to some kind of guide for the string type and tension you are using, guessing is likely to sound worse than just using a pre-compensated saddle to begin with.
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« Reply #30 on: July 17, 2010, 03:07:27 PM »

I'm really out of it then.I prefer non comp acoustic saddle's,I prefer the 3 saddle bridge's of a tele.My Gretsch White Falcon has a straight non comp bridge and I use a non comp bridge on my Gibson L7.Oh ya I have a straight saddle on my lap steel's,mandolin,violin and chello,I have no problem playing in tune.But like i say what do I know.
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« Reply #31 on: July 17, 2010, 05:15:46 PM »

I'm really out of it then.I prefer non comp acoustic saddle's,I prefer the 3 saddle bridge's of a tele.My Gretsch White Falcon has a straight non comp bridge and I use a non comp bridge on my Gibson L7.Oh ya I have a straight saddle on my lap steel's,mandolin,violin and chello,I have no problem playing in tune.But like i say what do I know.

Rob,

My post wasn't to say that you had to have a compensated saddle to play in tune - but that there's a reason they exist, and it's a real reason based on physics - same physics that govern a the various string length compensation measures present in the harp of a piano. 

Regarding lap steel, violin and cello - those don't need multiple compensation because they are basically fretless instruments.  You play in tune because you do the compensating with the slide, or with your fingers on the fretless keyboard.  The only time you might notice 'out of tuneness' is on open notes, but I'm guessing you tune those nicely to begin with.  Then any fretted notes are in tune because your playing is doing the tuning 'live'.

Any saddle that is angled, whether it's multi-sectioned or not, is compensating.  Your tele would sound pretty doggoned wonky if it just had a straight bar that wasn't angled to the direction of the strings.  Even though it's just a 3 saddle, the 3 saddles are there to compensate - though not as much as the offset 3 saddled tele bridges.  Just to demonstrate the point - set those 3 saddles at the same string length then report back if it's easy to play in tune all over the fretboard.

With all that said, my gut string has zero compensation - straight saddle, completely perpendicular to the strings.  I believe it has something to do with the much lower string tension in a gut-string guitar as compared to any of the other instruments mentioned above.

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« Reply #32 on: July 18, 2010, 06:25:01 AM »

Sorry bud just bustin nuts.I have one of my tele's that ended up with the best balance all the saddle were even.I find that I don't care for the new fancy angled tele bridge's seems to remove some soul from the guitar.Which is way I seem to prefer no comp saddle's and yes I agree that just having the angled saddle is compensating.When I learn how to tune piano's I just remember that the gentleman who taugh me only tuned the middle "C" then tuned the rest by ear based on the trued note from there.Every one he tuned sound much sweeter.I guess what I'm trying to confa is that a perfectly in tuned guitar sounded----OK I KNOW I"M GOING TO GET CRAP FOR THIS-----sterial to me and if you just happen to flubb in a tune it trully stands out.Not being perfect has a sence of being human,call it that  that thing you feel when you like as one with the instrument.I'll stop now its late at night and I just got home from the gig.
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« Reply #33 on: July 19, 2010, 06:20:00 AM »

Any saddle that is angled, whether it's multi-sectioned or not, is compensating. 


 ohmy

Oh no, does this mean Larrivees are really quadruple compensated instead of triple compensated?



...just kidding of course
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Barefoot Rob
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« Reply #34 on: July 19, 2010, 01:43:29 PM »

Ah yep.
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« Reply #35 on: August 04, 2010, 05:20:58 AM »

NOTE:  I made some major edits to this and the next post to correct some misconceptions I had and the resulting misinformation I was providing.  Hope I didn't confuse anyone.

I believe there IS a difference between how compensation applies to a piano VS the guitar.  Rockstar and Rob are both right since I don't think you are both talking about quite the same thing.  Both instruments have to be compensated for one or more of the reasons given already.  But the optimum compensation point for each instrument is chosen based on slightly different of those physical reasons.  To me, the difference is this:

A piano surely is compensated for exactly all the physics reasons Rockstar stated.  That's a very good explanation if you ask me.  That is also how and why a quitar is compensated to begin with, (based on string tension and length and diameter).  This optimum compensation would only be the same for the guitar if it was played with normal tuning to concert pitch, and only if the strings were never fretted which isn't how it is played, of course.  So a piano's compensation needs only be set once for a given string, based on it being always played "open".  Hammering doesn't stretch it (maybe a tiny bit?).  The similiarity in terms of physics changes once a given string of a given diameter and length is stretched by fretting it.  Now you have a string of a given thickness that was a certain length when open, that has been shortened in length and stretched, yet the diameter has remained the same.

A "fat" string when stretched and shortened by fretting it will sound sharper relative to it's original pitch, than a skinnier string will at the same fret on a typical guitar. This is mostly because fat strings (especially wound ones) need more room to vibrate and are usually set higher above the fret board to avoid buzzing.  So when they are fretted, they get stretched more than thin (unwound) strings.  The more you stretch a string, the sharper it will get.  String tension also comes into play, however.  The "looser" a string is, the more compensation it needs.  Shorter scale guitars need more compensation than long scale ones, because the strings, when tuned to pitch, are under less tension as the scale length is shortened.  So on the guitar, one has to now choose how long to make each string when it is open (the COMPENSATED scale length) and yet minimize these conflicting effects.  Most people choose to adjust (COMPENSATE) the "open" scale length such that it isn't too sharp or too flat when it is fretted an octave above the open pitch, or at the 12th fret.

part 2 to follow
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« Reply #36 on: August 04, 2010, 06:49:18 AM »

NOTE:  I made some major edits to this and the previous post to correct some misconceptions I had and the resulting misinformation I was providing.  Hope I didn't confuse anyone.

part 2
So now, for a guitar with a given nominal scale length and number of frets, one has to choose what is the optimum scale length for each individual string.  Since (on almost all acoustics) only one scale length can be chosen for each string, the diameter and tension of each must be taken into consideration.  Since the designer/builder has no control of what strings will ultimately be used he or she must settle on a certain set of string diameters as a basis and set the compensation for that set.  So an angle for the saddle that minimizes variances in pitch from the correct one at chosen frets is used.  So all saddles on steel string guitars are compensated at least to that extent.  This is done by making the bass side strings longer than the treble ones.  On (probably) most guitars this (straight) angle is often acceptable since the differences between the theoritical true pitch and the actual fretted pitch are small enough that many can't hear the difference or even if they can, it doesn't really matter, or it doesn't bother them.

To complicate things more, the magnitude of these conflicting effects from one string to the next on a practical set is not the same.  So, on some other guitars, this "simple" compensation is taken a step further by "stepping" this straight angle one way or another to further "customize" the optimum open scale length for each individual string.  In theory, this compensation would perform the best with the string diameters/tensions specified or recommended by the builder.  Small variances would likely not be too much of a problem.  In any case, the compensation used is always a compromise since there is only one absolute best scale length for a given string diameter/tension that must be tuned to a pre-determined pitch when open.  As already stated, a guitar cannot be "perfectly" intonated due to it's inherent design and physics.  Any string is only perfectly in tune when open and (maybe) on one other fret.

That is why one should not mess with the scale length unless there is a real good reason to do so.  Eg. You want to drastically change the string sizes from what was intended by the design, maybe, or you have a certain playing style high up on the neck or want to use alternate tuning, or something like that.

So, as previously posted, if you replace the saddle it should be a clone of the original (at least to start with).  You can't just put in a "stepped" saddle where there used to be a straight one and expect to improve the intonation.  There's a good chance you'll make it worse.

That does not mean to say you couldn't install a "stepped" saddle already customed designed as an upgrade for a particular guitar model.  Or that you can't improve an existing guitars' intonation by tweaking it's original saddle or building a new one for it.

Wow, did I write all that?  I thing I just taught myself something.  So it must be correct.  wacko

Kurt
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Barefoot Rob
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« Reply #37 on: August 04, 2010, 01:53:30 PM »

Your right to a point.The piano has fixed strings and the strings are never touched by human hands while played.The guitar on the other hand has many more variable's.Each player press's the string down with different preasure which change's due to many human factor's.Which really screws with the math/physic.When intonating a guitar for me at least I intonate slightly flat.It becomes even more of an adventure when working with acoustic guitars.
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« Reply #38 on: August 05, 2010, 04:04:38 AM »

What steps should I take to intonate the guitar?
(Here's what I was thinking: First, tune each open string to correct pitch and then check at the 12th fret. If the note is sharp, move the contact point farther away, thus creating a longer string. And the vice versa for a flat tone.)
I did try the above but had a difficult time with my cheap tuner. What type of tuners do you gentlemen use?
I also noticed that it's more "difficult" to tune mahogany than rosewood. On several strings the tone drifts sharp 2 or 3 Hz after plucking, while on the rosewood it stays pretty much right on. Any thoughts?

You are on the right track.  A couple of thoughts that might help you out.  I assume you are talking about an acoustic?  If so, are you just "tweaking" the exising saddle, or trying to make a new one?  I don't think the actual tuner you are using would make much difference, but I could be wrong.  Maybe it isn't precise enough for you, or?  I can't concieve how the body woods would make much difference either, unless maybe the tuner can "hear" the actual overtones of one wood better than another or gets more "confused" with different woods?.  Is that what you mean?  Maybe try moving the tuner around a bit or strumming at a different distance from the bridge?
Anyways, a couple of tips:

Experiment with an electric guitar with adjustable bridge to get a feel for it before tackling the saddle on your accoustic. 

You should hold the guitar in the playing position when comparing the open note to the fretted note.  If you lay the guitar on it's back, there will be different stresses and tensions on the strings.  Also when you fret the notes, press down the same amount as when you are playing, don't press harder than you normally would.

If it seems to intonate pretty well at the 12th fret, but plays too sharp on the first couple of frets, then your nut may be a bit too high.

The intonation is the last thing you should set when you set up the guitar.  You need to have already set the action (neck relief, and string height at the nut and saddle) and put on the set of strings you plan to use, first.

Good luck, Kurt
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« Reply #39 on: August 05, 2010, 08:50:20 PM »

Hi Kurt, thanks for the tips!

Yes, I'm talking acoustic and yes, I am, well I was, talking about making a new saddle. But now that it's made I'll need to tweak it which might not be possible since the action will get too low...
I could shim it, right? A salesman once told me that a lot of guitars, even new ones are shimmed, either one end or completely. I'm not sure how good that is. What do you think?

I can't concieve how the body woods would make much difference either, unless maybe the tuner can "hear" the actual overtones of one wood better than another or gets more "confused" with different woods?.  Is that what you mean?


That's exactly what I was thinking... is it possible?
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