classical guitar bridge saddle height

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Take your string action gauge and measure the distance between the top of the 12th fret and the bottom of the low and high E strings. You also want to make sure that none of the frets are loose or popping up out of the fret slots. The variable parameters such as neck angle are then modified and the calculation is repeated until you home in on the target bridge height. a Please check out our previous article here to learn how to restring a nylon-stringed instrument = Take the edge of the paper and run it along the back edge of the bridge. February 08, 2020. Instrument designers should know that the calculator will work for all types of guitars including archtops and solid body electrics and for similar instruments as well. A standard string height on classical instruments is 6/64″ on the bass side and 5/64″ on the treble side. l Or you can make any further adjustments after the new strings are on and we make the final neck adjustments if possible. r b l, l jt 1 + You can correct any issues with some sandpaper on a flat piece of wood to even things out. = 2, h This means that in order to bring the action of the strings down 1/64″, you will need to remove 2/64″ at the saddle to achieve this. Note again that neck angle should be specified in increments that can be accurately cut in wood. 1 That article included a number of diagrams and all the math needed to make bridge height calculations for most styles of flattop guitar. 2 l Subtract a reasonable amount of saddle exposure from the total and that will give you the height of the bridge itself, without the saddle. l - Since most classical guitars don’t have a radius to the fingerboard and are flat, you want to make sure the top of the saddle is pretty flat and uniform. - 2 If one is not present, then you’ll want to sight down the neck and see how much relief is present and also to see if a hump at the end of the fretboard has formed, as these factors will greatly impede the chance of you being able to set up your guitar without it needing a professional to pull some or all of the frets out and level and radius the fretboard. Acoustic Guitar Saddles. .... you can click on most of the assembly photos on this site to enlarge them for a close look? Again, see the referenced article for more information about this. The neck may seem fine after the building process is completed, but the wood will continue to move and settle. After we mark the lines on the saddle and make sure we will have enough left sticking up out of the bridge slot, then we can sand down the bottom of the saddle. - Just enter values of zero for action (s) and relief (sr). t - Use a nut file to cut the slot down to the desired height. r The third issue to check out is to see if any of the internal braces have come loose or are damaged. 2 For practical purposes this means that increments of 0.5 degrees is about the best you can do. π 2 n - h Turn the screw clockwise to raise the saddle; turn it counter-clockwise to lower the saddle. We like to see about .007″ of neck relief on nylon-stringed instruments. You will most likely have to peek inside the soundhole and look inside the body up near the neck heel to see if there is a truss rod and if it can be adjusted. = 2 i Guitar builders usually will check for proper neck angle by flattening the fretboard and putting a straight edge on it and looking to see that the straight edge just clears the top of the bridge sans saddle. The saddle sits directly in front of the bridge pins on an acoustic guitar. r 2 + This generally does not take too many iterations. Even in that case the designer probably has some target value for overstand in mind. The second issue you want to check out before you start the setup is to see if there is any structural damage. Also, hovering the cursor over most linear dimension values will convert the values to decimal inches, fractional inches, and SI units. r t - If the neck needs relief, adjust the truss rod counter-clockwise. jb = If there are loose or uneven frets then they would need to be reseated and glued down. “Fretboard/Top Plate Geometry of the Flattop Guitar” American Lutherie, #111. For the most part this means everything other than neck angle and, assuming the instrument will have a raised fretboard, overstand. Cut a small rectangular piece of plastic or use the string packaging from the new strings and some low tack tape to protect the top of your instrument right behind the bridge. t, l * jt A poorly set up instrument can present too much resistance and discouragement. 0.056 s Now we’ll use our string height ratio to mark the saddle so we know how much material to take off the bottom in order to get the desired string height. r. If values for lne and ljt are specified, the calculator can check for collision between the top and the underside of the fretboard. 2 1 t Mottola, R.M. l / Once the neck is straight, we can check the frets and make sure they are even so we won’t get any buzzing or fretting out and can achieve a nice low action. The first issue associated with Classical or Flamenco style guitars is that a lot of builders assume that it is unnecessary to build the neck with an adjustable truss rod inside of them. Make sure to cut the slot in a downward angle towards the face of the headstock in order for the string to sit properly in the slot and not buzz. 2, r Initial appearance: September 9, 2012 The part of the bridge height attributable to arching of the top (calculated); The part of the bridge height attributable to elevation of the fretboard (calculated). And for the low E and A strings, .020 – .022″ of clearance over the 1st fret. This will give you the overall action of the strings. The calculator can be used to calculate this as well. = You also want to check the bridge and see if it is coming unglued or unstuck from the top of the body. r Note that the calculator outputs the total bridge height including the saddle. You also want to check the action of the other strings to make sure the saddle is radiused correctly according to the radius of the fretboard. 2 This will make sure we can get an even and comfortable action across all the strings. - Also keep in mind that even though the radii of dished forms are usually specified in feet or meters, the equations require these to be entered in whatever units the rest of the parameters are specified in (usually inches or mm). Copyright © 2020 Guitarist Lab – Privacy Policy, How to Properly String a Classical Guitar, The Right Way to Restring Your Acoustic Guitar,,,, The position of the saddle affects: Intonation (the guitar's ability to play in tune) Action (string height above frets) Tone (different materials change tonal properties) Most acoustic guitar saddles are either 3/32" or 1/8" wide. In that case the calculator can be used to determine what neck angle is needed to achieve that bridge height, and what top doming height is needed to achieve that bridge height, etc. To adjust the action, you need to raise or lower a part of the bridge known as the saddles (the parts just in front of the bridge where the strings sit). - The “golden ratio” for lowering the action on a bridge saddle of an acoustic instrument is 1:2.

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