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Correct Saddle placement?


mr.chEn
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Hey all,

 

I was changing out a pair of strings on my (50s Original) LG-2 and the saddle fell out of the slot. Since it is an asymmetrical shape  I'm forgetting how it's meant to be placed back into the bridge. It's a standard Gibson non-compensated saddle. Can anyone advise on which way the stock saddle is supposed to go back in?

Edited by mr.chEn
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It will usually be slightly taller on the bass side, sloping lower toward the treble end.  Take a sharp pencil and mark the correct underside of the saddle with a 'T' if you think it could happen again.

Edited by jedzep
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https://imgur.com/a/P5FdAIX

 

Photo here with saddles in both arrangements. To my eyes it looks nearly identical, with the saddle gently following the fretboard radius, but after I used some calipers there is one side that is mere millimeters taller than the other. The bridge gives the illusion of the treble side sloping up since it's cut at an incline. But I think I've got it!

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First- that is a lot of saddle sitting proud of the bridge. Better than the opposite situation. It would've been much easier to discern if it was one of the Tusq saddles with the compensated B string. But you're not the first to have had the saddle drop out during a string change- been there, done that. As your photo shows, Gibson bridge height often slopes lower to the treble side, and the saddle appears to go higher on that side, too. Since you've got the calipers at your disposal, you might want to measure the string height of the low and high E at the 12th fret to make sure the bass side has more height there.

You can also slacken the strings (put a capo on to preserve string windings at the tuners), and see if the saddle has been slightly grooved for the (thicker) low E.

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20 hours ago, jedzep said:

It will usually be slightly taller on the bass side, sloping lower toward the treble end.  Take a sharp pencil and mark the correct underside of the saddle with a 'T' if you think it could happen again.

Jedzep summed it up quite nicely. So turn that saddle around if you will to have it in the correct orientation.

Edited by Leonard McCoy
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OK.   Had that problem too -  years back.  Sort of counter intuitive that the higher side of the saddle would be under the thicker strings, but I just compared it to my other guitars. 

But  I do have a recent (last week) and very embarrassing String Change Screw Up  tale to tell, on myself.       I changed them fine,  tightened up to around  4 or 5 steps below pitch and let the guitar sit overnight.  Came back the next day and tuned it up and started playing.  The usual, new string bling - chimeyness.   But I found it had a much different feel.  Sounded ok, but harder to fret. Played for half an hour, but couldn't put my finger on it.   Finally I  noticed the 1st string wasn't ringing right when I played a partially barred F chord.    After close inspection,  I found the E string wasn't slotted into  the nut. It was stuck on a little ridge on the side of the slot. Can't see the little bump or even feel it - but it was big enough to keep the string from sliding into the slot.  I was amazed at how  big a difference a few millimeters can make.  

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They are indeed precision instruments!  In the set ups of my my own guitars, I’ve experienced  fractional things making significant differences in playability and clarity.  One of the reasons I decided to learn the craft of a precision set up, though it often is old school in that it’s fearless trial and error.  I’ve had guitars where the set up trial and error period can at times last a bit, too, playing it for a week or two at times until I find it needs a very minor adjustment to get it just right, for for the long run.  Although, on occasion I long on the sweet spot set up right away.  Ever instrument is a bit different, too, needing the set up for that particular guitar, not a one size fits all kind of thing.  One of the reasons I like to do my own set ups.    These are indeed precision instruments.

 

QM aka “Jazzman” Jeff

Edited by QuestionMark
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Quite often you can see which is which by the string-marks on the upper-side of the saddle.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 To avoid any circus, I have a tiny pencil-B on the under-side of all my saddles. And, , , actually have one where the treble is higher than the bass - a vintage weirdo ? -                                                                                NO, , , one of the 2012 Hummingbirds.

But mister mr.chEn - no harm in trying it both ways. Will teach a lesson about 'feel' also. 

Edited by E-minor7
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Keep in mind that a Gibson (and Epiphone) fretboard have a slight rounded radius on its treble and bass sides.  (Unlike some brands that have flat fretboards.) So the shape and heights in various places on the saddle figure in the the heights of all of the strings.  And, I’m not sure that all saddle indentations on every Gibson or Epi are consistent.  That’s besides the possibility in the past of a luthier slightly deeper sanding a bit of the saddle indentation on a used guitar to get a saddle to better fit or be set up, or because of installing a piezo.  Plus, the style of playing figures in.  Fingerpicking or melodic playing may warrant a slightly higher treble side to give the first string more ring or volume where a strumming style may warrant more bass, thus a slightly higher bass side.  Then, of course, there is the old looks of the overall action quotient, where a player might want the overall action to look like it has lower action because the action of the strings is usually perceived from the height of the sixth string looking downward.  Sometimes, this trade off can cause a set up to have a lower saddle side on the bass side (although the guitar n may have less bass response as a result.)  As previously mentioned, these are precision instruments and every aspect can have a minor effect.

QM aka “Jazzman” Jeff

 

Edited by QuestionMark
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On 7/23/2020 at 1:07 AM, Leonard McCoy said:

Jedzep summed it up quite nicely. So turn that saddle around if you will to have it in the correct orientation.

 

The photo in my previous post actually has the saddle placed in both ways. It's really kind of strange, the bridge gives the illusion of the treble side looking taller no matter how the saddle is placed in, but I think that's simply due to the way it's cut and angled for compensation. The saddle itself (stock from Gibson) has almost no difference in height between sides. Only around a .3mm difference from one side or the other. So I just kept the "taller" side towards the low E part of the bridge and called it a day. For my tastes the action is still pretty high, but it's a new instrument so I'd like for everything to settle in before I start filing down the saddle and things.

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Very good.  Do you have a way of measuring string action height at the 12th fret? The StewMac tool, https://www.stewmac.com/luthier-tools-and-supplies/types-of-tools/straightedges/string-action-gauge.html , is a handy enough way to check. A typical string height measured at the 12th fret might be .094" -> .100" for the low E, and .0625" -> .070" for the High E. 

Always good to sight down the neck, &/or lay a straight edge on the frets to see where it touches the bridge to see what your neck looks like before making setup adjustments, including grooving the nut or saddle.

Congrats on the 50's LG-2. . . we'd love to see a pic. . . or even hear a clip

 

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