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6shooter

Loose Saddle or OK?

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 I bought a "leftover" J15 for a great price.  After many months I needed to change strings (which, by the way, Gibson no longer makes the 0.052, .041, .034, .025, .016, .012 set with the sound I loved) and got Ernie Ball Earthtones.  I noticed after removing the strings that the saddle was very loose.  Might not even stay seated if I inverted the guitar.  Is that OK or normal for Gibson?  Also, I tried several times to get the bridge pin for the 6th string to seat flush with the bridge plate but it wants to ride up a little while the others are flush.  It tuned up fine and plays fine, just worries me seeing it up off the bridge.  That string is a 0.53 instead of the stock 0.52, but that shouldn't be a cause.  Never had these questions/problems come up on my Taylor or Yamaha.  Thanks!

 

Edited by 6shooter
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6 minutes ago, 6shooter said:

 I gought a "leftover" J15 for a great price.  After many months I needed to change strings (which, by the way, Gibson no longer makes the 0.052, .041, .034, .025, .016, .012 set with the sound I loved) and got Ernie Ball Earthtones.  I noticed after removing the strings that the saddle was very loose.  Might not even stay seated if I inverted the guitar.  Is that OK or normal for Gibson?  Also, I tried several times to get the bridge pin for the 6th string to seat flush with the bridge plate but it wants to ride up a little while the others are flush.  It tuned up fine and plays fine, just worries me seeing it up off the bridge.  That string is a 0.53 instead of the stock 0.52, but that shouldn't be a cause.  Never had these questions/problems come up on my Taylor or Yamaha.  Thanks!

 

Can you wiggle it with the strings out?

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1 hour ago, Sgt. Pepper said:

Can you wiggle it with the strings out?

The pin sits flush with no wiggle when strings are out.  The saddle is loose as a goose with the strings out.

 

 

Edited by 6shooter

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1 hour ago, jedzep said:

If the saddle flops around it's not good for tone and possibly could lean forward enough to put pressure on the bridge in what could be detrimental. If it's snug enough to give you slight pressure when trying to move it you're alright.

If you have an inspection mirror you could look inside and likely see the correct seating of the string ball ends. The 6th will appear to be wedged and/or fighting it's 'seat' against the bridgeplate. Sometimes it takes a little fishing and string bending.

They should look like this.
 

IMG_7669-1-e1539356642346bridgepin.jpg

Thanks Jedzap.  I recently learned from a luthier that the least damaging fitment in the long run is to fit the string with the ball end (or barrel) situated such that if it were a wheel it would be pointed as if rolling in the direction of the strings (down the neck) and not "sideways"  Whether or not that is good information, it did cause me to use a flashlight and carefully insert each string prior to inserting the pins.  So I like your suggestion of getting a mirror and see what I've got before I loosen 6th string, pull pin, and try again!  Good info!

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6 minutes ago, 6shooter said:

The pin sits flush with no wiggle when strings are out.  The saddle is loose as a goose with the strings out.

 

 

That is no muy bueno.

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1 hour ago, Brucebubs said:

Try extending the slot in that number 6 bridge pin like the one pictured on the left.

PS22XPEl.jpg

Brucebubs Never thought of this, but with the heavier winding on this string I can see where it might be needed. I will definitely do that after I get an inspection mirror and confirm that the ball end is properly seated. 

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If you're near a decent music shop, have their luthier replace the saddle with the correct size, unless you're handy enough to fabricate one from a bone blank.

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1 minute ago, Sgt. Pepper said:

That is no muy bueno.

On which count?  The pin or the saddle.  And how can I reply on this forum without having to quote everytime?  Sorry about the "state" you are in.

 

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14 hours ago, 6shooter said:

On which count?  The pin or the saddle.  And how can I reply on this forum without having to quote everytime?  Sorry about the "state" you are in.

 

Saddle. Like good sex it shouldn't be sloppy.

Go below the very last post and you should be able to post. It will say reply to topic, instead of doing the Quote thing.

Edited by Sgt. Pepper

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Is there a pickup in the saddle slot? Yours is not the first guitar. I had a j35 here where the saddle leaned forward. It should be snug in the slot.    The saddle should be deeper in the slot that what sticks up on the top of the bridge. 

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In most cases there is no reason to worry. Jedzep is of course right in saying that if the saddle has too much room to wiggle around in that it could act as a wedge and eventually split the bridge in half over an extended perioud of time, but I doubt that is the case here.

With an undersaddle pickup installed, the saddle usually sits more loosely in the bridge slot than normally as per recommendation of the pickup manufacturer (I suppose they want  to achieve perfect saddle-to-pickup-strip coverage). It is also not often the case that a brand-new guitar comes from the guitar manufacturer with a perfectly snugly sitting saddle that doesn't drop out when flipping the guitar—at least not in my experience.

I don't think any action is required. Play and enjoy your fabulous J-15 and please do post pictures.

Edited by Leonard McCoy

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Relatively loose sitting saddles seem to happen quite often. I have replace the saddles of my J35, Southern Jumbo and J185 after discovering, that the edge of the saddle "leans" towards the neck - of course as the strings are pulling in this direction. I have never considered a risk for breaking the bridge, but thought this could have a negative impact on sound and intonation. All three guitars have undersaddle pickups. 

I have replaced the original saddles by Graph Tech Acoustic Bridge Saddles - the version for Gibson acoustics - as they are available in Germany, ordered them from thomann. I had to grind the new saddles fit them in the slots, they are little too long and too high as the piezo ist under the saddle. The thickness mostly fits without or with grinding them a little. I am using sandpaper and for the last round Polishing Rubber. The sound with the Graph Tech saddles is good for me, maybe there are better or more sophistacted replacement saddles but they seem to by equivalent to the original saddles.

I have no idea if the "loose" saddles just happen by summation  of the tolerances or if there is a technical reason why Gibson makes them this way. 

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Thanks to Everyone for your advice and experience.  Forgive me for not posting pictures, I must get a new camera!  First thing I will do is get an inspection mirror today and check my work.   If I have the strings fitted properly I might cut the suggested reliefs in the pin to get a flush finish.  When I change strings in a couple weeks I'll inspect the saddle fitment more closely to see if it wants to tilt.  If it seems sloppy and prone to tilt I might replace with one that is sanded to fit with a little more "interference."   It's my  first Gibson, and such a great sounding instrument.  One that fills a hole where my Taylor 310  can't go.  Thank You Gibson community!

Edited by 6shooter
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The saddle should fit tightly without wiggling. Also, simple physics would mean that a loose saddle becomes even more of an issue the taller it is above the bridge, as the leverage increases.

As for poorly fitting bridge pins, the best solution is to get unslotted pins, then cut slots in the bridge just wide enough to make room for each string, then ream the hole to give it the same taper as the pins.

I do this to all my guitars, and it's actually very easy given you have the right tools. Stew Mac sells a kit especially for this:

Bridge slotting

Bridge reaming

Unslotted pins

A tapered pin in a straight hole will always wiggle, eventually causing the ball end of the string to creep up the hole, leaving premature damage to the bridge plate. Martin guitars were always slotted up until some time in the 1980's when it was abandoned for cost reasons (only the Authentic series is slotted today). To me, it makes perfect sense from a tone AND wear perspective to create the best possible fit between strings, bridge, and pins in the area responsible for the most energy transfer in the guitar. This is what slotting does.

Lars

Edited by Lars68

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1 hour ago, 6shooter said:

Thanks to Everyone for your advice and experience.  Forgive me for not posting pictures, I must get a new camera!  First thing I will do is get an inspection mirror today and check my work.   If I have the strings fitted properly I might cut the suggested reliefs in the pin to get a flush finish.  When I change strings in a couple weeks I'll inspect the saddle fitment more closely to see if it wants to tilt.  If it seems sloppy and prone to tilt I might replace with one that is sanded to fit with a little more "interference."   It's my  first Gibson, and such a great sounding instrument.  One that fills a hole where my Taylor 310  can't go.  Thank You Gibson community!

If you got a phone, you have one. Unless its a flip phone.

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Don't know where you are 6s, but ideally you'd like a mirror equipped with LED lights. I'm a little out in the country and could only get one online.

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6 hours ago, Sgt. Pepper said:

If you got a phone, you have one. Unless its a flip phone.

OK, believe it or not, I have never had a cellular phone.  It is indeed possible to do without one.  I would, however, like a better digital camera.  My next purchase I guess.  Thanks Sarge!

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5 hours ago, 6shooter said:

OK, believe it or not, I have never had a cellular phone.  It is indeed possible to do without one.  I would, however, like a better digital camera.  My next purchase I guess.  Thanks Sarge!

I thought I was the only person on earth without a cellphone.

As far as the saddle is concerned, I had a loose saddle on my J-45 RW. The intonation was awful. After having the saddle replaced it was spot on.

Edited by Paul14

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