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J-150 Broken Saddle?!?!


golfski
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Hey All - new Noel G. J-150 (see other threads I've participated in).  I worked up the courage to change the strings out, wasn't enjoying the factory ones.  The bridge pins are slippery and I had to hold them in place as I tightened or else they would just slip out as tension was tightening.  I heard some crackles along the way and didn't think anything of it - until I was looking over the action and I noticed the Saddle is now busted!  To be honest the action was super high and I changed to Martin Acoustic PB Mediums (MA550).  Is it putting Mediums on this thing that caused that?

 

I had some other saddles laying around of different type from when I upgraded my EJ200SACE to bone, but the action is now way to low, its buzzing like crazy.  Definitely want some advice on how to move forward.  Should I only put Lights on this J-150?  Should I contact Gibson?  Just get a real bone saddle?

 

i3U4QAx.jpg

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The saddle looks ridiculously tall, though hard to get a correct perspective from photos. My simple answer would be yes, in combo with the heavier strings and high break angle, pushing hard forward, it might have pressured a natural check in the material and nudged a crack open.

If it was my guitar I'd bring it to a qualified luthier and get a fresh setup incl new bone saddle. Sounds like it needs to be dialed in professionally, after which you'll be amazed.

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It's a non compensated saddle - super easy to replace and if you widen and lengthen the slots in those pins just a little to give the string end binding some more room they'll stop popping up when you start winding some tension on the string.

Edited by Brucebubs
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I think the first response was a good one. Take this guitar to a good Luthier. I think it should be made right free of charge. Might have to pay for a bone saddle. I’m guessing the original was tusq? Usually what Gibson uses with a pickup.

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I’ve had a bone saddle break one time.  Never could figure out why, but one day a piece on the end cracked all the way through.   I put on a new one.  I guess it can happen.  
 

Regarding saddle height, some guitars have saddles that seem higher.  I have a 1994 Gibson where the saddle seems to sit higher, but the action is okay.  What matters is the action being appropriate, not whether the saddle looks too high IMHO.    Some guitar’s tops are not flat, it’s just the way they are made.  Although it is possible a top can get sunken, which maybe from a broken brace,  which would necessitate a higher saddle or a repaired brace.
 

As others have suggested, a new saddle can be put in by a luthier along with a good set up, if the owner doesn’t want to mess with it.  A good luthier will also be able to assess if there are any issues.  Regarding the broken saddle, it can just happen, I guess, although it’s not an everyday thing.  There is a lot of pressure on a saddle from string tension.

 

QM aka “ Jazzman” Jeff

 

Edited by QuestionMark
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7 hours ago, golfski said:

Hey All - new Noel G. J-150 (see other threads I've participated in).  I worked up the courage to change the strings out, wasn't enjoying the factory ones.  The bridge pins are slippery and I had to hold them in place as I tightened or else they would just slip out as tension was tightening.  I heard some crackles along the way and didn't think anything of it - until I was looking over the action and I noticed the Saddle is now busted!  To be honest the action was super high and I changed to Martin Acoustic PB Mediums (MA550).  Is it putting Mediums on this thing that caused that?

 

I had some other saddles laying around of different type from when I upgraded my EJ200SACE to bone, but the action is now way to low, its buzzing like crazy.  Definitely want some advice on how to move forward.  Should I only put Lights on this J-150?  Should I contact Gibson?  Just get a real bone saddle?

 

i3U4QAx.jpg

This is the New NG you just bought?     Where did you get it from?    If it is the NG.  I see more issues than just a saddle.  Contact the dealer or Gibson.  

Edited by slimt
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32 minutes ago, slimt said:

This is the New NG you just bought?     Where did you get it from?    If it is the NG.  I see more issues than just a saddle.  Contact the dealer or Gibson.  

This is the new NG.  What issues do you see?  I know you mentioned the bridge lifting but I am sure it’s not lifting.  I can’t slip paper under it or anything, it looks fine in person but see the shadow you are talking about in pics.  
 

I did take it to guitar tech to get a new saddle.  It’s compensated and fits and the guitar is set up pretty nicely now, but I’m still going to contact Gibson and see what they say.   The tech was at Guitar Center, I was pretty nervous having him do it, but I did get the guitar through them. He did say he relieved the neck a bit, I can tell there’s curvature now in the neck but the action is nice, but I honestly don’t have a local luthier other than GC.  

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18 minutes ago, golfski said:

This is the new NG.  What issues do you see?  I know you mentioned the bridge lifting but I am sure it’s not lifting.  I can’t slip paper under it or anything, it looks fine in person but see the shadow you are talking about in pics.  
 

I did take it to guitar tech to get a new saddle.  It’s compensated and fits and the guitar is set up pretty nicely now, but I’m still going to contact Gibson and see what they say.   The tech was at Guitar Center, I was pretty nervous having him do it, but I did get the guitar through them. He did say he relieved the neck a bit, I can tell there’s curvature now in the neck but the action is nice, but I honestly don’t have a local luthier other than GC.  

Okay. When you look at the picture you posted.  Of the bridge. Look at the edge just below the flat surface of the bridge.  To me it looks either like a pencil line or de lamination.  Good you got a new saddle.    

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16 hours ago, golfski said:

This is the new NG.  What issues do you see?  I know you mentioned the bridge lifting but I am sure it’s not lifting.  I can’t slip paper under it or anything, it looks fine in person but see the shadow you are talking about in pics.  
 

I did take it to guitar tech to get a new saddle.  It’s compensated and fits and the guitar is set up pretty nicely now, but I’m still going to contact Gibson and see what they say.   The tech was at Guitar Center, I was pretty nervous having him do it, but I did get the guitar through them. He did say he relieved the neck a bit, I can tell there’s curvature now in the neck but the action is nice, but I honestly don’t have a local luthier other than GC.  

Good for you. GC should be able to handle a new saddle, & a basic set up. When I bought my RW J-45  used. It was filthy,  & played like crap. I noticed the saddle didn't fit tight. & moved a little when turning up new strings.  Had a new tusq saddle installed. & the truss rod  tweaked. It became a dream  guitar after that.

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16 minutes ago, Paul14 said:

Good for you. GC should be able to handle a new saddle, & a basic set up. When I bought my RW J-45  used. It was filthy,  & played like crap. I noticed the saddle didn't fit tight. & moved a little when turning up new strings.  Had a new tusq saddle installed. & the truss rod  tweaked. It became a dream  guitar after that.

Yeah it is playing a lot better and the action is not nearly as high.  I am about to call Gibson though and see if I can get a replacement so I have original OEM parts.  The only thing that made me nervous with the GC tech is he said he gave it more relief than he normally would.  So I backed the relief off a little bit last night when I got home (very nerve wracking) and I think the action is almost perfect now.  

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Almost all new Gibsons I’ve seen in the last three years have a steep neck angle and a tall saddle. This is fine by me-it allows the guitar to settle over the first few years of ownership and still have enough saddle height to get the action and intonation bang on without having to have a relatively new guitar subjected to a neck reset.

I see no further issues here now your broken saddle is fixed…I think the perceived delamination of the bridge is just a trick of the light in the pic.

enjoy your NG!

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5 minutes ago, Jinder said:

Almost all new Gibsons I’ve seen in the last three years have a steep neck angle and a tall saddle. This is fine by me-it allows the guitar to settle over the first few years of ownership and still have enough saddle height to get the action and intonation bang on without having to have a relatively new guitar subjected to a neck reset.

I see no further issues here now your broken saddle is fixed…I think the perceived delamination of the bridge is just a trick of the light in the pic.

enjoy your NG!

Thanks for the vote of confidence that there is nothing left to worry about here.  You are correct on the pic, that is light just hitting the grain, I can assure everyone the top of the bridge is not being separated from the sides of the bridge.  

I just gave Gibson a call, they are shipping me a new saddle, will probably have it re-set up once it comes in.

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The bridge appears fine. The saddle looks as tall as the World Trade Center. That could have contributed to the cracked saddle. The good news is that GC can easily replace the saddle and do a good set up. I have had many guitars done at GC, be sure to tell them what you want in terms of action and you should be fine. Looking at that very high saddle, I can tell you that when you get a new one and a good set up, it will make that guitar sound better than ever before. It's unfortunate, but it is also a small easy fix if it is only the saddle that needs replacement. Be sure to specify to GC which saddle you want as in bone or tusq etc, and also to specify if you want ...LOW, MEDIUM, or HIGH action...depending upon your playing style. They will likely ask you to play a few measures to see HOW you strike and play your guitar...from that they will determine how the action should best be set for you playing style. I just had a Gibby Hummingbird set up to low action, and my local GC did a STELLER job!

Edited by ALD323
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