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Importance of saddle/pin hole angle


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This is one of those things that we all know in theory and has been discussed at length but when one experiences it first hand, it really drives it home.


One of my guitars was bought on ebay two years ago for $12. I believe that represented a tidy profit for the seller, as it retained the yard sale sticker pricing it at twenty-five cents. Braces were missing from the top and the bridge was ripped from the top, taking some of the top with it. New braces, a larger bridge plate, and some epoxy brought it back to life. Oh, and I did have to fill in the holes in the bridge caused by three or four drywall screws, installed by a well meaning but misguided former owner.


The guitar was made in Connecticut by an aerospace company. It has much less wood than your average guitar.


The strings went two years before crapping out. A couple times I scrubbed them (and the aluminum fingerboard) with dish soap and a scrub brush, rinsing them off with a hand held shower head. Don't do this to guitars not made in Connecticut.


At the same time I made a new bone nut because I didn't like the spacing from the factory; B7 chords were cramped.


I also removed some material from the underside of the saddle, as the action was quite high, 8/64" at the 12th fret. When I restrung it, the high e sounded like someone had draped a wet paper towel over the string. It was completely dead. Thud. Upon inspection, there was an 'okay' string break angle, not great, but not shallow enough to cause a problem. However the string was touching the wood of the bridge where it should have had a clear shot to the string hole. Ten seconds with a needle file removed a tiny bit of wood and the note cleared right up.


So string ramping is important. We all need a wake up call once in a while.


This brand has pinless bridges, but the same problem can occur in a pinned bridge. The string has to come in contact with the wood surrounding the pin hole of course, but I guess the goal is to keep that area to a minimum.


Murphy's Law did prevail, I took too much off the saddle and the tone/volume suffered, so I will fix that. I won't crank the action back to 8/64 of course, that's a bit much.

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Edit: minor jack, but still on topic





In keeping with Murphy's law please explain, regarding action, how you are going to correct your over zealous saddle work, but as if we were talking a non-Conn guitar:


1. Does the use of strip shims affect sound level and tone as said?


2. What material will you use? Thickness?


3. Will you glue shim(s) to saddle base? If so will it be hide?



You have the picture by now. I have a Bird I would prefer to lower the action on myself, but I'd sure like your advice on procedure and material should I blow it. Has under saddle pickup. And, I do have a second bird saddle on hand, on which I would actually do the work. I'm interested in your procedure when one goes a smidge too far, etc. :o





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If I am working with a bone saddle and need to make it taller, I will super glue another chunk of bone saddle onto the bottom of the 'good' one. I keep bone scraps on hand just for that purpose, old effed up saddles, leftover pieces from oversized blanks, even the chunks bandsawed off oversized nut blanks. As long as it's at least as long and wide, then it's fine. Once the glue has set up, I will hit it on the belt sander and take it down so the desired net amount has been added. It starts off inordinately ugly but once sanded down it looks nice, a lot easier than attempting to glue a shim onto the bottom.... although that's fine too, if that's what you have to work with. I've been known to do the same with synthetic materials too, I just try to use a similar material, not for tone, just increasing the odds the glue will stick similar materials together better.


I can do pics of this process if you like.


Here's the orphan Connecticut Juvenile Delinquent. I incorrectly said it had a 25 cent yard sale sticker; it was actually 50 cents.




In my seemingly never ending quest to polish turds, I'm happy with this one. Since posting it on my site I've dressed and crowned the 'frets'..They said it couldn't be done, and that's all I needed to hear. Between that and the bone nut, it plays and sounds like any other good guitar. If you've ever played a 70s Applause, you know how alien they feel. I cured that. It had been assigned duty to remain in the bus, to be played by anyone who grabbed it and also to be used around our periodic bonfires. It served it's two year hitch with those assigned duties and has now moved up into the main house, parked alongside Gibsons and 'real' guitars.

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