Tool for working the saddles.

Discussion in 'Tone Zone' started by papagayo, Jul 26, 2020.

  1. papagayo

    papagayo Well-Known Member

    Apr 3, 2018
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    I need a tool for the new saddles, how do you call this tool? Is it the same tool than for a nut?


    SG Standard 2820.JPG
  2. cerebral gasket

    cerebral gasket Well-Known Member

    Jan 13, 2017
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    Bridge Jack @ 1:00

    Soft Face Mallet @ 0:56

    Last edited: Jul 26, 2020
  3. RW59

    RW59 Member

    Apr 17, 2020
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    Probably would have gotten more answers in the luthier section.

    Hammer is one way, nut files is another way. Or a combo of both.

    Hammer works great. But if you strike too softly the groove can be too shallow, and if you hit too hard you can collapse the bridge. And the wound strings need a pretty hard whack, so without practice you might screw up.

    Note that Erlewine says the strings have some tension but not tuned all the way up to pitch. And notice how he's got the stopbar tailpiece raised way high, to minimize break-angle/downforce. Because you're more likely to collapse the bridge if the strings are tight and applying lots of downforce to begin with.

    Hammering the wound strings will likely leave cross-grooves, so follow up with abrasive cord.
    A lot of people just use nut files. If you can cut good nut slots you can do saddle grooves. An advantage is you don't totally wreck the strings.

    A combination approach makes the plain strings a little easier to do super precisely and cleanly. Spread out the strings where you want them. Scribe lines on both sides of each wound string, angling the blade in under the string a bit so the scribe marks will be a little narrower than the string, then file the grooves between the scribe marks. When you're down into the saddle the width of the file you'll go over the scribe marks so no marks will be left when you're done.

    Tap the plain strings very lightly, just enough to leave shallow dents. Then use the dents as starter grooves for your files. No chance of the file walking sideways, no marring.

    That puts almost no stress on the bridge, just barely more than filing only.
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2020
  4. donepearce

    donepearce Well-Known Member

    Dec 12, 2012
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    London, sitting in the garden
    I don't usually tap the strings. I position them where I want them, then run a Sharpie along the top of the saddle. Then I put each saddle in a vice and file a groove where there is no Sharpie mark. Then smooth and polish, chamfer the sharp edges and put the saddle back.

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