Hot take: Don't "arch" your adjustable saddles.

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marqueemoon
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Hot take: Don't "arch" your adjustable saddles.

Post by marqueemoon » Wed Feb 12, 2020 12:11 am

This is just my experience, but with any 6 saddle bridge with adjustable saddles there's the temptation to make a nice little "arch" with the saddles to match the radius of the board by unevenly adjusting the screws. This is more aesthetically pleasing, but it seems to me that it distributes string tension unevenly, and can lead to rattles, saddles slipping down. etc... Plus with a traditional JM/Jag offset bridge it helps strings stay put a little better since there's no hill for them to slide down. I "de-arched" a guitar I just bought and it cured the dreaded bridge rattle immediately.

Of course with a Mastery, 3 saddle Tele bridge, etc... this is necessary to do if you want your guitar to be playable, but you also have more string tension holding things in place (or encouraging them to slip, but that's another story).

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Re: Hot take: Don't "arch" your adjustable saddles.

Post by mbene085 » Wed Feb 12, 2020 3:37 am

On a 6-saddle bridge, you can perfectly match a radius with each saddle set to the proper height, but the two height screws of each saddle should be set identically. The saddles don't need to (and shouldn't) be slanted. I agree completely that doing otherwise leads to problems.

On a Mastery, the procedure for setting the correct radius does lead to slanted saddles, but that is how those were designed to be used.

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Re: Hot take: Don't "arch" your adjustable saddles.

Post by MatthewK » Wed Feb 12, 2020 4:25 am

Makes literally no difference at all to string tension once you re-tune the note. Might change stiffness (compliance) slightly by giving slightly different break angles over the bridge. Having strings at a consistent height over the fretboard puts it in a whole new class of playability, I've found this time and time again with the setups I've done. My bridges don't rattle either. Probably because I string with a heavier gauge than usual (.011 on a 25.5" scale, .012 on a 24" scale) - these are the gauges the hardware was designed for.
Hot take: adjust saddles for the strings to intonate correctly and for a consistent height above the fretboard.

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Re: Hot take: Don't "arch" your adjustable saddles.

Post by timtam » Wed Feb 12, 2020 4:54 am

With the move to lighter gauge strings over the decades after the trem was designed, the downforce on the saddles became markedly low for stable, vibration-free operation. Zollner compared high E tension across gauges and calculates example resulting saddle screw force. So for a 0.012" E, string tension may be around 105 Newtons, for a 9 it is down around 59 Newtons, and around 47 Newtons for an 8. The resulting vertical force on the JM/jag saddle for a typical break angle is then only 5-12 Newtons across those gauges, shared across the two height grub screws (ie only 2.5-6 Newtons per screw). Furthermore, if that very small vertical force is unbalanced across the two height grub screws (difficult to avoid) by setting them at different heights, the force on one screw becomes even lower, leaving it even more prone to vibration/movement.
https://www.gitec-forum-eng.de/wp-conte ... bridge.pdf
https://www.gitec-forum-eng.de/the-book/

So the lesson is indeed to keep each saddle's two screws equal in height. And increase string-saddle downforce if you can (higher string gauge and/or break angle).

There is much more downforce on a strat saddle, due to the greater string break angle. The Mastery has 3 strings' downforce instead of 1 pressing down on each saddle, borne by two screws.

BTW, there is also good geometric logic that with a fixed radius fretboard, the saddles' radius must be flatter than the fretboard/fret radius, due to the divergence of the strings from nut to bridge (which means that the strings follow something closer to a conical section rather than a cylindrical one) ...
https://www.liutaiomottola.com/myth/conical.htm

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Re: Hot take: Don't "arch" your adjustable saddles.

Post by marqueemoon » Wed Feb 12, 2020 6:12 am

timtam wrote:
Wed Feb 12, 2020 4:54 am
BTW, there is also good geometric logic that with a fixed radius fretboard, the saddles' radius must be flatter than the fretboard/fret radius, due to the divergence of the strings from nut to bridge (which means that the strings follow something closer to a conical section rather than a cylindrical one) ...
https://www.liutaiomottola.com/myth/conical.htm
This has been my experience. Never thought about the math behind it. Pretty cool.

I usually find that bass strings want to be a little higher off the board because of the way they vibrate.

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Re: Hot take: Don't "arch" your adjustable saddles.

Post by JVG » Wed Feb 12, 2020 2:22 pm

Makes good sense, although i’ve found that in practice it doesn’t seem to matter with a strat bridge (or 6-saddle tele bridge) because of the increased break angle and resulting downforce relative to a jazzmaster.

By the way, being the ignoramus i am, i had to google ‘hot take’. It seems i’m not up to speed with modern lingo. :'(

Cheers!
J.

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Re: Hot take: Don't "arch" your adjustable saddles.

Post by ChrisDesign » Wed Feb 12, 2020 4:01 pm

marqueemoon wrote:
Wed Feb 12, 2020 6:12 am
timtam wrote:
Wed Feb 12, 2020 4:54 am
BTW, there is also good geometric logic that with a fixed radius fretboard, the saddles' radius must be flatter than the fretboard/fret radius, due to the divergence of the strings from nut to bridge (which means that the strings follow something closer to a conical section rather than a cylindrical one) ...
https://www.liutaiomottola.com/myth/conical.htm
This has been my experience. Never thought about the math behind it. Pretty cool.

I usually find that bass strings want to be a little higher off the board because of the way they vibrate.
My staytrem is 9.5” radius while my neck is 9” radius. Is this slight enough?
"I own a '66 Jaguar. That's the guitar I polish, and baby - I refuse to let anyone touch it when I jump into the crowd." - Kurt Cobain

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Re: Hot take: Don't "arch" your adjustable saddles.

Post by alexpigment » Wed Feb 12, 2020 6:51 pm

Just the clarify, the "hot take" as I understand it from the OP, is not something I even thought of people doing on 6-saddle bridges. If I'm understanding correctly, he's not talking about matching the string radius at the bridge to the string radius of the neck; he's talking about slanting each individual saddle so that the *saddles* match the fretboard radius.

Not only does this have no bearing on the radius of the strings, it causes obvious problems. The only saddles that need slanting are ones that have multiple strings on the same saddle (e.g. 3-saddle tele bridge). Otherwise, there is absolutely zero point in my opinion. You have freedom to do whatever radius you want with all the saddles being parallel to the bridge.

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Re: Hot take: Don't "arch" your adjustable saddles.

Post by marqueemoon » Wed Feb 12, 2020 7:39 pm

alexpigment wrote:
Wed Feb 12, 2020 6:51 pm
Just the clarify, the "hot take" as I understand it from the OP, is not something I even thought of people doing on 6-saddle bridges. If I'm understanding correctly, he's not talking about matching the string radius at the bridge to the string radius of the neck; he's talking about slanting each individual saddle so that the *saddles* match the fretboard radius.

Not only does this have no bearing on the radius of the strings, it causes obvious problems. The only saddles that need slanting are ones that have multiple strings on the same saddle (e.g. 3-saddle tele bridge). Otherwise, there is absolutely zero point in my opinion. You have freedom to do whatever radius you want with all the saddles being parallel to the bridge.
That’s exactly what I’m talking about, and people do it all the time.

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Re: Hot take: Don't "arch" your adjustable saddles.

Post by 601210 » Thu Feb 13, 2020 12:57 am

JVG wrote:
Wed Feb 12, 2020 2:22 pm
Makes good sense, although i’ve found that in practice it doesn’t seem to matter with a strat bridge (or 6-saddle tele bridge) because of the increased break angle and resulting downforce relative to a jazzmaster.

By the way, being the ignoramus i am, i had to google ‘hot take’. It seems i’m not up to speed with modern lingo. :'(

Cheers!
J.
It's definitely a concern on my 6-saddle tele. It's a toploader, though... I guess now I know why people hate on toploaders.

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Re: Hot take: Don't "arch" your adjustable saddles.

Post by MatthewK » Thu Feb 13, 2020 4:37 am

marqueemoon wrote:
Wed Feb 12, 2020 7:39 pm
alexpigment wrote:
Wed Feb 12, 2020 6:51 pm
he's talking about slanting each individual saddle so that the *saddles* match the fretboard radius.
That’s exactly what I’m talking about, and people do it all the time.
ohhhh now I get it. Completely agree. Sorry for my, ah, hot take on what I thought you meant.

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