A guitar saddle is common part of most guitars. The saddle is the mounting piece for the guitar strings, connecting them to the body of the guitar.
The guitar saddle can be made of a hard material. In accoustic guitars, the saddle is usually made of some form of plastic, bone, or similar material.
Examples of Guitar Saddles
For electric guitars, the saddle is normally made of metal. Here is an example:
Here is an example of saddle types for an accoustic guitar:
What makes a good Guitar Saddle?
To get a good guitar saddle, there are many factors that you need to consider:
- Durability: it is important that the saddle be durable, since it is a piece that receives a lot of tension from the strings.
- Strengh: you want a guitar seddle that doesn’t move around. The material must be rigid and support the strength of the strings.
- Material quality: The quality of the material will determine the previous two items, durability and strength. Luthiers use good and high quality material to manufacture a good guitar saddle.
- Precision: the guitar saddle needs to be made precisely. A good saddle will have every dimension precisely made. Bad saddles will have poorly made shapes.
How to Change a Guitar Saddle
Sometimes the guitar saddle will wear out and you need to replace it. To change it, it really depends on the type of guitar you have.
You need to do the following to replace the saddle:
- Remove the current strings. They need to be out to allow for the removal of the saddle.
- Remove the saddle with care: sometimes the saddle is glued (on acoustic guitars) or bolt on (electric guitars). Remove the saddle with care, trying to avoid any damage to the other parts of the instrument.
- Replace the piece with a new saddle. To do this you need to use glue when working with an accoustic guitar. For electric guitars, you will need to use some screws to fix the saddle to its position.
- Put the strings back: this is a great opportunity to put new strings.
- Check the intonation of the guitar. After you replaced a saddle, you need to check for proper intonation.
The Guitar Saddle and Intonation
One of the things affected by the saddle is the guitar intonation. The intonation is how well the guitar keeps the strings in tune, even when we play notes further down in the scale (especially after the 12th fret).
After changing the saddle, you need to make sure that the intonation is ok. If not, you need to make adjustments to move the saddle back and forth, until you get the right intonation.
To check intonation, use a guitar tuner. A digital tuner will make your life easier:
Use the 12th fret as a guide. If the string is in tune, but the 12th fret is out of tune, you need to move the saddle.
Moving it slightly towards the neck will increase the pitch. Moving the saddle away from the neck will decrease the pitch.
Using this strategy, you’ll be able to intonate the guitar and make it work well with the new saddle.
Learn More About the Guitar
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