For example, a guitar tuned with a dropped D tuning, or the popular DADGAD tuning, does not usually require extra compensation, but if a player tunes the 1st string down to C or B, more compensation is needed. A note about 12 string guitars (also courtesy of Lance McCollum): On most guitars, the slots in the nut are positioned so that the tops of the strings are level. One might like to improve the playability of a long scaled guitar by using lighter gauged strings, but doing this will not necessarily preserve the long-scaled instrument’s tonal envelope (i.e. Headstock Drilling and Slotting Jig - NEW! How do I begin? The saddle will (usually) be compensated (that is, set back) about 2mm. On many nylon-stringed guitars, you will often see a straight saddle as opposed to a ramped one. The compensation of the saddle as described above, asks for an extra width of the saddle block of ~ 2 mm; ... For a classical guitar that distance varies between 40 to 45 mm at the 0-fret position and increases to about 57 mm above the bridge. You might assume the sound will drop an octave, but in the real world, the pipe holding the column of air (or the metal in a length of string) has characteristics such as mass and thickness which do not change in proportion to the change in length of the vibrating object. Of course, electric guitar makers have it made when it comes to individually compensating the strings as many electrics have an individual, adjustable saddle for each string. Not really. International or Local: 707-687-2020 If I am not totally mistaken new Martins normally come with non-compensated saddles. I do this with every “offending” string, testing the harmonic and fretted note at the 12th fret in between, until the harmonic and the fretted note match. Since it is impractical to have a different saddle for every string on a classical guitar, the saddle needs to be altered to suit every string, if proper compensation is to be obtained. Introduction Tuning up! 1. It would seem that we are cursed from the start. Strings are made with windings to help increase their mass without adding stiffness. For these folks, there are standard ‘starting points’ for saddle position. This is the skill to be gained! Do research. 4. If the note is flat or sharp, move the wire toward or away from the nut until the note and the harmonic are perfectly in tune. Players will often want a thicker string because the greater mass will generate more sound, but it’s a balancing act –we want to get the tension of the string in the sweet spot between too floppy and too stiff. 5. It’s a similar situation if you double the length of a vibrating column of air (i.e. And the shorter the section, the greater the difference in the proportion. Those who would like to more deeply understand the science behind intonation are referred to Mike Doolin’s excellent article in ‘American Lutherie’ (Issue 92. the quick attack). A minority of nylon string guitar builders slant the saddle a little bit with the high E string about 1mm back and the low E about 2.25mm. Final advice: take note that old strings are more difficult to tune than new strings. ): If the scale length is factor X, then the distance between the first and second fret is the 6th root of 2 times X, minus the 12th root of 2 times X. Guitar Building Schools & Other Resources, Fret Scale and Fingerboard Length Calculator, The saddle will (usually) be compensated (that is, set back) about 2mm. Pluck the 12th fret harmonic of the G and tune the High E fretted at the 3rd fret to this harmonic.