Well, being brand-new here I thought I'd contribute some content before picking y'all's brains about other stuff.
One of the most prized basses in my collection is a 1979 Guild B50 NT, a really big-bodied acoustic bass guitar with a really big sound to match. The only problem with it was the intonation in the E and A strings, which has always bothered me, but wasn't bad enough until recently to do something about.
This bass has a two-piece saddle in the bridge that has some compensation for the intonation, and in the lower registers (up to the 5th fret or so) it's never been bad enough to bother me much. But I've recently been working on a tune I want to record, that involves some chord melody-style playing way up high on the neck, for which it was just painfully out of tune. Unfortunately, the saddle under the E and A strings was too far flat to play anything past the 5th fret in tune enough to use. In fact, had this been an adjustable saddle, my guess was that I'd need to move the saddles forward a full 1/8" or more to get them in tune.
Since I *really* did not want to do the traditional fill&rout routine to cut a new saddle slot, instead I made an ebony insert that fits in the original saddle slot, and extends the last point of contact forward about 3/16", figuring I'd be able to just trim the face back until the intonation came true. As it turned out, 3/16" was about dead-on for correcting the intonation, and now it's playing beautifully in tune all the way up the neck beyond the 12th fret. To me, this was vastly easier than the fill&rout routine, totally non-invasive, and had zero effect on the awesome tone of this bass.
I still have about 7" of the milled ebony insert stock left if anybody wants a piece to correct the intonation on another Guild B50. As both of the original saddles had collapsed anyway, I had to also make a new bone D-G saddle to match the ebony insert, that I dyed black as best I could with leather dye. Any suggestions how I could get that D-G bone saddle stained really black?
Hey, I do have some black horn left from what I used for carving nuts for a couple basses, but that was the weirdest material, the way it grabbed my slot files in both directions. It just seems a little 'soft' for this saddle - the slot is angled 5 degrees forward, and it's a high saddle that seems like it would just roll over under tension like the plastic original ones did. I should still try some and see what it does. The unbleached bone is still king in my book - that's actually what the D-G saddle is made of.
If you have any of the saddle fix thingies left, I'd love to get some. Please let me know either way at email@example.com or you can call if you like at 530-873-4754.
Thanks, I'm not a luthier or even especially handy with the sort of work that is probably involved. I was hoping to get off easy and just buy some. I suppose I could give it a try and will do so if I can't find something readily available. Thanks again!
Thanks, we do have a local luthier. I'll go show the bass and the postings to him and see what he thinks. I LOVE the Guild B-50 and can't wait to show it off at my local get-together-to-play session tonight.
The trickiest part of making it, is the 5-degree tilt cut into the tongue that fits down in the saddle slot. You might want to try making something this precise, and this small, from material this hard yourself Andrew, before concluding and advising others that these are 'easy enough to make'.
Not to mention, having the math and measurements worked out on the dimensions for height and width so that the tongue is long enough to seat in the saddle slot, and at the correct angle so it's resting dead flat on the bridge plate, with the forward portion wide enough to trim it back into tune, and high enough to properly carve the string slots into the correct string height. This ain't no cub scout project, and that's why I offered my excess stock material to other luthiers and B50 owners, but thanks for your offer to help.
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