As you can see, my Cort guitar has a bridge in this manner so that when I sand the saddle to approximately a satisfying level the strings press on the bridge ridge before the saddle.
Should I get a higher saddle (shim or buy) and adjust string action by adjusting elsewhere, or should i sand that ridge down a bit?
I assume that you sanded the saddle because the action was higher than you like. If you have that adjusted to where you want it, replacing the saddle won't do anything for the problem.
If the break angle over the saddle is good, and it were my guitar, I would probably just leave it alone. If it's really going to bother you, removing some of the ridge shouldn't make any difference as long as you don't get carried away and keep it nice and neat.
Thanks for the reply!
Reasons I wanted to prevent the contact (string with the bridge) are 1) avoid string breakage (from the sharp angle at the bridge ridge), and 2) prevent tone loss (the contact 'muffling' the vibration). So it's not entirely an aesthetic issue. I have noticed the contact actually a week after adjusting the saddle, so it is possible that it will not cause breakage there. But do you think tone will be affected by the interference by the bridge contact?
I think I will be able to sand that ridge down so that it would have a lower and smoother surface, preventing the contact, but I must say I am worried about affecting the structure of the guitar as it is (e.g., perhaps it will cause the weakening of the bridge).
It is a design fault, if the passage of the strings from the saddle to the pins is impeded by that ridge. I could muffle tone if the downward pressure of the strings on the bridge is lessened by that contact. But if it is minor contact it might not make much difference.
I agree with Ned - if you wanted the saddle lower to get a better action you will not be happy if you make the saddle tall again. If you want to fix the problem you will need to take that ridge down; and this is what I would do if it was my guitar. It will not weaken the bridge. Either slope it off with a very sharp chisel (fastest but riskiest option) or sandpaper. Another option is to cut vertical slots for the strings with a file or saw - but I think it would be a better look to just ramp the whole ridge down across its entire width.
It's unlikely that this will break strings, and the break angle that I can see is sufficient to get reasonable tone transfer on this Cort. As luthier's here we can all fix this in our sleep if it was necessary, but I would suggest that this "isn't broken enough to fix" and leaving it alone can do no harm, whereby messing with it can.
Corts had traditionally had bridge issues - it's part of the "charm" of the brand. Nothing to worry about as it stands.
Thanks a lot guys!
Russell, I did not know Cort guitars have often had bridge issues; good info!
It seems the best option to leave the saddle, and either sand the bridge ridge down, or just leave it as Russell has suggested. I agree that tone issue will be indistinguishable and string breakage minimal. I think both are great suggestions. I am leaning tiniest bit toward sanding the bridge because I think I can get it that nice smooth look (which I also think as Mark suggested won't damage the structural balance of the guitar, although Russell suggested messing with it has possibilities of harm), as well as avoiding any possibility of muffling. One last question: after sanding the bridge down, I ought to apply some wood oil don't I? Any quality wood oil (non-guitar specific) should do right?
No oil. Sand it to a high enough grit and it will look oiled.
I'm not trying to get critical so please don't take it that way but unless the break angle on the saddle is reduced a lot, this shouldn't make any discernable difference in the transfer of power/vibration to the top of the guitar. It's very common to make small adjustments to an instrument (or pay someone else to do it) then get ultra-critical of how it feels and sounds.
There isn't any reason other than a consideration of your comfort or skill in making the modification that you shouldn't do it. If it makes you feel better about the guitar then clear your mind of worry by easing the ridge. If you sand it, which is what I would recommend, you can use a sharp edge to CAREFULLY scrape it to a nice gloss. No finish needed.
Thanks for the reply Ned (and Thomas!).
No worries about being critical! In fact, it something I need in order to learn :)
I think you are right that there is no significant reason to sand the bridge and I am really not fussed about it. I will very likely leave it as it is.
Nonetheless I am curious what you mean in the last sentence: do you mean you recommend sanding the ridge, or are you recommending the following method IF I were to choose to sand? Also, I am not sure what it is meant by using a 'sharp edge' to 'scrape'.
Sorry for the delay in replying, Becks. What I mean is that IF you want to free the strings, sanding is the safer way to manage it. You mentioned earlier that you were concerned about how to finish the bridge after sanding and someone mentioned that sanding with fine paper will leave a nice finished look without actually applying a coat of finish.
Another method is to use a sharp scraper which will leave a nice shine too. That was my reference to a sharp edge. IF done carefully, a sharp blade (knife) can give you a nice shine when used to scrape a small area, like you would have with the ridge. The only thing is that it's easy to get a washboard effect if you are not careful. IF that happens, stop scraping, it will only get worse, and return to lightly using sand paper to smooth thing out again. ( Not that I recommend it but in a pinch, a good 6 inch machinist ruler can work as a smoothing device because the edges are usually fairly sharp.)
BTW, Franks comment about watching the area around the pins is a very good bit of advice which the rest of us failed to give. Some of the newer bridge designs leave the bridge thin where the pins are set. Even with thicker bridges, it;s not all that uncommon to find bridges that have split along the grain in between the pin holes. Your bridge is one of those that is thin in that area.
Whatever you do, don't forget to keep an eye on the lowered area around the bridge pins in the future - it's particularly vulnerable to cracking because it's so thin.
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