A customer just dropped off a nice T28 Martin tiple complaining about poor intonation. He says he heard that Frank had done an intonated saddle for one of these. I can't seem to find any information on the web site about this, so am asking what Frank or anyone else has done in this regard. As I am sure most of you know, the original saddle is a tiny mando fret, and the bridge is pretty delicate so I am leary of cutting any of it away to accommodate a saddle slot. Anyone have a great solution?

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You do very nice work.  would you consider selling one of those.

Great solution and BEAUTIFUL EXECUTION!!!!! Wow!!

Best regards,
Yes, Terry, congratulations for this professional job!  Bonita la barranca!

Nice job!

How surprizing the plain strings intonate like the wound ones... Maybe the wound one's core's diameter is the same as the plain string's diameter?

Not sure why, but I am happy they did intonate the same. Made my job easier. After checking the saddle placement I couldn't believe it so I repeated the strobe check with the same results, so I decided on the fret wire saddles to be more like the original bridge. The owner also plays uke and so he tunes the instrument one step lower than a normal tiple -G,C,E,A- and the strings are slightly heavier than packaged tiple sets. Intonation is spot on.
That ain't no's a rebirth! Great craftsmanship!

 What an amazing job you did here! If I knew ya, I'd be proud of ya!


I reworked a few for Bob Brozman and a few other folks some years back, and went so far as to accommodate the wound strings in the various courses, because they do (of course) intonate differently. I used 3/32" bone.

The fact that Martin issued their so-called "tiples" with a single parallel fret shows the fairly unevolved or un-serious approach they took to such "novelty" instruments at the time. That said, they're a cul-de-sac in the history of fretted instruments. Some great musicians managed to use the Yankee novelties right out of the box and ignored the intonation details completely.  

Hi folks,

Anybody still out there?

I've never belonged to an "exclusive" club before but that changed when I bought a 1948 T-17 at a local pawn shop for $550. Elderly had its sister (20 digits later in the serial number) listed earlier this year for $1,250 so I feel pretty smart. Perhaps curiosity (10 strings in 4 courses! What the heck is that?!) breeds luck. 

Any way, I'm a player, not a maker & love the sound. I'm no appraiser either but think mine is in "excellent" shape except for the crumbling tuner buttons. I think that's a separate discussion thread but gotta get that figured out before I consider an upgrade to the saddle. Love the elegance of the solutions here though.

John in Ohio

It's not bad to do the tuners - you can get the buttons from Stew-Mac, and replace them. Be really careful that the screws aren't too tight on the gears - these are just waiting to rip themselves apart! 

They are really fun to play, I wish I had the one I had repaired. And yes, the wound strings go in the middle of the 2nd and third courses. I'm not sure what Tiple Standard tuning is - there are other Tiples out there with 12 strings, and those are different beasts. I would go with the low uke tuning in C (G, C, E, A) to keep the instrument from ripping itself apart, and I would also make sure that the metal piece is in place on the bridge to keep the string balls from wearing through.  


Thanks for the reply. I made up the acronym TST, for Tiple Standard Tuning. I guess I was channelling the former government worker in me.  The brass in the bridge is there, I thought it was a brilliant bit of engineering / luthier craft when I noticed it. This thing is built like a tank, it's hard to imagine anything ripping it apart  but I'll be careful as I continue to work & play with it.

There's a Regal tiple on ebay ( for $199. It's pretty but there are serious cracks in the sides of the body and it looks like there's a crack in the headstock at the third tuner on the treble side.  Do you think it would be worth buying for the tuners as back ups? I haven't seen any replacement tuners with 5 to a side anywhere.  I wouldn't pay $199 plus another $60 for shipping but the new case alone is probably worth $50-60 bucks so would the tuners be worth $100?

I'm not sure that is necessary - I would check and see if standard 12-string strip tuners fit the same space, and just cut off the extra tuner! As long as your tuners are clean and properly lubricated, and the nut is not binding, you shouldn't have any tuner failure.


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