Instructions for Portland Guitar’s Split Saddle Adjustable Compensation Bridge


 

  1. Build Instructions:

As delivered the bottom of the bridge blank is flat. The depth of the blank may be deeper than necessary. The wings are left for you to finish with your own design.  If your guitar has a domed top the bottom will need to be shaped to fit. 

The depth of the blank can be set by sanding the bottom.  The specific depth will depend on the particular design of your guitar.  We’ve had success using the same depth as a standard bridge. When sanding, remove the bottom evenly.

To match the bottom of the bridge to the top of the guitar: use double stick tape to adhere an 8.5” x 11” inch sheet of 100 grit sandpaper, grit side up, to the top of your guitar centered on the planned position of the bridge.  Next, mark the bottom of the bridge blank with a pencil so that all areas are covered.  Gently sand the bottom of the bridge blank centering your strokes on the proposed bridge position.  Continue this until all of the pencil marks on the bottom of the bridge blank are gone. While sanding be careful to not press down too hard, it will deform the top of the guitar. Be careful to avoid rocking the saddle blank back and forth while sanding it will dome the bottom of the bridge.

Use your favorite technique to shape the wings.  Be careful to leave enough depth.

The bridge can now be attached to the top of the guitar. Use your favorite glue.  The adjustable saddles make the position of the bridge forgiving.  We have had success positioning the bridge so that the forward position of the saddles is 0.125” farther back than the desired scale length.  For example, if your desired scale length is 25.400” position the front of the saddle channel 25.525” from the nut (25.400” + 0.125”).  Orient the bridge so that it’s perpendicular to the centerline of the strings.

  1. Intonation Instructions:

Each string can now be compensated. Tune the string to its desired open note.  Then play the note at the twelfth fret.  The second note should be exactly one octave above the first.  If the second note is sharp of the first, use the adjuster tool to move the saddle away from the nut a small amount.  If it is flat use the adjuster tool to move the saddle closer.  Continue until the two notes are perfectly in tune.  Repeat this for all the strings. 

  1. Notes:

The height of the saddle can be changed by adding a shim under the saddle in the saddle channel.  This can be used to contour the top of the saddles to match the contour of the fretboard.

Each guitar is unique.  The saddle positions may end up not looking like a standard compensated bridge.  Further, each gauge of string has its own unique compensation.

To avoid misplacing the position of the saddles when the strings are changed, it’s held gently in place with a small spring.  The saddle should stay in position without the string in place, and it should be able to be move with the string at tension. Though the saddle plates are not held in, take care to not lose them.

  1. If you have any questions or comments please email Max Dickinson: max@portlandguitar.com