Scott's Guitar Blog: December 23, 2015

How NOT to modify a guitar saddle

Sometimes it boggles the mind. This client paid someone to uninstall the factory Fishman system from this Taylor and install a different pickup that mounted to the bridge plate. In doing so, the original under saddle transducer was removed as it was no longer needed. However, the repair person replaced the transducer with an aluminum shim to keep the saddle at the same height. Then they slotted the bottom of the saddle vertically between the strings, which is just silliness. If you notice, the bottom 1/4″ of the treble end is up from the bottom, and would not have even been contacting the bridge! In the old days of piezo transducers, sometimes the individual elements under the strings would not produce even volume due to tiny discrepancies in downward pressure. So, this slotting would make the saddle flex more and apply better contact to the six elements in the sensor. With today’s systems, this is not the case. There are still people today who believe doing this to a saddle improves acoustic tone, but no, it does not; it simply robs energy and tone from the instrument. Placing a metal shim under this maimed saddle was a double slap in the face. So, out comes the shim, and I’ll make a new saddle from bone. The client was not happy with the replacement pickup, so I’m installing an LR Baggs.