Bridge saddles cut too deep? Upgrade?

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by JDaniels, Apr 19, 2016.

  1. JDaniels

    JDaniels Supporting Member

    Messages:
    707
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    Mar 6, 2015
    Location:
    Alberta, Canada
    Just got myself a 2013 Les Paul Traditional and it's a great guitar in every way however I thought it was lacking a bit of sustain and upon closer look it appears the bridge saddles are cut too deep. I did a little researching and it seems that ideally you want only half of the string below the top of the saddle. My wound strings definitely have more than half below the top of the saddle and the unwound strings look to be inside the saddles.

    Would new saddles cut right give me a little more sustain, or should I take this opportunity to upgrade the bridge in its entirety? Of I upgraded the bridge what brand should I go with? I like the idea of the Callaham bridge but I really don't want to pay 200 bucks to get it to Canada, or is that what a good bridge is going to set me back? What are your thoughts fellas?
     
  2. Jimmy MAck

    Jimmy MAck Member

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    584
    Joined:
    May 29, 2009
    Start easy. New saddles, properly grooved. I like the Stew Mac saddles I bought, chrome or nickel plated brass.

    If you start changing components as big as the bridge, you will experience changes in tone, and hence, the character of the guitar. Are you willing to experiment?

    I installed a Steel Callaham bridge on a semi-hollow guitar, and the tone became very bright, losing the character of the semi-hollow body. No way I was going to keep that. I sold it to a buddy who installed it on a '59 Historic Les Paul, and it improved that guitar, markedly.

    You don't always know what will happen when swapping parts!
     
    Brian N likes this.
  3. mike shaw

    mike shaw Member

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    2,199
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    Oct 19, 2007
    You may not need new saddles. If all of the strings are the proper height above the fingerboard, you can file down the tops of the saddles to expose more string. You don't need the depth to be as deep as half the string. It will be fine with a notch. Just enough so the string doesn't slide around. When done with the filing, you can reshape the angled side of the saddle so the peak of the saddle comes almost to a point (but still rounded on top). Take a look at new saddles to see what the shape should look like.
     
  4. Brian N

    Brian N Member

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    Dec 13, 2015
    You could just sand a bit off the tops of the saddles
     
  5. JDaniels

    JDaniels Supporting Member

    Messages:
    707
    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2015
    Location:
    Alberta, Canada
    Thanks fellas, did not know I could sand metal saddles! I've been known to do some recreational woodworking so I have that technology. Might try that first, or just get some notched saddles. Thanks fellas.
     

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