(real name is Maury, BTW)
I never take radius at the nut.
Yup, I agree with this.I know this isn't proportional, because like Mark I normally don't measure things I just work on the guitar until it feels, plays and sounds right, but:
Would you consider taking a radius guage and checking the radius at the nut (say 7.25) and then seeing if that 7.25 really carried over to the saddles on a guitar out of the packaging? I've tried it a few times and the value is always higher, i.e., the radius is flatter at the saddles. It does NOT match, in my experience.
But sure, I will concede I push the radius even flatter than what I find, normally, out of the box. In just the very simplest terms, while the relative heights of the strings vis a vis one another may stay the same, the spacing between each string grows a lot whether the string array at the nut is 1 + 3/8ths or less or more, and whether the string array at the saddles is 2 + 1/8ths inches or less or as much as 2 + 7/32nds inches. The math is, when the relative heights remain the same but the strings get that much further apart, the radius has changed.
They're the ones with the little handles on them? You can use them a couple of ways.Hey, I can use some help.I had a work accident and now disabled. My wife brought me tools to work on guitars with.Playing for a couple of years now. Have some old guitars trying to fix as a hobby. I spend a lot of time in home due to 14 back surgeries. So I was interested in guitar setups and minor repairs.She got me these understring radius gauges and not sure how to use properly. Thanks for any guidance and help. John
I don't think Railhead is arguing in favor of canting the saddles here, just about the height of each individual saddle. I find that for me mostly the string height follows the fret board radius, with the caveat as Boris points out that the middle strings don't need as much clearance over the frets as the outside strings do because the act of bending the (higher) strings moves the string CLOSER to the fret top during the bend, and the lower string have more excursion when played harder.Railhead said:The bridge saddles should *always* match the fretboard radius as closely as possible.
I think this is an extremely important point that can't be overstated.Boris Bubanov said:1) the individual style saddles should not be canted but should be parallel to the plane of the guitar body. The string stays put better, and screws stay put also. Saddles press down on the bridgeplate and don't lean against one another and there's less trashy sounds;
I'm not convinced.Take 2 paint cans (the lager ones) and put them end to end. One is the fretboard and one is the bridge.
Now raise one of them to simulate how the saddles are raised above the level of the nut.
Note how the upper can radius now proceeds to drop towards that of the lower can as one moves around the circumference. This shows how a matched radius of the bridge cannot bring the strings into exact parallelism to the fretboard, nor is it necessary.
The strings fan out at the bridge. The radius must flatten.
I can't supply the specs, but it seems to be quite clear.
The issue is that the nut is narrower than the bridge, so that means the chord length of the two arcs are not identical. So if you have the same "rise" at these two chord lengths, the arc with the longer chord length has a longer or flatter radius.I'm not convinced.
For instance, the action at the nut on my Les Paul conforms to a 12" radius. The radius at the bridge is 12". Using a ruler to measure the difference in the height of the strings across the 12th fret shows the difference in height between each string is equal, which means the shape of the strings across the 12th fret conforms to the radius of the fingerboard and the bridge.
I performed the same measurements on a 10"-16" compound radius fingerboard. Now obviously the strings will conform to a cone shape and assume a flatter radius as the strings approach the bridge, but with the nut cut at a 10" radius, and the strings forming a 16" radius at the end of the fingerboard, the difference in height between the strings across the 12th fret is equal, just as it is with the LP, which shows me the shape of the strings matches the radii of the fingerboard.
If the fretboard has a single fretboard radius along its entire length (cylindrical), the saddle should be a little steeper than the fretboard in radius.The bridge saddles should *always* match the fretboard radius as closely as possible.
why steeper? you end up with higher action on the middle strings, but what else does it do for you?If the fretboard has a single fretboard radius along its entire length (cylindrical), the saddle should be a little steeper than the fretboard in radius.
In a symmetrical universe full of symmetrical players, that might be the case, but the truth is there are quite a number of professional players that like the saddle radius on electric guitars to be flatter / larger than the radius of the fingerboard. I know a few players that want the strings flat (zero radius) regardless of the fingerboard radius.
I reset my password to leave this comment!!! The truth is, is that this piece of info saved me. I would have never tried the 20" radius guage, and it is exactly what this 2001, USA strat needed......Plus a few tweaks on the B and E string, but just saying, this gets a person MUCH closer than the 9.5" or the 12" radius guage!! That is my two cents!!Yep, the bridge should be set to match the radius. 9.5" fretboard = 9.5" bridge. 12" fretboard = 12" bridge. 10"-16" radius = the closest natural progression, which I would still keep at 16", but 20" would be erectly fine.