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Intonation Compensation With a New Bone Saddle For the Gretsch Ukulele

The intonation on the Gretsch ukulele is off - it's sharp.  I had no idea if it was even correct in the first place, and I'm not surprised it's off.  Combined with the fact that I did a neck reset - well, I was figuring that some sort of compensation might be needed.  So it is.

Here's the plan.  You can see that the original bridge actually is one piece, with the saddle carved out of it.  This was an obvious move to save cost, since a separate saddle would involve more work.  The whole time I've owned this ukulele, I have pondered whether or not a separate saddle would be a good thing.

Ponder no longer.  It's necessary if this thing is to be playable - well, at least playable in tune.

So I took a Fender-style nut I had experimented with at some point, and used it behind the existing "saddle" to get an idea of how much compensation I'd need to have proper intonation.  Since notes at the 12th fret are sharp (and frankly most everywhere else they're sharp too), we need to add some string length.  And it looks like we need a lot, relatively speaking.  About 3mm, or an eighth of an inch.

What I'm planning is to cut the "saddle" flush with the top of the bridge, then rout a new saddle slot behind it and stick a bone saddle there.  In one move I can correct the intonation, add a bit of string height to raise the action (it's buzzing in places), and hopefully improve the tone with a proper saddle.  Good luck to me.


Post a Comment 1 comments:

  • Sven Nyström said...
    January 23, 2012 at 10:04 AM
    Expect to make more compensation on the C-string than on the others. A rough guess would be 2 mm for g, E and A then 3 or 3.5 for the C. That's about what I use.

    Good luck to you!


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