Bone Saddles & - Nuts

Construction and repair of Classical Guitar and related instruments
Simon Booton-Mander

Bone Saddles & - Nuts

Post by Simon Booton-Mander » Sat Jan 13, 2007 8:42 pm

Please move this thread if it is in the wrong place, but I thought this might be the correct forum.

Hi All,

Have any of you made your own bone saddles and nuts from scratch and if so can bone from any large animal be used or must it be Oxon, walrus and other such exotics?

I have just bought a new solid top and it is lovely but the strings buzz a little and on examination it appears that both nut and saddle are made of plastic and research on the net tells that this can affect string action.

I would love to make my own bone pieces from scratch as a winter project and was looking for info on where to start.

User avatar
Vesuvio
Posts: 14275
Joined: Wed Apr 05, 2006 7:21 pm
Location: Northern England

Post by Vesuvio » Sat Jan 13, 2007 10:37 pm

Hello Simon,

I remember reading Pepe's contribution in this thread recently:

viewtopic.php?t=13373

and thought I'd pass it on in case you have not seen it.

Best regards, V
"There are only two things worth aiming for, good music and a clean conscience." Paul Hindemith

Azalais

Post by Azalais » Sat Jan 13, 2007 11:37 pm

Hi Simon... I'll move this to the Luthiers section for you...

You can purchase ready-cut nut and saddle blanks from most Luthier Supply outlets on the web (+/- $10-15US for the set). There are also numerous articles with photos on the web about how to do it. Check those out before you buy any of the fancy specialty tools they sell... most of them are probably not necessary.

Nando

Post by Nando » Sun Jan 14, 2007 12:54 am

If you own a dremel tool it's really easy. Most pet stores sell clean, bleached bones for dogs. Just buy a large one. You'll have plenty.

rtest

Post by rtest » Sun Jan 21, 2007 1:21 am

One big problem could be in getting the old saddle out or off.

I thought I would do it myself -- but it is glued in -- that 's a big problem.

Chipping it out, using heat to melt the glue or using chemicals are not my cup of tea. If you can get the saddle out, you shouldn't have any problem.

Good Luck.

Sasquatch51

Post by Sasquatch51 » Sun Jan 21, 2007 2:25 am

That's really odd, rtest. Neither the nut nor the saddle should be glued in.

User avatar
James Lister
Luthier
Posts: 7318
Joined: Fri Nov 17, 2006 3:53 pm
Location: Sheffield, UK

Post by James Lister » Sun Jan 21, 2007 7:41 pm

Sasquatch51 wrote:That's really odd, rtest. Neither the nut nor the saddle should be glued in.
True, but sadly they very often are...
James Lister, luthier, Sheffield UK

User avatar
AO
Posts: 509
Joined: Mon Dec 04, 2006 8:07 pm

Post by AO » Mon Jan 22, 2007 4:23 am

sbooder,

Just want to mention that some believe bone dust is TOXIC, so be careful if you need to do a lot of sanding to shape it to size.

I agree that the saddle should never be glued into the bridge but I disagree with not having a bit of glue on the nut. There is a safe way to remove a nut from a guitar, and just enough glue keeps it from slipping. AO

UncleBill

Post by UncleBill » Mon Jan 22, 2007 6:08 am

Hello.

I have removed many nuts that were glued by using a small chisel or medium screwdriver and gently tapping with a small hammer. I aim the chisel toward the pegboard at a very low angle. I have never broken one. They seem to come right out.

I have not seen a bridge saddle glued, thank goodness.

Bill.

Sasquatch51

Post by Sasquatch51 » Mon Jan 22, 2007 2:12 pm

AO wrote:sbooder,

Just want to mention that some believe bone dust is TOXIC, so be careful if you need to do a lot of sanding to shape it to size.

I agree that the saddle should never be glued into the bridge but I disagree with not having a bit of glue on the nut. There is a safe way to remove a nut from a guitar, and just enough glue keeps it from slipping. AO
None of the higher end classicals I've ever owned had the nut glued in place. It's no problem to quickly and easily get the nut in perfect placement when changing all the strings at once. If changing strings one or two at a time, the ones left in place will hold it. That having been said, I don't see any issue with putting a tiny dot of glue on it to hold it in place as long as it can be easily removed by lightly tapping it from the side, and it doesn't necessitate taking a chisel to it. Once the nut height has been set, it probably won't need to be changed, so lightly gluing the nut shouldn't be a big issue. The bridge saddle should never, ever be glued.

The idea of taking a chisel or screwdriver to a $5,000.00+ guitar gives me the willies. :shock:

willi

Post by willi » Thu Feb 01, 2007 3:14 pm

A couple of months back I made some saddles of different materials,finally settling on aluminium[nice bright sound].Visiting local music shop the owner said try Saverez hard tension,result too bright for me,so I re-invented the wheel and made a bone saddle,great sound.The moral of this story is get new strings first before altering some thing else.I suppose I should keep the aluminium saddle for when the strings get old!

Stevebol

Post by Stevebol » Fri Feb 09, 2007 5:05 am

I was wondering if anyone notches their saddles for the strings .I just tried it on my bone saddle and the strings react differently.The wound strings (E-A-D) had very slight grooves from playing but the unwound ones had none,so I tried it.The strings feel much better and the sound is a little brighter on the top strings.Just curious.

Sasquatch51

Post by Sasquatch51 » Fri Feb 09, 2007 12:03 pm

Stevebol wrote:I was wondering if anyone notches their saddles for the strings .I just tried it on my bone saddle and the strings react differently.The wound strings (E-A-D) had very slight grooves from playing but the unwound ones had none,so I tried it.The strings feel much better and the sound is a little brighter on the top strings.Just curious.

Johnny Walker does.
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.

skywachr

Post by skywachr » Mon Feb 12, 2007 3:23 am

Detailed insructions for making a saddle can be found here:
http://www.frets.com/FRETSPages/Musicia ... dle01.html

I have successfully made my own saddles following thes instructions.

Return to “Luthiers”