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PostPosted: Thu Apr 27, 2017 11:57 am 
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Mahogany
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I have a guitar with a 1/8" saddle slot that currently has a bone saddle that I created when I built the guitar. I want to install a Barbera saddle (pickup) and the slot is just a bit too tight. I cannot adjust the Barbera saddle, so I'll need to widen the slot. I'm thinking about making a thin sanding block and doing it by hand. I did use a 1/8" router bit when I cut the slot and the Barbera saddle measures exactly 1/8" on my caliper. Apparently, the slot is just shy of 1/8"

Any suggestions on how best to proceed?

Thanks for your help!

Ric

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 27, 2017 2:14 pm 
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What does your slot measure?


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 27, 2017 2:33 pm 
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Mahogany
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It measures 120.5 thou.

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 27, 2017 4:10 pm 
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Old Growth Brazilian Rosewood
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We use these and it takes us 5 minutes with it's dedicated bench and vacuum pump :)

http://www.annarborguitars.com/styled-5/index.html

Seriously there are shop made saddle mill ideas and info here on the OLF if you search for it. Be sure to double check your scale length as this is an opportunity to correct intonation if that's an issue.



These users thanked the author Hesh for the post: Clinchriver (Fri Apr 28, 2017 5:27 am)
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 27, 2017 4:55 pm 
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Cocobolo
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I don't see any way a 1/8 router bit could cut a slot -less- than 1/8. So I would suspect there is a little crud or raised grain reducing the thickness. If you finished your bridge, that could also reduce it. I would be tempted to take a industrial razor blade and try scraping both slides of the slot. You won't have a good angle for it, but you only need .005 out of there and I'll bet you can get it. If it is a little raised grain or finish, or ?, then you might open it up in just a few strokes,
Mike


Ric Hollander wrote:
I have a guitar with a 1/8" saddle slot that currently has a bone saddle that I created when I built the guitar. I want to install a Barbera saddle (pickup) and the slot is just a bit too tight. I cannot adjust the Barbera saddle, so I'll need to widen the slot. I'm thinking about making a thin sanding block and doing it by hand. I did use a 1/8" router bit when I cut the slot and the Barbera saddle measures exactly 1/8" on my caliper. Apparently, the slot is just shy of 1/8"

Any suggestions on how best to proceed?

Thanks for your help!

Ric


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 27, 2017 8:11 pm 
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Brazilian Rosewood
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Maybe not the answer you were hoping for, but I would return the pickup and opt for another style.

I looked at their pickups, and have to say that in my opinion it is fundamentally flawed, failure of a design. A basic and critical aspect of traditional guitar bridge/saddle design, is the ability to precisely fine tune the fit of a saddle to a slot. Half a mil too thick, it won't fit. A mil too thin, the sloppy fit will allow it to lean and potentially warp the bridge. As an aftermarket pickup, this design does not allow for the ability to customize fit to a reasonable tolerance of saddle slots.

The design also does not seem to allow for any reasonable range of height adjustment, as relying on shims gives very limited range before you loose support against the saddle wanting to lean. If it were an old Ovation style 1/4" saddle transducer with shallow breakover angle you can get away with more shims, but there's not much wiggle room on traditional bridge design.

Add in the inability to individually fine tune things like intonation or radius, not to mention that it looks like about the most acoustically invasive design I've ever seen, if you bought this with any return policy, I would be hesitant to make any modifications to your guitar in efforts to accommodate this pickup. There are plenty of other options out there which are designed as much more friendly for installation.

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These users thanked the author David Collins for the post (total 2): Imbler (Fri Apr 28, 2017 11:01 am) • Clinchriver (Fri Apr 28, 2017 5:29 am)
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 28, 2017 2:05 am 
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Sounds more like a 3mm bit. Just curious, does it say anything? Anyway, I would take Dave's advice.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 28, 2017 9:51 am 
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Mahogany
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pat macaluso wrote:
Sounds more like a 3mm bit. Just curious, does it say anything? Anyway, I would take Dave's advice.


I just checked and the bits are from Whiteside and labeled as 1/8", however when measured with a caliper they are a few thousands shy.


Thanks for the responses everyone.

Dave - I will consider what you have said.

Ric

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 28, 2017 11:07 am 
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Cocobolo
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Very interesting David. When I saw the original post, I thought to myself "how odd that you can't thickness the saddle, doesn't sound practical, but I know nothing about pickups".

I think your advice is best, even if it means junking that transducer. In economic terms, that transducer is a sunk cost!
Mike


David Collins wrote:
Maybe not the answer you were hoping for, but I would return the pickup and opt for another style.

I looked at their pickups, and have to say that in my opinion it is fundamentally flawed, failure of a design. A basic and critical aspect of traditional guitar bridge/saddle design, is the ability to precisely fine tune the fit of a saddle to a slot. Half a mil too thick, it won't fit. A mil too thin, the sloppy fit will allow it to lean and potentially warp the bridge. As an aftermarket pickup, this design does not allow for the ability to customize fit to a reasonable tolerance of saddle slots.

The design also does not seem to allow for any reasonable range of height adjustment, as relying on shims gives very limited range before you loose support against the saddle wanting to lean. If it were an old Ovation style 1/4" saddle transducer with shallow breakover angle you can get away with more shims, but there's not much wiggle room on traditional bridge design.

Add in the inability to individually fine tune things like intonation or radius, not to mention that it looks like about the most acoustically invasive design I've ever seen, if you bought this with any return policy, I would be hesitant to make any modifications to your guitar in efforts to accommodate this pickup. There are plenty of other options out there which are designed as much more friendly for installation.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 28, 2017 11:36 am 
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I install quite a few pickups - usually either Fishman UST's or K&K soundboard transducers. I was recently asked to install a LR Braggs LB6 combination saddle and transducer - the saddle is molded directly to the transducer and the assembly is 1/8 inch wide. The first order of operation was enlarging the 3/32 saddle slot to 1/8 - I have the StewMac saddle routing jig and while kind of tedious the procedure went fine. Then the top of the saddle had to be shaped to the correct radius and action height, plus compensated. There is no room for error - if the action ends up too low the only choice is shimming the assembly.

When I was done I decide that if I ever installed another one I would charge accordingly - I can do a K&K in a half hour, a Fishman Matrix in one, but with all the fiddling with the saddle I need to plan at least two hours.


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 30, 2017 8:50 pm 
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Ric Hollander wrote:
Any suggestions on how best to proceed?


It's not exactly rocket surgery, but you do need to be careful.


Grab your six inch steel rule, and wrap some 150 grit sandpaper around the end, and gently try to hold it as vertical as possible as you sand one wall of the bridge slot. Wouldn't hurt to measure as you go with the ol' dial caliper. Stick an end of the pickup/saddle in there as a further check along the way.

Then, still working with the same wall of the saddle slot, use your #11 blade X-Acto knife to scrape the surface to fit. This may take you a great bloody long while, but you can do it.

Sorry, but we sometimes actually have to do this kind of thing. . .

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These users thanked the author Frank Ford for the post (total 2): Imbler (Mon May 01, 2017 12:18 am) • fumblefinger (Sun Apr 30, 2017 11:03 pm)
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 30, 2017 9:03 pm 
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When I was done I decide that if I ever installed another one I would charge accordingly - I can do a K&K in a half hour, a Fishman Matrix in one, but with all the fiddling with the saddle I need to plan at least two hours.


Time is money.

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