Your Guide to Buying a Saddle for Your Guitar

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Your Guide to Buying a Saddle for Your Guitar
The saddle of a guitar is very important and has a big impact on the sound which is produced by the guitar . A saddle sits on top of the bridge of the guitar and is the part of the guitar which supports and lifts the guitar strings away from the fretboard where they are fastened. The height of the guitar saddle and the material from which it is made has an impact on the tone and clarity of the guitar. Unfortunately it is possible for the guitar saddle to become worn over time, especially if the guitar is played a lot. This will alter the sound of the guitar by adding an unattractive buzz to the notes. When replacing a guitar saddle, it is important to choose the correct type of saddle for the guitar. There are different models for different types of guitars, and saddles can also be made in a variety of materials.

Acoustic Guitar Saddles

The saddles for an acoustic guitar were historically made from elephant ivory and bone. Concerns over the procurement of ivory led to the introduction of plastic guitar saddles and attempts to create a synthetic ivory although it was felt that this reduced the sound quality of the guitar. Bone is now generally seen as the best material to use, although ivory has once again gained in popularity now that strict restrictions are in place over the sales of ivory to ensure the protection of elephants. One of the main advantages of using a guitar saddle which is made from bone is that it is suitable for all types of guitars and can be used to play any type of music. The majority of guitar saddles for acoustic guitars are not glued or fixed to the guitar. The saddle will simply fit into a channel along the bridge and be held in place by the tension of the strings so it is important to ensure that the right size of bridge is selected There are two main types of saddles which are available for acoustic guitars.

Straight Guitar Saddle

A straight guitar saddle for an acoustic guitar is simply a straight bar which fits across the bridge and which offers no variation for the different strings. The problem with a straight saddle is that it does nothing to help keep the guitar in tune, so the guitar could need to be retuned more frequently.

Compensated Guitar Saddle

A compensated guitar saddle is not straight and will have either a jagged or a curved top. Therefore, although the strings are still held in place as with the straight guitar saddle, the jagged or curved top holds the strings at slightly different levels which will help to keep each string in tune and avoid the necessity for constant retuning.
Electric Guitar Saddles

The saddle for an electric guitar is normally made out of metal as this is more hardwearing and the saddle will be put under greater pressure than that of an acoustic guitar as the style of music played is likely to be harder. The saddle which is fitted to an electric guitar will still have a large impact on the quality of the intonation and sound which is produced by the guitar. There are three types of saddles available and the type used depends on the model of electric guitar.

Rectangular Style Saddle

This type of electric guitar saddle is used on Fender Stratocaster and Telecaster guitars. The rectangular saddle is commonly made from brass and will grip the strings firmly enough to withstand the hardest playing style and will help produce a sharp and crisp sound.

Sharp Edge Saddle

This type of saddle comes to a point at the end and is commonly used on guitars which are already fitted with a Gibson style bridge. Although this type of bridge will help produce a rich sound from the guitar, there can be an issue with the screws which are holding it in place. If the bridge has had to be adjusted fairly high in order to tune the guitar, then some people have found the screws to be intrusive and hinder their playing. It may be possible to rectify this by either fixing the saddle to the bridge with smaller screws or by filing down the bottom of the screws so that they will fit lower into the saddle.

String Saving Saddle

If the electric guitar is going to be used for a particularly hard style of playing, then it may be worth considering investing in a string saving saddle. These are available to fit all types of electric guitars and claim to ensure that guitar strings will last longer without breaking. Unlike other models, a string saving saddle is not made from metal as the makers claim that metal has too tight a grip and may be instrumental in causing wear and tear to the string. The string saving saddle is able to protect the strings because it has been impregnated with Teflon. The strings will vibrate and move against the saddle, and this will cause the Teflon to rub off onto the string and leave a thin coating on the string. This protects the string and reduces the stress on that particular part of the string and, therefore, lessens the chance of the string becoming worn and snapping. It is claimed that the sound produced using a string saver saddle is as good as a vintage steel saddle and with up to 25 per cent more sustain than with a brass saddle. Probably the main advantage of using a string saving saddle is that it will inspire confidence in the player who will be able to play aggressively without the worry of potentially breaking the strings.

To Find a Guitar Saddle on eBay

The first step to finding a guitar saddle on eBay is to open the eBay homepage and then click on the All Categories which is positioned near the top left side of the homepage. This opens a list of all of the eBay categories including a link for Musical Instruments. Click on this link and it will open a list of sub categories. From those available, one for Guitars should be easy to locate. The next step is to click on the link for Accessories and then the link for Parts.

Included amongst the parts offered, guitar saddles can be found. A more refined search is also possible, as there are links for specific types of guitars such as Electric Guitar and Acoustic Guitar. eBay also has a fairly powerful keyword search integrated in the site. Typing in specific keywords such as "guitar saddle compensated" will display a list of all of that type of guitar saddle that are currently for sale on eBay, too.

Conclusion

A guitar saddle that is made from bone is generally acknowledged to help produce the best tone and sound from an acoustic guitar although ivory is also a good choice. Plastic guitar saddles will be cheaper, but will not produce the same quality of sound and may not last as long due to wear and tear.
A guitar saddle for an electric guitar is normally made from metal with vintages saddles commonly made from steel while modern saddles are often made from brass. The choice of style of saddle is largely determined by the model of electric guitar. Recent developments have seen the introduction of string saving saddles for electric guitars which use Teflon to protect the strings from rubbing. This could be a good choice of saddle if the guitar is going to be regularly used for a hard playing and vigorous style of music.

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