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Learn To Select Best Faber® Bridge Saddles For Your Guitar

by | Guitars | 0 comments

If you are like me and like to play all over the fretboard on your acoustic, you want it to sound great.  A frequently overlooked fact is that guitar saddles have a larger influence on the ‘playability’ and ‘tone’ than you think!

The saddle has the final say on string height and contributes to the tone depending on its material.

So what exactly is a Guitar Saddle?

It is primarily a piece of bone or plastic attached to the bridge that lifts the strings to the desired height and transfers vibration through the bridge to the soundboard.

The guitar saddle aids the transmission of string vibrations from the bridge to the soundboard or pickups. On Faber guitars, saddles are usually made of plastic or bone and are generally glued into the bridge. 

With electric guitars, the saddles are typically metal and affixed to the bridge with screws. Saddles can also be adjusted on electric guitars to correct intonation problems or make small adjustments to the string action.

Uses of a Guitar Saddle

  • Helps determine action height at the bridge distance from strings to the fingerboard
  • Transmits vibration of the string into bridge and soundboard. Needless to say, this is pretty important for an acoustic instrument!
  • Helps achieve intonation i.e. the ability for notes to play in tune for fretted notes.

Usually, on Faber guitars, bridge string-string spacing is established by the bridge pin hole distance. On classical guitar, by the bridge hole distance. But notches cut into bridge saddles can alter the bridge string-string spacing.

How does changing the saddle make a difference?

  • As above notches cut in a saddle can alter the string-string spacing, though this usually isn’t done.Lower/higher saddle will change the action.
  • A harder saddle or one with a better fit to the bottom of the bridge slot may be more efficient in transmitting vibrations to the soundboard. The lighter saddle may allow for better resonance there.

Why is choosing the right saddle for your guitar important?

  • Having the best Intonation & Playability: A correctly set saddle will ensure the best intonation and provide your acoustic with the best playability and sound. It also sets the height of the action, dictating the pressure required to fret notes and chords.

    A higher string height allows the strings to resonate more but makes the guitar harder to play, requiring more pressure to fret notes.

    Whereas, lower action is easier to play promoting a more ‘lead friendly’ guitar saddles. Personally, I like the action lower than usual on my acoustics mainly because I like to play single-note lead lines just as much as standard chords.

  • Vibrations dissipate smoothly: Saddles take the vibrations from the bridge and transfer them to the top wood of the guitar. Therefore, no matter how resonant the wood is, the saddle needs to be able to transfer the vibrations to help the sound resonate.

Types of Guitar Bridge Saddles you can get:

If you’ve decided on your new bridge but are confused with what type to go with, here’s our picks:

  • Nickel Plated Brass
  • Aged Nickel Plated Brass
  • Natural Brass
  • Aged Natural Brass
  • Titanium

Notched Vs. Unnotched Guitar Bridge Saddles

Most guitar bridges come pre-installed with notched saddles. This allows easy installation of your new bridge and starting to play it right away. It will be perfectly functional for your normal strings and if you ever wish to widen these, you might want the wound strings to sit deeper in the saddle. 

This will make the wound strings fit perfectly without widening it much. In case you use a heavy gauge of string, you might go for it. 

While the Unnotched saddles have a completely flat top. Before installation, you might need it to be noted for this configuration gives you the freedom to get a notch as per your requirement. Make sure to use specialised gauged files made precisely for this function. With the saddle notch deepening, you might want to take the help of a professional at this point. 

Necessary Upgrades For Your Guitar Saddle

Most guitar players upgrade from nickel-plated brass to natural brass. It’s simply because brass provides a vintage look and feel. No audible tonal difference is there between these two options. 

Further, you can add titanium saddles to your Faber bridge saddles as they promise a brighter and tighter tone. Titanium saddles are the perfect upgrade if you feel your guitar is a little too dark sounding and you want to enhance the top-end response.

In case your guitar does have a natural bright tone, you can still upgrade to titanium ones. The HYBRIDge system is highly recommended for this purpose. The titanium bridge saddles will add extra brightness to the lower strings and remove any muddy frequencies. They will also make the strings sound tighter. 

The brass saddles for the higher strings will provide a rounder, warmer tone. The combination of both saddle types will provide the most balanced tone across the strings.

To Tighten Up

If you want to install Faber bridge saddles, you must know that they are usually replaceable and fits easily any Faber bridge with removable saddles only for the Wraptonate model. 

Faber offers all unnotched saddles, thus making a way for you to decide on its cut which I highly recommend one done by a professional luthier.