I've been restringing my electrics for over 20 years, but this is the first time I've done a steel string for as long as I can remember!
A couple of basic questions if anyone would be so kind....
1. As I tighten the string, should I also apply pressure to the bridge pin? It seems that the pin comes out just a little as the tension increases and the string reaches correct tuning... Is that normal and should i just let it do its thing? Or should I push it back in?
2. The guitar is a Seagull S6 Folk. The saddle is not quite as long as the slot in the bridge and can therefore be moved slightly across. Should I aim to have it as central as possible? From what I can tell, it has previously been pushed to the treble side because I can see where the top E has made a slight groove in the saddle. Should I aim to keep it as it was, or put it centrally and avoid the grooves (there are some where the other strings too)?
Huge thanks for any help
IMHO, if the ball on the string is seated properly under the bridge pin, you should have minimal trouble with the pin slipping out when you begin to apply tension. Sometimes this is more difficult to accomplish on the thin treble strings because they lack surface friction.
Also (once again IMHO) a saddle should fit tightly in the slot and have minimal, if any play in any direction. A new TUSQ saddle is only about $13-$15 from Graphtech and you can sand it yourself to the point that it has a snug fit and no "play".
Once again, just my personal opinions.
Thanks for the info and opinions.
TBH, what I was thinking was to try a few different string makes an gauges over the coming months, then - once I've settled on the strings I like - buying a bone saddle and either trying to fit it myself or have someone else do it. So with that in mind I'll probably stick with what's there for now, although it would still be helpful to hear whether people think I should orientate it so that the strings sit on the grooves of yesteryear (with the saddle toward the treble side) or whether the strings should rest on fresh saddle space (with the saddle central).
It would also be helpful to hear whether other Seagull S6 Folk owners have saddles that are a tight/correct fit, or whether theirs - like mine - allows for a little movement to the bass/treble sides?
I'd position the saddle in the middle of the bridge slot and ignore the old grooves if you see it as a temporary measure. A loose saddle that slides around or worse yet, one that tilts away from a 90 degree angle will cause intonation problems.
All of my Seagulls (three different dreads) have come with saddles that were relatively loose in the bridge slot, but none have had any significant play side to side as you describe. The saddles all fit the space in the slot, but they were loose enough that you could just remove them with your fingers.
When I took my Seagull Artist Mosaic to the guitar tech for a complete set-up, he recommended that I get what he called a "press fit" saddle that would fit very tightly into the slot and have absolutely no play in any direction. The fit would be such that you would need to use a pair of plyers to apply pressure to gently remove the saddle instead of having it basically fall out when the strings were removed.
Subsequently he carved a new, fully-compensated bone saddle for me that was a perfect snug "press fit" for the bridge slot and it has worked very well! I highly recommend letting a professional do this for you if you feel a $40-$60 investment is worthwhile.
Best of luck!!
My Seagull and S&P saddles both fit snugly, I can just pry them out when I'm cleaning around and under there.
My Seagull S6 Original Cedar's saddle is loose, I'll be adding a paper shim to tighten it up at the next string change.
My Seagull S6 Coastline Fold Cedar's saddle is tight, I almost had to get the pliers to pull it out at the last string change (out of curiosity).
I bought both of my Seagulls on CraigsList. They both had 2 sets of grooves on the saddle. I use whatever ones that give me an even string spacing, centered on the neck.
Thank you all for the responses. Much appreciated. Hopefully I'll decide on some strings (particularly my favoured gauge) so that i can then get the new saddle.
In the meantime I do have another question....
Is it common practise to stretch the new strings to help them along their way toward being settled. I always do this when restringing electrics but wasn't sure if people do it on acoustics...?
As a personal preference, I always stretch'em, but some people don't. Both Martin and Taylor reps recommend stretching in their restringing videos. You can watch these videos at this link: "Care & Feeding of Your Precious Acoustic Guitars"
Just a note of caution for people who cut the excess from their strings before winding them (the "Taylor Method"). If you use DR Strings, they state on the packaging to be sure to crimp the end of the string before it is cut. Their strings are anchored near the end of the string, and if you cut the anchored section off before it is wound around the post the string could lose its resonance. I don't know if this is a problem with other brands of strings. I've only seen the warning on DR Strings, and that's the brand I consistently use.
Yes, good advice. I have heard of this happening with certain strings.
Doesn't happen with Elixir, D'Addario/Godin, John Pearse, or Martin strings.
I found less problems later when I stretch the strings during the installation. Generally doing the stretching when winding them up. I use a method that has worked great for me, illustrated by Bill Baker here. Though, the demo uses an electric, it works equally well on my acoustics. Martin has a demo of changing strings that's more standard, using the loop and under method. Also, took a while for me to figure this out - always place the ball of the string with the string loop in line with the groove of the end pin and pull it tight before winding. It shouldn't need any pressing down after that while restringing - at least that works for me. ;-)
Well, I've had to go off and do other things and have not got around to stretching them yet. What's bizarre that is that when I've been getting a spare mo this afternoon, I've picked the guitar up to have a quick go and each time it has been pretty much perfectly in tune.
On my electrics, I only have to look at it after a restring for it to go down a tone or two, and it takes a day or two WITH stretching for things to settle. That's certainly not the case with this acoustic at the moment.
For the record, I've used Elixir 80/20s.
A lot of people agree that stretching is not necessary. You may find that you don't need it.