How to Make a Classical Guitar Saddle

Written by eric linkenhoker
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How to Make a Classical Guitar Saddle
A new saddle fixes poor intonation. (John Foxx/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Classical guitar saddles wear down over time and need replacing. Making a new saddle fixes the problems of low strings and poor intonation. Saddles can be made of plastic, bone or ivory. However, finding an ivory saddle is almost impossible because of international bans. Bone and plastic saddles work just as well, cost less, and are environmentally sound. With the right materials, almost anyone can build a new classical guitar saddle.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Saddle blank
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Sandpaper
  • Small saw or rotary tool with cutting bits
  • Small file

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  1. 1

    Measure the saddle slot on the guitar bridge. Mark the slot width bridge blank with a pencil.

  2. 2

    Cut the blank to width. A small coping saw or hacksaw works well. A rotary tool with a cutting bit also works, but be careful not to slip and ruin the blank.

  3. 3

    Sand the rough edges off the saddle with fine grit sandpaper.

  4. 4

    Place the saddle in the slot and check the height. How high you want the strings depends on your playing style. String the guitar and check the height if needed.

  5. 5

    Remove the saddle from the slot. Sand or file the top of the saddle to a rounded shape.

  6. 6

    Sand the bottom of the bridge that sits too high. Lay sandpaper flat on a table and run the bottom of the saddle across the paper until the desired height is achieved.

  7. 7

    Place the new saddle in the slot and restring the guitar. The pressure of the string holds the saddle in place so no glue is needed.

Tips and warnings

  • Classical guitar saddles have no notches for the string like steel-stringed guitars. Use a fret crowning file to shape the top of the saddle.
  • Be careful not to damage the guitar bridge when removing the old nut.

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