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  1. #1

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    Maybe this has been discussed before, but...

    I just bought a Godin ACS electric nylon. The bridge is compensated for the three plain nylons. The three wound basses are even. It's amazing. Perfectly in tune whether playing at the 1st fret or the 12th and above. Wondering why traditional classical/flamenco builders don't adopt this. It works. Here is a stock photo, not my guitar.

    Compensated bridges?-godin-acs-slim-sa-natural-1-jpg

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  3. #2

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    Here's a great article, Woody.
    Play live . . . Marinero

    Compensated vs Uncompensated Saddle, the Difference ...

    https://tonetopics.com › Blog



  4. #3

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    Of course, that's the RMC pickup system, and Rich McLeish, the owner, actually sends instructions to buyers on that particular installation feature. Since acoustic classical and flamenco guitars use only a single saddle, it's a different ballgame. However, some builders, such as Lester Devoe, will cut the saddle to compensate; I have two of his concert flamenco guitars, and they do have the best intonation I've encountered for acoustic guitars of that type. My Godin Multiac Nylon 7-string uses the RMC system, and the individual saddles are compensated as on your guitar. Those are great working guitars because of details like that.

  5. #4
    But I've heard so many of even the greatest guitarists sound out of tune when they play open strings combined with fretted notes high up on the neck. I would think a compensated saddle would help that. It shouldn't be that hard to cut half of the slot one way and the other half another way, and use two half-saddles.

  6. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Woody Sound
    But I've heard so many of even the greatest guitarists sound out of tune when they play open strings combined with fretted notes high up on the neck. I would think a compensated saddle would help that. It shouldn't be that hard to cut half of the slot one way and the other half another way, and use two half-saddles.
    Hi, W,
    It takes time to properly tune a guitar checking octaves, harmonics, and the upper register. The bass string on many guitars can be a challenge. We'd all like to believe that a pro goes through this process every time he plays but it's not necessarily the case. The best guitarist I ever played with would come to a rehearsal/gig, unpack his guitar and start playing. It took me months of cajoling him before he would take the time and tune properly to the B3.
    A final note: quality instruments are hand-made by very skilled luthiers. However, anything made by a human is never really perfect and all guitars can possess their own unique idiosyncrasies. Also, as an instrument ages, it may also change for various reasons but the intonation issues should not be great. A quality luthier can address these issues(nuts, bridges, frets, neck) and may be able to resolve them. Also, old strings are the biggest culprit and despite those who claim they play theirs forever, they are usually the main cause for sporadic intonation issues on a well-made guitar. On my Classical Guitars, I change strings roughly every 20-23 hours- the trebles lose intonation and the basses show significant wear and lose punch. On my Gibson's, I change the trebles at 20 hours but leave the basses for another 20 hours since they have not lost their stability.
    Play live . . . Marinero

  7. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marinero
    The bass string on many guitars can be a challenge.
    And the move to lighter strings has made it worse. They’re both more sensitive to finger pressure and inherently more variable in intonation because spot variance of a thou or two in thickness, slight inconsistencies in wind tension, etc exert proportionally more effect as strings get thinner.

    John Pearce solved the intonation problem on the 7th string of my first 7 by pushing me to go to an 80. I’ve kept a few 70s, 74s, and 80s on hand ever since then and fit each new instrument I’ve gotten with the lightest of them that plays,intones, and sounds right. And the lightest 6 I use above that are 10-56s.

  8. #7

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    Guitarists are spoiled on intonation, we focus too much on perfection.
    Try playing a large pipe organ which no matter how well maintained 20 or so percent of the pipes are out of tune at any time. Show up to play a concert, mid summer, and the out of tune ratio jumps way up. And ol’Murphy makes sure the sounds you really want to use are the worst.
    Dont miss that part of my musician days at all)))

  9. #8
    While I appreciate all this insight, it still does not explain why compensated saddles are not used when they could easily improve intonation. I ask why *not* do it? The straight across saddle seems like a stodgy cork-sniffing tradition.

  10. #9

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    My Frameworks modern classic guitar has great compensation saddles - works perfect.Any string can be set.
    Compensated bridges?-acoustic-frame-2340x1100-jpg

  11. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by kris
    My Frameworks modern classic guitar has great compensation saddles - works perfect.Any string can be set.
    Compensated bridges?-acoustic-frame-2340x1100-jpg
    Hey, they look like the same saddles as on the Godin. Might be the same system, RMC.

  12. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by Woody Sound
    While I appreciate all this insight, it still does not explain why compensated saddles are not used when they could easily improve intonation. I ask why *not* do it? The straight across saddle seems like a stodgy cork-sniffing tradition.
    Hi, W,
    Someone mentioned tradition earlier in this discussion. Can you imagine a Stradivarius violin with a compensated bridge? Would it make it sound better? Perhaps. However, it's not done on a million dollar instrument built over 300 years ago. However, it's a logical option for an instrument that struggles with intonation problems. I agree that many guitarists are cavalier about tuning and it was always one of my pet peeves. So, if it matters and it cant be corrected by a good luthier(as I mentioned earlier), why not?
    Play live????? . . . Marinero

  13. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Marinero
    Hi, W,
    Someone mentioned tradition earlier in this discussion. Can you imagine a Stradivarius violin with a compensated bridge? Would it make it sound better? Perhaps. However, it's not done on a million dollar instrument built over 300 years ago. However, it's a logical option for an instrument that struggles with intonation problems. I agree that many guitarists are cavalier about tuning and it was always one of my pet peeves. So, if it matters and it cant be corrected by a good luthier(as I mentioned earlier), why not?
    Play live????? . . . Marinero
    Just want to point out that violinists don't have frets to contend with. They compensate automatically while they play with their finger placement. But I would never alter a valuable vintage instrument anyway. I am referring to newer innovative guitar builders who I would think would want to try it. Think about this: What a godsend mechanical tuners were for tuning. Do you want to go back to the tradition of wooden pegs in guitars? (And I own a flamenco with pegs.)
    Last edited by Woody Sound; 08-02-2021 at 11:25 AM.

  14. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by Woody Sound
    Just want to point out that violinists don't have frets to contend with. They compensate automatically with their finger placement. But I would never alter a valuable vintage instrument. I am referring to newer innovative builders who I would think would want to try it.
    Hi, W,
    Yes, this is true. But on a violin, proper "bridge placement" is essential to proper tuning and lack of frets have nothing to do with being "in" or "out" of tune, per se, in re: LH finger position. So, there are some musicians who would welcome new innovations and then there are those ,like myself, who are "purists" and love playing traditional instruments. Neither is right or wrong. It's a personal choice and should be of no concern for a beginning musician who is choosing an instrument. Bottom line: technology always prevails . . . unless, of course, you like Stradivari violins. Play live???? . . . Marinero

    P.S. For the record, I would use a compensated bridge for a vintage instrument on which I performed that could not be adjusted/tuned properly without it.
    M

  15. #14

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    "What a godsend mechanical tuners were for tuning. Do you want to go back to the tradition of wooden pegs in guitars? (And I own a flamenco with pegs.)" Woody

    Hi, W,
    I would only want quality wooden pegs/tuners if I were playing a vintage Classical instrument. No. My mechanical tuners are very reliable. Play live ????? . . . Marinero

  16. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Marinero
    Hi, W,
    Yes, this is true. But on a violin, proper "bridge placement" is essential to proper tuning and lack of frets have nothing to do with being "in" or "out" of tune, per se, in re: LH finger position.
    Yeah my wife is a concert violinist, so we have some ridiculously expensive violins hanging around. She's always futzing with the bridge, mostly the forward or backward angle from bottom to top, not so much the placement once new strings have set in. But I still stand by the fact that they can have a straight bridge, because they know their instrument and where the notes lie exactly in tune on the different strings. For them, they play 7th position ever so slightly slightly different on the 1st string than on the 4rth string. And that's compensating. We guitarists cannot do that because of frets. We've been married for over 35 yrs, so believe me we've discussed this difference ad nauseam

    We've had conversations that go like this:

    She: You're lucky you have frets, so you don't have to bother placing your fingertip in exactly the right place for every note. How simple.
    Me: You're lucky you *don't* have frets, so you can play perfectly in tune on every note on different strings.
    Last edited by Woody Sound; 08-02-2021 at 05:23 PM.

  17. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by Woody Sound
    Hey, they look like the same saddles as on the Godin. Might be the same system, RMC.
    RMS-yes it is...but saddles are placed in movable ebony bases/6 ebony bases/.You can get perfect tuning guitar .
    but ...Clasical guitars have a tuning problems .A luthier can correct the octave tuning.The saddle of the bridge can be slightly adjusted.
    Best
    Kris
    ps.
    Expensive hand made guitars -they can tune well.
    I used Gibson Chet Atkins few years ago-I had trouble tuning this guitar.