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pakman

Saddle has litteraly fallen down in the bridge ! (pics)

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Hi,

 

(sorry for my english it's not my primary language)

 

My B and high E strings are buzzing on my taylor 310, that's normal when you see the saddle, it has litteraly fallen down in the bridge !

Here are some pics, do you know how it happened? and what can I do to fix it? Thank you very much

 

 

 

 

Edited by pakman

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This makes no sense. The saddle slot on most guitars (including every Taylor I've ever looked at) goes part way thru the bridge - it is usually about 1/4 inch deep in a 3/8 bridge. Below that you have the top and then about 1/8 inch of bridge plate.

 

Your saddle looks very low. On a well hydrated properly set up guitar I like to see about 1/8 inch of saddle sticking out of the slot - yours looks about half of that. If your guitar is severely dehydrated the top will flatten or even become concave, but that won't change the saddle. Its also possible that you or someone has removed shims from below the saddle, removed a UST and not added a shim or new saddle or sanded the saddle to lower the action.

 

But saddles do not literally fall down in the bridge

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Hello Freeman thank you very much for your answer.

Well I've never touched to the saddle, I own the guitar since 15 years.

I'm living in a very wet place.

I didn't remove the saddle yet to see what happened, I'm going to do it.

I think it has happened progressively, I didn't notice until my strings start buzzing more and more with time.

I am really wondering how this can happen. I didn't touch the saddle, nor filed it, that's weird.

Maybe it has consumed itself from the bottom [img2=JSON]{"data-align":"none","data-size":"full","src":"https:\/\/www.acousticguitarforum.com\/ubb\/smile.gif"}[/img2]

 

Well that's a mystery. I'm going to order a new one... or I will probably add a shim under it

Edited by pakman

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I can only repeat, what Freeman said. The slot in the bridge doesn't go down to the top, it's routed from the solid bridge material. Hence the depth of the routed channel is not going to change. So I call on magic and an old man with a hound at the crossroads. Or, magically again, the saddle material disintegrating from the bottom. You may want to pull the saddle and have a good look - and more photos.

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yep let me do this and remove it, and then post photos, I will do it asap. Magic or not, we'll sort it out Sherlock :)

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Take and post two other picture, please. Put a straight edge 24 inches long across the lower bout right behind the bridge. I want to see if there is a gap in the middle or at the outside edges. Then put that same straight edge on the frets between the 3rd and 4th string with the end right in front of the bridge. I want to see where it is in relationship to the top of the bridge (not the saddle)

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A mystery indeed. Are you the original owner of the guitar? Did you buy it new/used? My gut is telling me someone put a poor quality shim or possibly clay or putty under the saddle and whatever is there is collapsing for some reason. Take the measurements Freeman suggested before you do anything else. Also let us know what's under the saddle if you remove it.

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It's a second hand guitar I bought 15 years ago. It was fine until now.

Freeman I'd be glad to take the pics you suggest but my poor english doesnt allow me to understand what I have to do...

Do you mean :

1st pic I put a ruler in front of the bridge and take a pic for you to see where the saddle has colapsed?

2nd pic : I didn't understand at all sorry...

 

 

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Freeman I'd be glad to take the pics you suggest but my poor english doesnt allow me to understand what I have to do...

Do you mean :

1st pic I put a ruler in front of the bridge and take a pic for you to see where the saddle has colapsed?

2nd pic : I didn't understand at all sorry...

 

 

First picture, just lay a straightedge behind the bridge like this

 

[ATTACH=JSON]{"alt":"Click image for larger version Name:\tIMG_3623.JPG Views:\t1 Size:\t124.4 KB ID:\t32540046","data-align":"none","data-attachmentid":"32540046","data-size":"full"}[/ATTACH]

 

Most guitars have a dome built in to the top and there will be a gap of maybe 1/8 inch at each side. When the guitar gets dehydrated or possibly damaged inside the top will settle down and become flat or even concave. If that happens the playing action will go down and the guitar will get buzzy.

 

The other test is a 24 inch straightedge on the frets pointing to the bridge like this

 

[ATTACH=JSON]{"alt":"Click image for larger version Name:\tIMG_3943.JPG Views:\t1 Size:\t92.3 KB ID:\t32540047","data-align":"none","data-attachmentid":"32540047","data-size":"full"}[/ATTACH]

 

[ATTACH=JSON]{"alt":"Click image for larger version Name:\tIMG_2988.JPG Views:\t1 Size:\t84.6 KB ID:\t32540056","data-align":"none","data-attachmentid":"32540056","data-size":"full"}[/ATTACH]

 

It takes a 24 inch rule to do this, you want to span all of the frets and just reach to the bridge. There are three conditions - if the end of the straightedge is significantly above the bridge as in the first picture the top is probably concave indicating a dry guitar. If it is significantly below the top of the bridge (closer to the top of the guitar) like the second, that indicates the need for a neck reset (a completely different problem). If it just kisses the top of the bridge that is ideal.

 

Lets see yours.

 

Edit to add, pull the saddle out and lay it on the top and take a picture of that too. Include any shims or is there an electronic transducer in the saddle slot (might look like a braded piece of wire, might be kind of a flat looking thing with a wire on one end.

 

IMG_3623.JPG.a33910e98f2e9b09e9e83b3b3316de53.JPG

IMG_3943.JPG.aebf1840f0febdd682631f74e1f197aa.JPG

IMG_2988.JPG.96e8b4e4dad87abd9f0f6e12798fcf34.JPG

Edited by Freeman Keller
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It's a second hand guitar I bought 15 years ago. It was fine until now.

Freeman I'd be glad to take the pics you suggest but my poor english doesnt allow me to understand what I have to do...

Do you mean :

1st pic I put a ruler in front of the bridge and take a pic for you to see where the saddle has colapsed?

2nd pic : I didn't understand at all sorry...

For the first picture, position the ruler like this:

[ATTACH=JSON]{"alt":"Click image for larger version Name:\tRul_Acro.jpg Views:\t1 Size:\t24.6 KB ID:\t32540049","data-align":"none","data-attachmentid":"32540049","data-size":"full","title":"Rul_Acro.jpg"}[/ATTACH]

 

For the second picture, position the ruler like this:

[ATTACH=JSON]{"alt":"Click image for larger version Name:\tRul_Alo.jpg Views:\t1 Size:\t34.6 KB ID:\t32540050","data-align":"none","data-attachmentid":"32540050","data-size":"full","title":"Rul_Alo.jpg"}[/ATTACH]

Make sure the ruler touches the frets and extend it so the end is even with the edge of the bridge. Freeman needs to see whether it's above, below, or even with the top of the bridge.

Rul_Acro.jpg.9296b35f6e7b9ae9223e36936bd9aa69.jpg

Rul_Alo.jpg.6f22e645fee7ae4672ccb6e6a315dce9.jpg

Edited by DeepEnd
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Thank you both Freeman and DeepEnd you are very helpful that's very kind from you to try to help me. French people here are not as helpful :)

I think I understood what I needed to do, here are some pics feel free to tell me if you need more. I didn't remove the saddle yet it's very late here (1 am) so I'll do it tomorrow).

Oh and sorry for the dust on the guitar.

 

 

[ATTACH=JSON]{"alt":"Click image for larger version Name:\t Views:\t1 Size:\t56.1 KB ID:\t32540069","data-align":"none","data-attachmentid":"32540069","data-size":"full"}[/ATTACH][ATTACH=JSON]{"alt":"Click image for larger version Name:\t Views:\t1 Size:\t42.7 KB ID:\t32540070","data-align":"none","data-attachmentid":"32540070","data-size":"full"}[/ATTACH][ATTACH=JSON]{"alt":"Click image for larger version Name:\t Views:\t1 Size:\t63.2 KB ID:\t32540071","data-align":"none","data-attachmentid":"32540071","data-size":"full"}[/ATTACH][ATTACH=JSON]{"alt":"Click image for larger version Name:\t Views:\t1 Size:\t60.3 KB ID:\t32540072","data-align":"none","data-attachmentid":"32540072","data-size":"full"}[/ATTACH][ATTACH=JSON]{"alt":"Click image for larger version Name:\t Views:\t1 Size:\t38.8 KB ID:\t32540073","data-align":"none","data-attachmentid":"32540073","data-size":"full"}[/ATTACH]

Edited by pakman

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Well, there goes my first theory. I was going to guess that your guitar was dehydrated and the top had shrunk which in turn lowered the action But it looks perfectly normal. How about loosening the strings, you may have to pull the pins and remove them from the bridge. Take a sharp pencil and draw a line around the saddle right where it comes out of the bridge, then remove the saddle and any shims and take another picture.

 

If that doesn't tell us anything I may have to pack a few tools and fly to France to help first hand. My wife is packing right now....

 

Edit to add, I took another look at your last picture with the straight edge across the top and see that your 310 is an acoustic/electric (the strap button looks like a jack). Are you using the electronics? I'll be interested in seeing what the pickup under the saddle looks like.

Edited by Freeman Keller
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. . . Edit to add' date=' I took another look at your last picture with the straight edge across the top and see that your 310 is an acoustic/electric (the strap button looks like a jack). Are you using the electronics? I'll be interested in seeing what the pickup under the saddle looks like.[/quote']

The next-to-last picture shows a cutaway, which also indicates the guitar is an acoustic/electric. Returning to my original theory, I wonder if the transducer was removed at some point and the slot partially filled with something like wood filler that would have deteriorated over time and collapsed? The guitar looks like it's heading toward a needing neck reset as well, if it doesn't already, based on the second and third pictures, but let's solve the original mystery first and take one problem at a time.

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Freeman you made me laugh hard with your trip in France :D You will be welcomed, you and madam !!

Ok back to our subject, I hope you're awake since I am removing the saddle right now :)

Yes it's an electroacoustic (and cutaway) 310ce taylor guitar, sorry not to have mentionned this, I thought it wasn't important, my bad.

So here are some pics about what's under the saddle, it's something red a bit shiny I don't know what it is, I am waiting for your instructions Freeman and DeepEnd to proceed :)

 

 

 

[ATTACH=JSON]{"data-align":"none","data-attachmentid":"32540265","data-size":"full"}[/ATTACH][ATTACH=JSON]{"data-align":"none","data-attachmentid":"32540266","data-size":"full"}[/ATTACH][ATTACH=JSON]{"data-align":"none","data-size":"full","data-tempid":"temp_152572_1561382698834_186"}[/ATTACH][ATTACH=JSON]{"data-align":"none","data-attachmentid":"32540267","data-size":"full"}[/ATTACH]

Edited by pakman

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The "red shiny" thing looks like an "under saddle transducer" or UST as it's known. It is the piezo pickup that enables the guitar to be played through an amplifier.The saddle sits on top of the UST but if it is too low in the slot you may need to fit a shim on top of the UST before replacing the saddle. It is possible that a shim was used in the past but has slipped out when replacing strings.

Edited by garthman
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OK, that helps. The red thing is the transducer for the electronics - it has some magic crystals in it that produce a very weak electrical voltage when subjected to vibration. I was like DeepEnd, thinking that maybe it had been removed which would have lowered the saddle about what you are seeing.

 

However, it is there and that is good. Next comment, however, is that your saddle is not nearly as tall as I would have expected. It does look like someone has lowered it by sanding some material off the bottom, probably to try to lower the action because of the change in neck angle (the bottom picture of my pair above).

 

What to do about it. An easy fix is to shim the saddle and normally I would recommend trying that. However having that transducer under the saddle complicates matters - first, raising the saddle with a shim reduces the strength of the bridge slot, there is a very real chance of damage. Second, shims between the saddle and UST (the red thing) can degrade the sound when plugged in. Short story, I don't shim saddles with tranducers.

 

However, I'm going to recommend trying it here. Take a piece of plastic about the thickness of a credit card and cut a long thin piece as long as the slot and about as wide. Put it on top of the red thing, put the saddle back in and see how it plays. If the buzz goes away you will need to find someone who can make you a new saddle the correct height - usually that is a technician in a guitar shop. You can also buy a premade saddle on line or in a guitar store (there are several widths of slots, measure yours). A premade one will be too tall, you remove material from the bottom by gradually sanding and fitting, then sand a little more. I can talk you thru that when you are ready to try.

 

My real advice at this point is to take it to a good technician in a good shop and have him evaluate the whole guitar. Its really hard to do with pictures over the internet (I'm on my way). From what I see, the guitar has not suffered a catastrophic failure, someone definitely has lowered the saddle and just went a bit too far. Try the shim, let us know how that works, then we can decide the next step.

 

 

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thanks guys you are very helpful. And thanks to the infos you give me i am knowing more and more what my guitar has in the guts :)

Ok I am going to follow your advice and put a plastic or wood shim under the saddle (I don't glue it right? just put it) and see how it goes.

yes the saddle seems to have been filed, there is a pen line on it at the bottom, someone has filed it, maybe too much as you said Freeman.

I will update in a moment after it is done.

Meanwhile here are some pics of the guitar, i didn't understand the neck remark, does it have a problem?

Edited by pakman

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Don't glue the shim in, just drop in in the slot over the red thing and put the saddle on top of it. If it works it is possible to glue it to the bottom of the saddle but it would be far better to replace the saddle itself.

 

The comment about the neck angle is that from the picture of the straightedge pointing to the bridge your guitar is starting to show one of the characteristics of age - the neck angle has rotated down slightly from years of string tension. Remember that I said there were three things about the neck angle - if the straightedge is above the bridge it indicates a dry guitar, on top of the bridge is perfect and below the top of the bridge indicates a need for a neck reset.

 

A neck reset means the neck is removed from the guitar, some wood is modified and it is reinstalled at a slightly better angle (hopefully the straightedge will be just on top of the bridge). It is a very common thing to be done to older guitars - yours doesn't need it yet but it will some day. Taylors are some of the easiest guitars to do this to.

 

There is one thing you might do at this point since you have the strings off. Try flexing the neck up and down against the body (gently) and watch the neck heel where it contacts the body - if you see any movement the bolts that hold the neck on might be loose. If so I can talk you thru tightening them.

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I wish I knew as much as you know Freeman you are a great help and very knowledgeable to me, thanks a lot.

Ok so I put a first shim (a piece of credit card) it has improved a little bit the buzzing, so i put a second one, didn't change a lot. Here are some pics (yep I broke the G string in the process). The action is a bit high now but it's normal with the 2 shims.

I don't know where this buzz come from...

I've also recorded a sound for you to hear the b and e strings (played softly, and played harder that's when they buzz).Thanks again for your help and support I don't feel lonely :)

 

sound : https://vocaroo.com/i/s1vjt6b7SMze

 

[ATTACH=JSON]{"alt":"Click image for larger version Name:\tc1.jpg Views:\t1 Size:\t68.5 KB ID:\t32540515","data-align":"none","data-attachmentid":"32540515","data-size":"full"}[/ATTACH][ATTACH=JSON]{"alt":"Click image for larger version Name:\tC2.jpg Views:\t1 Size:\t65.6 KB ID:\t32540516","data-align":"none","data-attachmentid":"32540516","data-size":"full"}[/ATTACH][ATTACH=JSON]{"alt":"Click image for larger version Name:\tC3.jpg Views:\t1 Size:\t66.0 KB ID:\t32540517","data-align":"none","data-attachmentid":"32540517","data-size":"full"}[/ATTACH][ATTACH=JSON]{"alt":"Click image for larger version Name:\tC4.jpg Views:\t1 Size:\t65.9 KB ID:\t32540518","data-align":"none","data-attachmentid":"32540518","data-size":"full"}[/ATTACH][ATTACH=JSON]{"alt":"Click image for larger version Name:\tC5.jpg Views:\t1 Size:\t73.6 KB ID:\t32540519","data-align":"none","data-attachmentid":"32540519","data-size":"full"}[/ATTACH]

c1.jpg.7b824b9da2758e6d47afaa9737abdb36.jpg

C2.jpg.125b0d4b1dc837e79b6fbc8019997bdd.jpg

C3.jpg.cb0a0e559e187953755397e6c79f089c.jpg

C4.jpg.6d01d8c7455f2cce2e2b4b9771bf7adb.jpg

C5.jpg.1bbfc28a7563c6c77ba3b7a421a19dca.jpg

Edited by pakman

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I can't think of any possible way that could happen. If you look at the bridge saddle you can see the lighter colour where it's been inside of the bridge for most of its life.

 

That saddle it's pretty thin, so it's probably been sanded down before you got it. After years of playing, the strings have worn grooves in it, making it too low.

 

The fix is to take it to a repair person to make sure the bridge isn't actually broken (really unlikely) and get them to make a new saddle.

 

If the action was not too low with that saddle they're probably going to suggest a neck reset, which shouldn't be a massive job as it's a bolt neck.

 

Welcome to the forum. :)

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Thanks Grant :)

Well then the strings are probably too old (maybe 5/6 years old) and explain the little buzzing.

Or maybe this buzz is normal, it only happens when I strum the strings a bit hard. i don't have another guitar to check if it's the same or not.

Yep I'll probably take it to a luthier for a check

 

I will buy a set of new strings tomorrow and see if it makes things better. I will remove a shim as well since the saddle seems a bit high now

Edited by pakman

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If your strings are 5 or 6 years old they very definitely need changing! Try changing them to see if it helps.

 

The saddle looks a little too high now. I would recommend that you just use one shim. It may be that the neck relief is not correct. The fretboard should have a very slight concave curve (too slight to notice with your eyes) to prevent the strings touching frets higher up the fretboard when you strum. But if you take it to a technician he will check all those things.

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Grant and Howard have pretty much summed up my feelings. Try it with one shim, get new strings for sure. If possible have someone go completely over the guitar and check all of the parts of a "setup". Leaving the shim in is risky, I would suggest a new saddle set at the proper height. There are some other parts of a setup that we haven't addressed but I think we've learned a bit more.

 

Good luck, let us know how it goes.

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Ah. Things have become clearer. I got the impression that the saddle had "fallen down in the bridge" recently. Instead, it looks like the guitar has been that way for at least as long as you've owned it, about 15 years or more. As Grant mentioned, the discoloration on the saddle indicates it's been that way for quite a while. What prompted you to ask about it now? As Freeman said, a shim will do for now but you really should replace the saddle. You can buy a pre-shaped one on eBay and sand it down to the correct height but it's probably best to have the guitar looked at by a shop you trust. They can recommend any other work that needs to be done. Your guitar could probably benefit from what's called a "setup." The shop can also check the neck joint, as Freeman mentioned. Your Taylor is a nice guitar and it deserves proper care and new strings. A little buzzing under heavy strumming is normal, especially if you're somewhat ham fisted like me. As long as the strings don't buzz with normal playing you'll be fine. Let us know what happens next. If you have any other questions, we'll be glad to answer them.

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