Why do my Les Paul’s saddles not stagger or stair step like other guitars?

willie_wanky

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I just had my Les Paul professionally set up with a new ABR-1 bridge and it sounds and plays great. I checked the intonation and it seems spot on. Yet when I look at the position of the saddles they do not seem as staggered as pictures I’ve seen of other Les Pauls. Most of the saddles are close to being maxed out. I do know it is an unknotched ABR-1 bridge with Elixir .10 optiweb strings if that makes any difference. What do you you guys think is going on?
08F63702-33BD-48CD-98DA-D57AF2D06B30.jpeg
 

cmjohnson

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If the intonation is right, just don't worry about it. Results are all that matters. Intonation can never be assumed to be the same from one guitar to the next even if they're identical and use the same brand and set of strings.

I would definitely get those saddles notched slightly to ensure that your string spacing and tuning doesn't shift just because you strummed hard enough to move the strings.
 

JESimons

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it depends on your tuning.. but if you're in E Standard, the intonation is way-way off..

I'd recheck the intonation..
 

LtDave32

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I just had my Les Paul professionally set up with a new ABR-1 bridge and it sounds and plays great. I checked the intonation and it seems spot on. Yet when I look at the position of the saddles they do not seem as staggered as pictures I’ve seen of other Les Pauls. Most of the saddles are close to being maxed out. I do know it is an unknotched ABR-1 bridge with Elixir .10 optiweb strings if that makes any difference. What do you you guys think is going on?
View attachment 482349
It looks to me (it might be the photo angle) that the bridge is a little tiny bit angled towards the pickup on the treble side. I'm looking at the distance between the adjustment wheels and the pickup surround.

That's all that is needed to cause the intonation to set in such a line, I'd guess. Just a little bit of forward bias on the treble side. It's hard to tell from pictures.

But what counts is if it intonates correctly. That's all that matters. If you've had it checked, and the intonation is on, then there's no need to worry about it.

It is odd though, that all the saddles are all the way back. That tells me the drilling was off a bit.
 

Roxy13

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Did you want to leave the saddles unnotched? I prefer buying an unnotched bridge and then notching it myself so I can set the string spacing and depth of the notches, but once it's on the guitar I do notch it.

I've only set one ABR bridge from scratch on a guitar that did not have holes drilled for one yet but I do remember that once I notched the saddles the intonation did need a bit of adjustment. That may happen on yours as well if you notch them.
 

cmjohnson

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It's strange how intonation changes from instrument to instrument. When I built my acoustic archtop back in 2002, I alsoi built the bridge and tailpiece out of ebony with a mammoth ivory saddle for the G,B, and E strings. The bridge piece is just carved ebony and ivory, but it's height adjustable over the ebony base. The bridge is carved for the slanted intonation that's typical. The contact points are in a straight line.

When I mounted it to the guitar (held by string pressure only) and aligned the tips of the bridge base plate with the inside corner notches of the F-holes, and tuned it and checked the intonation, I was absolutely floored to discover that the intonation is actually perfect on all six strings. First try. Nailed it. A hole in one. Mind blown.

I would have expected to compromise the intonation between strings. I really could not believe that this wasn't necessary. In fact I had another luthier check the intonation to be sure I wasn't full of ...politics.... He was quite impressed. In fact he said he'd never seen an acoustic archtop with a fixed bridge ever be dead on for intonation before.

Well, even a blind squirrel finds his nuts eventually....
 

LtDave32

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It's strange how intonation changes from instrument to instrument. When I built my acoustic archtop back in 2002, I alsoi built the bridge and tailpiece out of ebony with a mammoth ivory saddle for the G,B, and E strings. The bridge piece is just carved ebony and ivory, but it's height adjustable over the ebony base. The bridge is carved for the slanted intonation that's typical. The contact points are in a straight line.

When I mounted it to the guitar (held by string pressure only) and aligned the tips of the bridge base plate with the inside corner notches of the F-holes, and tuned it and checked the intonation, I was absolutely floored to discover that the intonation is actually perfect on all six strings. First try. Nailed it. A hole in one. Mind blown.

I would have expected to compromise the intonation between strings. I really could not believe that this wasn't necessary. In fact I had another luthier check the intonation to be sure I wasn't full of ...politics.... He was quite impressed. In fact he said he'd never seen an acoustic archtop with a fixed bridge ever be dead on for intonation before.

Well, even a blind squirrel finds his nuts eventually....
Odd, ain't it?

My Gibson J-185 has a straight bone bridge, no compensation. Yet it is dead-on intonated.

Other acoustics? Sometimes they need some funky compensating bias.

Intonation is supposed to be a science. But half the time, it's a damn mystery.
 


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