5 - Saddling up
The bridge had an open-ended bridge saddle slot – as used by Martin prior to 1965 – but somewhere along the line this guitar had acquired a post-1965 style saddle. A new saddle was required to fill the slot properly and all doubt was extinguished when we discovered a thin shim of plastic binding at the bottom of the slot. I already knew that the saddle height was pretty much spot on – albeit with the shim in situ – so at least I had a decent template to work from.
A bone blank was inserted into the slot and a sharp pencil was used to trace the curves of the bridge onto the new saddle at both ends of the slot. Next, the blank was removed and the old saddle was placed on top to trace its shape and size onto the new blank. The ends were then drawn free-hand to create a smooth transition between the old and new shapes.
A jeweller’s saw was used to rough-cut the bone blank and a file was used to bring the height of the new saddle close to the original. The intonation was already very good, but notes were slightly flat at the 12th fret so I decided to bring the string take-off point on the top of the saddle closer to the bridge pins. After a quick rub with micromesh and a buff with chrome polish the saddle was pushed into its slot and it was finally time to put the strings back on.
5. Acoustic Rescue