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New Bridge Saddle for a CC249-4Y Nylon O

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arumako
Posted 2020-09-02 2:21 AM (#552797)
Subject: New Bridge Saddle for a CC249-4Y Nylon O



Joined:
October 2012
Posts: 962

Location: Yokohama, Japan

Hello OFC! Hope everybody is doing okay... thought the pandemic was gonna give me an opportunity to progress with my pending projects; but I was gravely mistaken. Thankfully, the 5 summer concerts I organized with my school went very well. Only, our plan for the 5th day live stream went awry when all of our video equipment over heated (all new tech stuff). Fortunately, all of our audio equipment worked flawlessly (all old school stuff), but the 5th day was an excruciatingly hot day. I should say, however, that the heat in no way hindered the performance of my BFLG rebuilt 1868-5!

Anyway, like most of you, it's been hard to get any breaks during this surreal season, but a brief respite allowed me to upgrade one of the funnest guitars I own. My CS249-4Y nylon Celebrity. It's no USA O, and it's no handcrafted Classical guitar; but it is a fun fun guitar that gets a lot of playing (maybe more like dwidle time). Sometime ago, the tired old plastic bridge saddle began to warp at the A, D, G and B strings.

saddle bent

This slight warp began to exacerbate in the summer heat, and threw the intonation of the guitar off. Always felt a bone saddle would help with voice clarity for this nylon; but the saddle, designed to work with the piezo, is a bit complicated.

original saddle

The original saddle is designed to isolate the piezo's response under each string, and the tolerances for this design are pretty tight. No access to a 3D printer here; so my trusty Dremel was called into service with the grinding wheel to cut the grooves and the routing blade to shave down the sides to match the piezo housing. The picture below shows the original saddle in the fore ground and the bone saddle in the background.

the saddles

After the initial rough cut, the rest needed to be completed with miniature files, sand paper with a variety of simple but different jigs, and a lot of caliper measurements. Test for fit and more filing, sanding, and measuring... yeah, yeah, boring! I know...

rough fit  clean and fit

However, once you get everything into spec, the benefits of using a denser material like bone becomes immediately evident...

bone saddle done

You can probably tell that this saddle is dead straight. Thought I might need to compensate the saddle a bit, but being a nylon string guitar, the intonation is perfect without any compensation required. String height is right at 3.8mm on the low E and 2.7mm on the high E, perfect! So, my main objective of fixing the intonation was accomplished quite famously - but with some side benefits. Maybe it's a bit of wishful thinking, but the guitar definitely feels and sounds tighter to me. The highs are especially clear and bell like. The mids punchier, and the lows thick and articulate. She sounds as good as ever through an amp or a PA.

Of course, this Celebrity has gone through a variety of changes since I picked her up at the end of 2017. General repair and bolt-on neck conversion; over 150 hours on Prime Vibe, removal of cross-bracing... all on the OFC. Links for any newcomer's who might be interested here...

A Rare Elite Style Nylon in Need of TLC

Securing Loose Bracing/Removing Cross-Bracing on CS249 Nylon O

It's really interesting that I own two beautiful acoustic handmade classical guitars, and one other electric/acoustic cutaway nylon - they're all really stellar instruments, but the nylon I play the most and have fun with the most is this O. If I change the nut on this baby to a bone nut, I may never pick up the other nylons again... well, that's a bit of an exaggeration. Lol!

By the way, if you ever want to upgrade your nylon O to a bone saddle, there are far easier ways to do so. By swapping out the stock piezo for an aftermarket one, you can just put a straight slab bone saddle on top of the aftermarket piezo and be done with it. For this experiment, in addition to fixing the intonation, I wanted to maintain the original Ovation saddle to match the functionality of the 6 piezos for each of the 6 strings design.

Okay, I think that's it. Thanks for letting me share...stay safe everybody and keep playing those Os!



Edited by arumako 2020-09-02 2:32 AM
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Old Man Arthur
Posted 2020-09-05 3:39 AM (#552800 - in reply to #552797)
Subject: Re: New Bridge Saddle for a CC249-4Y Nylon O



Joined:
September 2006
Posts: 10627

Location: Keepin' It Weird in Portland, OR
Nice work.
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Oldvation Guy
Posted 2020-09-05 5:54 AM (#552801 - in reply to #552797)
Subject: Re: New Bridge Saddle for a CC249-4Y Nylon O


Joined:
May 2011
Posts: 81

Location: Ozark, Arkansa
Great job! My Dremel has become my third hand in guitar repair and renovation, as well as my diamond grit files. I will be using them a lot on my prototyping Ultra.

I appreciate your commitment to precision. I cannot fathom that Ovation found it worth the loss in tonality to go with cheap plastic saddles. The cost to performance ratio of good saddles is disproportionate at increasing the value of the instrument. They are relatively so inexpensive, especially bone these days.

I have gone to dividing my saddles into two sections, with the B and E strings on their own. I think I will even go to three sections on my prototyping Ultra, and separate the E and A strings. In theory, this will even help with a thin piezo pickup.
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DanSavage
Posted 2020-09-05 8:16 PM (#552808 - in reply to #552797)
Subject: RE: New Bridge Saddle for a CC249-4Y Nylon O



Joined:
June 2012
Posts: 2184

Location: Lake Forest, CA

arumako - 2020-09-02 12:21 AM

By the way, if you ever want to upgrade your nylon O to a bone saddle, there are far easier ways to do so. By swapping out the stock piezo for an aftermarket one, you can just put a straight slab bone saddle on top of the aftermarket piezo and be done with it.

Nice job, Ken.

Yep. I've done just that on a few Os and have found no difference in how they sound.

The biggest thing to look out for is the length of the pick-up. If it needs to be trimmed, the Fishman-style is the one to use. I'm not sure the all-metal pick-ups can be trimmed, but I know the Fishman can be cut as I've done it.

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Love O Fair
Posted 2020-09-05 11:20 PM (#552809 - in reply to #552797)
Subject: Re: New Bridge Saddle for a CC249-4Y Nylon O



Joined:
February 2016
Posts: 1400

Location: What week?
That's our Ken... always on the creative tinker. Great innovations from a great mind and spirit (innOvations... get it??) Nice job as usual. Always a pleasure to see and follow your work!
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