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Author Topic: SBF 26 Spirit Saddle help needed!  (Read 2690 times)

Offline DontTreadOnMe

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SBF 26 Spirit Saddle help needed!
« on: November 29, 2015, 05:04:55 PM »
Hey everyone, it's been awhile since I posted on the forum but check in now and then.  I recently decided to do a project guitar that involved a custom paint job, but that's for a later discussion :-).   My SBF 26 Spirit is a 1983 model with a passive system that I knew would need to be replaced.  I did a lot of searching to see if anyone had done a similar mod, but info on these guitars is very slim.  So, I bought one on ebay not 100% sure of what I would be facing, and even though I don't think it's insurmountable, it is posing a challenge.

Turns out the saddle on these is just shy of 1/4" wide, which was a complete surprise but it looks like that's what was needed to accommodate the UST they used (looks like a strip of copper with piezo crystals embedded). 

So, the old system is coming out and of all the after market UST's I have seen are either for 3/32" or 1/8" saddle.  I've decided to use the B-Band A11 system since it will be the best fit (has 3 pots that are wired, not attached to a PCB) and looks like it has good reviews.  I thought about using a AST pickup but the solid body has very limited space to work in.

Now comes the decision - with a 1/4" saddle slot, I have several choices, and maybe some that I have not thought of so please toss out any other ideas!

oh, and the current saddle wire goes through the middle of the slot, not at the end as is typical, which was just another wrinkle in this project.  If needed, I can fill it in but it lands between the G and B strings so may not be an issue?

Here's my list of options and pros/cons from my viewpoint.
1) use 2 - 1/8" saddles, one as a spacer cut flush with the bridge and one as the saddle. 
Pro - relatively straight forward
Con - changes intonation either sharp or flat depending on which side I put the spacer on
2) use a 1/8" saddle and 2 - 1/16" spacers on each side
Pro - keeps intonation very close to original
Con - getting 2 - 1/16" spacers consistent enough to be very snug in the slot
3) get a 1/4" blank and copy the original saddle
Pro - one-piece installation, no spacers
Con - worried that the 1/8" UST will allow the saddle to rock over due to string tension
4) use the 1/4" blank , cut an access hole in the back of the guitar and install the AST pickup

Just thought of another option...
5) fill the slot with - ? (Epoxy, JB Weld?) and have a new slot routed in
Pro - standard saddle
Con - material color may not look right

Looking forward to hearing any and all feedback, opinions and ideas

thanks,
Greg

« Last Edit: November 29, 2015, 07:28:09 PM by DontTreadOnMe »
Guitars, I have a few - but then again, too few to mention

Offline evenkeel

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Re: SBF 26 Spirit Saddle help needed!
« Reply #1 on: December 01, 2015, 06:44:26 AM »
FWIW I would go with the 1/4" blank approach.  Fabricating the blank into the proper shape will be a bit tedious, but worth the effort as the intonation should be much better.  I've cut several blanks rough cutting using a dremel tool, then fine tuning things with hand files.  That makes the job a bit faster.

Assuming the 1/4" saddle fits nice and snug I don't think it will rock in the slot.  If it does, the string pressure should want to push the saddle forward, so you could try placing the thin UST forward in the slot.  That should help keep thing flat.  If that fails then it should be a simple matter of cutting a small, thin shim to sit alongside the UST.

If you decide to try the "fill the slot and route" option I would suggest you fill the slot with a piece of matching wood.  Get a nice snug fit, glue it into place and then route out a new slot.  That will look much better.  I've not done this myself but I've seen it done on those old Gibsons that had the tone killing, adjustable bridges.

Let us know how things work out.
 

Offline DontTreadOnMe

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Re: SBF 26 Spirit Saddle help needed!
« Reply #2 on: December 01, 2015, 09:26:03 PM »
Thanks, J. Instead of a DIY job I decided to take it to a luthier and have the slot filled and re-cut for a 1/8" saddle and install a B-Band A11 per-amp and 1/8" UST.  He will fill with epoxy and color match the bridge as close as possible.

Also as part of the mod, add a battery box on the lower bout by the jack and make a new plate for the 3 control pots vs the previous 2.  Should look like an SBF 24 Mirage when I'm done, as the B-Band has a volume, high and low pot. 

The whole concept of a solid body acoustic was intriguing to say the least but it makes sense.  On stage, typically we use a sound hole cover to reduce feedback, so why not just bypass a hollow body altogether and have a nice thin body with an acoustic pickup?  Not that I'm on stage much but like I said its an intriguing concept.  It's a project and so far I'm happy with it and can't wait to fire it up with the new system!

I'll post pics of the finished project when done.  The custom paint job came out awesome, and all I can say is Merry Christmas to Me! Well, once it's all done anyway...

Guitars, I have a few - but then again, too few to mention

Offline evenkeel

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Re: SBF 26 Spirit Saddle help needed!
« Reply #3 on: December 02, 2015, 07:31:52 PM »
That seems a very good approach.  Probably any of the options, or variations thereof would work.  The fill and slot method you are going after certainly should be structurally solid and also look good.  I'd love to see a before and after pic or two if that is possible.
 

Offline DontTreadOnMe

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Re: SBF 26 Spirit Saddle help needed!
« Reply #4 on: December 03, 2015, 11:45:25 AM »
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Finally go the upload to work, it's been awhile!  Here's the before pic.  If you can zoom in you can see the saddle is cracked in half.

« Last Edit: December 03, 2015, 07:55:09 PM by DontTreadOnMe »
Guitars, I have a few - but then again, too few to mention

Offline DontTreadOnMe

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Re: SBF 26 Spirit Saddle help needed!
« Reply #5 on: January 09, 2016, 04:47:08 PM »
Finally got the artwork done, bridge modified and new electronics installed. He made an ebony insert and you have to look real hard to see it.   




Guitars, I have a few - but then again, too few to mention