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Why is my guitar's saddle at an angle?

Most acoustic guitars have a notch in the bridge that changes the angle that the B string crosses. Why is this?

Interestingly my mandolin has notches on every other course and my banjo has no notches (i.e., all the strings cross at the same angle)


1 Answer 1


I believe it to be because of intonation issues. The thickness and nature of the plain metal B string knocks the intonation very slightly off, resulting in the string sounding slightly sharper when fretted compared to the five other strings. The notch corrects this, making the vibrating length of the string slightly longer, fixing the slight sharpness experienced when fretting (this can be adjusted more accurately on an electric: when intonating, play a twelfth fret and harmonic, and if there is a difference in sound, it needs to be fixed).

If the notch wasn't there, the B string would sound 'out of tune' compared to the others, making chords sound more out of tune than they should.

Hope this helps!

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