Acoustic Guitar Saddle Compensation Patterns

Steel-string acoustic guitars often come with compensated saddles to adjust for different string radii and scale lengths. For more information please see the following articles: Compensating to Correct The Intonation and Why Isn’t My Acoustic Guitar Intonating Well

Below are the common saddle compensation patterns. 

B Compensated

For this type, the saddle is compensated so that there is a slot for the B string so that it sits further away from the saddle than where the other strings rest. Taylor and Gibson often use B compensated saddles.

Bone Saddle – Fits Many Taylor Guitars – B Compensation – Standard Height Angle
B Compensated Saddle for Taylor Guitars
Bone Guitar Saddle Fits Many Post-2000 Gibson Guitars 12 inch Radius Angle
B Compensated Saddle for Gibson Guitars

B Compensated with Slanted Bass

As the name suggests, this type is similar to a B compensated saddle with a slot for the B string. However, there is also a progressive slant for the wound strings to sit further away from the soundhole. Alvarez, Guild, and Yamaha often use this type of saddle.

Bone Saddle Fits Many Newer Yamaha Guitars 75.2 mm Length Angle
B Compensated Saddle for Yamaha Guitars

Fully Compensated

Also known as ‘step compensated’, a fully compensated saddle is similar to a B compensated saddle, but whereas a B compensated saddle only has one slot for a string, a fully compensated saddle has five slots – one for the treble E, one for the B, one for both the G and D, one of the A, and one for the bass E. These are often seen on Greg Bennett, Emerald, and older Seagull guitars.

Bone Guitar Saddle Fully Compensated 12 inch Radius 72 mm Length Angle
Fully Compensated with 12 Inch Radius
Bone Guitar Saddle Fully Compensated 16 inch Radius 73.2 mm Length Angle
Fully Compensated Saddle with 16 Inch Radius

Wave Compensated

Wave compensated saddles have a wavelike appearance. These saddles often include compensation both for the B string and for the wound strings. These come in a variety of patterns, but are commonly seen on a number of Martin and Taylor guitar models.

Acoustic Bone Saddle Fits Many Martin Guitars Wave Compensation 11 mm Height Angle
Wave Compensated Saddle for Many Martin Guitars
Bone Saddle Fits Many Taylor Guitars Wave Compensation Angle
Wave Compensated for Many Taylor Guitars

Zig Zag Compensated

A zig zag, or lightning, compensated saddle will have one angle for the treble E and B strings, and a second angle for the wound strings. This compensation pattern is often seen on newer Seagull Guitars.

Bone Saddle  Fits Many Godin Guitars  73.1 mm Length Angle
ZigZag Compensated for Many Newer Seagull Guitars

Which Compensation Pattern is the Best?

There is no universal ‘best’ compensation pattern as there are a number of factors involved. Typically, you should use the same compensation pattern that the manufacturer used – please see our Guitar Saddle Size Chart for more information. However, there are times you might want to use a different compensation pattern, such as if you use alternate tunings. 

What Compensation Pattern Is My Saddle?

If you’re not sure which type you have, please contact us and we can provide more information.