Acoustic Guitar Saddle Compensation Patterns

 Steel-string acoustic guitars often come with compensated saddles to adjust for different string radii and scale lengths. This article detailsthe common acoustic guitar saddle compensation patterns. Note: For more information about saddle compensation, please see the following articles: Compensating to Correct The Intonation and Why Isn’t My Acoustic Guitar Intonating Well.


B Compensated Saddle

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. Notably, 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 Gibson Guitars Angle
B Compensated Saddle for Gibson Guitars

B Compensated with Slanted Bass

Similar to a B compensated saddle in that a slot for the B string appears, but a progressive slant appears for the wound strings to sit further away from the soundhole. For example, 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 Saddle

Also known as ‘step compensated’, a fully compensated saddle is similar to a B compensated saddle. However, whereas a B compensated saddle only has one compensated slot for the B string, a fully compensated saddle has five distinct slots – one for the treble E, one for the B, one for both the G and D, one for the A, and one for the bass E. Notably, Greg Bennett, Emerald, and older Seagull guitars often use fully compensated saddles.
Bone Guitar Saddle Fully Compensated 12 inch Radius 72 mm Length Angle
Fully Compensated with 12 Inch Radius
Fully Compensated Guitar Saddle with 16 Inch Radius
Fully Compensated Saddle with 16 Inch Radius

Wave Compensation Saddle

Wave compensation saddles have a wavelike appearance. This acoustic guitar saddle compensation pattern often includes compensation both for the B string and for the wound strings. Several notable manufacturers use wave compensation saddles. For instance, Martin and Taylor guitars models often use wave compensation saddles.
Acoustic Bone Saddle Fits Many Martin Guitars Wave Compensation 11 mm Height Angle
Wave Compensation Saddle for Many Martin Guitars
Bone Saddle - Fits Many Taylor Guitars Wave Compensated Angle
Wave Compensation for Many Taylor Guitars

Zig Zag Compensation

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. Newer Godin and Seagull Guitars often have saddles with this compensation pattern.

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

Which Compensation Pattern is the Best?

No universal ‘best’ compensation pattern exists because there are a number of factors involved. Typically, you should use the same compensation pattern that the manufacturer used – please see our Acoustic Guitar Saddle Size Chart for more information. However, you might want to use a different acoustic guitar saddle 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.