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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.