Find the Right Saddle for Your Yamaha® Acoustic Guitar

Please Note: This article is only for Yamaha steel string guitars. Yamaha nylon string guitars use different saddle sizes.

Are you in need of a Yamaha steel string acoustic guitar saddle? Yamaha has made steel string acoustic guitars for well over half a century, and has used numerous different saddle sizes and compensation patterns during that time. This makes finding the correct saddle for your Yamaha as there’s no single saddle size.

This article provides tips on finding the right saddle for your Yamaha steel string acoustic guitar, but we suggest that you also measure your guitar’s saddle slot for a proper fit. If you are not the original owner, at some point someone may have installed a different saddle or have adjusted the saddle slot, producing different specs from the factory’s.

Step One: Determine Saddle Radius, Length, Thickness, Height

Yamaha steel string acoustic guitars typically have a 400 mm (15.75”) fretboard radius. Please note that if you are not the original owner, another neck may have been installed at some point. You may want to check the fretboard radius with a gauge.

Saddle length will vary significantly, though, depending on year and model. We’ve seen Yamaha steel string saddles anywhere from 72 to 84 mm long, although they typically run around 75 to 77 mm. We advise that you also measure your saddle slot as many older Yamahas have saddles that are shorter than the slot.

Thickness will also vary significantly, and can be as thin as 2.5 mm or as thick as 3.5 mm. Yamaha saddles are typically in the 2.9 to 3.1 mm thickness range, though.

Height is typically around 10 to 12 mm.

Step Two: Determine Saddle Type

Yamaha steel-string acoustics often have one of the four below saddle types.

Non-Compensated Saddle

Almost all Yamaha models made in the 1960s through the 1990s came with a center line non-compensated saddle. A large number of models made after 2000 also come from the factory with a non-compensated saddle, too. Please see our Guide to Non-Compensated Saddles for more information.

At some point, someone may have placed a compensated saddle on your guitar, but we advise switching back to non-compensated. Yamaha has often used a very sharp saddle angle rather than a compensated saddle. Placing a compensated saddle on a guitar designed to use a non-compensated saddle can have a negative impact on intonation. Increased compensation does not necessarily equal improved intonation.

Finding a quality, appropriately sized non-compensated saddle can be difficult, as many Yamaha saddles are quite long. You can visit the Yamaha Vintage FG boards, or contact us.

Electric Style Bridge

For some vintage Yamaha Red Label models, such as the FG300, you may have an electric guitar style bridge with individual saddles that can be adjusted for intonation. Finding replacement parts for this type of saddle will be difficult, but try eBayReverb, or Yamaha Vintage FG. 

Center Line B Compensated

Post-2018 Yamaha Red Label Bone Saddle
Center Line B Compensated Saddle for Some Post-2018 Yamaha Red Label Guitars

Post-2018 Yamaha Red Label guitars made in Japan models (FGX5, FG5, FSX5, FS5)  often have a center line B compensated saddle that is quite thick at 3.5 mm. These saddles are 75 mm long, and often around 9 to 10 mm tall from the factory. Finding replacement saddles that are both this thick and long can be difficult. Try contacting Yamaha directly, or contact us. Please note that the Red Label models made in China (FGX3, FG3, FSX3, FS3) will often use the thinner Yamaha saddles discussed in the next paragraph.   


B Compensated with Slanted Bass

Bone Saddle Fits Many Newer Yamaha Guitars 75.2 mm Length Angle
B Compensated with Slanted Bass Saddle for Many Post-2000 Yamaha Guitars

A large number of Yamahas, particularly those made after 2000, have a B compensated with slanted bass saddle. These saddles are typically 75 mm long and around 3.1 mm thickness. Height for models without undersaddle pickups is often around 10 mm. Models with undersaddle pickups often have saddles around 9 mm tall.

Which Saddle Does Your Yamaha Need?

Still wondering which type of saddle your Yamaha acoustic guitar needs? Please contact us with all of the following information.

• Guitar Year, Model, Fretboard Radius
• Current Saddle Length, Height, Thickness
• Guitar Saddle Slot Length, Thickness (if different from saddle specs)
• Bass/Treble Edge Height Difference
• Current Saddle Compensation Pattern (please send a picture if you are not sure what type you have)
• String spacing at the bridge

We will respond within 48 hours.