1960’s Yamaha Nippon Gakki FG-180 Red Label steel string acoustic guitar made in Tenryu/Wada factory in Japan value about $650, in mint condition some offered at $889 – $920 popular in USA. This one has great tone but the bridge saddle slot is very shallow.
To fit a pickup required major surgery. I made a jig and routed the slot deeper.
Then I made a custom bone saddle.
The new saddle has twice the depth of the original even allowing for the Fishman pickup underneath the connection to the body is better and the tone is very good. The pickup is nice and even and replicates the sound of the guitar.
Click Here for a page describing a full acoustic pickup system installation.
In the blue picture you can see …
A regular standard saddle – The custom saddle I made for this Yamaha
(small notch to left to accommodate bulb on the end of the pickup – this is not under high E string) – Then the very skinny original saddle. That saddle slot was VERY shallow AND the top of the bridge was curved so the saddle has little contact with the bridge.
All fitted and good ( this bridge has the pegs too close to the saddle so we have learnt something since the 60s ) otherwise a lovely guitar
Before seating the piezo pickup I …
- Check that the saddle slot is deep enough for the final assembly
- That the bottom of the slot is very flat and debris free
- Check that the saddle is a tight fit (if not replace it)
- File the bottom of the saddle (nice and flat) to achieve the previous “action” height with the piezo pickup sandwiched underneath.
- Check that the string angle off the back of the saddle is close to 20 degrees (ramping the peg hole into a slot if need be).
- Ideally that there is 50% of the saddle below the bridge and 50% above
There is much more details to perfect this set up at …