when I measure the scale length using a metal bridge like the one pictured do I measure from the zero fret to the front edge of the bridge, right where the strings come out? Right where they make last contact with the bridge?

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Hi, I cant see your photo, I get an unsafe warning.

However, the vibrating length of the string is the scale length. So in other words, if your zero fret has a crown on it measure from the centre of the fret to the point where the string first touches the bridge saddle. On a steel bridge that is possibly the front edge of the saddle. The point the string leaves the saddle

To play in tune when fretted by the fingers you will have to add some "compensation to the length, that means adding a bit more length to the scale for the treble side and a bit more for the Bass side of the saddle. 

I cant give you a specific measurement for compensation as it will depend on string gauge, scale length and string height, action at the twelfth fret.

For an acoustic six string guitar, based on the above, ball park figures may be 1.5mm on the 1st string and 4.79mm on the 6th string. Should give you some where to start.


If someone else can see you photo they might add to this. 

Here's the photo Taff, hopefully you can see it if I just copy/paste it...


What you'll need to do Jon is screw the saddles all the way out (so that they will be as close to the nut as possible) but leave about 4 or 5 threads still in the saddle. Once that is done you can place the bridge by measuring from the center of the zero fret to where the strings will meet the saddles.

I've seen quite a few guys suggest putting the saddles in their middle position so as to have maximum adjustment in either direction for setting intonation but that is wrong.  You will never have to make a string length shorter than scale length to intonate it and you will probably find that you run out of adjustment for the thickest string.

Thanks for the reply Korrigan. The tip about screwing the saddles almost all the way out was particularly helpful.:) Thanks again.

Thanks for the advice Taff. It was very helpful.

Thanks Kerrigan, nope, just a big blank space. On my iPad, I'll try the computer.

Jon, 9 times out of 10 attachments won’t be able to be viewed by most, so here’s another way that everyone will be able to view them?

Thank You!

This is how you set a "hardtail" bridge. 

Chickenbone John,

Thanks so much for posting that video. I just watched it and it clarified much. It was detailed and clear and helped me see how I can pre-measure to get the action height and scale length correct. I appreciate your willingness to share what you know and take the effort to help me as a beginner. I'm on build 24 or so, not 1000+!

I watched a video of yours before about grounding a pick up to the ferrules, but have had the kohones to try that one yet:)


This is the link to my facebook page. I share it only to give you a sense of where I am on the whole learning curve:) I'm trying to get some traction in figuring out how to start selling some of my extras-not so much for the money, but just to keep them from piling up as I continue to build! Well, enough rambling but true thanks again for reaching out. Hey from Reading Pa to Smethwick, UK!


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