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LMI Nut and Saddle Setup Gauge – Full Text

Today’s Tips du Jour Mailbag question comes to us all the way from Brazil.

“Robert, is there an easy way to remove small amounts of material from the nut or saddle to get the best action during setup? – Marcos in Brazil”

Well Marcos, I find that removing material is the easy part. Just use a disc sander or a sanding block and then slowly remove the amount of material that you need. My problem has always been how to measure and accurately mark the small amount of material on the nut or saddle that needs to be removed. Recently, I got a jig from LMI called the nut and saddle setup gauge. This has made it must easier for me. Let me show it to you. So here’s the nut and saddle setup gauge available from LMI. It’s got some pre-cut grooves in a block of metal and the grooves are 1/32″, 1/16″, 3/32″, and 1/8″. And the block itself is 1/4″. So let’s say you need to remove 1/16″ from the bottom of your saddle. Just place the saddle in the 1/16″ groove slot, draw your line, and sand down to your line. Now, like I said earlier, you can use a disc sander or sanding block or whatever you need to do to get it down to the line. But it makes it very easy to measure that. If you need to go only 1/32″, place it in the 1/32″ slot, draw your line. It can’t get much easier than that. Now remember, when lowering the action at the 12th fret, it’s a 2-1 ratio so if you need to lower 1/32″ here then down here at the saddle, you need to take 1/16″ off the saddle. After I use the nut and saddle setup gauge to get the correct height on the nut or saddle, I then use the LMI string height gauge to make sure that I do indeed have the correct action that I want for my guitars.

So Marcos in Brazil, thank you for your question. I think you’ll find that if you use the nut and saddle setup gauge from LMI, that it makes it much easier to accurately measure and mark the correct amount that you need to remove from the nut and saddle.