Installing the saddle

We want to accurately set the saddle at the correct depth and position to capture all our measurements defining the action and intonation.

If the bottom of the slot is not flat, the saddle will rock, and the dulcimer will lose the bass from its voice. In addition, the Fishman Piezo-electric Transducer used as an acoustic pickup is extremely sensitive to flexing. It simply will not generate good signal if it is not solidly founded on a flat base. Here is a slotting tool I made recently to help me cut the saddle slot with extreme precision.

First we use a variable angle square to measure the angle the saddle is to be set at. This angle is a function of the action setting, the intonation, and the compensation, and will not be the same in any two instruments.

We transfer the compensation angle to the cross-fence on the slotting tool. Then we mount the Dremel into the router base and set the depth of cut.


Finally, the slot is cut in a series of small cuts, at the lowest speed available on the router.


Click to see full size