Composite stall legs

Upper saddle lining usually requires that the leg of the stalk be about 4 mm thick. A solid bone that is so thick weighs some, began to think in orbits about making the bone lighter. At the same time, I had a discussion with an American (Obligatory Inc) who tried to sell the idea with a low energy loss graphite material that would be better as stable bone material than regular bone. Interesting, of course, but a little difficult as the material can only be processed with diamond files and was expensive and difficult to manufacture. However, I turned directly on one of the stable leg variants where you folded small pieces of the new material into a wooden leg.

Saw what customers wrote about it and one thing everyone wrote was that the string separation got better. Quickly realized that the method with a wooden leg with recessed hard material under the string should be interesting. In addition, the stable leg would be half as heavy as a solid stable leg. Must be tested!

Did a first test with maple wood and small pits with legs under the strings. The string separation got a lot better, but to my surprise, the whole guitar sounded better too! Actually got a minor shock, so great was the improvement of tone in my ears. Threw me over this exciting new project and did different test bones in batch and minute, different types of wood and different big bones.

Established that the volume was highest with leg posts that went all the way from string to stables. It was best to let the wood types that are usually used in lids, such as spruce and cedar. With spruce it felt as if the tone of the lid itself was reinforced, more of the same. The timber between the pillars colors the tone, with cedar the tone becomes a little darker. Hard woods didn't sound as good at all. It is not easy to describe sounds, but I will try.

With the solid stable bone in the legs, the sound in a chord becomes a bit like a mushy mass, you cannot distinguish the individual strings in a chord. You feel that the volume is higher and if you take it in it can sound nasty to the ear. Any wolf tones are clearly heard.

With the composite leg you can hear strings in the chords. Initially, the volume is perceived to be lower before realizing that the volume is only distributed over more frequencies. No matter how hard you beat, the sound never gets nasty, everything you do is kind to the ear. The sound is wider and softer, it is possible to play at low volume. Chord playing also works, the chords have a creamy nature and always sound good. The sound is sluggish and complex and wolf tones are heard less clearly. The Sustain decreases slightly, but it is good when the playing becomes clearer, the sustain that remains is more than sufficient.

One can have theories about what is happening. I think the bones of bones can vibrate more individually than the solid leg bone in bones and that explains why the string separation increases. The Christmas tree (or cedar) between the posts absorbs energy in the same way as the lid, which enhances the timbre of the wood. It is conceivable that vibrations in the leg post from the string in the vertical direction are transported directly down to the stable in the usual way, while horizontal vibrations pass through the spruce on either side which color the sound in the same way as the lid.

Manufacturing such a stable leg is not difficult. If you don't like the tone you get from it, you can always put in a solid stable leg instead. Chances are that you will quickly switch back 😉

Manufacturing starts with thinning out a solid stable leg to 4 mm. Just bought a layer of very dense camel legs that are 5 mm thick which fits well to thin out with my roller tips. A fairly long spruce with standing wood is cut and formed to 4 mm thick and at least twice the final height. This one should be mounted on a ten-string guitar with only 4 strings. The Christmas tree is very tight!

The stable leg is best cut by hand, I cut it a little wider than the spruce bit is thick and glue in the side which is exactly 4 mm wide.

Carefully measure out the spruce to be cut away and give room for the bone pieces. The job is done best and easiest with a small band saw. Here it is important to make sure that the separation of the strings in the stable matches the position on the stable leg. 4 mm wide leg posts provide a fairly small surface on which the string must rest, preferably it should be centered on the leg post as well. When the stable leg is twisted it is easy to miss. I make a dummy leg in spruce (goes fast!), Tension the strings and mark with pencil where the strings fold. Then I use the dummy leg as a template when measuring out the real stable leg.

If you are only careful about measuring and sawing, the fit is turned on perfectly.

Here I glue with a little tougher super glue, number 20 if you buy from Stewmac. Superglue sits very well and holds up well to the imperfections. Should one be careless and break the fragile leg bone in any glue joint, it is good to glue the parts back together with super glue, the glue is very thin. Nowadays, I also glue a 0.6 mm shim under the stable leg to make it stronger. Uses a shim in the same wood as in the stable.

When the glue has dried you can thin the spruce piece to fit in the milling leg for the stool. Best done with a roller cleaner.

Now you can cut the piece in two parts with the small band saw, the part to the right is the finished stall leg. Nowadays, I first grind down the top about 1 mm on one edge before I measure and split to make the posts more perpendicular to the base of the stall (the stable leg is always a little higher on the base side).

The stable leg is impregnated with thin superglue which becomes like a varnish and gives better strength to the loose spruce. When polished and intoned it looks like this.

Ready and in place! The tenor guitar gets a new and better sound and sounds very good 🙂

The stable leg does not get as strong as a solid stable leg (which is extremely strong indeed!). It is important to get a tight fit in the milled groove and make the cut as deep as the leg sticking up. Ideally, the stable leg should be 4 mm thick, which is perfect if at the same time doing an oversaddle toning. Once in place and with good fit it is the leg post that absorbs all the force of the string, it holds up well.

Haven't tested all the woods available, but many exciting woods could work very well. E.g. cypress, redwood or any other type of wood that would fit in a lid. Just try it!


A new variant of the stable leg is to cut the solid leg into 6 parts with an air gap between each and a 2 mm wooden shim at the bottom which holds the pieces in place. You get the same enhancement of the string separation as above, but the tone is not colored in the same way. You recognize the tone of your old solid leg stall, but the guitar feels more open. This variant is a little more aggressive with a harder attack than the wooden leg with wood between the posts.