Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups

3-saddle bridge or 6-saddle?

Discussion in 'Tele-Technical' started by Micof, Sep 28, 2009.

  1. limbe

    limbe Tele-Afflicted

    Sep 4, 2009
    Teleblooz!What is your opinion of these saddles.
    I have just bought them but haven´t got around to install them on one of my Teles.I haven´t yet decided which one I should test them on
    I would be very grateful if you took the time to write an evaluation of them.
    Thank you in advance!

  2. '56Teleman

    '56Teleman Tele-Afflicted

    Feb 25, 2006
    Lindenhurst, IL
    I have that bridge on a Fat Tele and had no difficulty with intonation and, to me, they sound like any other brass saddles.

    You really don't have to spend a lot of money to improve intonation and maintain vintage tone.

  3. Teleblooz

    Teleblooz Tele-Afflicted

    Mar 18, 2006
    Hillsboro, OR
    I have no complaints about intonation - in fact it simplifies the process since you only really have to set up one string in each pair, and as '56teleman said, they sound like your basic brass saddles. Purely as a matter of personal taste, I opted to swap them out on my #1 for some steel ones of the same configuration - it gives them just a little extra top-end zing.

    I have two of these bridges and was using the brass set on the second Tele, but I ended up installing a Bigsby in that one and needed saddles with grooves to maintain proper string spacing.

  4. Kingbeeguitars

    Kingbeeguitars TDPRI Member

    Mar 26, 2009
    Lufkin, Texas
    Everyone seems to want the 3-brass saddle bridge but me. My Teles all have six saddle bridges, usually Strat hardtail bridges with the pickup mounted to the body. They just seem to work better to me. I know it is heresy to say so, but that's my two cents.

  5. Teleblooz

    Teleblooz Tele-Afflicted

    Mar 18, 2006
    Hillsboro, OR

    ...but seriously, I'd be using a 6-saddle on one of my Teles except that I really like the "lip" for palm-muting; it holds my hand in just the right position.

  6. John Thigpen

    John Thigpen Tele-Meister

    May 10, 2003
    Hendersonville, NC
    My CP Thornton Classic came with a Wilkinson bridge and strung with GHS Burnished Nickel 10's. The intonation was perfect. It can be done if you know what you are doing.

    I agree that the saddles are not particularly attractive.


  7. adamkavanagh

    adamkavanagh Tele-Holic

    Alright boys, here is my opinion:
    Go for the 3-saddle, rounded brass, ashtray bridge
    haha im not sure what the technical term is other than "vintage style brige"

    Honetly though, I have NEVER broken a string on my axe (3 years in my possession)
    it sounds great, and the intonation is very very good even though there are only 3 saddles.
    Finally, the three brass saddles are sexy just the way they are.

    My view: if you are going to wank up the neck that much, your fingers should be doing most of the work.

  8. 3 saddle vs 6 saddle

    i 'm seriously contemplating
    going to three saddles on my squier tele

    if the tone is better
    as some say
    it must be
    because the "..vibrational signal.."
    along the string
    is transmitting vibrating more purely singularly
    along the set screw (post) and above
    as opposed
    to being split grounded dissipated in two
    as on a 6 saddle

    on the 3 saddle the other set screw
    is too far away
    to split dissipate the vibration

  9. boris bubbanov

    boris bubbanov Telefied Ad Free Member

    I don't know the "science" on the 3 barrels but you are about to find out that the vintage 3 barrel bridge assembly does not easily fit on the vast numbers of Squiers out there. Hoping yours is a VM or CV model, or you have some plugging and drilling and calculating to do.

  10. boris bubbanov

    boris bubbanov Telefied Ad Free Member

    Oh, I'm sure Mr. Wilkinson had in mind that everyone would adopt this and would learn how to get them to work. It is kinda like Jazzmaster setups. If just a few more people could get behind the design and really learn how to optimize it, then others would follow and................

    There was just never any "critical mass" behind the design and if there's a tutorial on the web as to how to optimize it I don't know of it.

  11. TG

    TG Doctor of Teleocity

    I don't think there is any better or worse here, whether talking tone, ergonomics or intonation. Just different...and it's down to the individual to decide what suits him or her the best.

    I experimented for years and with the vintage bridge I found 3 brass uncompensated saddles the best on my main tele and steel ones on the Esquire I had. I bent the mounting screws slightly and 'wobbled' them into position and intonation was fine...and remember that intonation is always a compromise on any guitar.

    But recently I realised that my guitar playing was better on a Les Paul or 335 due to the way I hold my picking hand, so for my tele I experimented and got a modern MIM standard 6 saddle bridge (which, unlike USA ones, mounts in the same holes as a vintage bridge) and installed it.

    I'm keeping it.

    I don't care what is 'vintage correct'....this bridge is better for playing, for me, and I prefer the sound. A bit less 'twang' and more focus.

    Don't buy a bridge or saddles to impress people here. Go try a few telecasters out, if you can, and decide what feels and sounds best for you.

  12. limbe

    limbe Tele-Afflicted

    Sep 4, 2009
    I have bought the same Wilkinson bridge as you have Tele-Holik.I have yet to put them on one of Teles.I would be very grateful if you posted your experiences of the bridge.
    Do I have to change the bridge to the Wilkinson,or can I keep the original Fender bridge and just change the bridge saddles?Do you have a problem with strings breaking at the saddles? Any input would be very welcome.

  13. limbe

    limbe Tele-Afflicted

    Sep 4, 2009
    Thank you very much for your answers,Teleblooz and 56´Teleman!Sounds like they really are worth a tryout.Hope I´ll have time this week to put the bridge on.I´ll have to grind down the height adjusting screws though.Thanks again for taking your time to share your knowledge.

  14. lonewolf

    lonewolf Tele-Meister

    Dec 27, 2008
    San Antonio Texas
    As someone else mentioned this debate surfaces every few days it seems. I don't understand why no one ever mentions, that the three saddle bridges can be intonated just as accurately as a six saddle bridge, if you are willing to bend the saddle bolts! That's what most players did back in the beginning, and it still works extremely well. I can't be the only one left around who remembers how to do that.

    If you're not following what I'm saying, here is another attempt to describe it. instead of each saddle setting parallel to the frets, once this process is completed, each saddle will have one end farther from the frets, than the other end.

    This is accomplished by using a good strobe, and moving one saddle at a time to a position that leaves one of the strings sharing that saddle, exactly the same amount sharp, as the other string is flat. When that point is finally reached, the long bolt is bent behind the saddle, in the direction and amount needed, to make both strings correct.

    This process worked well back then, and it still works today, without buying expensive replacement saddles. You wind up with good intonation, and still have all the advantages that come with the added loading force, of two strings per saddle.

    Gene Warner

  15. Tonemonkey

    Tonemonkey Poster Extraordinaire

    Mine have 3-saddle bridges; we all love teles for their quirkiness.....I love the quirkiness of soloing up the neck in the Tele...I think finger pressure, string micro bends/wobbles, and slight mistunings more than negate OCD intonation nags.

  16. lonewolf

    lonewolf Tele-Meister

    Dec 27, 2008
    San Antonio Texas
    I'm too old to know what "OCD" means, but if you don't have to deal with "OCD intonation nags", why do it. I'm not trying to argue, or pick a fight, but some folks, have no tolerance for bands that play out of tune. I usually find the first chance to head for the exit myself.
    Gene Warner

  17. Tonemonkey

    Tonemonkey Poster Extraordinaire

    You likely won't hear half a cent in out-tonation, on the odd occasion someone heads up over the 12th....especially at my age! ;)

    And some feel the sonic benefits of brass three saddle bridges outweigh the "nags" of slight intonation deficiencies.

    By your logic you shouldn't listen to guitars....they are never perfectly in tune.

  18. limbe

    limbe Tele-Afflicted

    Sep 4, 2009
    Thanks again ´56Teleman and Teleblooz!!! I had a friend over for dinner yesterday who helped me with a setup and changing the saddles from angled 3-pieces brass to the ones Teleblooz was referring to.As you said,there was no problem putting them on a Tele bridge instead of the Wilkinson bridge they came with.The intonation also improved,and since it was part of a setup the guitar also became easier to play.Thank you again.I really didn´t know beforehand if the new saddles would make any positive difference.

  19. Crazy John

    Crazy John Tele-Meister

    Oct 1, 2008
    Clemmons NC
    3 brass saddles maintain the all-important vintage look that a tele's just gotta have. The compensated saddles do a great job IMO.

  20. i changed the saddles
    on my squier affinity tele (blue with white pick guard)
    from 6 to 3 saddle ..
    the "easy" way
    to avoid redoing the bridge plate cavity
    is to use the 3 barrel plate
    as a template
    for drilling 3 saddle set screw holes
    on the affinity bridge

    you 'll still have to remove
    the affinity plate

    the 3 barrel plate
    will slip into the affinity plate

    you can use a small c clamp
    with a little electrical tape
    over the contact areas
    to avoid marring the affinity plate

    use a drill bit
    that is slightly smaller
    than the 3 barrel set screw holes
    if you want to drill it "free hand"
    that is
    no drill press

    you can then "rout out" the holes
    with the appropriate full fitting bit

    doing this
    will also create
    two sets of string holes
    on the bridge plate
    the higher one being
    where the 6 saddle set screw hole were

    this could provide
    some variation in sound
    since the tension will vary

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