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

Best Vintage-Style bridge?

Discussion in 'Tele-Technical' started by Watersilk, Jan 15, 2016.

  1. Watersilk

    Watersilk Tele-Meister

    152
    Jan 15, 2016
    Windhoek, Namibia
    Hello, I'm new here, I don't quite have a Telecaster yet, just a one-piece Alder Vintage body from Warmoth. It will be loosely based upon a '52, bakalite pickguard, slotted screws etc.

    I'm looking for the best ashtray type bridge with three brass saddles, or at least three saddles. The bridge is the type attached to the body by four screws, not three as in the modern Teles. I don't mind buying a modified bridge, as long as it is in keeping with the '52 look.

    Top of the list at the moment is the Callaham pressed, and the two Rutters models, pressed and milled. The milled one looks a bit thick, but it does look beautiful. There is also a milled bell brass one by ABM, without a doubt it looks the best, but my priority is sustain and tone.

    What do you regard as the finest Vintage Telecaster bridge?
     

  2. Nick Fanis

    Nick Fanis Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

    Mar 3, 2003
    Athens-GREECE
    There is nothing "fine" about a vintage tele bridge so a basic Fender vintage bridge with RS steel compensated saddles will do for me (and is what I use for my personal teles).

    I don't like brass saddles but if you do this is also a great bridge and has intonated saddles (it is also the same thickness as a Fender bridge and IS not so crudely made )

    http://www.guitarfetish.com/Wilkinson-Compensated-Tele-Bridge-Brass-Saddles_p_873.html

    If I wanted to go fancy this one would be my choice it is super well made and the titanium saddles never wear out (like brass ones do)

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/NEW-Gotoh-T...394905?hash=item58bbb61719:g:lrgAAOSwuMFUf7l2

    spending more than $50 for a vintage style tele bridge is overkill IMHO but YMMV.

    For dirt cheap I recently bought this $7 bridge (ferrules included!)

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Hot-Sale-Ch...tric-Guitar-/261684384540?hash=item3ced9ad31c

    and it is a VERY nice one indeed,very well made and the slotted brass saddles help with string slipage.
     

  3. Tuxedo Poly

    Tuxedo Poly Tele-Afflicted

    Dec 19, 2011
    Merseyside UK
    Genuine Fender Vintage Hot Rod bridge p/n 0091114049
     

  4. Watersilk

    Watersilk Tele-Meister

    152
    Jan 15, 2016
    Windhoek, Namibia
    Yes, from the little knowledge I have, I quite agree with you, there is nothing fine about a vintage Telecaster bridge, to call them crude would not be unfair. I think Leo intended them to be covered, but then he wasn't a player.

    Do you not believe the claims that Fender bridges are too soft and therefore don't resonate well? Have you tried more resonate materials and found that there is no improvement? Last night I watched a video on YouTube, comparing a Fender bridge with a Callaham, the Callaham had better bass response, resonated better, and was louder, if the comparison was honest. Which of the expensive bridges have you tried? By expensive, I'm thinking in the region of $130 before tax.

    Another important area is the nut, which type and material would you recommend?
     

  5. telex76

    telex76 Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Age:
    66
    Jun 24, 2006
    Fort Worth,Tx.
    Nothing more "Telecastery" than the original Fender Pat. pending bridge with 3 brass saddles.
    It's a cheap part, meant to be a cheap part.

    You can go compensated saddles, or spend a bunch on a different bridge. You may like them better but that doesn't mean they are better, just different. If you get enough different parts on there, it may not be very "Telecastery" anymore.
     

  6. Watersilk

    Watersilk Tele-Meister

    152
    Jan 15, 2016
    Windhoek, Namibia
    This is a valid comment, I want to have a Telecaster sound, it would be fairly easy to achieve that by using parts as close as possible to the original design, keeping the concept 'pure'. I see so many Telecasters with parts which I consider out of character, Gibson humbuckers, Tune 'O Matic bridges.... it's not my wish for this Tele...

    I want the Tele sound, but I also want to take advantage of improvements that have happened in the last 63 years, plus I am not constrained by Fender's marketing rules and profit margins. I don't think that the truss rod adjustment at the body is so clever, I would also like a compound neck, stainless steel frets, a better nut than standard, a torrified maple neck, I hope these do not change the Tele Character... I'm just trying to build on it...

    Better or different...
    This is a tricky one... I wanted a Les Paul, I bought a Custom Shop '59 Reissue, it is the worst guitar I have and the most expensive. The hardware and electrics are either average, or poorly made, very cheap parts, now, if I upgrade these to parts made with better materials, materials which are more efficient at performing the task, then will the guitar be better, or just different? Gibson fit substandard parts to their high end models, perhaps because idiots like me buy them :)

    I just want to make the best '52 'type' tele possible, if that means paying $100 more for a bridge that gives a small increase in sustain and slightly better tone, I will do it. As with most things, the law of diminishing returns means that a $30 bridge could be acceptable, a $40 bridge could be good, but further improvements from here on require larger and larger amounts of cash, for ever smaller increments in efficiency.

    Perhaps we should all be owning Squires, if Mexican, USA, or Custom shop models are just different, why do people pay more for them? I'm sure Squire's are good guitars. It's just a thought...
     

  7. Nick Fanis

    Nick Fanis Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

    Mar 3, 2003
    Athens-GREECE
    It is the first time that I have ever heard such claims and IMNSHO they are total BS

    a bridge should NOT resonate,a bridge is there to support the strings and the pickup,a resonating bridge would simply cause CRAZY micro-phonics.

    also,for the life of me,I cannot understand how a bridge that is secured on a piece of wood with FOUR screws will be able to...resonate :D

    no you will not find "better tone" in a different bridge you will find a DIFFERENT tone

    Generally speaking the heavier the bridge the more sustain and less twang it will have. There is also a difference between a magnetic or a non magnetic bridge as this affects the pickup but we are really splitting hairs here..

    Most vintage teles had plastic nuts,I prefer a bone,mircata (like the one Fender uses these days) or tusk nut ,bear in mind that the nut affects the OPEN strings tone only.
     

  8. Peltogyne

    Peltogyne Tele-Afflicted

    Oct 29, 2012
    Northern California
    From your own example I would say spending more money just makes the guitar worse.

    Here's a saddle that's very vintage but also includes the improvements Leo made once he realized intonation is important to people who play past the 7th fret.

    http://www.eyguitarmusic.com/Tele-Bridge-Chrome-6-saddle-String-through-body-style002_p_409.html

    If you really want a $100 bridge I'd be happy to sell you one of these for that price :) They also have a 3 saddle one for the same price if you don't agree with Leo Fender about the importance of intonation.

    As far as a bridge is concerned I feel sustain comes from mass, science tends to back me up. The less the saddles can be moved by the strings vibration the less energy they will remove from the string. The less the saddle is moving the less potential is there for the body wood to affect and dampen that vibration.

    Soft metals damping vibration has been mentioned, titanium has been know for a long time to have some of the highest vibration damping characteristics in a metal. Yet it is marketed with the exact opposite claim in the guitar world that is it in other hobbies like bicycles. This suggests some of the strongest factors in a guitars tone is how they are marketed and what we can be convinced of.

    I do know that I can not tell anything for sure about a guitar just by listening, and my knobs have more control over tone than my wallet.


    ... Namibia? What's the music scene like there?
     

  9. bob barcus

    bob barcus Tele-Meister

    146
    Oct 10, 2004
    Best Tele Bridge

    I got a left handed one from Callahan,but it was over $125.00 It is well made, Very High end stuff..There is nothing wrong with a Fender..Pat Pend
     

  10. surfoverb

    surfoverb Doctor of Teleocity

    Jul 17, 2007
    Virginia
    fender pat. pend

    i dont want a bridge to resonate or do other silly things
    I want it to twang!
     

  11. bchaffin72

    bchaffin72 Friend of Leo's

    Age:
    44
    Aug 14, 2004
    Stratford, Ontario
    I prefer a very, very, special kind of bridge. One that stays on the guitar and holds the strings in place. :D
     

  12. Watersilk

    Watersilk Tele-Meister

    152
    Jan 15, 2016
    Windhoek, Namibia
    What makes this a very, very special kind of bridge?
     

  13. BartS

    BartS Friend of Leo's

    Feb 18, 2013
    St. louis MO
    BartS political

    I got a callaham on my USACG strat and a Hipshot on the lapsteel I built. Some of the best money I ever spent. The heavy metal doesn't resonate. It holds firm and the vibrations of the string don't transfer to the bridge. The connectic energy of the string stays mostly on the string causing it to resonate with a more full, rounder sound, with longer sustain.

    [political comments removed]
     

  14. Watersilk

    Watersilk Tele-Meister

    152
    Jan 15, 2016
    Windhoek, Namibia
    Spending a lot of money on the Les Paul didn't get me what I wanted because I didn't have a choice in the components, Gibson cheated me, so it's a project now, I will change the bridge, stopbar and most of the electrics. The bridge design is fine, the craftsmanship and materials are not good! I put a lot of thought, research, money and effort into two Korean guitars, both projects not quite finished, so far they are sounding brilliant, outperforming the Custom Shop Gibson! I believe there are most definitely more gains to be found.

    I don't have a mission to spend over $100 on a bridge to make me feel good, I'm after optimising performance, searching for the best materials for the job, best design and aesthetics, because we all appreciate beauty.

    I will follow your links, I'm here to learn, also to ask questions, however awkward they may be for most members of this forum. I know from past experience that most guitarists will happily discuss various pickup options, however move onto the subject of 'primary tone' and most guitarists feel uncomfortable. This is strange because a pickup can only work upon the vibrations available from the primary tone.

    I agree with most of your views on mass, by which I think you mean density, but you lost me on the part about body dampening vibrations. I do believe that soft materials do obstruct vibrations, even down to the kind of finish used on the wood.

    I've become very sceptical about the products sold by the two major manufacturers, Fender themselves don't seem to have confidence in their own bridge design, if not, why so many models, why did the Custom Shop recently spend so much time designing a new bridge, the RSD model?

    Coming up against these marketing policies has infused with a passion to make my own Telecaster, I will not be controlled by marketing policies. If the Fender Telecaster bridge is so brilliant, and cheap, why doesn't the same bridge grace all Fender 'vintage' type guitars? I hope all the Tele owners here who believe that materials don't matter on a Tele, are all Squire players, if not, I would dearly like to know why they had paid more?

    I like to test the primary tone of a guitar, play it unplugged, when all is fine here, I play it through a good acoustic amp, that way I can evaluate the pickups, if the guitar sounds bad through an acoustic amp, I believe something is wrong. Only when the guitar passes the first two tests, do I play through a valve/tube amp to get the sound I'm looking for.

    Music in Namibia, rather sad really, the traditional music was snuffed out by missionaries, replacing it with church music, now, after independence Namibia is trying to find its own music. African music for me starts north of Namibia, especially in the north west, often anything from Angola northwards has unmistakable blues elements, not sad in content, but recognisable musically. The subject may be a pretty girl in the village, happy vibes, but the scales, chords are so familiar! It's really the sad subject of American blues that makes it exclusively American, a great vehicle for expression.
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2016

  15. Watersilk

    Watersilk Tele-Meister

    152
    Jan 15, 2016
    Windhoek, Namibia
    Peltogyne, I was thinking, it's not really as simple as the mass or density, it's more about the properties of a material, some light guitar bodies can have the 'knock', not just the heavy ones, but as you pointed out, the heavier ones should have more sustain. I think the same applies for bridges, but the metal has to be efficient at allowing vibrations to pass through... To the body. The saddle material, how they are connected to the bridge plate, bridge plate material and how well it is connected to the body, these factors should all influence the efficiency.
     

  16. Nick Fanis

    Nick Fanis Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

    Mar 3, 2003
    Athens-GREECE
    It does.All FENDER vintage reissue guitars (from cheap Mexican to US RI to CS ) have the exact same bridge,a $10 bridge plate with $10 worth of saddles,it ain't rocket science and you are splitting hairs here.

    Up until the early 1980s when the American Std teles came out with Gotoh style modern bridges ALL Fender teles out there had the very same bridge since 1949 when the telecaster was introduced.Than from 1983 and on Fender only had the vintage style bridge (same like the 1949 model) on their vintage RI models and the modern heavy duty Gotoh style bridge (with 6 saddles) on their modern style teles ,than around 2010 they introduced a new AS bridge with strat style saddles .

    I wouldn't call 65 years of using the EXACT same bridge plus ONE additional modern style bridge offering after 40 years ....."confidence lacking" :D:D

    They ARE the custom shop and since there are so many people making money selling snake oil tele bridges they are entitled to selling some of them too :D...again around 0,0005% of ALL Fender teles will carry this "super duper" bridge the rest will have the tried and true 1949 designed one.

    The classic " cheap" 3 saddle style bridge is a great bridge and closely associated with what the vast majority of people call "THAT tele sound".

    You can definitely add a bit more sustain by using a heavier bridge but by doing so you will LOOSE some twang and classic tele tone and sustain is overrated anyhow (I never understood why you "need" sustain from an electric guitar with all these effects and amps out there) and there are many kinds of music (jazz,country i.e.) where you DON'T need sustain but more of an "upfront" spanky type of sound.

    Maybe if endless sustain is you goal you should switch to VIOLIN? :D:D
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2016

  17. Watersilk

    Watersilk Tele-Meister

    152
    Jan 15, 2016
    Windhoek, Namibia
    Exactly the same bridge? These are just the vintage bridges Fender make:

    Three saddle American vintage hot rod telecaster bridge

    Three saddle American vintage telecaster bridge

    Classic vibe telecaster bridge assembly

    Highway one telecaster bridge assembly

    RSD Custom shop telecaster bridge

    As I wrote before, I'm new and here to learn, these bridges are all currant, they are all on Fender's website, perhaps you understand what's going on here, I certainly don't see any logic, neither is there any explanation on the website. I'm just trying to find the best bridge for my project. I think if anyone is splitting hairs here over a very simple, cheap design, it's surely Fender.

    From what I've learnt so far, every improvement, every step forward to improve sustain and tone needs to be hunted down, that means fully understanding each component and how it works with all the others, if on a Telecaster, this means just a simple soft steel alloy stamped bridge, with compensated saddles, costing $20, then why don't Fender fit this bridge on all vintage type Telelecasters? There are no less than five models made right now; I can't make sense of that.

    There is a comparison video on YouTube, a Chinese Classic Vibe and USA '52 reissue, just sound, you are asked to guess which is which. It was easy, the Classic Vibe sounded thin and very trebly, the American one had more mid range and was a fuller sound with more depth, the harmonics that follow the fundamental, that's what I'm chasing, better tone and sustain. As you are saying, there is only so much you can get out of a bridge, I just want to be sure of buying the right one.
     

  18. Watersilk

    Watersilk Tele-Meister

    152
    Jan 15, 2016
    Windhoek, Namibia
    Peltogyne, I like the look of the Tele in your avatar, what is it?
     

  19. Nick Fanis

    Nick Fanis Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

    Mar 3, 2003
    Athens-GREECE
    Yes all these bridges are more or less the same made from .045 - .050 1010 hot rolled steel in a deep drawn process like they were made in 1949,the chinese SQUIER CV bridge is a bit heavier and "better" made.

    these is a new bridge that came out last year and is used in a handful of CS teles,it is a heavier duty classic tele bridge like a Calaham
     

  20. Watersilk

    Watersilk Tele-Meister

    152
    Jan 15, 2016
    Windhoek, Namibia
    I think I used the wrong word when I wrote resonate, I just meant the efficiency of transferring vibrations through to the body. I'm glad to have the feedback on the Callaham and hipshot products, the subject of better quality seems to provoke negative responses from most people on this and other forums.

    I live in a third world country, I see it in another way, Fender are providing jobs for people who can benefit from a regular income, hopefully on a rate which is comparable with their economic zone, also I hope Fender pay attention to the working conditions, they should be able to influence these, even though Squire guitars are made by an independent company on licence to Fender.
     

IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.