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

Block Saddles for American Standard Tele

Discussion in 'Tele-Technical' started by ctom2, Aug 30, 2017.

  1. ctom2

    ctom2 TDPRI Member

    Feb 28, 2013
    I have a 2016 American Standard Tele with a newer version of the bent steel Strat-type saddles. I like the guitar but I prefer “block” saddles over the bent type. Also, since these particular bent saddles come with #4-48 set screws instead of the more common #4-40, the choices for customizing the height that the set screws protrude above the saddles is limited. I do a lot of palm muting and appreciate a more level surface.

    I didn’t see any posts on changing out the bent saddles so I did some searching and found this Gotoh set at Stew Mac:

    These block-type saddles are a direct drop in replacement for the bent saddles. They come with M3x.50 set screws and, at least in my case, one size fits all the blocks with nothing over the top of the block saddles. This set screw size is the same as used on the MIM Teles in case another length is needed.

    There are a few different sizes of the bent saddles out there, so If this is of interest make sure you measure your existing saddles to verify that these will fit for you.

    For me, an easy and worth while upgrade. No affiliation, just a user.

    Before and after:


    NewKid, Southpole, Dismalhead and 2 others like this.
  2. boris bubbanov

    boris bubbanov Telefied Ad Free Member

    Nice post, Ctom!

    These "10.32 mm" wide saddles seem to fall next to one another without any unsightly misalignment.

    Another solution is to revert back to the bridge from the American Deluxe, or from the "Americans" made before December of 2007. Those were so plentiful, that people could get them by just asking for them. But the plate itself, 2008 and forward, is a better item, and your solution avoids the issues of uneven pull from those old offset saddles.
    LutherBurger likes this.
  3. Old Tele man

    Old Tele man Friend of Leo's

    May 10, 2017
    Tucson, AZ
    Replace those Phillips-head screws with Hex-socket head bolts...then use a matching Hex-ball end screw-driver.

    It's S-O-O-O-O much easier to make adjustments with NO chance of the Phillips-head screw driver 'cam'ing' out and gouging the body.
    jimbo735 likes this.
  4. LutherBurger

    LutherBurger Friend of Leo's

    Oct 29, 2013
  5. Dismalhead

    Dismalhead Poster Extraordinaire

    Feb 16, 2014
    Sacramento, California
    I very much prefer the block saddles too. I've got the bent ones on my old MIM Strat. sometimes you drag your hand across them and it isn't pleasant. Nice upgrade.
    asnarski likes this.
  6. Steve_U1S

    Steve_U1S Tele-Afflicted Ad Free Member

    Apr 23, 2013
    Toronto, Canada
    Nicely done - in this scenario, I would do the very same mod.
    Looks great, and much less - if any - palm shredding.

    Come to think of it, I had a Guthrie Govan Antique Modern by Suhr, and the Gotoh 510 trem on those was fitted with bent steel saddles - I got a set of block Gotoh saddles and happily replaced those.
    When I decided to sell off that guitar, I of course put it back to stock, which means I've got a set of these same saddles tucked away.
    Duly noted that they'd drop right in - thanks for posting.
  7. user34603

    user34603 Tele-Meister

    Dec 5, 2016
    Richmond VA
    The 'bent' steel saddles have a very short Allen screw travel to work with. I prefer to have a guitar with block saddles and keep the screw heads flush or barely below the saddle top. No chance of scraping your right hand while playing. The pickups and electronics are the tone and not the saddles... so I say: easily get the guitar to be more stable and not cutting up the skin of my right little finger. Leo made a 7.5" radius , too. But is it popular and useful nowadays 60 years later?

    SPUDCASTER Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

    I put these and a brass block on my MIM Strat. Nice improvement.
  9. crowhaven2000

    crowhaven2000 Tele-Meister

    Jun 21, 2011
    New Mexico
    That looks great. I have a 2012 American standard, and hate the bent steel saddles. I saw this post and bought those from StewMac. I installed them today and they don't look the same as yours. So there must be difference in bridge plates or string spacing. They are too wide for mine. The small e string saddle is pulled sideways a bit.In fact the D,G,B and E tweaked, Probably enough to I use small gauge strings, I might end up breaking the small E string. I was so excited to see your pictures, I didn't really measure anything before I ordered. Yours are pretty and lined up perfectly. I guess I will have to put the bent saddles back on.
    The saddles I got were wrapped in a piece of paper, inside a baggie, nothing written on them. Maybe they aren't what they are supposed to be? My fault I guess. I should have measured what I have and what they are selling. Those are for 2 1/8" spacing. I guess mine is 2 1/16". I assumed yours was too? But it's hard to believe a 16th of an inch would make such a huge difference. It's more like an eighth of an inch difference maybe. I need better glasses.
    Last edited: May 10, 2018
  10. boris bubbanov

    boris bubbanov Telefied Ad Free Member

    Torx head would work well, also. This "camming" is sort of a crude feature to permit hyper-fast assembly and I just don't need that. But. I think the Hex head and Torx head fasteners look funny on a 1950s design. I use slot head (with a perfectly matched driver and some care) instead. It does require a steady hand though and some days I just don't mess with them.
  11. RoyBGood

    RoyBGood Poster Extraordinaire

    I like the block saddles too - they're on my 1990 American Standard Tele. They may not have the 'cool' visual factor of the bent ones, but they're comfy and give great tone and sustain.
  12. GFrank

    GFrank Tele-Meister

    Mar 27, 2018
    Brooklyn, NY
    I went in the opposite direction. I put Fender American Vintage bent Strat saddles on Mexican Standard Tele bridge plates (four hole) on all three of my Teles. To me, it is the perfect evolution of the Telecaster bridge - heavier, thicker plate for more punch and sustain, yet the bent saddles still give all the twang you'd get with the traditional Tele bridge plate and three saddles. I tried a gazillion-and-one different combinations of bridge plates and saddles and that's where the road ended for me.
  13. highwaycat

    highwaycat Tele-Meister

    Jun 15, 2017
    I started off with block saddles on a squier strat then when I first played bend saddles I liked them more and still do.
    I don't like saddles with notches in the middle like squiers, or with the allen screws protruding, so I buy shorter screws when needed.
    With protruding screws and notched saddles, I feel palm muting isn't as articulate, or at lease I don't like the feel, as opposed to having the saddle and string touchable without being buried in a notch or covered by protruding height screws.
  14. crowhaven2000

    crowhaven2000 Tele-Meister

    Jun 21, 2011
    New Mexico
    I had no idea there were a this many "non traditional" members Most say if it isn't a three barrel setup it's not a tele, and the belly cut is taboo. I love the belly cut. I love my other tele's without it, and even the ones with barrels. It's nice to have options. And we have options. At least in this I am returning the too wide blocks I bought because of that nice picture above. And I ordered the block saddles for the hardtail bridge, they are shorter in length (about the same as the bent saddles) and are for 2 1/16" spacing. I asked customer service to measure the width and string spacing on the Hardtail saddles, because on the website it says they are the same width as the other, but measuring them he said they are a hair narrower. And will do away with that bit of width that made mine fit askew.

    I still don't know how the OP made those others fit. They are for a 2 1/8" spacing, and look like they fit perfect in the picture. But my 2012 American Standard is 2 1/16" spacing. I was surprised that 1/16" made such a difference on my guitar. If these I just ordered aren't going to fit, I will go back to the bent saddles. I just didn't like the brightness, and all those screws sticking up . Each to his own. o_O
    Last edited: May 12, 2018
  15. OldMike

    OldMike TDPRI Member

    Mar 4, 2014
    Cleveland Zoo
    I'm building 2016 "Standard" body. I found the correct Fender bridge plate, it has a 2-3/32 string spacing, which matched the body perfectly.
    So, the 2012-2016 Standard with the body cutout is a string spacing that is in between 2-1/16 and 2-1/8.
  16. OldMike

    OldMike TDPRI Member

    Mar 4, 2014
    Cleveland Zoo
    Take a look at the picture again, the high and low E strings look like that are not exactly in the center of the slots, compared to the center two strings.
    I'm going to stick with the stock bent saddles for now as I can custom length cut the set screws so they don't hang out to beat me up.
  17. crowhaven2000

    crowhaven2000 Tele-Meister

    Jun 21, 2011
    New Mexico
    Standard or American Standard?...Understood. His picture is at an angle so it's hard to see exactly how it all fits. You are right, the strings look off, more so as you go from low E to High E. But mine look much worse. I think the length of the saddles is a factor too. They are longer than the bent saddles. I am hoping with a slightly less width of each saddle, and allowing more distance from the rear of the saddles to the bridge will help a bit with alignment. I can't hear much difference on the first string, it's still there. (the sound). It depends on where you read what the spacing is on Fenders. Until you have one in your hand it's hard to know what to believe. I sure don't trust Fenders customer service or diagrams. I will know immediately if the salesmen is correct about slightly narrower saddles. One of the reviews say they were perfect for his American Standard tele. SO I am relying on that review and the If he lied I will make them pay for shipping back. I am hoping they will work. if not, it's not a huge deal. Instead of buying new guitars sometimes I like to change them a bit. I am changing necks on this guitar also. I had but a USA Rosewood fb neck on it. I am going back to the maple that was on it when I bought it. Something to tinker with. I don't gig, so it's just me I am trying to please. Thanks for chiming in.
  18. OldMike

    OldMike TDPRI Member

    Mar 4, 2014
    Cleveland Zoo
    I have a 2016 American Standard body with the in-between spacing.
    Do you have a link or more info for the saddles you're getting?

  19. crowhaven2000

    crowhaven2000 Tele-Meister

    Jun 21, 2011
    New Mexico
    I hesitate to give a link to something that won't work. But it's this set. If you read the description it says they are for 2 1/16" spacing. But the width of each saddle is listed at 13/32" (10.32mm) which is the same as the description of the others that are a hair too wide. How can one be for a 2 1/6" spread, and the other be listed for 2 1/8", yet both read 13/32" wide on each saddle? That makes no sense. The guy on the phone agreed, but said let me go get a set and measure them. He said they must have rounded off the difference when they wrote the dewscription and the hard tail saddles are just a hair narrower. And they are shorter in length by almost an eighth of an inch. I would like the shorter ones because the original bent saddles are shorter than this first set I tried. And on the big E string when I set the intonation it is tight against the back of the bridge. The hard tail saddles are lower in height though and it doesn't look like the screws are anywhere near the same length as the first set. I am hoping they work and disappear down inside the threads. if they don't work I will send them back. And I will give up looking for saddles that fit this guitar. I don't want to change the bridgeplate or wallow out the screw holes in the body to make the spacing work. I did that with a partscaster I put together and you can't tell I did it. But I know I I haven't removed the ill fitting saddles yet, I want to leave them on it, till I get the new set tomorrow. I can lay then on top of what I have and know if they will work as far as string spacing.
    All this because I like block I don't have a caliper, but right now reading a measuring tape (non luthier tape I might on the back of the guitar, over the string holes, center to center, I read right at 2 1/16". Almost 2 3/32" but not quite, and certainly not 2 1/8". I made the mistake of not reading the description on the first set, it says 2 1/8" string spacing. Duh, that's what I got and it doesn't fit well. I am taking a chance on the guy on the phone. He may be wrong. I won't know until I get them. I wasn't sharp enough to scrutinize the OP's picture hard enough, but his screws look straight, mine don't at all. I may be chasing my tail, but I like block saddles. I hope these new ones work but I have my doubts.
    Wish me luck. I know some are thinking I am an idiot. Oh well, each to his own. I am not that anal about it all, I just prefer block saddles. This telecaster sounded a little strat like to me. I see others blame the saddles, I don't know. Its an ash body and very light. Maybe that's where it gets the sound? That was my only disappointment when I bought it online, sight unseen. Thanks for the reply. Sorry for the long post. I am old, humor me
  20. OldMike

    OldMike TDPRI Member

    Mar 4, 2014
    Cleveland Zoo
    The width on the new ones should work, at least you can adjust to center them over the string hole.

    Good luck,
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