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Replace the whole bridge, or get new saddles?

Discussion in 'Tele-Technical' started by benjammin420, Sep 11, 2017.

  1. benjammin420

    benjammin420 TDPRI Member

    Age:
    31
    37
    May 25, 2011
    Vancouver, BC
    I recently bought a Squier Affinity Jazzmaster (with a hard tail bridge instead of the trem), I was planning to upgrade the bridge to steel or brass. Right before I pulled the trigger on the Gotoh, I realized it's only for string-through action, while the stock bridge offers string-through and top-load. I'm currently using the top-load and I like it, if I were to replace the bridge, I would still like to be able to choose between string-through and top-load (some other replacement bridges only come in top-load)

    So now I'm thinking I might just get some Graphtech saddles and see how much that affects the sound. Do you think I would be missing out by maintaining the stock bridge plate (with whichever cheap metal they use), or will the saddles be the biggest difference?
    21389559_10159155942030543_931531459_o.jpg
     
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  2. BryMelvin

    BryMelvin Tele-Afflicted

    Age:
    65
    Jan 4, 2014
    Arivaca AZ
    Changing either or both will not give a very significant difference in tone. However changing between top loading and through body will give a significant change in feel if it gives a different break angle of the string through and over the saddle.
     
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  3. BorderRadio

    BorderRadio Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

    Apr 2, 2014
    Phoenix, AZ
    Your bridge plate is probably steel. If you want to change things, start with the saddles, but I wouldn't get hung up on top load or string through myself. The only one who can answer the 'tone' questions is you, by trial and error, unfortunately. Adding to that thought, those saddles probably ARE pot metal or zinc, and I consider stamped steel an improvement. Others will say diffently, of course.
     
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  4. user34603

    user34603 Tele-Meister

    Age:
    67
    330
    Dec 5, 2016
    Richmond VA
    the pickups are affected by steel strings vibrating on nut slots, frets and saddles. If the saddles are steel and the bridge is steel, the sound will beat pot metal bridge/saddles. A steel tremolo block on a Strat (versus pot metal) is easy to hear as an improvement... same principle.
     
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  5. SweetClyde99

    SweetClyde99 Tele-Meister

    408
    Feb 1, 2016
    Jefferson City, MO
    That’s a sharp looking guitar. I’ve got a thing thing for HH jaguar/jazzmasters and hate trems, so that’s right up my alley.
     
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  6. funkysoul

    funkysoul Tele-Meister

    139
    May 14, 2013
    greece
    i always go for steel saddles.is enough to make deference
     
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  7. benjammin420

    benjammin420 TDPRI Member

    Age:
    31
    37
    May 25, 2011
    Vancouver, BC
    it's a solid guitar, I put some new pickups and it's better than ever.

    Still not sure if I want to put on new saddles or a Wilkinson 3-barrel bridge
     

  8. Huddy

    Huddy Tele-Meister

    Age:
    34
    305
    Nov 5, 2016
    Newport News, VA
    I was gonna say that the Wilkinson Tele bridge allows for string through but it's got the Mexican Tele 4-screw mounting holes. May have to modify pickguard as well to accommodate.
     
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  9. Praxis

    Praxis Tele-Meister

    292
    Dec 11, 2007
    Out There
    I know there's a lot of argument back and forth about Graphtechs and tone changes. I tried a set on a strat I owned years ago, just to see what they were like. In that guitar, they seemed to soften the highs a bit, which was great for the bridge pickup, but I wasn't as happy with the neck and middle tones -- it seemed a little "mushier" to me. I ended up going back to the steel saddles and swapping in a different bridge pickup, and I was happier with it. This was in about 1995, so I don't know if the Graphtechs back then were the same as what they sell now? It's possible their formula is different these days, but I can't comment on that.

    A friend of mine uses Graphtech saddles on his gigging guitars, simply because he breaks a lot of strings. He plays hard with light strings, so he's rough on them, and he claims to get a little more life out of his strings with the Graphtechs. I almost never break strings, so I have never felt a need to go that way.
     
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  10. lammie200

    lammie200 Tele-Afflicted

    Jan 11, 2013
    San Francisco
    I don't know what the OP's bridge would be if it weren't steel. It is a bent plate and there aren't a lot of metals that will work besides steel as far as I know to maintain structural integrity without being a super expensive material. I agree on the stamped saddles though. There is nothing wrong with the original stamped steel saddle design. The ones that I have on my Strat also have an indent in the middle of them for the string to seat in. At his point I think that an import manufacturer is the only one that makes them that way.
     
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  11. The Ballzz

    The Ballzz Tele-Afflicted

    Age:
    62
    Apr 11, 2016
    Las Vegas, NV
    I would say that steel saddles would likely be an upgrade and the GraphTech, not so much, despite their advertising hype. I do however, love the GraphTech "TUSQ" material for nuts and string trees. It's a much more consistent material than bone and almost as hard.
    Just My $.02 & Worth Every Penny!
    Gene
     

  12. boris bubbanov

    boris bubbanov Telefied Ad Free Member

    That's a chrome plated steel bridge. The main problem is the springs and screws make contact with the end portions of the strings, and the amount of downforce is inadequate and you get a lot of trashy noises. And yes, superficially the Graphtech could tamp down the worst of the rattling - BUT the guitar will sound like dreck because the saddle material is just soft like old chewing gum - doesn't IMO work for a saddle (unless the guitar is just for making percussive sounds).

    Check out the Bubba Mod (convert the existing plate to a 3 barrel toploader). That's what I would do - I've converted 39 Squiers in that way.

    I would expand on what Gene is saying and say that both Tusq and Graphtech are good for nuts and string trees. Material can be much softer at that far end of the string, away from the pickups and the difference in sound is extremely minor.
     
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  13. benjammin420

    benjammin420 TDPRI Member

    Age:
    31
    37
    May 25, 2011
    Vancouver, BC
    Is there anyone who does that mod commercially? I'm not so sure about my ability to do that on my own with my tools. Drilling some holes in the body for a new bridge is one thing, but I have no experience working with metal.
     

  14. benjammin420

    benjammin420 TDPRI Member

    Age:
    31
    37
    May 25, 2011
    Vancouver, BC
    I'm already planning to get a new pickguard made up, so that's not too big an issue. I saw someone on the Squier Talk forum who put one of the Wilkinson on his Bullet Mustang (which I think uses a bridge with the same dimensions) and it fit fine, so I'm hope that works out ok. He said the new bridge covered up the old holes mostly, so I think I could live with that
     
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  15. Huddy

    Huddy Tele-Meister

    Age:
    34
    305
    Nov 5, 2016
    Newport News, VA
    I meant that it allows for top load stringing... my bad.
     

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