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3 saddle bridge, or 6 saddle bridge?

Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by zekester, Oct 29, 2020.

  1. bottlenecker

    bottlenecker Friend of Leo's

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    Always 3 saddles. There is no such thing as perfect intonation in western music. Guitarists are some of the worst intoners because they think intonation is set with a screwdriver, instead of a choice you make as you play. If you're going to just set it and forget it, you may as well be cool and sound better with a 3 saddle bridge.
     
  2. boris bubbanov

    boris bubbanov Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    There's good 3 barrel and good 6 bent or block saddle types.

    And there's bad of both of those, and for a FMIC configuration guitar, the 6 "hammer" steel saddle arrangement is worthless. A brass saddle, 6 hammer saddle bridge does work fine on a G + L ASAT Classic, but IMO it works well only because the heel on the G + L design guitar is so much wider. Don't try to stick a G + L bridge on a "Fender" or Fender Clone guitar - because it ain't gonna work (unless you have a tech perched next to you on the bandstand to triage it mid-show).

    That ole 8 ounce Gotoh GTC is a fine bridge assembly - but you're going to get a different sound than you would with a spindly, stamped steel "Broadcaster" style bridge. Figure out what VOICE you want and choose the bridge that assists towards that voice. I'm very picky about intonation, but if the bridge I have just installed takes the sound of the guitar in the wrong direction, I don't care how great the intonation is - that bridge is coming off and going on another project where it doesn't foul the whole "mission" of that guitar up.

    There are some string gauges/combinations that will trip up a certain choice of compensated barrel saddle. But if you use something like a set of 11-49 with a plain G string, a set that's fresh, if you can't achieve decent intonation - then the monkey is on you. Consult an expert - he'll demonstrate what you're doing wrong. If you are using 9-54 or 8-38, then you probably will need different amounts of compensation than the typical compensated saddle set offers. Talk to the folks using the same unusual gauge/set as you.
     
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2020
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  3. boris bubbanov

    boris bubbanov Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    This is my favorite post on the thread.

    Keep the parts numbers small. The more screws and springs you add, the more junky, "traishy" sounds you're going to end up with. It can be really hard to tell where the noises are all coming from. But obviously, fewer parts means less garbage coming out of the speaker. Same principle applies on tuning machines.
     
  4. Mr. Lumbergh

    Mr. Lumbergh Poster Extraordinaire

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    My Teles all have 6, and they all sound like Teles.
     
  5. Kmaxbrady

    Kmaxbrady Tele-Meister

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    I love 3 saddle bridges for mostly irrational reasons. I just think they look better. Having said that, setting up the bridge on a 3 saddle only involves 9 screws, a 6 saddle bridge has 18...
    And there’s no need to settle for bad intonation with 3 saddles. There are plenty of great compensated saddles that will solve that problem for you. Can they give you “perfect” intonation? Usually no, but can you honestly hear the difference between a note that stops a strobe tuner and a note that just causes the slightest bit of movement? I can’t.
    Also it depends on how you define “perfect intonation”. To me it’s perfect if I can no longer hear any problems.
     
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  6. Sax-son

    Sax-son Tele-Holic

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    I have Tele with both 3 and s 6 saddles. I like them both for different reasons as they both have their pros and cons.
     
  7. tfarny

    tfarny Friend of Leo's

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    I guess I prefer the three for looks / tradition / and maybe tone or playability. Maybe you get something from the VERY slightly better intonation on a 6 saddle. But there are loads of compensated three saddle bridges, tuning is never perfect IRL and guitars are never intonated well up and down the fretboard no matter what. I know a bass player who sticks to frets 5-9 whenever possible because that's where the bass is most in tune with itself.
    And simplicity is a virtue that's hard to quantify - for instance the string pressure of two strings pressing down might make the saddle / bridge plate contact firmer and better. There are fewer moving parts, fewer things to rattle, break, and fiddle with. Also if you get the right break angle and the right size saddle height screws, a three saddle can be a nice place to rest your palm.
     
  8. Colo Springs E

    Colo Springs E Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    3saddleTele.jpg
     
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  9. Billy3

    Billy3 Tele-Meister

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    I like that. But always remember.... Money won't buy you happiness, love or tone or.......whatever for you and your guitar. Try all the options you can if you have the means. Btw I like both 3 and 6, brass.......Keep on pickin'!
     
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  10. Blues Twanger

    Blues Twanger Tele-Holic

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    A compensated three barrel will do the job just fine IMO.

    It always seemed to me that the 6 barrel/saddle versions were in response to uncompensated vintage three barrel bridges.

    Also IMO if you don't play on the dusty end of the fretboard often none of it is an issue.
     
  11. GuitarsBuicks

    GuitarsBuicks Tele-Holic

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    My recommendation is the old adage. "If it ain't broke don't fix it." So keep it stock. If you want the brass saddle tone, you can get 6 brass saddles on amazon from Grotoh for less or the same as you can buy a good 3 saddle bridge. I would think it would be cheaper and less labor intensive to either leave it the same or just change to brass or stainless steel saddles.

    That is so disturbingly true.

    Even so, some of those guys were using 6 saddle bridges then. Buck Owens, and Waylon Jennings, as well as others all had six saddle bridges in even their earliest videos and photos.
     
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  12. GuitarsBuicks

    GuitarsBuicks Tele-Holic

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    Ironically this has more moving parts than a 3 saddle bridge.
     
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  13. gmann

    gmann Friend of Leo's

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    Go with the Rutters intonated ones, they look correct and intonate spot on.
     
  14. boris bubbanov

    boris bubbanov Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    I think the Rutters is a natural choice for a Bender or Bigsby Tele, especially Marc's chromed saddles.

    Intonation is "intermediate" and works well on most examples with typical string gauge choices. Something like a Joe Barden, for instance, is "over" compensated unless you use a Hi-Lo string set perhaps. Glendale Guitars offers a specific saddle set for this Hi-Lo application.

    The Rutters work great and look great on the bandstand, but there is one natural "glitch" to their appearance - sight your guitar from the vantage point of the bottom strap button. Instead of a symmetric arc, you see a sort of ski jump pattern. If you've installed some Marc Rutters compensated saddles and see a typical arc, you're not done adjusting them. For starters your D and G strings, one will be too high and the other will be buzzing against the fretwork.
     
  15. boris bubbanov

    boris bubbanov Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    I think a lot of this is Fashion, for the lack of a better term.

    The switch from a 6 volt to the 12 volt electrical system was altogether a really good idea. But the decision to make 4 door hardtops that couldn't withstand a roof crush test when a '60 Buick Invicta overturned, not such a great idea. Stretching the wheelbase and widening the track until the whole front wheel assembly sheared off when it hit a large pothole, not such a great idea. But one guy sees it being done - and he's got to follow the trend as well.
     
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  16. kinkstah

    kinkstah Tele-Afflicted

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    +1. As regards to moving/unstable parts, causing unwanted buzzes, rattling noises, etc., the worst bridge design I've experienced is the 6 "hammer" saddles Fender bridge. I largely prefer the 3 saddles bridge and, should I go to a 6 saddles ever again, I'd choose the modern "block" over those pesky "hammer" saddles.
     
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  17. goatofballstreet

    goatofballstreet TDPRI Member Silver Supporter

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    I visually like 3 for looks and honestly with compensated saddles it gets us close enough for an already imperfectly tuned instrument. But I do prefer the ease of 6 for setting up in general.
     
  18. RockinforJesus

    RockinforJesus Tele-Meister

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    Before...
    F6B92E40-F79D-45CB-9FDC-E6F7ECF9B918.jpeg
    After...
    upload_2020-10-31_7-17-44.jpeg
    IMHO this mod was fantastic.
    Tone went from a modern sounding Tele to more what a Telecaster should sound like. I also like the slightly raised side of the bridge to anchor my pinky on while picking. Intonation is spot on, the short ash tray cover feels perfect especially when palm muting.
    And the 3 saddle looks much nicer than the plain jane 6 saddle version.
     
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  19. Nick Fanis

    Nick Fanis Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    Your guitar already has an ashtray bridge but instead of the 3 barrel saddles it has 6 filmsy tiny barrel saddles that in most cases rattle and
    rob the guitar of spank and sustain unless you use heavy strings.
    I am a Gotoh modern heavy bridge guy because I prefer the "immediate" twang and even and balanced sound of a heavy brass bridge with six heavy brass saddles that definitely intonate better, but if you already like the tone of your guitar that already has the thin stamped bridge the change to 3 saddles will give you a very similar tone albeit more punchy and with a bit more sustain
     
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  20. GuitarsBuicks

    GuitarsBuicks Tele-Holic

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    Looks like you lowered the bridge pickup, which would of course make it sound more like a telecaster. The lower the bridge the more twang you get. The higher it is the less telecaster it is.
     
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