54-57 rare saddles with angled screws?

Discussion in 'Vintage Tele Discussion Forum (pre-1974)' started by Major Gruber, Apr 15, 2015.

  1. Major Gruber

    Major Gruber Tele-Afflicted

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    Let's talk of vintage Telecaster saddles for a second.

    1950 : first saddles were steel with a flat bottom, then Broadcaster was launched with brass saddles.

    In late 1954, Duchossoir says : "brass saddles were superseded by steel saddles, albeit not ground flat on the bottom and of a slightly smaller diameter than the 1950 section."

    After mid 58, they're replaced by threaded saddles, fine.

    As i just bought three horribly expensive steel saddles for my 56 Telecaster that has been restored apparently with a 54 brass saddles bridge, I realize some very knowledgeable sellers mention "rare 54-57 saddles with angled adjuster screw". I check in my photo collection and realize almost all 55 and 56 Telecaster bridge actually do feature saddles with angled screws. Of course my horribly expensive ones aren't angled :)mad:). I have very few exceptions in my collection, and they could be restoration with wrong saddle, as they're the same except the angle of the screw.

    Here's my question : are you aware of those angled screw saddles? Are they called rare because 54-57 Telecaster are rare, or do you know if they were they mixed with non angled screw during this period ? (you bet I wish they were!)
     

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  2. blue metalflake

    blue metalflake Doctor of Teleocity

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    Never read about or seen such things - assume these are where the axis of the height screws is not at right angles to the scale length screw? Look forward to seeing what this brings forth.
     
  3. Major Gruber

    Major Gruber Tele-Afflicted

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    Yes, they're not exactly perpendicular. You see on my left photo, height screws are perpendicular to the axis of the scale length one, and on the right photo, they're lower from the back, so the inclination of the screw is accentuated. Slight difference, but real. I can't complain to my seller as the pictures were absolutely clear about the perpendicularity of the holes.
     
  4. 71Tele

    71Tele Tele-Meister

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    You refer to your photo collection, saying that “almost all 55 and 56 Telecaster bridge actually do feature saddles with angled screws”. Almost, i.e. not all of them, right? You need only one example to stop worrying…

    Besides, what would be the benefit of these angled screws? :confused:

    Didn’t you like the sound of the brass saddles?
     
  5. Antoon

    Antoon Tele-Holic

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    I have a set of those angled saddles right here (with a about 50 degree angle with the intonation screw). I can measure them if you want? I see pictures of original 55 - 58 teles and esquires with both the angled as well as the non angled saddles (with a 90 degree angle with the intonation screw). I always thought that by the end of 56 the angled saddles were replaced by non-angled and then after that it changed to threaded. Strangely enough the musicmasters and duo sonics never seem to have had the angled saddles (but they were smooth). I once had a discussion with Slack from this forum about the differences between Musicmaster and Tele saddles. He said there weren't any but my angled saddles appear slightly wider than musicmaster saddles. Perhaps the angled saddles went out with the introduction of the musicmaster?
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2015
  6. Antoon

    Antoon Tele-Holic

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    56 angled:

    [​IMG]

    57 non-angled:

    [​IMG]

    Notice also the ill fit of the neck in the neck pocket for the 57. A lt of the mid 57s have that.
     
  7. toomuchfun

    toomuchfun Tele-Afflicted

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    Thanks for the great discussion. I never heard of the angled saddles.

    I recently got a '56 where most of the hardware was swapped. It would be great to restore it with original hardware, but for now I went the cheap way getting the American Vintage '58 saddles from Fender, which are of course non angled. Had the sitar effect for a few days but they settled down and have a nice feel to them.
     

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  8. CNBaker

    CNBaker TDPRI Member

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    I bought some angled 56 saddles for the bridge on my '54 mutt. It definitely makes intonation easier because the low E height adjustment screw doesn't have to ride the bridge/body screw.
     
  9. Tel E Twister

    Tel E Twister Tele-Meister

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    I think that whomever they had drilling them that year, messed up by drilling the intonation screw hole at a slightly wrong angle, there by making the height adjustment screws appear angled.
    But it would have been too many to throw out, so they used them anyway.
    Maybe the jig slipped :idea:
    Just a guess :D
     
  10. Major Gruber

    Major Gruber Tele-Afflicted

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    57 is supposed to be the year when angled disappear, my worry is about before (56).
     
  11. Major Gruber

    Major Gruber Tele-Afflicted

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    Just trying to restore my 56 with genuine parts. My photo collection features almost only angled saddles for 56 and one or two non angled (I'll go back to it again to count exactly). Starting from that, I cannot be sure non angled aren't replacements like the ones I bought, that's why I ask for community knowledge about it. Of course I like the sound of the brass saddles, and I hope I'll like the sound of the steel ones too!!!! :rolleyes::lol:
     
  12. Amby

    Amby Tele-Holic

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    Marc Rutters makes his 1950s ¼” Steel Straight compensated saddles with angled screws.
     
  13. Major Gruber

    Major Gruber Tele-Afflicted

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    Verdict

    Ok, I asked the question to Paul McKenzie from Fiesta Finishes. Their series of vintage ads on ebay is impressive and they're always extremely detailed and precise. So, here's what he answered :

    "Angled saddles were used from late '54 through probably late '56 at least, and possibly early '57. If your guitar is a '56, and particularly if it is early to mid year, it should have the angled saddles for sure."

    So I checked my collection of images again. Around a quarter of the 1956 Telecaster I have show non angled screws. In fact, they're actually all from november or december. One has a neck dated of september, but the body is dated november.

    So that seems to be the verdict : My june 56 Telecaster should have angled screw saddles. Sad saddles I have, I was so impatient to see steel up this bridge!! This is a lesson day.
     
  14. Tel E Twister

    Tel E Twister Tele-Meister

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    I think it just depends which side of the saddle you start threading the intonation screw from.
    If you start the screw from the proper side, the height screws should be close to perpendicular with the bridge plate :idea:
     
  15. Major Gruber

    Major Gruber Tele-Afflicted

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    We're actually talking of two models of saddles geometically tapped differently. One has one holes tapped through the center of a steel cylinder and two others tapped perpendicularly on each side, which means you can set them either way you'll get exactly the same result, theyre not close to perpendicularity, they're perpendicular, which means symetric. And in the other model, they're not perpendicular so there's a way to set them the wrong side. The axis of a hole through a piece of steel isn't something subjective, actually :eek:
     
  16. Major Gruber

    Major Gruber Tele-Afflicted

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    :lol::lol::lol: but in the other hand you're not totally wrong. I checked my pictures again and after reading you I wonder if one of those i thought were non angled were actually set the wrong way and thus… looked perpendicular.

    If fact, my problem is not to look perpendicular, it's I got perpendicular saddles when they should be angled… :cry:
     
  17. TheFullMonty

    TheFullMonty Tele-Holic

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    NOTE: This is entirely trivial information and will benefit you in no way.


    Not to be nitpicky (although we may already be beyond that :cool:) but this isn't strictly true based on some correspondence between Leo and Leon McAuliffe (of The Texas Playboys) in late 1950 and early 1951. A buddy of mine was able to track down Leon's daughter several years back and purchase from her a large collection of his guitars, steels, and documents.(Including some letters from Leo) The Broadcaster was launched in Fall of '50, and the first brass saddles were seen at the start of November the same year. Leon McAuliffe was close friends with Leo and received, according to Leon, the first brass saddle Broadcaster (Serial # 0084, dated 11/1/50) in late 1950. This was an extremely early Broadcaster, but certainly not the first. For a very brief period after the release of the Broadcaster and prior to November 1950, an extremely small batch of steel saddle Broadcasters were built.

    For any who took time read the above rant, I give you pictures:
     

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  18. Major Gruber

    Major Gruber Tele-Afflicted

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    Great! I think I copied the sentence in Duchossoir's. Very often when you have the means to look closer, precisions change the landscape (as for those f***XX!!##! saddles). Don't hesitate to share more of those information :eek:
     
  19. slack

    slack Friend of Leo's

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    I believe either is fine for 56 (and even earlier).
     
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