6 saddle Tele bridge on a California Series Tele

Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by zekester, May 6, 2020.

  1. zekester

    zekester TDPRI Member

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    I was gifted a California Series Tele by a friend. It has a 6 brass saddles bridge. I am obsessive about proper guitar setups, as I do them myself and adjust the variables to suit my playing preferences. I am aware that most Teles have 3 saddle bridges. My question is how can a 3 saddle bridge accommodate intonation for 6 strings? Wouldn't a player have to make a choice as to which of each pair of strings sharing a saddle would be in intonation, and just live with the other string potentially being out of intonation?
     
  2. Nick Fanis

    Nick Fanis Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    "Perfect" intonation is a myth and highly overrated and can NEVER happen in a guitar (it is not a piano :) )

    The vast majority of music recorded is with "non perfectly" intonated guitars ,telecasters included.

    Still there are ways to have a three saddle bridge and "perfect" intonation.

    A simple Google search on "compensated telecaster saddles" will answer the rest of your questions.
     
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  3. LutherBurger

    LutherBurger Friend of Leo's

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    Some folks carefully split the difference on each saddle, some use various tuning and adjustment tricks, some use compensated saddles, and some just rock and roll. :)
     
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  4. zekester

    zekester TDPRI Member

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    I didn't use the word "perfect" in my question because I am well aware that a guitar cannot be perfectly intonated. Nor can a piano, BTW. Most of the time a string's being out of intonation isn't very audible, but I've had the experience that my sensitive ear can hear a string being sufficiently out of intonation, almost exclusively when fingering in its upper register. So, it seems to me that if that is the case, one or the other of the pair sharing that saddle will be in better intonation than the other.
     
  5. Nick Fanis

    Nick Fanis Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    Which is the wise way to do it :)
     
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  6. LutherBurger

    LutherBurger Friend of Leo's

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    I use these on my "vintage" bridges:

    [​IMG]

    But this is my favorite Telecaster bridge of all:

    [​IMG]
     
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  7. zekester

    zekester TDPRI Member

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    2nd reply to Nick F.: It seems to me that compensated bridges are created on the theory that when 2 strings share the same saddle, one of that pair is most frequently the one needing the compensation to bring about better intonation. That's all well and good, but what if that doesn't apply to, or work for, your particular guitar? You could very well exacerbate the intonation issue in that case, by making the issue worse. I'd always believed that having the ability to adjust each string's intonation is better than averaging intonation between 2 strings.
     
  8. tubegeek

    tubegeek Tele-Afflicted

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    From my experience trying to intonate one of these, it's better but not perfect. Since perfect isn't possible anyway, not sure it matters.

    But what you get is still a compromise, just a better one.
     
  9. bsman

    bsman Friend of Leo's

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    I really believe that a lot of magical thinking goes into some of the pronouncements over the contribution of the bridge and saddle construction on telecasters. I've owned and played teles with three and six saddles made of steel, pot metal, brass, and who-knows-whatium, and guess what: They all sounded exactly like a telecaster!

    That said, I like the three brass saddles for the most prosaic reason (in this case, Gotoh): They look nice! :)

    [​IMG]
     
  10. zekester

    zekester TDPRI Member

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    Reply to LutherBurger: Thanks for the photos. Re: the photo of the vintage compensated bridge- each of the 3 saddles appears to have a flat surface paired with a "cliff edge" cut design on its other side. (I can see that each of the 3 saddles can be turned 180 degrees, if necessary, to increase/decrease the compensation of a string needing compensation in one direction, or the other.) My question about that bridge concerns the flat surface side of each saddle: wouldn't the vibrational excursion of a string sitting atop that flat surface be attenuated by it laying atop that flat surface? Strings ideally need to sit atop a "knife edge" point of a saddle to minimize its contact surface to allow full vibrational excursion. How does that saddle work properly for 3 of the 6 strings?
     
  11. LutherBurger

    LutherBurger Friend of Leo's

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    On my guitar with those saddles and D'Addario 10-46 strings, intonation is dead-on-balls accurate at the 12th fret.

    Yes, I quoted Mona Lisa Vito and Vincent Gambini there. :)
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2020
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  12. LutherBurger

    LutherBurger Friend of Leo's

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    It just does. No need to overthink it.
     
  13. zekester

    zekester TDPRI Member

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    Reply to tubegeek: I agree that Teles have a distinctive sound, but I was concerned with string intonation adjustment capabilities. The type of bridge a guitar has should not alter the the inherent sound characteristics of that guitar. Looking at the picture of your gorgeous Tele, I'd say that those saddles are steel, not brass. Steel is a great material for saddles.
     
  14. jonnyfez

    jonnyfez Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    I had a California Series Fat Tele with that 6 saddle bridge. It worked fine but I swapped it out for a traditional style with three brass saddles. It also worked fine.
     
  15. zekester

    zekester TDPRI Member

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    I did say I was obsessive. My philosophy: (1) Anything worth doing is worth doing to the best of your ability. (2) If doing something benefits a situation, then it should be done. (3) Good enough isn't good enough.
     
  16. zekester

    zekester TDPRI Member

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    I'm curious: why did you do that?
     
  17. Ivorytooth

    Ivorytooth Tele-Meister

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    I have a California Series Tele and I left the 6 saddle bridge in. I also have a Tele with the brass 3 saddle. I like both.

    California Series Teles are collectible, so keep it stock or if you change something, keep the original parts for resale value. I wouldn't do anything irreversible. If you don't ever intend to sell it, then mod away!!

    I can set intonation both types of bridges just fine.
     
  18. Nick Fanis

    Nick Fanis Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    And you believed right.
     
  19. Nick Fanis

    Nick Fanis Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    Mine too but the GOTOH modern (all brass)version
    Not only because of the improved "intonation" but also about the balancing of sound and thickening of the unwound strings tone.
     
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  20. LutherBurger

    LutherBurger Friend of Leo's

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    I've never tried a brass bridge plate, but I am curious about them... maybe someday I will. I'd be interested in learning whether a pickup would be less microphonic (i.e., make less tapping and switching noise) in a nonmagnetic brass plate than in a magnetic steel one.

    I apologize for hijacking your thread, @zekester.
     
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