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60's threaded saddles should not be overlooked

Discussion in 'Vintage Tele Discussion Forum (pre-1974)' started by Bobchill, Sep 10, 2018.

  1. Bobchill

    Bobchill TDPRI Member

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    The fully threaded saddles fitted on Telecasters from late 50's to late 60's usually don't have a great reputation among players. They are thinner and somewhat cheaper when compared to the brass saddles from the early 50's or the steel saddles from the mid 50's.
    I have a 1967 Telecaster with 1965-'66 features I'm very happy with. I wanted to try if installing 50's style saddless would have brought any improvement. In particoular I thought that the guitar could have achieved a tad more of warmth, definition and sustain, so to get a bit closer to the tone of my number one guitar, an original vintage blackguard.
    I bought and installed a set of Rutter's Vintage style brass saddles, famed of being the best 50's repro saddles out there. From the beginning I wasn't quite satisfied with the change but I thought that the new saddles might have used some break-in. Things didn't get much better after a few months and an accurate set-up; the tone became a bit thinner and harsher (which I tried to compensate closing the tone knob), which is about the opposite I was hoping to get as a result. My impressions were absolutely confirmed when I reverted the guitar to the original "infamous" threaded saddles: my Tele came back to a richer, more articulated and even fatter tone. I Wanted to share my experience with you as I'd love to hear if you had similar experiences or any thoughts about this.
    Of course all of the above is aside of the so-called "intonation issues" of the vintage saddles, which never worried me.
     

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    Last edited: Sep 10, 2018
  2. telex76

    telex76 Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Some Teles just like what they like.
     
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  3. nojazzhere

    nojazzhere Doctor of Teleocity

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    I've wanted to try the "threaded" saddles like yours to see if it helped eliminate strings sliding around on the saddles. I use the compensated brass saddles, and while they sound fine, strings move around on them.
     
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  4. 63telemaster

    63telemaster Tele-Meister

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    Yep been there done that and came to same conclusion.

    [​IMG]
     
  5. Major Gruber

    Major Gruber Tele-Afflicted

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    I purchased genuine threaded saddles to restaure my 67 and couldn't get happier with the tone and feel. And I had reissue threaded saddles in stock (I used before finding the real ones) and set them on another telly parcaster made of vintage pieces and I feel just the same. That's only when I set original steel saddles on a 56 player telecaster I used to own that I discovered how saddles can ruin the sound. I put them off and set mark rutters steel reissues instead and had my great sounding 56 back again (originally came with brass saddles that sounded good too). After this experience, I would question much more the steel saddles than the threaded. But as telex76 said, each tele (specially old) knows what's good for her ;)
     
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  6. deytookerjaabs

    deytookerjaabs Friend of Leo's

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    The "so called intonation issues" are real but just mean that your open string and 12th fret note won't be perfect octaves which is a no nonsense math/physics truth of the matter, distance for the octave is directly correlated to string diameter. But, yeah, with the right middle ground it's not so bad and might make other notes ring truer, in fact.

    I agree, both designs are cool and work on their respective guitars.
     
  7. Lobomov

    Lobomov Friend of Leo's

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    I find the thread saddles on my '66 NOS tele to be a PITA when stringing and been considering changing them for a more practical set of steel saddles
     
  8. Bobchill

    Bobchill TDPRI Member

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    I assume that reissue saddles might sound different from the originals, like in the case of my set of Rutter's brass saddles when compared to originals from the early 50's.
     
  9. Ricky D.

    Ricky D. Doctor of Teleocity

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    Saddles don't break in. Solid brass, solid steel, they'll be the same in ten years as they are the day they're first installed.

    I like the threaded steel, but they can be a problem with string spacing.
     
  10. rze99

    rze99 Poster Extraordinaire

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    I think they twang just a little more, if that's a good thing in your ears.

    Brass saddles do tend to be a little mellower. Not that much in it.

    I like that they are grooved and that helps bring the top E in a little from the edge of the board.

    On the compensation front, I do old school "bend-the-buggers-'til-they're-right" compensation on the saddles. It is amazing how well this works. I saw this first on a posting here about Buck Owen's Tele and how he'd bent them and so I tried it. Done that on a few 60s teles. Takes time and effort but works really well. I think you can get compensated steel wound saddles from Glendale but they are 40 quid whereas this is the cost of a little time and effort doing a bit at a time till they are right.

    Like this MJT build I did:

    007.JPG

    017.JPG
     
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2018
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  11. skunqesh

    skunqesh Tele-Holic

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    I've got a couple of '67s with threaded saddles. My 2c, I like 'em.
    They're worn in, and thankfully the spacing is just right, otherwise I could see it being a problem.
    I also find brass saddles to give a slightly more mellow sound (less chimey).
    I wonder if it's a saddle diameter / narrowness of the string angle break effect?


    I've not tried to bend mine, but just for informational purposes, here's a link describing bending tele saddles in more detail:

    https://www.premierguitar.com/articles/How_to_Intonate_a_Three_Saddle_Tele
     
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2018
  12. archetype

    archetype Fiend of Leo's

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    IMO it's the brass material that may be a bit less bright/chimey. The difference is subtle, if there is a difference at all. It really depends on the rest of the guitar.

    Diameter shouldn't have a noticeable effect on tone, but the old-style 5/16" diameter saddles can add some artifacts to the sound. In my experience, the tiny difference in string contact area between 5/16" and 1/4" diameter can produce more "saddle rattle," especially on the lower 3 strings. To me, this not a defect, but is inherent in the old-school tone of a Tele. It's just part of the usual bang and twang you get.

    YMMV. There are no absolutes with a Telecaster. The tone is the sum of many components.
     
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  13. Adam Wolfaardt

    Adam Wolfaardt Tele-Meister

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    Are you saying that the mid '50s steel saddles don't sound as good as the later threaded ones? I dont like the sound of the original steel saddles on my '55. I put some glendale brass compensated ones on and I like it much better. Maybe some early '60s threaded ones would sound even better
     
  14. Bobchill

    Bobchill TDPRI Member

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    From my understanding, that's basicly the same thing Danny Gatton did, possibly in a more sophisticated way, to the brass saddles on his famous '53 Tele.
     
  15. rze99

    rze99 Poster Extraordinaire

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    Quite possibly. I think it was a Tele Pro insider trick that no one let me into until I joined these pages!
     
  16. Nightclub Dwight

    Nightclub Dwight Tele-Afflicted

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    I learned to play on a '68 with the threaded saddles. That was a lifetime ago, but since my first guitar had them, they just always felt right to me. I have never switched back and forth. Some of my Telecasters have threaded, some brass compensated and some steel compensated. I like them all. But in my heart, a Telecaster ought to have threaded saddles.
     
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  17. Tony474

    Tony474 Poster Extraordinaire Platinum Supporter

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    I have the threaded steel saddles on my AV62RI Custom. They seem to impart the bright, snappy, attacking sound that's a characteristic of this particular guitar, but of all my many Teles, this is the only one on which I've experienced a broken string (the G, snapped at the bridge) in twenty years or more. Could be coincidence or maybe not. Just saying...
     
  18. davidos

    davidos TDPRI Member

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    I have a '66 Tele with the original threaded saddles... was getting annoyed with the string spacing (strings hitting the set screws) and also the G string feeling choked at the slot by the angled threads...

    I switched to these on the rec of Dan Strain (Danocaster) and they are great... guitar plays much better/intonates... still has the chime and clarity of steel and a more pleasing, fuller sound because the guitar is in tune!... and they were not expensive.

    https://www.philadelphialuthiertool...ter-saddle-steel-5-16-offset-barrel-set-of-3/
     
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  19. xtrajerry

    xtrajerry Doctor of Teleocity

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    iirc the threaded steel saddles are narrower than the brass saddle OP swapped in.. this would mean that strings are slightly closer to pickups.. Curious did OP adjust pickup height when he swapped the saddles? Unless he didn't his experiment is flawed.

    Bottom line is he likes the tone of his guitar better with the threaded steel saddles which is cool, just doesn't mean it'll work that way on the next guitar.
     
  20. Paul G.

    Paul G. Friend of Leo's

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    My AVRI '62 came with the "correct" threaded steel saddles.

    At one point about 10 years ago, I decided to improve the guitar by getting compensated saddles. I tried a few different ones, in brass and steel.

    I ended up putting the threaded saddles back on. The guitar just has more pop and sings in a way it didn't with other saddles.

    P.
     
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