A bridge's relation to tone

NoTeleBob

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My experience is that it's counterintuitive. Or maybe it's a crap shoot. You'd think a heavier bridge would give you more resonance and depth. But sometimes it's the opposite. Or that a big brass or steel block in a Strat would be ideal vs. a cast block. But sometimes it's the opposite. You never know until you try.
 

schmee

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I think it does effect tone and feel a bit. But light or heavy may be as much about what guitar as anything. Some guitars seem bright and airy and a heavy mass can tame it a bit, but you may or may not want that.

I'm convinced the mass of a Strat trem bridge/block makes up part of the Strat sound and feel. But that is a different beast, with that big mass trem suspended, that is part of the equation also. A hardtail Strat feels/sounds much different to me.

How does the Liberty bell sound sitting on on cement vs hanging?

These are the things we anal-yze over that no one else hears.... In reality, the bridge is probably 2% of the sound or less.......
 

FuzzWatt

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My Tele came with a modern 6 saddle bridge. I changed it out to an ashtray-style three (brass) saddle bridge that is a lot lighter. . .

It sounded good before, and it sounds good now - but it was more generic the old way, and more treble-y / classic Tele the new way!
That last paragraph is exactly the sound I want from mine.

I have to find an old style bridge that will fit an Am Pro II.
 

KW1977

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To each their own, both sides of the tonal spectrum have their place, but therein lies part of the inherent magic of a Tele, imho. I’ve gone around in circles buying all this aftermarket stuff, cycled through like six Tele’s with various hardware, electronics, etc, Six saddle thick plate, three saddle ashtray,…and the best and most Tele any of them have ever sounded was with the stamped ashtray bridge(also vintage output pickups). Furthermore—Wilkinson compensated brass saddles is really all you need attached to them. I’ve owned both Rutters and K-Line bridges/saddles and they make a great product. The tone on the more solid, precision machined bridges/saddles can certainly jump out at you with more presence, attack, bass, sustain. But there is definitely something lost in the exchange there. Twang? Harmonics? Character? Most great gear was subject to accidental quirks and evolutionary anachronisms through the decades that inadvertently made it sound great or appealing somehow. Tele’s are no exception!
 
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boris bubbanov

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I changed out the original thin plate six hammer-saddle bridge on my ASAT Classic with a heavy Gotoh six saddle bridge and immediately heard and felt the difference. Original was brighter and twangier with a “clang” to it and the Gotoh sounds deeper, more controlled with much longer sustain.

I think this change was close to one end of the spectrum to the other, and wow did it make a difference.

Both have their place but for now I’m enjoying the Gotoh.
Vince Stadler (taipantone) used to do "Ferrel Blocks" for USA ASATs, in brass and also in aluminum, and the brass one (compared to the stock Delrin) did just what you describe - but with the stock bridge and saddles (or an AV52 style bridge assembly, actually).
 

boris bubbanov

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My experience is that it's counterintuitive. Or maybe it's a crap shoot. You'd think a heavier bridge would give you more resonance and depth. But sometimes it's the opposite. Or that a big brass or steel block in a Strat would be ideal vs. a cast block. But sometimes it's the opposite. You never know until you try.
Yup, but to confuse things, some Mazac blocks are actually considerably heavier than the steel ones they can be switched with. The USA Comanches (at least the 2000s ones) had really heavy zinc alloy blocks and the high end steel from Bill Callaham was 35% less in mass. Meanwhile some other cast parts are cheesy-light and sometimes they mess with the sound (or sometimes produce a sound that's better suited to where we're trying to go).
 

Whitebeard

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Not to offend any cat lovin" folks and I hope this old saying isn't based on reality but "there is more than one way to skin a cat". For instance, different types of metals react to vibration differently. Here's Callaham's approach to building a better Tele bridge and saddles.

"Most Tele bridges are made from .045 - .050 inch thick 1010 steel that is soft and easy to form into the "tray shape". Those bridges have poor sustain and tend to cause feedback problems. Some use brass castings for their saddles.

Our bridge is made from .075 inch thick 1018 specially treated steel. This gives the plate an 80% increase in rigidity and dramatically improves sustain, volume, and note separation. It eliminates unwanted feedback. There is a noticeable increase in bass response and a taming of harsh high end. The first 3/4 inch of the front lip is removed to allow for best right hand picking. Coupled with our machined compensated saddles makes this bridge the best available for any vintage styled Tele."
 

GGardner

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Is tone really subjective? What appeals to you is subjective. But some components of tone can be objectively measured, no?

If a heavier bridge makes telecaster 1 lose high frequencies, or reduces its volume, or reduces sustain, then shouldn't it do the same for telecaster 2? Not trying to be argumentative, I'm just confused.
 

Ryan0594

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My experience is that it's counterintuitive. Or maybe it's a crap shoot. You'd think a heavier bridge would give you more resonance and depth. But sometimes it's the opposite. Or that a big brass or steel block in a Strat would be ideal vs. a cast block. But sometimes it's the opposite. You never know until you try.


You're right. . . the more secure something is, the less it resonates!

Strum a chord on a Fender Mustang . . . that stop-piece is an instrument in itself! If the strings get it shaking, surely it gets the the strings going in return?
 

Bobabilly

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So I noticed recently that changing the bridge can really change the tone of a Tele.

I did some work on a guy's Tele which included swapping the stock thick heavy bridge for a lighter, thinner one. Really changed up the sound.

He didn't want his old bridge so I put it on a Tele I had (just sold it) and the heavier bridge seemed to.. I dunno.. make it less lively?

Anyone else find this to be the case? On paper I like the idea of a thick steel bridge, but when it comes to the sound, there's something a little more enjoyable about the thinner ones. At least in my limited experience.
Definitely. I remember a guy saying whatever mod you do to “improve” a Tele takes it one step further from being a Tele. Last I saw, those vintage style ashtray bridges were $11.39 on Amazon.
 

pedro58

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I have a preference for wraptail LPs, and wonder how did you put a "wraparound bridge" on a LP? Fill the holes for the bridge studs and redrill for the wraptail? That is a significant bullet to bite...I commend you. Or is there a wraptail that fits on TOM stud spacing?
Thank!
~jim
WIN_20220617_21_58_43_Pro.jpg
 

TunedupFlat

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Not to offend any cat lovin" folks and I hope this old saying isn't based on reality but "there is more than one way to skin a cat". For instance, different types of metals react to vibration differently. Here's Callaham's approach to building a better Tele bridge and saddles.

"Most Tele bridges are made from .045 - .050 inch thick 1010 steel that is soft and easy to form into the "tray shape". Those bridges have poor sustain and tend to cause feedback problems. Some use brass castings for their saddles.

Our bridge is made from .075 inch thick 1018 specially treated steel. This gives the plate an 80% increase in rigidity and dramatically improves sustain, volume, and note separation. It eliminates unwanted feedback. There is a noticeable increase in bass response and a taming of harsh high end. The first 3/4 inch of the front lip is removed to allow for best right hand picking. Coupled with our machined compensated saddles makes this bridge the best available for any vintage styled Tele."
I'm sure Callaham advertising that their bridge is the best vintage styled bridge must be the truth and not just them trying to sell you something and justify its 130 dollar price..
 

KW1977

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The heavy modern ones sound middy to me. They don't seem to have the lighter airier chime that i like. I can see some people liking them if they aren't concerned with traditional tele tone and want a more generic sound, but for me if not for that traditional tone i wouldn't be playing a tele to begin with. I guy who uses a tele for hard rock or metal i can see the modern bridge being more accommodating of that tone.

This is exactly how I worked it to my advantage a number of years ago for the reasons you mentioned. I had a 50’s reissue(3 saddle, stamped plate) that I played in a more psychedelic rock meets country kinda band, and an American Deluxe(6 saddle, thick plate) that I played in a hard rock band. Along with the appropriate pickups it worked great!

I think it speaks to what a great platform Tele’s(and Strats for that matter) truly are. It’s like an old farm tractor you can add implements to in order to meet your needs.
 
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Southpaw Tele

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I swapped out the modern six saddle bridge on my Tele for a Wilkinson three saddle and immediately noticed a difference. It opened it up, for lack of a better way to say it. More highs and less mids. I had to dial out some string buzzing (still have a little more than I prefer), but it sound more lively now.
 




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