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Ashtray Bridge Assemblies - 6 Steel Saddles vs. 3 Brass Saddles

Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by Butch Snyder, Nov 28, 2020.

  1. Butch Snyder

    Butch Snyder Tele-Afflicted

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    I have a 1994 Tele Special. It has the ashtray bridge assembly with 6 steel saddles. I'm thinking of replacing it, or at least the saddles, with an ashtray assembly with 3 brass saddles. I'm wondering if the difference in tone will negligible or significant. Body is alder and fretboard is maple.
     
  2. Nick Fanis

    Nick Fanis Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    You have the worst designed and poorer sounding bridge ever.
    Replacing with a three saddle one will be a big improvement .
    If you want the advantage of better intonation the time proven Gotoh "modern" bridge is another great option,and my personal preference.
     
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  3. Dereksys38

    Dereksys38 Tele-Meister

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    I personally thought the six saddle looked nice at first, but what makes the three saddle so good?
     
  4. boris bubbanov

    boris bubbanov Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    Now, I'm speaking just of the 6 "hammer" saddle, vintage style bridge here, but the string falls over the barrel off to one side, and therefore the saddle height screw on the other side sees little or no load, and this screw migrates up or down, often just gets lost, and the unbalanced saddles start tipping over and they're all leaning on one another. The darned, rattly thing simply dis-assembles itself as you play the guitar.

    Apparently some guys have a very delicate or deliberate way of playing and they somehow don't disturb the Jenga Tower. I can't accomplish this - I can barely visualize it, mentally.

    [​IMG]I see this image and I see 12 razor blades, waiting to maim me. There's a G + L version, precision made with brass saddles, that works much less horribly, but you can't simply transplant that bridge onto a Fender necked guitar - trust me, it doesn't work, mainly because the heel on the FMIC product and copies of it are more narrow.
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2020
  5. Butch Snyder

    Butch Snyder Tele-Afflicted

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    That's the one I have. It will be replaced by a new bridge assembly with 3 compensated brass saddles. Thanks for the input. Pretty much what I was thinking.
     
  6. boris bubbanov

    boris bubbanov Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    It is a bad design, and it is poorly executed as well. Among other things, it imposes a width array at the saddles that's really too wide for the guitar. If the saddles were brass, and the overall length of each barrel was 5-10% shorter, the saddle IMO could sit more squarely under the load from the string above. Perhaps another partial solution would be a wider neck that's 1.85 inches wide at the nut, or thereabouts. But as stock, the barrels are trying to impose a wider string array than the rest of the guitar is calling for.

    I dislike the look of it, and dislike the way it keeps coming apart so readily. I find it odd, trying to play a Telecaster with the strings this far apart as the two outboard strings are then falling off the edges of the fretboard, above say the 9th fret.

    But the actual sound, if you have tamed the rattles for the moment, isn't actually that bad. The extra parts probably impart some trashy or rattly sounds, but to me that's far from my central complaint about it.
     
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  7. Greggorios

    Greggorios Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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  8. brenn

    brenn Tele-Afflicted

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    Never mind
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2020
  9. Nick Fanis

    Nick Fanis Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    Of course you can.

    As far as intonation with three saddle goes it's not really a problem , perfect intonation is impossible anyway in a guitar no matter what the bridge is,but even if you can hear the three saddle intonation "problem" there are compensated saddles that tackle it.
     
  10. Nick Fanis

    Nick Fanis Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    .
     
  11. fasteddie42

    fasteddie42 Tele-Afflicted

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    da twang babay
     
  12. archetype

    archetype Fiend of Leo's

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    I couldn't remove the 6-saddle rattle hammer bridge fast enough from my James Burton Standard. A 3-saddle bridge assembly may be a contributor to twang and classic Tele sound. Intonation is good enough and if you want better, there are compensated saddles available for cheap. Setting the string radius is a non-issue. Set the action of each string where it needs to be: the result never forms a single radius.
     
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  13. kinkstah

    kinkstah Tele-Afflicted

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    +1. I did the same on my Albert Collins, and never looked back
     
  14. Mr. Lumbergh

    Mr. Lumbergh Poster Extraordinaire

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    As for your question about tone, I have three Teles each with six saddles similar to the Strat (not the "hammer" style), and they all sound like Teles.
     
  15. Butch Snyder

    Butch Snyder Tele-Afflicted

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    I get that. I have Teles with the 6-saddle vintage style bridge assembly, 6-saddle stainless steel assembly, Vintage Fender 3-brass saddle ashtray assembly, and Wilkinson compensated brass saddle assembly. They all sound different; but all sound like Telecasters.

    I ordered a Wilkinson compensated brass saddle ashtray bridge assembly. It's actually a reliced model. My Telecaster is fromm 1994, so it has a bit of age and wear on it; but none if it manufactured. The reliced bridge assembly looks like it was made with the guitar. I installed it last night and set it up. It was pretty late, so I didn't plug in and play. We'll do that today.
     
  16. ThermionicScott

    ThermionicScott Poster Extraordinaire

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    My '94 MIM Tele had the worst of all possible worlds -- 6-saddle bridge *and* it's a top-loader, so even less down-force to hold all those saddles in place. My dad and I drilled new holes to install 3 compensated saddles and that helped a lot.
     
  17. Tenderfoot

    Tenderfoot Tele-Holic

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    I got one of the Fender Six Saddle Bridge assemblies with a 52 AVRI I purchased early 2012. Fender provided it in case the buyer preferred a modern six saddle bridge assembly. Well, I put it on and took it right off after I found that I couldn't adjust the string action/radius without having any of (all 12) grub screws tearing into my hand.

    I tried to sell the assembly on various sites over a period of several years and finally (with no takers) included it as a freebee as part of a package deal on several other parts.

    Not recommended!

    [​IMG]
     
  18. telestratosonic

    telestratosonic Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    I have a 2017 USA-made American Special Telecaster with the vintage 3-saddle bridge. It will not perfectly intonate at the 12th fret. I have a set of brass Gotoh In-Tune Compensated Saddles on the way from StewMac. I'm going to give them a try.
     
  19. douellette

    douellette TDPRI Member

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    I bought a 1973 a few years ago. It came to me with a six saddle bridge. I expected to replace them, as I have compensated three-barrel brass saddles on all of my other Teles.

    I thought I'd live with it for a while first, and I'm glad I did. I don't want to say that those problems don't exist, but I haven't had any of the problems listed above.

    This is staying on this guitar.
     

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  20. Fiesta Red

    Fiesta Red Poster Extraordinaire

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    Well, I guess I’m in a severe minority and/or I’m the most fortunate person on earth.

    I kept the stock bridge on my 1995 MIM Tele Special, and I have not one single complaint about it.

    Sounds good, is structurally sound (nary a single rattle, ever), intimates well and looks good (not as good/cool as a three-saddle, but still good).

    If it doesn’t work for you, replace it...but don’t replace it because somebody else said it’s bad.

    DCBD6761-4B44-4745-B726-02B89138D059.jpeg
     
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