Compensated Saddles - Again

Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by Ess Eff, Sep 10, 2020.

  1. EsquireOK

    EsquireOK Poster Extraordinaire

    Aug 30, 2011
    The middle saddle is certainly the most problematic one when using a plain G string (which almost everyone does these days). The E/A and B/E saddles provide OK intonation, even when stock. The D/G is also OK when using a wound G string. I've never found compensation to be all that beneficial except on the middle saddle. Is it better with compensation? Sure. But it's really not that sour without it.
    oldfish likes this.
  2. Nick Fanis

    Nick Fanis Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

    Mar 3, 2003
    Are you absolutely sure about it?
    I highly doubt that Fender uses different CNCs for the various MIM models.
  3. Digiplay

    Digiplay Tele-Afflicted

    Mar 18, 2019
    Hoover, Alabama
    Hi Nick!

    Perhaps the reason it appears to sit lower is because the RW and the Deluxe Nashville have two completely different necks.

  4. Willy-son

    Willy-son Tele-Meister

    Jun 23, 2011
    NJ USA
    I think you hit the nail on the head. I never got the after-market saddle hype. I have two Teles: A 64 AVRI and a 60s Classic. Both have threaded saddles, both have rosewood boards, both have 7.25 necks and both strung with 11s. Both intonate perfectly and play wonderfully with the stock threaded saddles, and I play a lot of jazz up and down the necks. In my opinion, a proper set-up will take you a lot further than after-market saddles.
    oldfish likes this.
  5. Peegoo

    Peegoo Poster Extraordinaire

    Oct 11, 2019
    Between the Raindrops
    I use nut files on my compensated saddles to make little string grooves that hold the strings in place. It's dead simple to do.
  6. gkterry

    gkterry Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

    Dec 19, 2014
    the Telecaster Forest
    It is possible without a lot of effort to 'compensate' a set of non-compensated saddles by gently bending the screw that goes through the saddle to an angle that accomplishes intonation (if needed). This can be done with the saddle installed in the bridge plate. Just go slow. One must keep in mind which screw goes with which saddle if they are ever disassembled. You end up with the slanted saddle look which doesn't really bother me. YMMV

    Having said that my favorite saddles are (in order):

    1) Gotoh In-tune - nice intonation and made the guitar sound better and play easier. relatively inexpensive.
    2) Rutter's saddles - I have had several sets from Mr Rutter and they have all been very good quality, the compensation notch is largely hidden by the strings, lots of options - a bit more pricey though
    3) Wilkinson saddles - good, basic faceted saddles

    Haven't tried Callaham or Glendale saddles so I can't speak to them.

    Could anyone speak to the difference the Callaham saddles make over similar designs?
  7. gregulator450

    gregulator450 Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    Aug 12, 2014
    The Dry Side
    For help on intonating the three-barrel bridge, go here:

    Post #5 details Jerry Donahue's method. I have a buddy/tech client who has recently converted his six-saddle bridges to non-compensated barrel bridges and I have used Jerry's method to intonate two of his tele's and it has been successful. It takes a bit of faith at the end (listening to your ears more than trusting your eyes on the tuner), as detailed by Jerry, but it works.

    If you're going to get into compensated barrels, I have had success with the Wilkinson saddles, which also took a bit of "faith" to get right on the guitars I've seen them on, and having seen @Kmaxbrady's Bensonite saddles in use I am quite impressed (full disclosure- he is a friend of mine, but regardless, I truly believe in his product from my guitar tech viewpoint). I have no experience with Callaham or Rutter but have heard lots of good about them on this site.
  8. Buckocaster51

    Buckocaster51 Super Moderator Staff Member Ad Free Member

    Jan 6, 2005
    Iowa USA
    Admin Post
    You sir, are correct.

    Dale’s “wide-intone” saddles work great with the 10-52 strings I use.
  9. Kmaxbrady

    Kmaxbrady Tele-Meister

    Dec 22, 2017
    Dundee, Oregon
    I can’t argue with your own experience, but if this is true, then why is the telecaster one of the only guitars to still have a bridge with 3 straight saddles? If it works then why was that design so quickly abandoned on almost everything that followed? Leo himself never went back to it on all his later designs, and almost nobody is using them now except on tele copies or fenders that are going for “vintage correct”.
    Having said all that, I love the traditional 3 saddle design, as long as they’re compensated :)
IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.