Compensated saddles

Bucster752

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Nov 5, 2022
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Texas
Some like 'em, some don't. The stock, smooth steel saddles on my CS '55 intonated reasonably well but I like to tinker with such things, so.....

Bought a set of compensated Callaham steels, they setup very accurately and retained the original biting tone. Installed a set of Bensonite brass last night and have not yet rendered final judgement. They are massive by comparison and acoustically there is an audible difference, fatter and warmer, but amplified that difference is not so apparent. I will say they do not intonate as well as the Callaham set. When the B string is right on the money, the high E is sharp......when the D is right on, the G is sharp. While this inaccuracy is minor it does bug me, particularly knowing the perfection of the Callaham saddles.

So what are your experiences with compensated saddles? Anyone installed either of these.....the Callaham and/or Bensonite? Your impressions of these or other saddles sets that have impressed you?

IMG_3687.jpeg
 

ChicknPickn

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Some like 'em, some don't. The stock, smooth steel saddles on my CS '55 intonated reasonably well but I like to tinker with such things, so.....

Bought a set of compensated Callaham steels, they setup very accurately and retained the original biting tone. Installed a set of Bensonite brass last night and have not yet rendered final judgement. They are massive by comparison and acoustically there is an audible difference, fatter and warmer, but amplified that difference is not so apparent. I will say they do not intonate as well as the Callaham set. When the B string is right on the money, the high E is sharp......when the D is right on, the G is sharp. While this inaccuracy is minor it does bug me, particularly knowing the perfection of the Callaham saddles.

So what are your experiences with compensated saddles? Anyone installed either of these.....the Callaham and/or Bensonite? Your impressions of these or other saddles sets that have impressed you?
 

Killing Floor

Doctor of Teleocity
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Feb 3, 2021
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Austin, TX
The only saddles I ever thought sounded different were the DeTemple. The different brass types are beyond my ringing ears. I do prefer compensated, especially since it’s a reversible mod.
 

boris bubbanov

Tele Axpert
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The Callahams are useful for some set-ups, because they can be slammed down against the plate in a way that the others can't. And they're jewel like.

I think the developer of the Bensonite saddles deserves a lot of praise, but they're just not attractive to my eye and I don't especially like the sound. I'd like to see more 5/16ths inches diameter saddles. 3/8ths is about as big as I want or need.

I catch myself avoiding playing my projects that have Callaham or Glendale saddles on them, because I don't want to get those purty saddles all old and ugly looking! :^)
 

Dostradamas

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Apr 23, 2021
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Not here
Tried steel and brass ones on two different esquires.

Ended up flipping both.

I like the barrel side more.

Maybe it's the increase in contact surface?

Intonation is close enough for this ol' dog.
 

Kmaxbrady

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Joined
Dec 22, 2017
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570
Location
Dundee, Oregon
Don’t be annoyed if you already know this, but string height has a big effect on your intonation. The higher the action the sharper your notes will be. When setting up a 3 saddle tele with compensated saddles I adjust saddle position to get the intonation as close as possible, and then make micro height adjustments with the set screws to dial it in the rest of the way. Slightly higher if it’s sharp, slightly lower if it’s flat. A fairly small adjustment can make a big difference.

Other factors like string gauge, nut slots, fret size, neck relief, etc can complicate or simplify. Essentially all compensated saddles work, even the cheap ones, but depending on the previous factors one set may work better or worse than others. Callaham does gorgeous work, Glendale has a rock solid reputation, Rutters get the job done while looking the most “vintage accurate”, and the even the affordable Wilkinsons work just fine. I prefer Bensonite with the combination of compensated offsets, recessed set screws, and string slots to maintain string spacing, but I’m slightly biased. It’s great to have a lot of options!
 
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dougbgt6

Tele-Meister
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Oct 17, 2021
Posts
223
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74
Location
Twyford, Berkshire
Got these from Fleabay £7, These are right handed, but by reversing just one screw I made them left handed. Intonation OK, certainly better than straight ones.

1669388733461.png


Doug
 
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nojazzhere

Doctor of Teleocity
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Feb 3, 2017
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19,033
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Foat Wuth, Texas
Some like 'em, some don't. The stock, smooth steel saddles on my CS '55 intonated reasonably well but I like to tinker with such things, so.....

Bought a set of compensated Callaham steels, they setup very accurately and retained the original biting tone. Installed a set of Bensonite brass last night and have not yet rendered final judgement. They are massive by comparison and acoustically there is an audible difference, fatter and warmer, but amplified that difference is not so apparent. I will say they do not intonate as well as the Callaham set. When the B string is right on the money, the high E is sharp......when the D is right on, the G is sharp. While this inaccuracy is minor it does bug me, particularly knowing the perfection of the Callaham saddles.

So what are your experiences with compensated saddles? Anyone installed either of these.....the Callaham and/or Bensonite? Your impressions of these or other saddles sets that have impressed you?

View attachment 1053357
I've always been "cursed" with extreme sensitivity to incorrect intonation. I came from (originally) the violin world, so, being fretless, intonation was less of an issue. (slightly roll a finger to adjust pitch) When I started on guitar, (over 55+ years ago) playing a fretted instrument, with its "locked in" intonation, I had fits for years.
To the subject at hand, I have used Kmaxbrady's Bensonite saddles, and like them. They "tune" reasonably well, and are very comfortable to play, since I often rest my palm on the bridge. That said, I've gone back to inexpensive Wilkinson compensated saddles, because they intonate pretty well, and look a bit more "authentic". Since I'm trying to "un-accumulate" a lot of stuff, I'll probably sell off the Bensonites at some point. They're definitely good quality, if you can dig the look. ;)
 

Slip Kid

Tele-Afflicted
Joined
Dec 21, 2011
Posts
1,048
Location
Connecticut
I’ve had a set of Callaham’s, along with their bridge plate, on my Tele for a few years now. I did perceive a slight change in tone (for the better) with the thicker bridge plate. The intonation seems to be solid. I haven’t made any adjustments since installing them and was in tune the last time I checked.
 




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