Compensated saddles

Gary in Boston

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It simply comes down to this.......................

Some Teles intonate just fine with the standard run of the mill three piece saddle arrangement.

For the ones that don't intonate there are many elegant solutions to solve the problem in the above mentioned, standard run of the mill three piece saddle arrangement.

You can talk about it until the cows come home or you can tune your guitar and play it.
 

Jim85IROC

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I have some Wilkinson's on one and they intonate well and sound good, cheap too. View attachment 1055069
This is what I use too. On my 2012 Black Paisley FSR (in my avatar) I put the whole Wilkinson bridge on it and I was very pleased with how it looks, how it changed the sound, and how well it intonated. For my new 50s CV Tele that I just ordered from Pro Audio Star, I decided to try a set of super cheap intonated saddles from Amazon for $8. They looked identical to the Wilkinsons in the pictures. Sure enough, they just arrived today and they're Wilkinsons. Hard to beat that for $8!!! Ironically, I got the CV tele a couple days ago, and the guitar intonated much better than I expected. For the most part, each string pair intonates within the margin of accuracy of my Snark tuner, which frankly, is better than I can take advantage of anyway. I wonder if it has something to do with the string gauge (9s on the CV) or if it's something else. Typically when I intonate with 10s, the saddle spacing is much further apart.
 

Lowspeid

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On my ‘’60s AO I tried:

Callaham Steel
Philadelphia Luthiers steel & brass
Rutters Steel
Gotoh brass 6-saddle

I went back to the original steel saddles for about a week, then put Fender threaded saddles on, and haven’t looked back. The threaded saddles sound almost exactly like the originals, with a little less “ping” likely due to the strings being locked in a groove.
 

Chicken Curry

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Yes? All of them?
If you meant adjustable like a 6 barrel, Fender Hotrod bridge kind of does, but costs Luke $90.
Like a 6 barrel but only using three screw holes on the bridge plate. There is actually at least one, but the design is poor:
telebrwilknick.jpg


I need to be able to move the strings around, especially the low E. I need to move the low E inward, the above design defeats the purpose of intonation when that happens.
 

AndrewG

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I've had Callaham and Glendale brass saddles in the past. They do absolutely nothing better than the $15 Fender compensated brass saddles other than leave your wallet a little lighter. But nobody who got scammed buying them is going to come onto a guitar forum and say they don't hear a difference. There's an obvious direct correlation between how much money you spend on saddles and how much of a difference you (think) you're hearing. The more you spend, the more of a difference (improvement) you'll swear you hear.

If players were as critical to their playing as they are about things like saddles, their tone would change dramatically; way more than plunking down $50+ for some boutique saddles thinking that's gonna solve all their tone problems and open the door and get them to that next level.
I doubt that my ancient ears could hear any tonal difference between various varieties of design or build materials, and your point about hearing what you want to hear is a salient one; psychoacoustics. Our brains are very good at fooling us, and how we perceive sound is a complex subject with many variables out of our control:
 

Kmaxbrady

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I doubt that my ancient ears could hear any tonal difference between various varieties of design or build materials, and your point about hearing what you want to hear is a salient one; psychoacoustics. Our brains are very good at fooling us, and how we perceive sound is a complex subject with many variables out of our control:
Very plausible. But to me the more important factors with saddles are intonation, string spacing, and how they feel under the palm of my hand. They could make a small tonal difference but it’s probably less than the effect of new strings or a different type of pick.
 

cousinpaul

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Kmax nailed it on post #9. I would add that the height adjustment method can also be used to fine tune straight barrels. That's the way tele intonation was done in the days before compensated saddles became available. We're talking decades of great tele players and performances.
 

Minivan Megafun

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I think we may be at cross purposes? I was referring purely to the saddles. As an (ex) engineer I totally agree that designing and putting into production a complete bridge unit is by no means a five minute job. It must also be borne in mind that they will sell in relatively low numbers in comparison with, say, car part.
Very true my friend

There's also the issue of copycat products coming out after someone puts the time and money into development of the product. Like for example, I could be wrong but I believe that the slanted compensated design was developed by Callaham. Now others have copied it and are selling the "identical" product for 1/4 the price.

Look, I'm under no illusions about supposed audiophile claims of tonal differences between brass sourced from different places or the properties of the steel used. But I choose to purchase a quality product from a company known for high quality precision parts built locally instead of sourced from an overseas factory. That's just me. I'm sure Wilkinson, or whatever generic Musliclily ones off Amazon will also get the job done just fine.
 

Rockabillybilly

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I have a question about the length screws. I just bought a Squire Classic Vibe Tele and want to put compensated saddles on it. I believe I saw some older threads where folks said the holes in the Squire bridge were too small for the screws that come with some compensated saddles. Has anyone experienced this?
 

AxemanVR

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I like Rutters straight compensated because they still look like stock saddles with the strings on.
.
I also went with Rutters compensating brass saddles on my 2003 Fender AV '52 Telecaster. Here's a before and after *(the shine on the "new looking" Rutters has tarnished nicely since I put them on a few years ago):


x2.jpg




52 Tele a small.jpg
 

birdawesome

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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?

View attachment 1053357
Glendale saddles are where it’s at. I highly recommend them over anyone’s. I also replaced my CS saddles with them
 

Wound_Up

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While we're on saddles, what's with the smaller sized saddles I've come across on some sites? They're like 1/4"(6.35mm) vs whatever size the stock brass barrels are. 3/8"? Im not sure. I'll see if I can find an example pic. They're usually referenced as being for early 50s guitars, IIRC.

Edit: maybe the threaded/all-thread saddles are 1/4"? Here's a set below, as well as a set of 1/4" offset compensated saddles from Philadelphia Luthier Tools. Where does the 1/4" spec come from?

Screenshot_20221210-001147_Chrome.jpg
Screenshot_20221210-001112_Chrome.jpg
 
Last edited:

Wound_Up

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The company I found the other day, Forney Custom Parts, makes their own compensated saddles. Check these out. They're marked with 0.10" and 0.12" I believe? You can see it on the saddles below. Still not sure what it means. I guess I could email and ask.

Screenshot_20221209-004008_Chrome.jpg
 




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