Getting unwanted grooves out of brass saddles

bradpdx

Friend of Leo's
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I've used 3 saddle brass bridges forever on Telecasters, both Fender reissue originals and various third parties. Presently, my beloved old 52RI has some brass Callahan "crooked" saddles that intonate very well and sound great.

With all of these, I've had the problem of the high E and sometimes the B digging grooves into the brass over time, resulting in a "sitar" like buzz that is no good. Every few months I have to sand the offending saddle with very fine sandpiper to get the grooves out, and tone is restored.

I use .009s or .010s, the issue remains the same.

I haven't seen this problem mentioned on any posts that I can find, and so I'm curious if others encounter this issue. Is there any advice beyond what I've been doing?
 

tattypicker

Tele-Meister
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Didn't Leo move to steel, grooved saddles?

I once had a brass nut installed - it was the 80s. It was grooved, and whilst I'm not sure I liked the tone over plastic or bone, it didn't buzz like a sitar.

So, is the issue here caused by sanding the grooves out rather than letting them deepen?
 

Peegoo

Doctor of Teleocity
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How are the strings wearing into the brass? You have a Bigsby on that guitar? Are the saddles made of round rod? Or are they profiled?

Whatever you're doing, apply a teensy drop of light oil to the point where the string rolls over the saddle. Do this at every string change.

Lubricating a nut and saddles is not just for Stratocasters. Your Tele will stay in tune and play in tune a whole lot better.
 

SnidelyWhiplash

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Love brass saddles. It's happened a couple of times to me. I detuned the string & moved it back & forth a few times over the burr until it smoothed out. A cheap file, but it worked.
 

bradpdx

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The guitar in question has no Bigsby, just a regular Fender bridge plate. Strings are .009s. The grooves just happen over time with all brass saddles I’ve had over 40 years. I do a lot of string bends, I suppose.

I’m just gonna continue sanding them with very fine emory cloth ever few months. They sound good.
 

archetype

Fiend of Leo's
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Western NY
The guitar in question has no Bigsby, just a regular Fender bridge plate. Strings are .009s. The grooves just happen over time with all brass saddles I’ve had over 40 years. I do a lot of string bends, I suppose.

I’m just gonna continue sanding them with very fine emory cloth ever few months. They sound good.

Here's an experiment. Instead of removing brass with emery cloth, burnish it with something harder than the brass. Burnishing displaces or moves the metal instead of removal. Try rubbing the brass in a uniform pattern with a knife "steel" or the shaft of a good screwdriver. It might shove the brass back into the groove. It might provide the very slightest amount of work hardening of the surface of the brass.
 




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