Getting unwanted grooves out of brass saddles

Discussion in 'Tele-Technical' started by bradpdx, Sep 17, 2021.

  1. bradpdx

    bradpdx Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,462
    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2006
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    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?
     
  2. ElJay370

    ElJay370 Tele-Afflicted

    Age:
    51
    Posts:
    1,885
    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2018
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    Can’t offer much outside of what you’ve already been doing. When it’s brass vs. steel, brass is gonna lose every time.
     
  3. Timbresmith1

    Timbresmith1 Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,452
    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2010
    Location:
    Central TX
    You could get a fine nut file and cut the grooves at a sight downward angle so they don’t buzz.
     
    Ron C likes this.
  4. LutherBurger

    LutherBurger Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    6,154
    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2013
    Location:
    Newyorkistan
    What would Leo do? ;)
     
  5. gmann

    gmann Friend of Leo's

    Age:
    67
    Posts:
    2,705
    Joined:
    May 7, 2008
    Location:
    Okinawa, Japan
    Switch to steel.
     
    Matthias, LutherBurger and Ricky D. like this.
  6. tattypicker

    tattypicker Tele-Meister

    Age:
    49
    Posts:
    327
    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2019
    Location:
    UK
    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?
     
  7. Peegoo

    Peegoo Doctor of Teleocity

    Posts:
    10,446
    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2019
    Location:
    Challenging Definitions of Sin
    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.
     
    SparkleFart and bradpdx like this.
  8. trev333

    trev333 Telefied Ad Free Member

    Posts:
    28,515
    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2009
    Location:
    Coolum Beach,Australia
    play some experimental Jazz on that puppy and the groove will just go away.....:lol:
     
    Pcs264, Ricky D., AAT65 and 3 others like this.
  9. SnidelyWhiplash

    SnidelyWhiplash Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    3,723
    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2009
    Location:
    Hoggtown, KY.
    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.
     
  10. bradpdx

    bradpdx Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,462
    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2006
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    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.
     
  11. Rowdyman

    Rowdyman Tele-Holic

    Age:
    66
    Posts:
    588
    Joined:
    May 17, 2013
    Location:
    Eastern Canada
    PSA - Filling in the grooves with solder doesn't work. too soft (might work with 'silver solder')

    :oops: RM
     
    bradpdx likes this.
  12. archetype

    archetype Fiend of Leo's Ad Free Member

    Posts:
    6,811
    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2005
    Location:
    Western NY
    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.
     
IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.