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GraphTech TUSQ barrel saddles for tele

Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by DeepDangler, Oct 4, 2020.

  1. DeepDangler

    DeepDangler Tele-Meister

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    I just put some TUSQ saddles on my tele out of curiosity. I needed some new compensated saddles and the reviews seemed positive. The product page seems a bit optimistic but they do sound good. Honestly the different is so minor in sound I wouldn’t know I’m running TUSQ saddles instead of brass. The most notable difference is more felt vibration in the body of the guitar and resonance seems to be deeper than before but it’s subtle.

    Has anyone else here uses the TUSQ saddles? What are your thoughts on them?
     

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  2. memorex

    memorex Friend of Leo's

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    No experience with those. I did put a set of String Saver saddles on a Strat a long time ago. I felt they changed the tone slightly, but noticeably. However, I did break fewer stings after the change. I seldom break strings on my Teles, so I haven't felt any need to change the saddles because I'm OK with how they sound.
     
  3. boris bubbanov

    boris bubbanov Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    I don't know what reviews you may have read.

    This was a heavily promoted product, and nevertheless the users of this product, on TDPRI, are few indeed.

    I don't mean to be disrespectful of people who have fallen into this vortex, but they write glowing reviews when they know or should know, eventually, the vast majority of us won't like them. Or the review was written on the day they installed them and they're too sheepish to retract it.

    Stewart MacDonald sells them and so on someone's recommendation I got 3 sets - the 3 or more discount they have is substantial. At first I was optimistic ,with fresh strings and all, on the 3 guitars I installed them on. No problems, first hour or so of real use. That keening "over the top" sound of fresh strings was avoided. But from there the voice of each guitar became muted and in the end, into what is the heart of a product's life use, they came to sound like that proverbial blanket over the amplifier. I gave one guitar away with a set on there, I think and took the other two sets off and their fate is lost to time.

    To me, they're strictly for brutes who break strings routinely, or for people who run their signal through so much processing the actual voice of the guitar is long abandoned.

    I spent hard earned money on them. I wanted to like them, also. Ten years later, I know my money was totally wasted. I'm just glad I realized my mistake before I took anyone down that same garden path.

    If anyone wants to know a bit more about this saddle material, try to find a stock Kenny Wayne Shepherd Signature model MIM Stratocaster. I've played a couple of those in stores, so basically these were hardly played guitars. I think the presence of these saddles robbed me of the confidence to buy one or more of these Strats - otherwise pretty nice guitars.

    You may say "But Bubba, isn't Graphtech (black) and Tusq different?" OK. Do this. Prepare a couple of Tusq nuts and Graphtech (black) nuts for installation. Tell me the essence of these two materials is any different. The density, the apparent elasticity - all that stuff is precisely the same. All the properties. Only the color is different. I've prepped scores of these precut nuts in both materials, ironically these materials are optimal for making nuts from, and the "get" as you shape and finish these Graphtechs of the two colors is essentially the same.
     
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2020
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  4. Boreas

    Boreas Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Looks like there was a Bigsby on there at one time. Have you tried them with the Bigsby.
     
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  5. DeepDangler

    DeepDangler Tele-Meister

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    Good eye! I had this guitar modified for the Bigsby as you can see by the dremel notches on the bridge. I just removed the Bigsby last year.

    I’m not sure where I stand on the TUSQ saddles yet. I haven’t had a chance to turn the guitar up but currently it sounds similar. I’ll be giving more detail once I plugged into more than my practice amps.
     
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  6. rze99

    rze99 Poster Extraordinaire

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    I haven’t tried those. Not especially tempted to either.

    Most noticeable positive difference I ever had was I put Callaham rolled steel compensated saddles on a partscaster I made in place of some regular grooved ‘60s style vintage steel saddles which were Ok but not quite hitting the mark. Both tone and intonation were much better. Expensive but worth it.
     
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2020
  7. lammie200

    lammie200 Friend of Leo's

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    I have string saver classics on my Strat. I like them. They work as advertised by taking the high frequency spike out of the attack. That is what I wanted to have happen.
     
  8. Boreas

    Boreas Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Cool! I would be interested to see if they are better or worse than brass with a Bigsby.
     
  9. DeepDangler

    DeepDangler Tele-Meister

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    I used chrome plated brass saddles for years on this tele with the Bigsby and they worked fine. No tuning issues outside of the normal for having a trem unit.
     

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  10. blue metalflake

    blue metalflake Doctor of Teleocity

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    I like the look of those
     
  11. DeepDangler

    DeepDangler Tele-Meister

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    I got to plug the tele into my AC15HW1 today. High end presence seems fine. Still have the string snap. There is a little more resonance to the guitar over all, I can really feel the pine shaking. The effect on the sound is subtle and I doubt anyone but me would hear the difference.

    Once the strings are broken in, I’ll give an update on if the tone gets wooly. As it stands now, the differences are small where I wouldn’t view them as an upgrade but rather a lateral move. Slightly more resonance but less searing highs. Slightly less percussive on the initial pick strike. Tuning stability was good before but seems even better now.
     
  12. hamerfan

    hamerfan Tele-Meister

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    I liked them very much of in a Tokai ES-335. It gave more substance to the thinner thinline sound and was smoothing out the harder attack. It works similar to the nylon abr bridges of the 60ies.
     
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  13. DeepDangler

    DeepDangler Tele-Meister

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    I just pulled the TUSQ saddles off my pine tele. After the strings broke in, I noticed a strong low mid and bass focus and my high end was dampened. It made my guitar too heavy on bass frequencies and causes odd overtones with my high output pickups. I will say the saddles might be a good fit on a jazz guitar but that’s about it.
     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2020
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  14. boris bubbanov

    boris bubbanov Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    +1

    I think they would be a good match, for someone with an extremely heavy hand, playing extremely highly processed sounds, as well.

    Except I can't see a Death Metal guy using a pale color saddle. :^)
     
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  15. DeepDangler

    DeepDangler Tele-Meister

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    Picture of the fixed bridge: 7824A501-7177-46A1-84B9-DCF041409208.jpeg
     
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  16. Boreas

    Boreas Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    That pickup looks kinda high. That could introduce some wierd overtones as well.
     
  17. DeepDangler

    DeepDangler Tele-Meister

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    I do have the pickup really high since the neck is so powerful. I haven’t played it at high volume since putting the saddles on again so I may have to adjust it. The TUSQ saddles were a little taller than my brass ones. The overtones I got with the TUSQ saddles were strange. It had a an acoustic sympathetic vibration kind of overtone when letting certain notes ring out. Sometimes it sounded cool, other times it was dissonant. I think it was a bizarre interaction of the old pine body and the TUSQ saddles allowing more vibrations to pass through. If I use the TUSQ again, I’d have them on a guitar with piezo.
     
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  18. Crobbins

    Crobbins Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

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    Right on. Let us know what you think. I use their picks.


    [​IMG]
     
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