J.R. Kohler Saddles!! Amazing!!!

Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by Bill Hullett, Sep 20, 2012.

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  1. JCollins

    JCollins Tele-Holic

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    Vegas Bob -- if you get the time, it might be a good idea to create a little video demoing that same guitar with its new complement of copper saddles. I have experimented with brass, cold rolled steel, and aluminum, and I am familiar with what each of those brings to the party, but I have no idea what copper would do.
     
  2. stephent2

    stephent2 Poster Extraordinaire

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    I'd love to hear the copper as well.
     
  3. william tele

    william tele Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Mr. Kohler, thanks for the info on those pickups. I've been auditioning a lot of sets on youtube and in person when possible and that Ellis set is where my heart has landed. I expect to add your saddles as well...Thank you!
     
  4. Johnny Isaacs

    Johnny Isaacs Tele-Afflicted

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    I can tell you from my experience with the copper saddles, that to my ears they bring a piano-like acoustic tone to my Tele. Very warm and full.

    Johnny Isaacs
     
  5. JCollins

    JCollins Tele-Holic

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    The following is from an email I sent to Vegas Bob, after trying a set of his saddles. If it is too long, we can cut to the chase -- I think they are great.


    Yesterday, I received the new saddles -- cold rolled steel, and an aluminum E/A. I put them on a Tele clone, which has an ash body, and a round lam rosewood fretboard. The guitar is outfitted with Klein pickups. The bridge pickup has a tap (just like a Klein Tri-state, version 2, with only the full and middle taps). The guitar has a five-way switch, giving me full bridge, full bridge plus neck, neck, neck plus tapped bridge, and tapped bridge. I mention this, because it figures into what I have discovered.

    A very odd thing happened, when I installed the saddles. "Odd", in this case, means good. Before removing the old strings and saddles, I measured the distance between the back edge of the middle saddle and the back of the bridgeplate. That is as good a starting point as I can get, when putting on new saddles. The old saddles were, by the way, aluminum E/A, and heat treated steel, for the other two.

    I put the new saddles on, using that rough measurement. I adjusted the height the way I like it, and stretched and tuned the new strings. I never had to adjust the intonation; it was on the money, for all srings! In all my years, I have never had this happen. (Serendipitous, for sure, but it saved a lot of time.)

    And now, for the sonic test. I really have no idea what the difference is between "heat-treated" steel, and "cold rolled" steel, especially when it comes to the difference in tone. I do know that I hear some differences.

    The guitar was quite good sounding, before, with good sustain, but it sure seems that the sustain was improved. Note that I say "improved" rather than "increased." I believe notes sustain as long as they did, before, but they seem to hold more of the note, longer. The sustain is stronger, rather than longer. This is roughly analagous to the effect that a compressor would have on sustained notes. Just to be clear, though, the net effect is not one of compression.

    I have to attribute the change to the quality of sustain to the manner in which the saddles are in contact with each other. The change in sound, that I heard, is a different matter. I'm not sure whether it is construction or material. I have already mentioned that I am not knowledgeable in the differences of heat-treated steel vs. cold rolled steel. The old saddles gave me a strong, bright sound, with a sharp attack, but they missed something at the very top end. I got close to the attack that I hear other, great players get, but I never really got there. These new saddles, however, get me there, but how I arrived at that sound was interesting.

    There is definitely something extra, on the top end, with these saddles. Where that really comes out, though, is not necessarily when the guitar's volume is full on. When I back off on the volume, a bit, is when that top end bite kicks in. (None of my guitars has a treble bypass capacitor. I don't like how those caps sound.) This seems to be where the twang lives. Now, that is where it lived, with the old saddles, but there is more, now, and I like it.

    Oh, and the two, inbetween positions. I have never been completely enthused with inbetween positions on either Teles or Strats. With the old saddles, those two, inbetween positions were pretty good. I used them, but did not crave them. The new saddles, with that extra bite at the top, make these two positions much more usable, as far as my ears are concerned. I think the real secret, there, is what the saddles do for the neck pickup. Of course, they do the same thing they do for the bridge pickup, but this change seems to blend well with the bridge, in parallel.

    I do have another Tele that could benefit from these saddles, but I'm trying to decide which saddles would be best. This guitar is an Esquired-Tele clone, with an ash body, and a maple lam neck (as opposed to one-piece). The single pickup is a Klein Tri-state, version 2, and the guitar has a three-way switch. It currently has the same saddles as the other Tele clone had. It already has enough bite on the top end, so I am just a little hesitant to put cold rolled steel on this one. I am thinking about aluminum and brass.
     
  6. JCollins

    JCollins Tele-Holic

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    I've been using an aluminum E/A for several years, sometimes combined with brass, sometimes with steel. It is true that the aluminum saddle on the E/A does provide that snap that is common (maybe even necessary) for country, but it also provides terrific attack when adding overdrive or distortion. That moves it squarely into rock territory. Very versatile, indeed.
     
  7. Mr. Relic

    Mr. Relic NEW MEMBER!

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    I have an original 1954 tele with steel saddles. I replaced the steel saddles with a set of Brass Kohler saddles, The tele was magic before, but when I replaced the saddles with with the Kohler Brass, the guitar now sounds fantasic, it is a big step up in quality sound and playability. I am as pleased as can be and happy with the guitar.

    I have since put on the Kohler Brass and cold rolled steel saddles on other Teles, The improvement was a big step up in every case, whether it was a Custom shop or a Pine Tele. I plan on replacing every compensated saddle I have with the Kohlers.

    I wish to thank Bill Hullett for posting and letting us know what a great product the saddles are, and to Kohler for making such a great product.
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2012
  8. doublee

    doublee Tele-Meister

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    How do these sound different than Glendale, who also is in favor the saddles all touching, as opposed to Leo who didnt? And Callaham for that matter. Maybe Leo never tried it so who knows....?
     
  9. gtrplr2

    gtrplr2 Tele-Meister

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    This is in reference to the Kohler saddles, and the experience that I recently had installing them. After all the great reviews here I decided to give the brass set with aluminum E/A a try on my Tele. I installed the Kohler saddles and to my surprise they did not line up at all, especially after intonation, and I was very disappointed with them. So I shot off an email to Bob, he was quick to reply and was concerned that I was having problems, and was willing to replace them or refund my money if there was an issue with the saddles. He explained to me that the very bridge plate that I had on the guitar had actually given him trouble on one other occasion, and suggested that I check out a few things to be sure everything was OK. (I will not mention the other bridge and saddle manufacturer here) After several email communications I proceeded to check things out. I was a bit reluctant to do so as I have successfully used that combination of saddles and bridge plate for several years on this guitar. Below is the email I sent after finding the problem:

    Hello Bob,
    Well I started to take off the bridge plate, and noticed that the alignment of the bridge plate and the neck did not look quite right. So I unscrewed the 4 bridge plate screws and the first one closest to the e/b string was in at an angle and was pulling the plate down towards the e/b saddle side. So I removed the plate entirely and made sure the plate screws were going in straight, and put it back on. To my surprise it looked a lot better even to the naked eye. So I then reassembled the bridge with your saddles and they lined up perfectly and intonation is spot on. I was also happy that the aluminum E/A saddle arrived today and I was able to install it also during the process. So I guess that I was able to cover over the problem I was having with my old saddles by adjusting them as they had straight sides and would slip up to where the intonation was correct, even though the e/b saddle did seem a bit farther forward than it should have been, but when the intonation was correct I did not even give the bridge alignment a second thought. I am a long time member of the TDPRI and had read the reviews from some of my favorite Tele players, and could not understand why I would be having problems, and the TDPRI was the source for my initial insight on the saddles. So the lesson here for me is to trust that sometimes things are not as they seem to be, which I actually know only too well by working on old tube amps for a living. So in the end it works and sounds great, the saddles line up perfectly, and the first thing I noticed is the improved sustain throughout the entire neck, rhythmically and solo notes. Thank you for the time you spent, and for being patient with me through this process. I will be in Vegas next month, and I will be checking in at Cowtown Guitars to look at some of your other offerings.
     
  10. bendecaster

    bendecaster Friend of Leo's

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    Bob, I sent you a PM.
     
  11. bendecaster

    bendecaster Friend of Leo's

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    Bob, thank you for your help. I just ordered the stainless set!
     
  12. duanesworld

    duanesworld TDPRI Member

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    You're going to like the Stainless Steel set. Really balanced from the low end to the high end. Incredible sustain. The set really upgraded my Tele.
     
  13. bendecaster

    bendecaster Friend of Leo's

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    Holy Crap!!! I put the stainless set on by Tele with a P/W B-bender and I'm very impressed. As some have said before, I could hear the difference acoustically, before I ever plugged it in. After I plugged in it in, A "Double Holy Crap"!!!! I'm going to let Bob how pleased I am.

    Guys, this was the easiest part-swap I ever did. I loosened the strings and measured distance from the back of the bridge plate to the arc of the string going over my Tusq compensated saddles and the height( I did not set mine flat-I adjusted to the 10" radius ). I used a pencil to hold the two strings up when I was installing the corresponding saddle. Held the saddle lightly with needle-nose pliers to hold it uright to thread the adjustment screw(with spring). Repeated two times and voila. Just having it in the ballpark, it sounded great, but I plugged in into my tuner and when I set the intonation, Even More WOW!!! These suckers intonated spot-on!!! My dang Tele sounds like a million bucks!!

    I have to agree with anyone who claims this is a wonderful improvement to Leo's original design.

    The only down-side to this, is I have a few Telecasters and now.....

    Thanks to Bill, Johnny and Bob for this!
     
  14. bendecaster

    bendecaster Friend of Leo's

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    P.S. The reason I went to the extent of hassle putting the saddles on(which still was minor/minimal), is I just put new strings on my Tele and I wanted to try to do it without swapping out the strings. It worked!!
     
  15. duanesworld

    duanesworld TDPRI Member

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    I just upgraded my #2 with the Kohler Copper set. My friend came over with a Gretsch 6120 with a copper bridge and it sounded wonderful. I just had to see how copper would affect my Tele's tone.

    Man, I am stoked. Copper is very different. Really full and strong. It's strange how it adds warmth but it still has that Tele twang. I love it for jazz and mellow material but if you go after chickin pickin it will deliver that too.

    I was afraid of Copper being too soft but I wrote Kohler and he told me the Copper set was actually a three metal alloy and it would be plenty hard enough to withstand the pressure and stress.

    I've had them on now for two weeks and couldn't be happier. Strong recommendation.
     
  16. Johnny Isaacs

    Johnny Isaacs Tele-Afflicted

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    For a kick, I put my Copper set on a Tele then put some heavier guage strings (11's) (heavy for me anyway) then tuned the guitar down to D. Sounds like a grand piano! I hear an acoustic tone with the Copper set. Strong, full, rich & warm are the right words to describe what I'm hearing.
     
  17. duanesworld

    duanesworld TDPRI Member

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    Seems like I'm addicted to these saddles. I bought a set of the Kohler Cold Rolled Steel.
    The difference they made was huge. This Tele had been in my closet, now it's getting a lot of playing time.

    It's very surprising to me just how different each Kohler set sounds. The Copper set I had is as I described a few posts ago. The Cold Rolled Steel set is a completely different animal. The attack has real character to it. It's extremely punchy and the response is immediate. It's tough to describe it but it's almost like the notes are coming out of the amp faster than any guitar I've ever played.

    I'm getting into Chicken Pickin and I think this set is the perfect match.
     
  18. duanesworld

    duanesworld TDPRI Member

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    Bit the bullet again and ordered the Stainless Set of the Kohler Saddles. I'll report back once I try them out.
     
  19. Old Doc Skinner

    Old Doc Skinner Tele-Holic

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    As a matter of fact, I DID order a couple of sets, one brass and one copper.;)

    One is going on the bound body here:

    [​IMG]

    It will be with a Gledale blackguard plate and OC Duff Big Boy neck and Plankster bridge. So which saddles should I try first? I'm thinking brass will give me the best comparative perspective, since my Glendales are all brass.

    And with regard to complaints about "pros pitching their friends' products", well...poppycock. Bill, I thank you for starting this thread and I know your motive was to turn me on to a product that you sincerely think improves the Tele. And if it weren't for you I probably would not yet know about these saddles.
     
  20. bendecaster

    bendecaster Friend of Leo's

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    Yes, try the brass, but then swap 'em out for the copper ones.

    I just sent my first bender Tele back to Gene Parsons for some service. When I get it back, I'll be getting another stainless set. OR, would copper work for a B-bender Tele? If not, why?

    I really like the tonal difference with these saddles. I was never a believer that such a little part could make such a distinct difference in the sound of my guitar, but here I am. The reason I want to know if the copper set would be good for my guitar is I'd like to hear the difference again. :lol::lol:
     
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