Modern 6-saddle bridge robbed me of twang, punch, snarl!

Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by GorgeousTones, Dec 10, 2019.

  1. GorgeousTones

    GorgeousTones Tele-Meister

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    I replaced the traditional “ashtray” with 3-brass saddle on my Tele with a thicker Kluson all stainless steel bridge-plate, and modern 6 block saddles. I wasn’t crazy about the sides on the bridge plate getting in the way and the 3 saddle setup was always an issue causing intonation problems, and impossible getting the string heights even.
    I spent a fair amount of time reading up on the key “ingredients” factoring into the Tele tone we all love.. Basically my understanding is that;
    1. The design of the pickup mounted onto a bridge plate is essential
    2. It’s important that the plate be stainless steel like the vintage ones
    3. Saddles be steel, brass, aluminum or combination.

    **So my question is what happened to my tone?? The punchy, snap of the wound strings is totally gone as well as that telecaster Twang! I’m shocked.. I’d seen guitar hardware companies making claims about the supposed tonal changes of thier bridges and even seen folks talking about it on forums and things.. But I honestly never believed that the material or especially a manufacturing process particular to a saddle, bridge, (or similarly the trem-block on a Strat) would have any significant impact on an electric instruments sound. I’ve always thought that paying 120$ for saddle “A” vs 35$ for saddle “B” where both had the same or similar metallic composition was silly! And anyone willing to believe it was anything but hype was drinking the cool-aid!!

    I’m sad to say I was definitely mistaken! Regarding Tele’s anyway.. Do you guys think I need to go back to a 3-saddle design in order to reclaim my tone? How about the bridge plate? The Kluson’s really nicely made and solid. I’d hate to have to replace the whole thing.. Especially since the Kluson was about 75$. When removing the rusty & scratched up old original Fender bridge and seeing how thin and cheaply made it was.. I thought for sure the Kluson (or practically anything) would be better.

    What should I do? I’m considering going with these compensated vintage type saddles;

    https://www.philadelphialuthiertool...telecaster-saddle-aluminum-1-4-offset-barrel/

    I like that they’re slotted and compensated, plus the ability to purchase one aluminum for low E/A & 2 brass for the rest is a cool thing Ive never tried. I’ve purchased other things from this company and it’s always been top notch stuff.
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2019
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  2. boris bubbanov

    boris bubbanov Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    Tones, first of all, don't buy the aluminum parts, from any of these sources. I used to use a lot of aluminum and made many saddles and plates myself and I'm just sick of the sound signature of aluminum. Try brass, steel, stainless, titanium or make your own bronze saddles.

    Now, the big fat Kluson or Gotoh or other "modern" big plate 6 saddle bridges can kill off snap and twang on some guitars (not all) and on some players but not others.

    Just buy the $ 13 AV52 style plate and some mildly compensated brass saddles from Darren Riley, and cut down the sides of that plate with whatever tools you have handy. Unless you are playing right on the Atlantic Ocean or have the saltiest sweat ever, the exposed steel won't cause all that much trouble.

    I believe there's a resale market for the nice Kluson, Hipshot or Gotoh modern bridges. Some people love them. If it isn't working for you on this guitar it could conceivably work for you on another Tele build, or maybe you could use it for Trade Bait and get a set of pickups for it from someone else. Again, these heavy bridges are not inherently defective - they're just the wrong "prescription medicine" for certain patients (I mean guitar players).
     
  3. LutherBurger

    LutherBurger Friend of Leo's

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    Somebody's gotta ax this:

    Is your pickup the same distance from the strings as it was before?
     
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  4. SixStringSlinger

    SixStringSlinger Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Assuming it's all down to the bridge swap, I'd say it's due to all the extra, separate parts.

    A traditional Tele bridge has a plate, 3 intonation screws, 3 springs, 3 saddles and 6 saddle height screws. That's a total of 16 parts (not counting the screws holding the pickup or mounting the bridge plate to the body).

    Your typical 6-saddle bridge has one plate, 6 intonation screws, 6 springs, 6 saddles and 12 saddle height screws. That's 31 parts, nearly twice as many.

    But it's not only about the number of parts. On a traditional Tele bridge, not only are there less parts, but it's less parts doing the same job as the 6-saddle bridge. A traditional bridge uses 5 parts (intonation screw, spring, saddle, 2 height screws) to do a job (hold 2 strings) that takes 10 parts on a six-saddle bridge. The best way I can think of to articulate this is that a traditional Tele bridge is closer to being one big part than a 6-saddle bridge is.

    The upshot of this is that there is less loss of vibration (or string energy, or whatever) with a traditional bridge. No matter how well-made, perfectly-fitted and squished-together a 6-saddle bridge is, having more separate parts means greater loss. Maybe things can be made perfectly enough that the difference is unnoticeably by our ears, but suffice to say that that does not apply in most cases. Three-saddle bridges have less separate parts, and so less loss.

    Now I'm no expert and I have no way to prove any of this; this is just an intuition (maybe, barely, a hypothesis) that I think makes sense, especially when you compare bridges on other guitars (Strats with their blocks and springs, Jazzmasters where the only point of contact from bridge to body is the tips of two screws...).

    Also, none of this is to say 6-saddled Teles necessarily sound bad. My MIM Standard sounded great when I got it. I loved the difference (even unplugged) between it and my Strat. I wanted more of that difference and theorized that a three-saddle bridge would do it, and that's exactly what happened.
     
  5. boris bubbanov

    boris bubbanov Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    I find that cheap 6 saddle bridges with all those extra parts, can have a jangly, traishy kind of sound, when the amp is cranked up. These parts aren't damped enough and they get set off by the loud sounds.

    But the O.P. used a "better" bridge, and he's not mentioned traishy sounds - instead it sounds like the guitar is too jazz oriented or "hi-fi" or such.

    But I do have a general dislike for 6 saddle bridges, especially the cheapo ones.
     
  6. Si G X

    Si G X Tele-Meister

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    I think (1.) is a myth.

    I angle grinder'd my mate's off for a GE Smith look and it didn't do anything noticable to the sound.
     
  7. MrGibbly

    MrGibbly Tele-Afflicted

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    This may or may not make sense to others but one thing I experience is a difference in tone between the bridge types (ashtray vs. modern) that I think stems from ergonomics. The position of my hand and the way I attack the strings changes when I am on a traditional Tele, a modern flat bridge or Strat trem, a Gibson-style, etc. I find that my hand placement and attack on a traditional Tele is instinctively back and more above the pickup or even behind the pickup. My anchor is above the bridge. On a more “comfy” modern bridge my hand tends to rest at or even ahead of the saddles (muting) with a picking position up over the neck pickup. Anchored on top of the bridge. I can make the two sound VERY similar if I think about how I’m playing. I could probably pick out which was which in terms of hardware by listening to it played back but I doubt my wife or any of the kids could.
     
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  8. El Tele Lobo

    El Tele Lobo Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    #2 is off. The vintage ones were cold-rolled steel. Stainless is a completely different animal tone-wise.
     
  9. Fearless heart

    Fearless heart NEW MEMBER!

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    Buy the Danny Gatton bridge that comes with compensated brass saddles and you will be happy with your tone!
     
  10. Nick Fanis

    Nick Fanis Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    Just buy a classic GOTOH brass modern bridge and be done with it.There's a reason why it is in constant use by countless TWANG (and not only) players since the mid 70s.

    https://www.stewmac.com/Hardware_an...tar_Bridges/Gotoh_Modern_Bridge_for_Tele.html


    Here is a before and after comparison in my tele (the bridge will also give you a way more balanced overall sound and a smoother unwound string sound with improved sustain and less harshness) focus in the first 30 seconds where I only play "twang" with the wound strings personally I don't hear any difference.

    https://www.tdpri.com/threads/is-the-gotoh-tele-bridge-twangy-enough.164652/page-2#post-6935647


    Can you post a link to the bridge you bought?

    I don't see a stell bridge plate in any of Klusons modern tele bridge offerings

    https://www.kluson.com/telecaster-bridges.html
     
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2019
  11. Jupiter

    Jupiter Telefied Silver Supporter

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    Maybe you just have cheap tastes. ;)

    If so, consider yourself lucky! :)
     
  12. Peegoo

    Peegoo Tele-Holic

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    If you like the bridge plate with no side flanges, do the following.

    Remove the six saddles and drill three new holes in the rear flange (a hole between the E/A, D/G, and B/E screw holes), and install your three saddles from the original bridge.

    I've done this and it works great.
     
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  13. tlsmack

    tlsmack Tele-Afflicted

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    I'm going to follow this thread out of curiosity. My thoughts on vintage vs modern bridges tend to attract so much vitriol, I will just be a spectator here.:)
     
  14. ping-ping-clicka

    ping-ping-clicka Tele-Holic

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    oh dear ,,, about Saddles I have been using Graph tech saddle one of of my strats for ever with no problems , string don't ever break, they may die and become untunable but they don't break.

    wHO DID THE WORK?
    The John 5 artist model has the modern saddles.
    The James Burton artist model , which he plays has the short tail piece and six modern modern saddles so I suspect that it's not the bridge or the saddles
    https://shop.fender.com/en-US/electric-guitars/telecaster/james-burton-telecaster/0108602887.html
     
  15. Guitar MD

    Guitar MD TDPRI Member

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    More parts, more loss? Or ....mo bettah?

    I’m usually a “less is more” guy when it comes to translating sound from one form into another, but think this theory has its applicable limits (never found a man with one leg who could outrun a man with two).

    I’d start with material and pickup adjustment, then grind down edge on the old bridge and reinstall.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
     
  16. unixfish

    unixfish Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    But but but but...

    If you were playing high-gain rock, wouldn't you want that thicker, smoother sound bridge?

    Horses for courses is my thought - you just took your horse on the wrong course?

    Then again, I've never played with this, soooooo $0.02 and all that.
     
  17. 24 track

    24 track Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    I hate it when some one robs me of my twang, punch, snarl..........they better give it back!
     
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  18. GorgeousTones

    GorgeousTones Tele-Meister

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    Yes absolutely, this is actually what I intended to do when I mentioned those brass/aluminum saddles in my op.. Although it wasn’t until later on last night that it occurred to me that the three 3 saddles wouldn’t be directly compatible in the 6 saddle setup.. Not without modification.
    Let me ask; if I were to drill out the 3 new holes in the manner you mentioned, would I be able to back to a six saddle setup if chose to later on?? I’m other words, will drilling out the bridge interfere with the current mounting screw holes? Or will the new holes fall between the existing ones making it possible to use either type??
     
  19. GorgeousTones

    GorgeousTones Tele-Meister

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    No, you actually make a good point! For that kind of situation & playing, this bridge would absolutely do what you’re talking about.

    It’s just that I don’t play rock very often, even less so with a Tele. And I never play with high gain. Typically I’m gonna be playing clean 90% of the time with a compressor & a bit of analog slap-back delay. And I use a Telecaster for playing Country and Funk almost exclusively.. Maybe a little old school R&B a-la’ Steve Cropper on those old Stax Recordings with Wilson Pickett, Otis Redding, etc.. So I really need that pick/note definition and brightness to come through fully
     
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  20. GorgeousTones

    GorgeousTones Tele-Meister

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    I’m not entirely sure I understand what you’re saying.. Haha :D
     
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