non compensated saddles accuracy

Discussion in 'Tele-Technical' started by golfnut, Feb 12, 2018.

  1. golfnut

    golfnut Friend of Leo's

    Jan 15, 2008
    Has anyone ever just left the Fender stock 3 barrel saddles on there Telecaster\Nocaster and had dead on intonation?
    I'm just curious. I have a friends Masterbuilt Nocaster heavy relic at my house for a few weeks. I was comparing the intonation on it to my telecaster with Rutters saddles. The Masterbuilt with the stock fender saddles is dead on just as accurate as my Rutters, if not a little better.
    Just wondering if this is common or if its something to do with the Masterbuilt quality.
    I may be buying a CS Nocaster and if the stock saddles are going to give me good intonation I'll just leave them
  2. boris bubbanov

    boris bubbanov Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

    Feb 24, 2007
    New Orleans, LA + in the
    I've got a 2006 Custom Shop No-caster (NOS style) and with 11s it has always intonated very well with the stock saddles. 10 years. But I put straight saddles on fairly similar guitars and I don't consistently get the same result. There are some artful guys who can get them to work quite often, but I have fewer straight saddles in use on Telecasters than I used to and a third of those have a wound G string and most of the rest use 12-54 string sets. The lower the fretwire height, and the larger the string guage (normal spread), the more likely at least some of the saddles can be straights. I will also mix straights and compensateds at will, to get the best result and I'll change back and forth if need be. Finally, for my own use I make some barrel saddles with half an amount of slant. I'm liking that more.
  3. Dacious

    Dacious Poster Extraordinaire

    Mar 16, 2003
    I've never used compensated barrels on any of my three Teles. I find getting the treble side of each saddle 'in' then adjusting the bass side up slightly will get me in. Usually within 1/4-1/2 turn. Most critical is getting nut height right for the strings. Get that right and it minimises difference even for 11-50 strings.

    You want a tiny gap at first fret on each string when fretted on first - cigarette paper pref but no more than business card. IMG_20180123_205023.jpg
    plusorminuszero likes this.
  4. Jack S

    Jack S Friend of Leo's

    Sep 25, 2008
    Berwyn, IL
    There are a couple of ways to set them up for accuracy. keeping in mind that perfect intonation is impossible with tempered tuning. One trick some of the older guys used to do is bend the adjustment screw so that the saddles were not perpendicular to the strings. You can also account for a small amount of intonation adjustment by slightly adjusting string heights.

    SPUDCASTER Poster Extraordinaire

    Sep 7, 2010
    Grangeville, Idaho
    With the exception of my Strat and Deluxe Nashville. I have standard saddles(brass and steel) on my Telecasters.

    I built a partscaster Tele a while back and used compensated Fender brass saddles.

    I really can't tell much difference with the intonation between the two. Referring to standard and compensated.

    With the stock saddles, I try to use the Jerry Donohue method.

    Other factors come into play such as the nut, relief and your basic setup. I know with the Deluxe Nashville, that has the tall narrow frets. I had to lighten up my touch. When I first acquired it seemed like there's no way this is setup right.

    I eased up on the touch and that was it. Now my others seem more evenly in tune also.
  6. Milspec

    Milspec Friend of Leo's

    Feb 15, 2016
    "Dead-on Intonation"? Nope. Pretty close and passable, yes, but never dead-on.
  7. swany

    swany Tele-Meister

    Sep 12, 2003
    Evergreen, Colorado
    Well it's good to hear that you finally got your Rutters saddles, I remember you were having some problems with how long it took to get delivery and were wishing you had just called Glendale like you had in the past. When it comes to your intonation concerns, Rutters will probably give you a refund.
    To answer your question, you can get pretty darn close with stock saddles, however the outcome always depends on who's doing the work.
  8. Old Tele man

    Old Tele man Friend of Leo's

    May 10, 2017
    Once banned always banned
    Only way that *I* found to achieve just DECENT intonation was to play with individual string guages...only to end up with basically the gauges Leo used as OEM.

    I gave-up and switched to 6-saddle get something close to perfect intonation.
    nojazzhere and Chicago Matt like this.
  9. Chicago Matt

    Chicago Matt Friend of Leo's

    Aug 23, 2014
    I can't deal with 3 uncompensated saddles, especially the one in the middle for the D and G. I've tried but have never been satisfied. I want my chords and octaves to be in tune.
    3 compensated saddles get me much closer, and I have that setup on my favorite Tele. It's acceptable to me though not perfect.
    A 6 saddle bridge is obviously the best way to go for intonation accuracy, but the sound is a little different. I have one, a Gotoh modern, on my second Tele and the sound is not different enough to disqualify it for me. It actually has a little more sustain than it did with the original "ash tray" bridge. But that's a matter of taste and for another topic.
  10. metalicaster

    metalicaster Tele-Afflicted

    Jun 5, 2011
    I'm a wanderer...
    I entered the twilight zone last month.

    I dismantled the guitar, drilled holes and pressed in studs for a totally different bridge and screwed on a Bigsby.

    I then decided to roughly set the guitar up for later tweaking once assembled.

    I shimmed the neck by an unmeasured "guesstimate" amount, figuring it would need it.
    I arbitrarily tightened the truss rod by 1/8 of a turn as I would be using different strings.
    Set the bridge to an approximation of the correct stagger pattern and radius.

    Once finished, as soon as it was strung up, it played better than it had before I messed with it.. intonation as close as I could have ever got it anyway the sole adjustment needed was to move the low e saddle a touch.
  11. sjtalon

    sjtalon Doctor of Teleocity

    Oct 27, 2006
    Upper Peninsula of Michigan
  12. Geo

    Geo Friend of Leo's

    Mar 17, 2003
    Hendersonville, TN
    My '52 RI is dead on with the stock saddles even better than a few I have with compensated.
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