Not going to drink the kool-aid anymore regarding aftermarket bridges, etc...

Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by sbpark, Apr 7, 2013.

  1. sbpark

    sbpark Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    4,021
    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2009
    Location:
    The West
    I have been guaitly of hopping on the bandwagon in the past as far as GAS'ing for expensive, boutique, aftermarket Tele bridges and saddles, and although I will admit there is a difference in tone, I was not impressed enough to really, honestly think it make a worth-while difference. This idea was reinforced recently when I was fortunate to score a closet classic so to speak, 1976 Fender Precision bass. The previous owner apparently had it locked away in a closet for 20+ years, only to recently sell it to me with a crappy solid state amp for a ridiculously low price ($250). During the basses life someone got the idea of replacing the stock bridge with a Leo Quann Badass II, which for the non-bass players, is a very heavy, dense, high-mass bridge. I always thought that these bridges were the best there is, and was stoked that it already had this bridge installed, but after playing the bass I thought I had a dud, and thought to myself, "this is why people hate '70's Fenders', because it sounded generic and lifeless. I decided to return the bass back to as close to stock as I could within reason and still not break the bank, so I bought a new OEM fender bridge (essentially the same bridge that was on the bass back on the day, but not one that was made back in the day, because tonally they are the same, but the new one is a 10th of the cost.)

    The difference was unbelievable. The bass came alive, was more resonant and vibrant, more woody and punchy. I swear that the thicker, high mass Badass II bridge acted more like a mute which deadened the sound of the bass instead of enhance it. Just with that simple change to the OEM bridge, it made the bass sound like a real P bass.

    So I am wondering what the opinions are regarding these aftermarket bridges for Teles? Some scoff at the cheap, thin, pot metal bridges that come standard on a lot of out guitars, but I am starting to think that these crappy little bridge plates actually contribute to the true Tele sound, and let the sound of the wood and body of the guitar transfer though to the strings, as opposed to something heavier and thicker.

    What's your opinion?
     
  2. hemingway

    hemingway Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    5,927
    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2012
    Location:
    London, UK
    I'm not sure about the sound of the wood and the body transferring or anything like that. But, with an electric guitar, once you've got the basics in place - pickups, solid construction, playable neck - everything else is tinkering. Now, I like to tinker as much as the next geek; but a lot of people are - what's the expression again? - hearing with their eyes. Or their wallets.
     
  3. sbpark

    sbpark Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    4,021
    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2009
    Location:
    The West
    Thats kind of what i was thinking as well. I'm not disputing that there will be a difference, be it good or bad, but I guess what it comes down to is the changes that you hear (or think you are hearing) worth the price you paid? I guess there's even something to be said for a perceived difference, because if you think there's a difference, and it makes you play more or practice more, than it's also justified.
     
  4. electric

    electric Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    581
    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2009
    Location:
    America
    Hey if I pay $1,000. or more for a guitar the bridge better be good enough.
     
  5. sbpark

    sbpark Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    4,021
    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2009
    Location:
    The West
    so what constitutes 'good enough' in your opinion? just curious. my current Tele is a '52 AVRI, and the crappy $12 bridge is 'good enough' to my ears! I guess to others it isn't up to snuff though!
     
  6. electric

    electric Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    581
    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2009
    Location:
    America
    Well at that price point the guitar should already have quality parts. If it doesn't it stays on the shelf.

    A good bridge to me is one with steel saddles if that answers your question.
     
  7. sbpark

    sbpark Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    4,021
    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2009
    Location:
    The West
    I'm just finding it interesting that at their core, Teles were assembled from inexpensive parts, and even though some of those parts are cheap parts, they contributed to the signature tele sound. And just because something is inexpensive, doesn't mean that it isn't adequate or effective. Like the stamped metal bridge that comes on a lot of Teles. It's a cheap part, but seems to serve it's purpose adequately, but so many people seem to have the need to replace it with something that costs a lot more for some reason...
     
  8. kanegon

    kanegon Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    285
    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2012
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    Of course brass saddles make a difference, but do the subtle design differences affect anything? Yes, the string spacing for one. My next set will NOT be Bardens. I had to file the saddle ends to get the strings evenly spaced because of its narrow height screw spacing. Since one of the reasons for going custom with the 3 saddle is to improve intonation, I'd look for the best compensation and string spacing. Honestly, I'd be hard pressed to distinguish between Callaham or Glendale. I like the slotted Rutters, solves string spacing/creeping issue once and for all. Suppose there are opinions on slots as well!
     
  9. sbpark

    sbpark Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    4,021
    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2009
    Location:
    The West
    Fair enough, and that's maybe the ONLY big difference for me, would be a standard saddle versus a compensated saddle.
     
  10. kanegon

    kanegon Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    285
    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2012
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    Funny how that "cheap" sound came to define so much of the rock guitar sound as we know it. About the time they came out with the Strat Plus, Adrian Belew said in an interview, that he liked the sound of bolt on necks and springs, and how that was whole point of playing a Fender. (He had a Strat w/Mustang bridge...) This was during the height of setneck brass bridge mania. And probably why I've never liked Fenders with setneck, humbuckers and stud tailpieces.
     
  11. Minivan Megafun

    Minivan Megafun Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    652
    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2013
    Location:
    Manitoba
    Read Steve Rowen's (founder of Pigtail music) commentary on bridges in Dan Erlewine's book. He basically refutes all the high mass bridge benefits and explains how low mass bridges are both beneficial and vintage correct in terms of tone.
     
  12. tap4154

    tap4154 Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Posts:
    10,214
    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2009
    Location:
    Southern California
    I don't buy the custom bridge hype either, but folks like to customize and swear they hear the difference, so why argue with them? Helps keep the economy going :D
     
  13. Phelonious Ponk

    Phelonious Ponk Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,528
    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2011
    Location:
    charlotte, nc
    More mass isolates more vibration in the string. You'll typically more sustain from a massive bridge, more snap and twang from a lighter one. One is not better than the other, but most of us prefer one to the other. You found out what you like.

    P
     
  14. Longer

    Longer Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    448
    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2011
    Location:
    Atlanta GA
    Cats have been moding things ever since there was stuff to mod. Do what you want and have fun doing it. If it's not for you and you see no point, hey, that's cool too.
     
  15. BigDaveyTwinkle

    BigDaveyTwinkle Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    237
    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2008
    Location:
    Kansas City
    I've played high end bridges, both Glendale on guitar and Quan on bass and have come to the same conclusion; they nuance the stereotypical sound of the instrument into something more "boutique". I have decided (for my needs) that I like a P bass that sounds like a P Bass and a Tele that sounds like a Tele, else I would be playing something else. Both are quality parts, just not for me.
     
  16. tpaul

    tpaul Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    5,738
    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2003
    Location:
    Vermont
    So I am wondering what the opinions are regarding these aftermarket bridges for Teles? Some scoff at the cheap, thin, pot metal bridges that come standard on a lot of out guitars, but I am starting to think that these crappy little bridge plates actually contribute to the true Tele sound, and let the sound of the wood and body of the guitar transfer though to the strings, as opposed to something heavier and thicker.

    By definition, the original "crappy little bridge plates" contribute to the "true Tele sound." If you want your Tele to sound the way they did in the old days, it's probably a good idea to use the same build materials.
     
  17. Cam

    Cam Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,970
    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2003
    Location:
    Kanata
    I find it is easy to fool oneself when changing bridges as strings are usually changed too. "Hey this sounds way better" .....
     
  18. Bartholomew3

    Bartholomew3 Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    3,710
    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2010
    Location:
    Montreal
    I always said it was mostly in the hands but in any event:

    Put a 1969 - 6 saddle brass badass bridge on my 68 tele and used it for over 40 years. It warped and was always the wrong colour anyways so I got a 6 saddle GOTOH last year. Thought it sucked the tone out except for soft-rock maybe, probably the chrome plating and thickness.

    Am now using the original 1968 cheap metal 3 saddle bridge and it seems to have put the personality back into the guitar.

    I always thought the intonation would be better with 6 but can get it really close with the uncompensated 3 saddle - certainly close enough to play out or record anywhere.

    The allen key is taped to the badass in the pic - they don't make them anymore. If it wasn't warped I would sell it but may end up using those brass saddles for something else.
     

    Attached Files:

    • 002.jpg
      002.jpg
      File size:
      40.6 KB
      Views:
      69
  19. H. Mac

    H. Mac Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,585
    Joined:
    May 26, 2012
    Location:
    Atlanta, Georgia
    I'll take one those plain, simple vintage style bridges over the greasy kid stuff any day!
     
  20. Bickert Fan

    Bickert Fan Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,155
    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2005
    Location:
    Cape Cod, MA
    I like the compensated saddles. Not sure if it's kool aid or not. Fender just started selling some of their teles with Fender's own compensated saddles. Not sure if it's in response to so many players (many famous) using them, or if they're just trying to cater to the market, but they're there.

    Really...who cares? If someone wants to swap a saddle out and they think it matters, then what harm is it? In all truth, you will find an awfully lot of well respected recording artists who "modify" their guitars to some degree And for some people tweaking the gear is just fun. And if you have the money then go for it. And before anyone complains about how much it costs to change something that works...there's a lot of people who have more amps and guitars than they'll ever use much less need. Nobody says that's wasting money. Well, some do.

    I like tinkering. I didn't find changing the saddles changed the sound all that much, but I did it anyway. Maybe I'm guilt of being nutty, but hey it's fun to tinker. Sometimes ya get lucky and the change matters. Sometimes it's just to satisfy curiosity. Sometimes it's a waste of time/ But everyone seems to come to these conclusions on their own.
     
IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.


  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.