Tele Bridge - 3 saddle or six saddle

Farmer Bob

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Hey all, I'm looking to replace a cheap bridge on an offset Tele-like guitar. What are the advantages of either a three or six saddle bridge and also brass as opposed to chrome or stainless saddles and baseplates? (I know there no brass baseplates. Thanks)
Of course my concerns are sustain and intonation.
I chose the "Technical" forum to get down to the dirt.
Please don't tell me "I put a Wilkonson on mine and I love it". Tell me why?
Thanks in advance.
 

ChicknPickn

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Well, this topic takes a beating about every other month here.

I use both, but lately have used a modern 6-saddle bridge in new builds. Some will say you can't intonate with a traditional 3-saddle bridge. However, you CAN use compensated saddles. Many like Wilkinsons. I prefer Gotoh. Why do I like Gotoh? Well, their stuff is always nicely machined. The brass saddles have a nice heft in your palm. But what I really like is the fact that they are notched for the strings. Wilkinsons, by comparison, are not. The strings will move around on the saddles. Yes, you can notch them yourself, but why bother? Gotohs cost a little more, but not much when you're talking about guitar upgrades.

Some say that string frequencies mix in an interesting way when they come together, two at once, on a saddle. I think there could be something to that. I really do.

Don't know how to guide you exactly, but you might consider the overall look and feel of the guitar. If you've gone with vintage-like components elsewhere, why not finish it off with a traditional bridge?
 
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Will_Darden

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There are some great videos out there that directly compare the tonal differences, those are probably your best resource. My opinion after listening is that brass provided the best balance of tone and was the most "telecaster-like." Stainless and Chrome were bright to the point of being sharp, almost painful. Some people swear by graphite but I found the tone to be flat.

Saul Koll (of Koll Guitars) lives near me and his personal recommendation was 3 saddle brass with some kind of compensation to allow for better intonation. His experience was that the brass saddles provided greater mass and produced better tone and sustain, but those are obviously personal preference. I hate the idea of not being able to individually intonate my strings but between being irritated when I do the setup and not liking the tone as much, I'm going to take the hit on setup so I can have solid tone.
 

daza152

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Well, this topic takes a beating about every other month here.

I use both, but lately have used a modern 6-saddle bridge in new builds. Some will say you can't intonate with a traditional 3-saddle bridge. However, you CAN use compensated saddles. Many like Wilkinsons. I prefer Gotoh. Why do I like Gotoh? Well, their stuff is always nicely machined. The brass saddles have a nice heft in your palm. But what I really like is the fact that they are notched for the strings. Wilkinsons, by comparison, are not. The strings will move around on the saddles. Yes, you can notch them yourself, but why bother? Gotohs cost a little more, but not much when you're talking about guitar upgrades.

Some say that string frequencies mix in an interesting way when they come together, two at once, on a saddle. I think there could be something to that. I really do.

Don't know how to guide you exactly, but you might consider the overall look and feel of the guitar. If you've gone with vintage-like components elsewhere, why not finish it off with a traditional bridge?
Hi. I just started a similar thread...sorry, but I am wanting to know if the holes line up with my brand new MIM tele with a Fender US Pat Pend. I like the ones that have a serial number after that stamped on the plate (ash-tray with 3 brass compensated saddles)....straight swap? and where to find them...
thanks.
 

ChicknPickn

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Hi. I just started a similar thread...sorry, but I am wanting to know if the holes libne up with my brand new MIM tele with a Fender US Pat Pend. I like the ones that have a serial number after that stamped on the plate....straight swap? thanks.
It's been years since I bought my MIM Standard Tele (great value), but as I recall, anything that is a standard part compatible with the American Fenders will work for you. But I still like to see a schematic if I'm buying from a third party. Guitar Fetish sells, in my opinion, pretty good hardware, and they're good about providing specifications.
 

JL_LI

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I have a six saddle bridge hidden under the ash tray cover of my avatar Telecaster. Sustain is good and I have good intonation up and down the neck. Ditto for my two six saddle Stratocasters, one with a six point the other with a two point tremolo. The Tune•o•matic bridge on my Gibson also gives me good sustain and intonation. I have a roller bridge on my Gretsch Anniversary that has no compensation at all, and wouldn’t you know, my Gretsch sustains well and plays in tune. In my experience, there are so many variables contributing to intonation and sustain, like fretting pressure and the condition of the frets that I wouldn’t replace any bridge that met my expectations.
 

Killing Floor

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Trick question. 3 saddle fits the styling of classic Teles and 6 saddle fits the technical intonation needs of players.

The solution that works for me balancing the sound I like with the look I like is compensating saddles. From 3 feet away nobody can see the difference and they intonate very well.

Gotoh and Wilkinson and several others make great compensated barrels that drop onto your plate.

And FWIW I have 3 and 6 saddle Teles and I wouldn't swap out the 6 that came on my Deluxe just for the aesthetic but I do have comp saddles on my Teles with classic bridges.
 

Reua95

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Gotoh Modern Bridge for me. My only telecaster is one I built from parts. So when I was researching it, I decided the six saddle bridge would be easier to dial in. This one is all brass construction. I bought mine from Warmoth, they had the best price at the time.
 

fuzz guy

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I have used both and prefer 3 saddle. I have the Wilkinson compensated one. It's partly due to wanting the guitar to look right, but I also want the least amount of moving parts on a bridge to reduce the loss of string vibration, and a 3 saddle has half as many. (My favourite bridge is a Gibson wraparound, but that obviously doesn't work with a standard Tele.) The compensated saddles don't intonate perfectly, but they're close enough.
 

loopfinding

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the advantage of a 3 saddle is wilkinson compensated saddles are like under 20 bucks, and a stamped steel plate from fender is under 15. i would have no bones about a 70s 6 saddle + stamped plate if it were just as cheap. you can drill a stamped plate for 6, but you have to buy some kind of off-center saddle for it. the reason i don't like the modern 6 saddle stainless because they don't make the pickup microphonic.
 

Beebe

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Hi. I just started a similar thread...sorry, but I am wanting to know if the holes line up with my brand new MIM tele with a Fender US Pat Pend. I like the ones that have a serial number after that stamped on the plate (ash-tray with 3 brass compensated saddles)....straight swap? and where to find them...
thanks.

There are a good variety of modified bridges over at Bridge Works on ebay and Reverb. Brad helped me out. He should be able to help you find one that fits.

 

carpenter

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Lately I have been thinking of going back to the 6 saddle brass. Had it like that for years sounded best then.
picture to the left. My avatar. all brass.
 

daza152

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There are a good variety of modified bridges over at Bridge Works on ebay and Reverb. Brad helped me out. He should be able to help you find one that fits.

Just read your message I've just bought one from eBay, hope it fits....
 

moosie

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Three saddles. Thin, stamped steel plate. More string pressure on the saddle. And simply looks miles better.

Some of mine have brass, some steel, some threaded steel. No one preference - it depends. Brass is warmer, steel is nice and bright.
 




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