Thoughts on the Babicz FCH Tele Bridge? Considering Getting One

Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by Niloy63, Sep 17, 2019.

  1. Niloy63

    Niloy63 TDPRI Member

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    Hello fellow TDPRIs,

    I'm debating swapping out the stock Fender bridge with bent steel saddles on my 2016 Am. Std. Tele for a Babicz FCH (~$140ish, w/ locked down saddles and option for rear string loading) or FCH Z-series (~$85ish, NO saddle locking) bridge. I'm familiar with his product since I have one of his bridges on my Les Paul Studio. But a Tele is not a Les Paul. And so I wanted to ask your esteemed collective opinion.

    Barring all opinions on the aesthetics, in regards to function on the Tele, do you think it's worth the $140ish for the big brother FCH or the $84ish for the little brother Z-series? It's a direct replacement without any need for modification. I also don't know if the bridge needs to be grounded.

    Here's the $140ish one with locked down saddles:
    [​IMG]

    Here's the $85ish one without the saddle locking.
    [​IMG]

    Here's the guitar I'm considering the bridge for:

    [​IMG]
     
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  2. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    The bridge needs to be grounded.

    I prefer the simple stamped steel, .049" thick. So, I have no opinion about which of those is better.
     
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  3. Fluddman

    Fluddman Tele-Meister

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    Cant help you with the bridge. But just wanted to say what a great looking tele - fantastic looking neck in particular.
     
  4. Lefty Addams

    Lefty Addams Tele-Afflicted

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    Hideous looking thing imo
     
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  5. Gaz_

    Gaz_ TDPRI Member

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    I've just looked these up, but the website doesn't really seem to explain. What's the point? What's it for? Is the theory that the saddle cups the string for longer therefore more sustain? If the string is already vibrating on the saddle, and it's a thru loader (there's a better term for that but it's completely gone from my head) aren't the vibrations already going into the body? Surely the cup would dampen it?

    Essentially, what do you see as wrong with your current tele bridge that means it needs an $85 replacement? What's the aim?
     
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  6. jackal

    jackal Tele-Afflicted Gold Supporter

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    Take a look at the Mastery bridges, and the Rutters.
     
  7. tlsmack

    tlsmack Tele-Afflicted

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    If I recall correctly, the cheaper one will not fit an AmStnd, the locking one will bit only as a top loader.
     
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  8. PeterUK

    PeterUK Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    Do you mind me asking? What’s wrong with the existing bridge? What are you missing? Tone? Sustain?

    You’ve got a beautiful looking guitar which I would expect to play beautifully - even with the existing bridge.

    :) Peter
     
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  9. Nick Fanis

    Nick Fanis Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    This.

    I have the same bridge on one of my teles and the only thing I absolutely hated was the "plinkiness" of the plain strings due to the strat bent saddles.
    But this was an easy $10 solution


    [​IMG]
     
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  10. PingGuo

    PingGuo Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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  11. mkdaws32

    mkdaws32 Tele-Meister Ad Free Member

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    I have the Babicz locking bass bridge - it's a solid, well built piece and of equipment - very high end and I prefer it to the Fender Hi Mass or Badass style bass bridges. But this came to me already installed on an abused MIM Standard PBass needing lots of work to repair (in progress now). I got the whole thing for literally nothing. I don't know if I could bring myself to shell out $140 for it.

    As for the $85 version, while I'm sure the tooling and materials are of the highest quality - again Babicz is a great company with great products - I don't think it would be much of an upgrade over what's on there now. The Am Std bridges are great, in my opinion. I personally like the stamped steel saddles on this one (my taste varies from stamped to brass barrel to block saddles depending on the guitar). But that's my opinion and you have to go with whatever you feel you like best!

    If it were me and I were to change anything, I would keep the bridge plate stamped with the Fender logo and just upgrade the saddles. The Graphtech and Hipshot saddles are both excellent.

    Oh - and to echo others - definitely ground it.

    Just my $0.02...
     
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  12. Niloy63

    Niloy63 TDPRI Member

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    Thank you!!

    Thanks for taking the time to check it out. I appreciate it! I can only explain what it does when it replaces a TOM/Tailpiece bridge since I have one in my Les Paul. It adds sustain and girth. Acoustically, the guitar sounds more vibrant... louder. It almost feels like the entire guitar resonates better. The fact that there was Individual string height adjustment on the LP made for a much better setup... and there's no saddle screw stabbing my palm which I feel is a plus. The locking of the saddle to guitar by the theory should all the string to resonate better.

    I know it's all somewhat fantasy as I chase a tone that is in head. And that's the great thing about TDPRI, b/c it makes me consider the why's... which I wouldn't do if I'm left to my own devices.

    Thanks for the heads up! I was surprised to see that those are even more expensive than the Babicz bridges. lol. TBH, I'm not a big fan of the ashtray bridges. But interesting design for the saddles though. I want to look more into those.

    Thanks for the heads up!! This is kind of important to know. lol
     
  13. El Tele Lobo

    El Tele Lobo Friend of Leo's

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    I had one of these. I had the full-on bridge with the top-load option. Mine was well made for the most part. It's an innovative design...designed to fit EITHER traditional 4-hole or American Standard 3-hole mounts. Everything locks down, so if rattle or saddle slippage are issues, it definitely fixes that. Tone was consistent with a modern Gotoh or Fender bridge...more presence/mids/sustain and a little less twang...and if anything, maybe goes a little more in that direction. Definitely a little lighter due to the aluminum construction. The dual-load option is a nice touch too if you like to experiment with changing gauges/tunings on the regular.

    On the downside, you pretty much have to take it completely apart if you want to remove it, so not a good option if you change pickups fairly frequently. Also, the set screws that lock the cams in place are tiny and I think I stripped one of mine out (or it was that way when I got it secondhand, not sure). I haven't tried to return it to them to see if they would make good on it, but they probably would. Like many others, I don't care for the super-modern, ultra-ostentatious logo smack in the middle of it.

    Overall, I think it's a fair piece of engineering...one of the more evolutionary approaches to tele bridge design to date. But, one could argue it might be over designed (and overpriced...though not for what it is...probably worth every penny for design/components/engineering...but rather, in comparison to other options). When I couldn't adjust it anymore, mine ended up replaced with a Gotoh modern...which I found just as good or better soundwise and about 1/3 the price. Never had any issues with sustain, rattle or other problems with the Gotoh and it comes off easily enough when it needs to. Not sure if they make an American Standard version of the Gotoh.

    The Babicz, it could be argued, fixes both problems that don't exist as well as those that do. Overall, I still find the 3-barrel vintage bridge the most consistently satisfying...though I still like to dabble/explore alternate bridge plate/saddle materials. Of all the modern versions I've played/tried, so far I like the Gotoh modern best.

    Babicz bridges are expensive, maybe look for one used. Or you could have mine, if you want to try and get Babicz to repair it. It's hanging on my wall at the moment. PM me if you're interested. You could at least see what they're about up close and personal. Or, maybe you could rethread it, if you have the tools and the gumption.
     
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  14. El Tele Lobo

    El Tele Lobo Friend of Leo's

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    Oh...forgot to mention. People talk about grounding it. Not sure how well that works with aluminum. You can ground your bridge pickup to the back of a pot with a separate wire from the pickup mounting screw. I don't know that the bridge plate itself has to be ground. Never really heard that before.
     
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  15. El Tele Lobo

    El Tele Lobo Friend of Leo's

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    Oh, I remember now...tlsmack is right. The Am Standard mount only works as a top-loader. Mine was on a 4-hole mount so I could do either.
     
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  16. Niloy63

    Niloy63 TDPRI Member

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    You bring to attention important questions, Peter. Thanks for your input! It's not so much that anything is wrong with the existing bridge. Like I replied to someone earlier, it may be a fantasy, but I'm chasing a tone that's somewhere in my head. I was thinking it may give me some extra girth/sustain/resonance that I got when I swapped out the TOM/Tailpiece in my Les Paul Studio for a Babicz bridge. The guitar plays great right now. The only complaint I have is about the saddle screws that invariably dig into my palm during a set when the heat turns up.

    I was considering putting some graphite saddles on the existing bridge. It would be much easier AND cheaper! Thanks for your input!

    Thank you for taking the time to point me in those directions! While I'm no Bill Gates, I am fortunate to have some options. I've heard great things about Callaham for TOM bridges. Aren't they made of Steel?

    I'll be looking into these for sure!

    I'm glad you had a great experience with their products as well. I did too on my Les Paul. The thing added girth and sustain for days. Acoustically, the whole guitar literally resonated more.

    But the guitar does play pretty damn good right now, minus the stupid saddle screws digging into my palm. I think you and the rest of the fantastic individuals on this thread may have just steered me a step away from thinking about the Babicz bridge.
     
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  17. PeterUK

    PeterUK Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    Great review and kind offer!

    I suspect we’ll see a few more comments about it fixing a problem or two that do not exist but @Niloy63 hasn’t revealed what his problem/issue is it’s hard to give any quantified advice.

    :) Peter
     
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  18. PeterUK

    PeterUK Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    @Niloy63: thanks for reply and ignore my comment above.

    We’ve all chased ‘the tone in my head’ but I’m pretty happy with what I’ve discovered.

    I love the original Fender three saddle bridge, but I also enjoy stainless steel bridges which change the tone of the pick up - because it changes the magnetic properties of how the bridge and pick up work together (Bill Lawrence recommended the use of a non-ferrous bridge with some of his pick ups, particularly stacked ‘noiseless humbuckers’ because a ferrous bridge can interact with the top and bottom half of the stack differently).

    I think I read above the the Babicz is aluminium (British spelling) so you may find that the impact of the bridge material delivers something you weren’t expecting.

    Let us know what you do and if it improves or changes your tone.

    Good luck!

    :) Peter
     
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  19. Niloy63

    Niloy63 TDPRI Member

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    Your review is perfect my friend. Thank you for taking the time to write it out for me! And I really appreciate your kind and generous offer. There aren't very many people that would offer that to a stranger. I regard you, good sir, as a gentleman. Your review succinctly addressed all the questions I had in my head regarding the bridge.

    Like you said, I'm somewhat chasing ghosts here. I'm not trying to fix a problem. Moreso, I'm chasing a sound in my head. And yes, that is more often than not a dangerous game to play. I will definitely end up spending more money and might end up making the guitar worse off than it originally was. I'll stick with the Fender plate. But I may consider doing something about those damn saddle screws scratching and digging into my palm.
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2019
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  20. coolidge

    coolidge Tele-Meister

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    Been there done that and removed. It does everything they say it does and its well engineered. Superior method of string height and intonation adjustment. The turn off for me was its all aluminum.

    [​IMG]

    I switched to this on all my Tele's. Glendale polished stainless single cut bridge plate. Gotoh compensated saddles, this one is titanium but my other two are brass.

    [​IMG]

    Before you spend big money you might try a set of Highwood saddles $56. Note how they are bent 360 degrees and the set screws are recessed below the surface. They advertise increased sustain which I scoffed at. Until I did the string change after installing, was tuning, and noticed a string sustaining on and on. Enough that it grabbed my attention.

    [​IMG]

    Smooth, polished and palm friendly.

    [​IMG]
     
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