Three-Saddle Bridges: A Love Story

Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by afterdarkmusic, Sep 10, 2021.

  1. nojazzhere

    nojazzhere Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Except the three saddle bridge doesn't cause neck problems.;)
    I get what you're saying, but a three saddle with "intonated" saddles plays as close to in tune as a six.....IMHO. ;)
     
  2. Matthias

    Matthias Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

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    I like either a compensated three-saddle or Strat-style saddles on a Tele. The weird long screw mini barrel things are horrible. I tend to palm mute a touch forward from the saddles so I get on with most bridges when I’m playing… What I look for is adjustability and no rattles or saddles sliding about. However, you can’t beat the look of three saddles on an ashtray bridge.
     
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  3. WingedWords

    WingedWords Friend of Leo's

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    So does Bottleneck John

     
  4. Midgetje94

    Midgetje94 Tele-Holic

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  5. afterdarkmusic

    afterdarkmusic TDPRI Member

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    With you! Looking back at the before photos with the 6-saddle I get major 80's vibes for some reason. Weird.
     
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  6. NoTeleBob

    NoTeleBob Tele-Afflicted

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    I think any change in "feel" is because the action is slightly different.

    Despite having done it multiple times, I'm always astounded how much different the playability a guitar can be with a very slight change in something like relief changing .005, the bridge/saddle being lowered a similar amount.
     
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  7. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    I started playing 11 years ago, and as a grown adult (some say) my basic guitar preferences are not driven primarily by what I cannot afford.

    My first Tele was a modern Amer Deluxe. (Now Elite? Ultra? ) I thought I liked it fine.

    But then a few things happened... I casually picked up a 2010 AVRI 52 in a store; I saw Robben Ford playing his blonde '60; I joined TDPRI :lol:; and I began to read some Fender history. Probably a few other things. Slowly I realized I was becoming drawn to vintage specs across all guitar and amp models.

    I still liked my Tele, but I began quietly looking for a reissue of some kind. White blonde.... three barrel saddles...

    I was on Reverb, which was still brand new in 2013, looking for something else, when I saw a new American Vintage 58. I offered $1250, which I assumed would be rejected, but I really didn't want to to spend even that much. As the day passed with no response, I wanted it more.

    In short, it became my first of many vintage reissues. I can't explain why the pull of those specs. And honestly the 58 didn't sound better than the modern one. Different, but then every guitar sounds a bit different.

    I often wonder what if Leo started with modern specs, and over time evolved into the specs we consider original. Would my tastes be similarly flipped? Would we still say Leo got it right the first time?

    Back to the music store, and the AVRI 52... I actually gasped when I picked it up, it felt so different from my Am Dlx. So much better. I didn't even play it, because I was shocked at the price tag. ($1100 back then!), but the feel of the neck, finish, tiny frets, etc. From that point on, I had no choice.
     
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  8. Maguchi

    Maguchi Tele-Afflicted

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    Gotta have six and 22 frets. The 3 saddle was old school tech. My first Tele 33 years ago was an old school 1988 Am. Std. that came from the Fender factory with 6 saddles and 22 frets. Even Gibson switched over from the unintonatable stop bar wraparound bridge of the early '50s Les Pauls by 1956 except for the budget Juniors and Specials. And no the 3 saddle does not look better. The 3 saddles look kinda crude, bargain budget basement and amateurish to my eye, YMMV. I only buy guitars with 22 frets and I switch all my 3 saddle Teles to 6 saddle.

    5 Teles.jpg
     
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  9. Ebidis

    Ebidis Friend of Leo's

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    My Baja is my favorite Tele ever. It has an ashtray bridge, and 3 brass saddles. It just wouldn't be the same with anything else.

    BTW, I changed the 3 stock brass barrel saddles with brass Gotoh In-tune compensated saddles. Not because of intonation (it was good with the stock saddles, it's good with the Gohto's), but because the Gotoh saddles have string grooves, so my strings stay put.
     
  10. Walden

    Walden Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

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    As has been said many times (by Jon Bohlinger on Rig Rundown...) "They got it right the first time." I love them. The simple brass on my Baja (good enough) but even more the Glendale Twang Set (compensated) on my boutique tele.

    Really simple and effective.
     
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  11. Wooly Fox

    Wooly Fox TDPRI Member

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    Swapped my 2021 AO Telecaster Custom bridge from the steel 3 saddle to a Kluson 6 nickel plated saddle bridge I had knocking around. Made the tone fatter on the wound strings to my ear and less 'ice picky' on the bridge pickup but that could have been the pickup height adjustments.

    Also covered up the routing hole for the bridge pickup with new bridge plate! The bridge pickup route was 5mm exposed on the control panel side. I would say poor QA from Fender or Fender was being authentic matching 70s Fender standards!
     
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  12. fjblair

    fjblair Tele-Afflicted

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    Never owned a six saddle bridge Tele style guitar. I just don't like the look.
     
  13. Killing Floor

    Killing Floor Friend of Leo's

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    The story as I’ve heard from Leo:
    It was straight up noon and Mr. Fender was stressed, pacing the shop floor. It was 1 week before Christmas and the orders seemed too many to complete. Joe Abner, a migrant working in the body line was unwilling to skip lunch so Leo tossed him a can of Spanish sardines. Abner ravenously consumed the salty fish and in his haste he misplaced the tin lid. Leo discovered the discarded lid in a queue of hardware and said “this flimflam garbage looks really cheap! And it’s already coated with oil so it won’t rust!” He punched it on the drill press, gave it his blessing and the rest is history.
    To this day the sardine can bridge that Leo improved upon as soon as he went to MusicMan is still in use by the brand that bears his name.

    It also explains why the cases smell kinda like fish.
     
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  14. msalama

    msalama TDPRI Member

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    Yeah. Because they just don't make them as good as they used to, and they never did.
     
  15. Ebidis

    Ebidis Friend of Leo's

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    That story seems kind of fishy.
     
  16. ben smith

    ben smith Tele-Afflicted

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    no rattle
     
  17. Kaleun

    Kaleun TDPRI Member

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  18. Kaleun

    Kaleun TDPRI Member

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    I happen to love the 3 saddle arrangement, especially on the American Performer series where adjustments can be done with a small slot-head screwdriver. Finally no Allen wrenches. I'm amazed at how good the intonation is! The neck profile is super amazing.
     
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  19. ratdoc

    ratdoc TDPRI Member

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    Well, different strokes. My experience was the opposite - the AVRI '52 felt so wrong after playing my American Deluxe. No way I was giving up that silky compound radius neck and belly cut. Blasphemy perhaps, but some changes really are improvements.

    I did replace the bridge with a 3-saddle though...lol
     
  20. chucker

    chucker Tele-Meister

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    i am trying to reconcile emily dickinson with telecasters. this could be some zen koan and the process could take years.
     
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