To compensate or not to compensate?

Do you like compensated saddles on a vintage style Telecaster?

  • Yay - I need my Tele as in tune up and down the neck as I can get it

    Votes: 68 74.7%
  • Nay - It's close enough and it make a Tele a Tele. Want perfect intonation, buy a 6 saddle bridge.

    Votes: 23 25.3%

  • Total voters
    91

trev333

Telefied
Ad Free Member
Joined
Dec 3, 2009
Posts
30,863
Location
Coolum Beach,Australia
Well looks must play into it for most people because otherwise they would just use a 6 saddle bridge instead of compensated saddles with a fixed intonation if function were the only objective.
Eh, Rod?.... if you think about it "most people" don't even play guitars, let alone play a Telecaster...:)


We were talking about your saddles and your thoughts that comp saddles and regular saddles somehow look vastly different as to be noticeable by "most people".....;)

I don't think I have used the same bridge on any of my tele builds...
 

Tenderfoot

Tele-Afflicted
Joined
May 8, 2014
Posts
1,395
Age
76
Location
Katy, TX
I voted Yay! [IMHO] Close enough might work at home (solo playing) but in a band mix, being out of tune can reck havoc on the band's sound.
 

dsutton24

Doctor of Teleocity
Joined
Dec 29, 2010
Posts
11,082
Location
Illinois
The volume of threads here asking about compensated saddles should be proof that they are strictly a personal preference. I've got every saddle combination you can imagine, and I can't honestly say that one is better than the next. Intonation from the bridge is one of about a bazillion factors that make a guitar play and sound good.

Do whatever makes you happy.
 

Ricky D.

Doctor of Teleocity
Joined
Oct 22, 2006
Posts
11,692
Age
71
Location
Marion, VA
I have Glendale slant saddles on one and Fender threaded steel straight saddles on the other. The slant saddles do a great job of correcting the intonation errors. The straight saddles are just a little off no matter what I do. I just split the error, and that gets close enough for me.

Let’s talk about the appearance of the slant saddles. I can’t see mine when I play, so I’m just fine. The shoegazers that hang in front of the stage don’t matter. The players that notice understand. The rest of the people, which is almost everybody, don’t know what a saddle is. And if they are more than ten feet away, they can’t see the difference. Bottom line, you are pretty safe with slant saddles.

If all that isn’t good enough, Rutters makes a very good straight saddle that’s compensated. You can actually have it all if you want.
 

Maguchi

Friend of Leo's
Joined
Jun 16, 2019
Posts
2,662
Location
Lalaland
That is the question. I'm seriously torn here. Need new brass saddles and I like the idea of better intonation, I don't like the looks compared to regular barrel saddles. The Gotoh saddles look closest to the part. The angled Fender ones look like an old timer tweaked the regular saddles with some pliers, which is cool. But good old barrels look the best. What do you like and experiences with each?
I voted compensated. The old barrel saddles may look original, but your picking hand will probly obscure the saddles most of the time and when it doesn't nobody's gonna be close enough to see the difference between compensated and barrel saddle. The notes up the fretboard definitely sound sweeter with a compensated bridge. Being in tune and in time are two of the most important tenets of music.

TeleBridgeAlign3.jpg

Stock Fender compensated bridge
 
Last edited:

Guitar Rod

TDPRI Member
Joined
Jul 25, 2022
Posts
34
Location
Canada
Eh, Rod?.... if you think about it "most people" don't even play guitars, let alone play a Telecaster...:)


We were talking about your saddles and your thoughts that comp saddles and regular saddles somehow look vastly different as to be noticeable by "most people".....;)

I don't think I have used the same bridge on any of my tele builds...
It wasn't meant to be a snarky response, just pointing out that using compensated 3 saddles instead of 6 individual saddles means that looks and even tradition plays into it, and it definitely does for me. For a more modern Tele I would likely use Wilkenson like most people recommend, and the price is great. But for a vintage style Tele, keeping the look matters a bit more. That's why I'm leaning Gotoh, looking into Rutters (though a bit expensive for import into Canada), and the angled Fender saddles. The regular vintage barrels are still in play. I've added all 4 to carts and backed out in the last 2 days. It will likely be Gotoh tomorrow as the best balance of traditional looks, intonation, and price.
 

JohnnyCrash

Doctor of Teleocity
Gold Supporter
Joined
Mar 12, 2005
Posts
11,620
Location
Fullerton, CA
I’ve tried all of the compensated saddles out there.

They’re all better than the old brass or threaded saddles up the neck.

The closest in appearance are the Gotoh, and they work and sound as good as the rest. Wilkinson look close to original as well (at least unless you’re within a meter and are really looking).

The slanted ones don’t look bad to me. I never thought of it looking askew. Now they’ll probably look weird to me after you said something, though! :D
 

pippoman

Tele-Afflicted
Silver Supporter
Joined
Feb 21, 2014
Posts
1,065
Location
Memphis
Well looks must play into it for most people because otherwise they would just use a 6 saddle bridge instead of compensated saddles with a fixed intonation if function were the only objective.
Guilty as charged! My main Tele has the original 6 saddle bridge and it’s 100% stock, but I have an American Standard Tele that I just can’t leave well enough alone. Thus, a Callahan bridge, brass saddles (compensated-ish), Barden Danny Gattons in both bridge and neck positions and a reversed control plate with heavy knurled knobs and switch cap. I dig it and it’s becoming a strong contender for the main guitar. Intonation? Very close.
 

Attachments

  • image.jpg
    image.jpg
    182.7 KB · Views: 20

Jackadder

Tele-Holic
Joined
Jun 12, 2014
Posts
748
Location
Western Australia
Yay for Gotoh 'In Tune' saddles which look like ye olde barrels, intonate well, and are great value. Have brass on 3 or 4 teles and keen to try their titanium barrels.

Have also used Rutters compensated Broadcaster steel saddles which also look authentic, intonate well, but are $$ in comparison.
 

MisterBlonde

TDPRI Member
Joined
Jul 10, 2022
Posts
30
Age
54
Location
UK
I don't think I'd spend this amount on a CV 50s

Screenshot_20220710-223108-220.png


I wouldn't spend this amount, period...
 

Si G X

Friend of Leo's
Joined
Dec 8, 2019
Posts
2,895
Location
England
That is the question. I'm seriously torn here. Need new brass saddles and I like the idea of better intonation, I don't like the looks compared to regular barrel saddles. The Gotoh saddles look closest to the part. The angled Fender ones look like an old timer tweaked the regular saddles with some pliers, which is cool. But good old barrels look the best. What do you like and experiences with each?

How bad is your intonation currently?

If it's audibly 'out' when you play then obviously you need to do something about it. If it's not then I don't know what compensated saddles will do for you? If you play a lot of open position chords and riffs down that end then a compensated nut would probably be more effective.

It's a 'whatever works' kind of answer from me I'm afraid.
 

burntfrijoles

Doctor of Teleocity
Joined
Feb 12, 2010
Posts
10,072
Location
Somewhere Over The Rainbow
Outside of buying a custom shop postmodern Tele that came with them, I've never cared to bother with making a change. I no longer have the post modern.
I don't feel like I've missed anything.
It seems to me that people have been making great music with Tele's for years without compensated saddles.
 

cousinpaul

Friend of Leo's
Joined
Jun 19, 2009
Posts
4,133
Location
Nashville TN
The offsets on the Wilkinson saddles were too severe for my tele. I flipped them over and use them for barrels, fine tuning them with small adjustments to saddle height. Lowering has the same effect as moving the saddle back. Raising same as moving forward. I've got Rutters notch-type saddles on another guitar that intonate better than the Wilkinsons.
 

J. Austerlitz

TDPRI Member
Joined
Jan 16, 2012
Posts
24
Location
Virginia
That is the question. I'm seriously torn here. Need new brass saddles and I like the idea of better intonation, I don't like the looks compared to regular barrel saddles. The Gotoh saddles look closest to the part. The angled Fender ones look like an old timer tweaked the regular saddles with some pliers, which is cool. But good old barrels look the best. What do you like and experiences with each?
I have a 2011 Classic 60s Telecaster with three steel saddles. I have it intimated close enough but just ordered some Gotoh saddles to see how I like it. I had an AVRI Tekecaster before and used Rutter saddles and the improvement was noticeable. And I think the compensation was subtle enough to still look mostly the same. I would have used them again but the Gotohs have a good reputation and are a little cheaper.
 

pippoman

Tele-Afflicted
Silver Supporter
Joined
Feb 21, 2014
Posts
1,065
Location
Memphis
I have a 2011 Classic 60s Telecaster with three steel saddles. I have it intimated close enough but just ordered some Gotoh saddles to see how I like it. I had an AVRI Tekecaster before and used Rutter saddles and the improvement was noticeable. And I think the compensation was subtle enough to still look mostly the same. I would have used them again but the Gotohs have a good reputation and are a little cheaper.
I like Rutter as well but they’re high as a cat’s tail! In their defense they’re not mass producing their products and I’ve yet to be unhappy with them. I personally wouldn’t call Gotoh “cheap-er” because they’re not cheap period. Let’s go with “less expensive.” But yeah, Gotoh makes a fine product and they’re reasonably priced.
 

J. Austerlitz

TDPRI Member
Joined
Jan 16, 2012
Posts
24
Location
Virginia
I like Rutter as well but they’re high as a cat’s tail! In their defense they’re not mass producing their products and I’ve yet to be unhappy with them. I personally wouldn’t call Gotoh “cheap-er” because they’re not cheap period. Let’s go with “less expensive.” But yeah, Gotoh makes a fine product and they’re reasonably priced.
Yes. The Rutters were excellent and I would get them again in an instant. But I wanted to try the Gotohs just to see how I like them.

Rutter has great customer service too. You can’t go wrong with them.
 




Top