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: 107 74.3%
  • Nay - It's close enough and it make a Tele a Tele. Want perfect intonation, buy a 6 saddle bridge.

    Votes: 37 25.7%

  • Total voters
    144

Happy Enchilada

Friend of Leo's
Joined
Mar 25, 2021
Posts
3,801
Location
God's Country
GraphTech String Saver Saddles.
First thing I do to any Fender-style build.
Stay in tune. No break strings.
Now available in antiquated 3-barrel style.
'Bout $50 every day @ Amazon.
1660924388121.png

1660924427783.png

Because your hand covers some of the bridge while you're playing, and it's bad luck to sit and stare at your guitar instead of playing it.
 

Attachments

  • 1660924406228.png
    1660924406228.png
    112.4 KB · Views: 13

J. Austerlitz

TDPRI Member
Joined
Jan 16, 2012
Posts
24
Location
Virginia
I just ordered the Gotoh saddles. Think they will work out splendidly.

Thanks for all the responses. Glad I made this a poll. Found it very interesting. Read a lot of previous posts about the subject, but never could gauge which way the community went. The generality is that Fender and Gibson people are very traditional when it comes to guitars. I'll cop to that. But 3/4 of people who answered the polls prefer intonated saddles to traditional saddles. It might just be a quirk to Teles because of how antiquated the original saddles are. I know Strat guys love their bent steel saddles and Les Paul guys love ABR-1. Maybe because they were so adjustable from the start. Didn't need updating.
I just put Gotohs on mine last night and am very happy. Right away getting the guitar intonated was a breeze and it sounds great.

I replaced steel saddles with brass ones and while I can’t say there is a huge difference (which is good because I like how my guitar sounds), it does sound generally “better”—just a good combo of intonation, new strings, fresh set up. Overall, very happy. Hope you enjoy yours.
 

Fenderbaum

Tele-Meister
Joined
Apr 10, 2021
Posts
490
Age
41
Location
Bergen, Norway
Rutters, Glendale...
What is so special about them that justify the price?. Its just a round stud of brass.
I had to laugh a little browsing the Glendale site. Different saddle for different sounds and style.. Jazz, Twang.. my lord. Its just saddle. Cork sniffing of the highest order..
I use Gotoh. Cheap, solid and works excellent to me..
 

Fender_Player90

TDPRI Member
Joined
Sep 25, 2022
Posts
68
Age
32
Location
Maryland
Going to try the Gotohs compensated saddles with a Fender Vintage Bridge to go in my new MIM Player series
Was debating between Wilkenson, Fender and Gotoh. Settled on Gotoh saddles. Wilkenson stuff is made in China. Not to be biased but I ll take Made in Taiwan, South Korea, Japan or Mexico anyday over China. The Gotoh saddles are made in Japan which some quality stuff including nice Fender guitars come out of Japan. I first ordered a Wilkenson Bridge but im sending it back...it says its Made in China. I was under the impression it was made in the US . Ordered the cheaper Fender bridge plate and its Made in the US. The Chinese Wilkenson Bridge looked more refined but there are reports of holes not lining up as good as the Fender one, etc. Yes the Fender bridge has rough corners and part of the finish is smooth and the rest satin. But I was looking at Guitars today thats how they all are. Its a vintage style bridge and I think has some character plus it says Fender on it compared to the chinese made counterpart.

So Fender has two types of compensated saddles. The cheaper more basic ones I guess that articulate. They just call them "compensated". And then nobody has mentioned the more expensive elaborate looking ones with the set screws. Anybody tried these? Theyre called the "intonation adjustable"ones. Reviews online seem to indicate that the set screw adjustment is brittle and easy to break. Fenders saddles appear to be mostly US Made. But seems like most people use the more basic Fender compensated saddles.
 

Fender_Player90

TDPRI Member
Joined
Sep 25, 2022
Posts
68
Age
32
Location
Maryland
Confirms my suspicions. I wouldnt use the Wilkinson bridge plate. Yeah its more polished and prettier than the Fender one. But even though it is thicker the metal is more flimsy compared to the Fender which feels more beefier when you flex it even though its the thinner one. It also says made by Sung IL. Its Made in China and who know what kind of pot metal its made out of. The Fender Plate is made in the USA and def Steel sheet metal. The Wilkinson is higher profile so it ll get in the way more and the some of holes dont line in the same spot as the Fender. My Fender Plate has Gotoh saddles and I can tell just rubbing my finger nail on them that the Gotoh is a much harder brass and the Wilkinson is softer. Some people have had good sucess with the Wilkinson but I would just caution those who are looking to buy this. China is known for doing a nice chrome job on some parts while meanwhile the metal or materials underneath are junk. Ill take Fenders less refined plate and finish anyday from what I just observed. Its a vintage style bridge after all. The Gotah Saddles are made in Japan so thats good.

I did confirm the Wilkinson plate does take a magnet so it is some sort of ferrous metal. But it is def more flimsy than the Fender one even being thicker than the Fender one. Its going back to Amazon.
20220927_083239.jpg
20220927_083725.jpg

20220927_083623.jpg
20220927_083657.jpg
 

Attachments

  • 20220927_083442.jpg
    20220927_083442.jpg
    130.3 KB · Views: 8
Last edited:

mystichands

Tele-Meister
Joined
Jan 3, 2014
Posts
197
Location
NW Colorado
How do they compare with the others? I have had the Wilkensons on one guitar. They were good. On my current Tele, I’ve got two StewMac tilting barrels, and a Philadelphia luthier supply compensated one for the e/a strings. It’s a little tricky to string height correct because it’s a Squier classic vibe Tele 50s pine body with a fender fat 51(?) U shape neck. And to top it off, I installed a new nut, which I’ve never done before. I’ve been thinking about the Bensonites, but I realize I’m just getting ridiculous about perfect tuning.
 

mystichands

Tele-Meister
Joined
Jan 3, 2014
Posts
197
Location
NW Colorado
Confirms my suspicions. I wouldnt use the Wilkinson bridge plate. Yeah its more polished and prettier than the Fender one. But even though it is thicker the metal is more flimsy compared to the Fender which feels more beefier when you flex it even though its the thinner one. It also says made by Sung IL. Its Made in China and who know what kind of pot metal its made out of. The Fender Plate is made in the USA and def Steel sheet metal. The Wilkinson is higher profile so it ll get in the way more and the some of holes dont line in the same spot as the Fender. My Fender Plate has Gotoh saddles and I can tell just rubbing my finger nail on them that the Gotoh is a much harder brass and the Wilkinson is softer. Some people have had good sucess with the Wilkinson but I would just caution those who are looking to buy this. China is known for doing a nice chrome job on some parts while meanwhile the metal or materials underneath are junk. Ill take Fenders less refined plate and finish anyday from what I just observed. Its a vintage style bridge after all. The Gotah Saddles are made in Japan so thats good.

I did confirm the Wilkinson plate does take a magnet so it is some sort of ferrous metal. But it is def more flimsy than the Fender one even being thicker than the Fender one. Its going back to Amazon.
View attachment 1033568 View attachment 1033569
View attachment 1033575 View attachment 1033574
I like the Fender plate more. I put one on my Squier classic vibe Tele and a fender neck( fat U shape) so that besides playing a lot nicer, it looks like a true fender.
 

Chicago Matt

Friend of Leo's
Joined
Aug 23, 2014
Posts
3,657
Age
73
Location
Woodstock
I like the three brass barrels and want to get the tuning up the neck as close as possible. I've tried several. Either they don't stay put (no grooves), the break angle is too big, they don't have as much mass as I like, etc. The best I've found for my needs are these from Philadelphia Luthier. The last set I bought (a couple of years ago) were $40, but well worth it to me.

Ashtray.jpg
 

fenderchamp

Friend of Leo's
Ad Free Member
Joined
Jun 17, 2008
Posts
3,374
Location
omaha
I use compensated saddles, uncompensated saddles, 6 saddle, tunamatic, abr, wraptails with/without the saddles/thelightning bolt, 6 saddle bridge etc, acoustic compensated, acoustic uncompenstated saddles.

perfectly in tune... #lolwut... whatever.

Guitars are never perfectly in tune.

One of the basic skills of a guitar player is to make the thing seem like you are in tune.

Hearing an inexperienced guitar player indiscriminately play open, cowboy chords on a loud clean telecaster is about as excruciating as watching 7 year old kids play tee-ball, actually probably worse, even if it has just been tuned up with an electronic tuner and handed to he/she. It doesn't matter what kind of saddles are on the thing.

Guitar playing, and playing so it sounds right and in tune is a skill.

If I'm honest, I like glendale/rutters/callaham saddles and bridges simply because they are expensive.
 
Last edited:

Matthias

Friend of Leo's
Gold Supporter
Joined
Jun 30, 2003
Posts
4,141
Location
Third rock from the Sun
I like the Wilkinsons but I find if you need to have the saddles high you can get some ‘sitar-ing’ on the front edge. Which didn’t make much sense to me thinking how most barrel saddles work but it was something I ran into nonetheless. Not an issue on the majority of Teles though. Cheap and effective.
 

badscrew_projects

Tele-Meister
Silver Supporter
Joined
Nov 25, 2021
Posts
275
Age
122
Location
Paris
I’ve got Wilkinson saddles and don’t like them. The step between two strings is way to big - instead of no compensation I’m getting too much, impossible to intonate all the strings. A regular 3 barrel bridge isn’t worse than that.
 

AndrewG

Friend of Leo's
Joined
May 15, 2007
Posts
2,534
Age
70
Location
Exeter, England
My Noventa with its three compensated brass saddles intonates well. To be quite frank I couldn't care less what the bridge looks like as long as it does its job.
The un-compensated three-saddle bridges intonate acceptably enough; good enough to have been on countless professional recordings. My '57 Les Paul Junior with just a wrapover bridge/tailpiece and minimal back and forth adjustment is surprisingly accurate, given the short scale. My Gretsch 6120-1960 with its simple rocking bar bridge also intonates very well; I put much of that down to the zero fret.
 
Last edited:

AndrewG

Friend of Leo's
Joined
May 15, 2007
Posts
2,534
Age
70
Location
Exeter, England
Bought myself a new USA Performer a month or so ago… great guitar but I’m am getting slightly obsessed with the open D chord sounding slightly ‘off’.. could be the fatter frets and my vice like grip… or: is this something I’ve got to live with if I want to stick with the stock (uncompensated) brass saddles?
Are you relying on just an electronic tuner? If so it will only tell you that individual strings are at the correct pitch, but not when chords are played. I always have to sweeten the tuning a little after using a tuner; drop the bottom E a hair, likewise the top E. If, for example, you play a 'perfectly' in tune first position D-chord followed by an Am, the top E on the Am will sound unacceptably flat, and vice versa the top E will sound sharp if the Am is 'perfectly' in tune according to the tuner. My ears are much more sensitive to tuning nuance than a tuner, and I can happily live with just them and an A=440 fork for tuning.
 




Top