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

Chicago Matt

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Regardless of the bridge type, I love the Petersen Strobe Clip with it's guitar sweetener mode. As noted, a guitar can never be perfectly in tune up and down the neck. But the sweetener is great at providing an automated tuning compromise that sounds pretty much in tune everywhere. In the old days I used to have to tune the B string a few cents flat, the D string a few cents sharp, etc.
 

KelvinS1965

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I've got one with straight brass (avatar), another with the steel threaded straight ones ('59 Jimmy Page style) and a Cabronita with 6 saddles. I sound equally bad on all of them. ;) Almost close enough that @dougbgt6 could hear as well. ;)
 

Guitar Rod

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Just an update on the Gotoh compensated saddles. Love them. As good intonation up and down the neck as any of my six saddle guitars. I'll go as far as to say better. And they look great. From any reasonal distance they look like stock barrels. And they are even starting to tarnish nicely. Couldn't endorse them more.
 

TokyoPortrait

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Hi.

I haven't read everything (yet), sorry.* Anyway, I have both. Brass compensated ones by Gotoh and regular brass ones.

And my conclusion is, as I've stated before, my 'intonation' is more at risk from my left hand than it is from my saddles.

Having said that, how whacked out is your guitar? Compensating saddles no doubt are of some actual help in some cases.

Pax/
Dean
* Edit: oh, wait, old-ish thread. I probably have read it and forgotten... :rolleyes:
 

Timbresmith1

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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 don’t give a humpty-dance about how my saddles look. Three saddles cranked, filed, angled, rusty, as long as the set screws aren’t sticking up out of the things and it intonates, I’m good.
 

blue metalflake

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I’m happy with 3 saddle original saddles & have several in different materials. My intonation is as near perfect as makes no difference & better than my ears can distinguish.

Just a thought - is the degree of compensation on each saddle not fixed, so is there still not a degree of compromise?
 

StewieCopeland

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I have Callaham compensated saddles on my partscaster but if I switched them out I'd put in a Mastery bridge because it may be expensive but it looks like a squad of cool tiny robots.
 

birdawesome

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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 really like the fender compensated and I actually quite like the look of them. They don’t intonate totally perfectly, but they’re much better than straight barrels.

Glendales, however, intonate exceedingly well, and can’t recommend them enough.
 

wyclif

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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 prefer the Callaham "terraced"-style barrels. The point where the string leaves the saddle is a lot cleaner and makes them super easy to intonate.

I also like the Mastery M3 for Telecasters. Absolutely brilliant, solid, well-engineered piece of hardware that lets you dial in the intonation and is never going to need further adjustment or replacing.
 

wyclif

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If you enjoy playing a chord anywhere above the 5th fret, you'll want a guitar that is intonationated.

So true. I think people who only play cowboy chords can't wrap their heads around compensated saddles because it doesn't make the guitar sound different if that's all they're playing.

But like you mentioned, I was doing Mickey Baker's Jazz Guitar book and there's all kinds of unusual chords played high up on the neck. After I installed the compensated saddles and intonated it, boy did it sound a lot better when playing higher than the fifth fret.
 

Wrighty

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I’d only compensate if you’re totally, 100% sure that it was your fault and it’s on your conscience.
Right, now I’ll read the thread.
 

kinkstah

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I'd like to try compensated saddles, just to see how it would be an actual improvement. However, and honestly, I never had trouble at getting intonation right enough with the regular 3 saddle design (my favorite being the steel threaded saddles)
 

boris bubbanov

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I've gotten weary of some of the compensated saddles - they're "too compensated". They overshoot the mark. Joe Barden is the best example of too much compensation. The "Wilkinson" bevel saddles (by Sung Il) are another.

A talented guitarsmith can often get pretty good intonation with the straight saddles. So, it seems to me that just the minimal amount of slant or eccentric slot, combined with deft smithing, can get you to a point where the audience can't see anything "inauthentic" and yet you will sound in tune.
 

AJBaker

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I used normal straight sales for years with no problems.
Then, on a whim I tried out slanted saddles, and it turned out to sound better and more in tune.
 

ben smith

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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've never needed to on a good tele.
 

boris bubbanov

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Yeah, in my 35 years of playing guitar I’ve never ever encountered a need to have as much compensation as those saddles do.
I hear you.

Nothing scientific about this, but anecdotally, I feel the urge to use more compensation on guitars that are strung with thinner gauge strings, and also guitars with larger fretwire and flatter board radii. Another instance, where compensation is probably needed, is Hi-Lo string sets such as 9-48 or 10-52. Seemed like, the farther one varied from 12-52 and 11-49, the easier it was to end up out of intonation. I believe that a lot of players have through intuition and experience, learned to apply the right amount of tension on most of the notes. I think a lot of "bad" notes are from lack of form, lack of playing time where the player can actually hear him/herself through the speaker. Can I prove up any of this? Nope.
 




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