Toploading Bridge question

Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by Steve Gascoigne, Oct 17, 2020 at 6:03 AM.

  1. Steve Gascoigne

    Steve Gascoigne TDPRI Member

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    This might seem like a dumb question but are the string holes in a toploader usually offset slightly. I have a couple of plates which had the six barrel type saddles and I want to swap the saddles to the modern style on one but they are off set, is this always the case or if I buy a modern top loader will they be in line?

    With this in mind can anyone recommend a good mid priced top liader, the guitar is only a cheapish partscaster so I don't want to spend a lot but I'm getting quite attached to it and want to improve it.
     
  2. Laren

    Laren Tele-Meister

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    Hi,

    You could try Northwest Guitars.
     
  3. El Tele Lobo

    El Tele Lobo Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    Advanced Music Products Nashville. You can custom order from them. Or you can order one of their basic bridges. I think the ones Philadelphia Luthier Tools sells might be their dual-loader version. If you order direct from AMP, they have a $75 minimum order, but that's probably a bridge and a couple sets of their awesome compensated saddles (which you can order individually in any combination of aluminum, steel or brass.

    Their bridges can be had in cold-rolled steel (recommend!) of various thicknesses (.048 and .060) or stainless steel and with or without single or double cutaways on the sides. They also offer chrome and nickel finish in most and black or gold in some others. Lots of options for exactly what you're looking for. I have their bridges on 3 of my teles...one is a cut half bridge for my reverse Esquire Jazzbo tele. They make great stuff.

    I tried a little test comparing the Wilkinson and Kluson bridges I used to use with the AMP ones. I hung each (without hardware or saddles) from a thread and struck it lightly with the handle of a screwdriver. The AMP bridges rang like bells with a loud bright sustain. The Kluson and Wilkinson mostly made a dull clank and when they did ring, they rang much more quietly and died off quickly. I detected a subtle but noticeable improvement in tone, too.

    https://www.philadelphialuthiertools.com

    http://www.advancedmusicproducts.com
     
  4. Squawker

    Squawker Tele-Meister

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    Northwest have good stuff at decent prices.

    It's not the string holes that are offset, but the saddle screws. Same difference in a way, but the saddle screws need to get out of the strings' way - not the opposite.

    If the six barrel bridges are older, like my '96 MIM (MIA spec 3 screw bridge, but toploader) then Northwest don't have a drop-in replacement. Their replacements are for Squire bridges (the ones with two extra screws on the front edge).
    I'm pretty sure Hipshot makes one - but they're expensive. Or Musiclily might have something cheap.
     
  5. boris bubbanov

    boris bubbanov Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    Steve, the Toploader is really sensitive IMO and the string pull has to be aligned dead on or you'd be in big trouble. In my experience the saddle screws may be offset, but the holes through the back lip of the plate are spot on and actually kind of restrict any adjustments to the width of the string array at the saddles, that you can easily accomplish with a through body arrangement.
     
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  6. Steve Gascoigne

    Steve Gascoigne TDPRI Member

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    What I mean is the plate is from an old Fender six barrel bridge and I want to use modern saddles but because the strings usually roll straight over the saddle the holes in the modern saddles are off to one side.

    Do I basically need a new plate that feeds the strings through directly under the saddle screws or would i just be better setting up a jig and going string thru?
     
  7. Matthias

    Matthias Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

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    Toploader saddles often have an offset screw so the string can travel with as little interference as possible. There’s a three saddle compensated option from Wilkinson, if you want a third option: https://www.jhs.co.uk/brands/wilkin...lkinson-classic-3-saddle-guitar-bridge-chrome

    The other option is to find some US Tele Deluxe saddles and see if they fit. They aren’t cheap and the deluxe saddle screws all offset to the same side, where 6-string toploader bridges often offset 3 screws to the right side of the string, three to the left. That means IF they fitted and lined up, you may have to mix and match a left and right handed set, which could get expensive especially if this Frankenstein doesn’t line up.

    So the next option would be to find a Squier affinity bridge plate. They’re one of the few six-saddle options where the string loads directly under the saddle screw, meaning you can fit any decent saddle with the same dimensions. I’m not sure how the string spacing compares.

    Last option is to modify a plate but personally I’d go forthe compensated three barrel from Wilkinson.
     
  8. Steve Gascoigne

    Steve Gascoigne TDPRI Member

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    I really want the six saddles, I have two Fenders with three and love them but I want the six on this. I might see if I can find a Squier bridge on EBay or somewhere, to be honest I'm using the guitar to practice doing mods and learn but I also want it to function because the neck is great.

    Thanks for the advice
     
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  9. boris bubbanov

    boris bubbanov Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    Steve, I wish the Squier 51 forum was still around - but I guess it blew up. Anyway, we had so many discussions, so many pictures and so much advice as to what all the many guys had tried, what worked and what kinda worked and what failed completely. Basically every conceivable approach was attempted.

    Check out, under the Clubs section here at TDPRI, the active Squier 51 guys. You might see something there.
     
  10. stressdoubt

    stressdoubt TDPRI Member

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    How many mounting screws are holding the plate you have right now to the body? Is it four or three?

    I have a 6 barrel toploader Squier from the 90s and it had three screws so when I upgraded to a vintage style three saddle toploader bridge I had to make new four holes as the original three screw (6 barrel) bridge was longer so the screws were further back. If the vintage bridge had been the same length (so the mounting screws were on the same axis) I would have been filling and drilling which would have been a pain. I did look at the Hipshot drop in replacement but it was more money than I paid for the guitar and a set of Gotoh saddles didn’t work because of the offset so, as I couldn’t find any offset saddles, I went with a new vintage style bridge instead.
     
  11. Tuxedo Poly

    Tuxedo Poly Tele-Afflicted

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    Six saddle top loaders with modern saddles usually have the string holes directly underneath the intonation screws.There are usually some on Ebay UK for around a fiver, only snag is they come from China.
    Like this
    Generic_top_loader.jpg
     
  12. boris bubbanov

    boris bubbanov Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    [​IMG]This is the same bridge, that was used on the Squier 51 coming out of Indonesia in late 2004, and I'm not convinced it was from China. Our best guess was, Taiwan. At least, back then.

    But that wasn't our gripe. The main problem is the path of the string. It ends up basically "woven" into the saddle, as opposed to being taut and "breaking" cleanly in just one direction, along its journey from the nut slot to the retention hole for the ball end.

    There's almost as much upward pressure as there is downward pressure, on the saddle. The string is too much at liberty to levitate, and this frees all the small parts to begin a nuisance cacaphony of rattles and buzzes. The E-tuner is useless - the guitar is not easy to tune or to intonate. The sounds you get, are novelty sounds not pro quality music.
     
  13. warrent

    warrent Friend of Leo's

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    Are you talking about this type of bridge
    C39.jpg

    Versus this type of bridge?
    10dtebrsostb.jpg
     
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