Who makes a good Tele toploader bridge?

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by mikestearns, Jun 29, 2020.

  1. mikestearns

    mikestearns Tele-Meister

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    I'm about done a partscaster with a cheap body a friend gave me. The holes for the neck bolts didn't quite line up right so we drilled new ones, and its just a hair off to where the high E sits a little too close to the edge. I'm thinking I could replace the bridge with a toploader and scoot it over like 1mm to compensate? The holes for the strings to go through the body are also kind of wonky so its not a huge loss. There don't seem to be as many toploaders out there, who makes a good one?
     
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  2. nojazzhere

    nojazzhere Doctor of Teleocity

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    For quality AND value, I always go with the Wilkinson. Under $30 I believe, and work perfectly.
    On my last one, I used a "left-handed" Wilkinson, so that the bridge pickup slant was "away from" the saddles on the treble side. You have to replace the saddles themselves if compensated, but that's easy. Helps cut the "ice pick" brittleness, IMHO.
     
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  3. mikestearns

    mikestearns Tele-Meister

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    Thanks. I currently have a Joe Barden bridge on there. The guy I got it from tried to age it, which I tried to clean and ended up taking off some of the plating. Luckily this is my "learn how to do all this" guitar so I'm not expecting it to be pretty. I figured I wouldn't be able to use the saddles from that.
     
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  4. Asmith

    Asmith Friend of Leo's

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    I go super cheap, the one on my latest build cost me less than £5 from China and it's a fine bridge. It's only a chrome plated, stamped piece of steel. There is no need to over think/engineer it, maybe you want to swap the saddles to compensated, steel or threaded, personally I like brass and cut the slots into them using files.

    IMG_20200629_185325828.jpg
     
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  5. nojazzhere

    nojazzhere Doctor of Teleocity

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    If they are compensated, you very probably could use them. I currently use Bensonite Fat saddles on one of my Wilkinsons, and they work perfectly.
     
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  6. nojazzhere

    nojazzhere Doctor of Teleocity

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    I'm not a "cork sniffer" (to use a popular term) where bridges are concerned, but I do require compensated saddles. The Bensonite saddles work well, and are far more comfortable on my right hand.
     
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  7. Asmith

    Asmith Friend of Leo's

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    I can definitely see them being a worthwhile improvement for people who get irritated by the traditional saddles/grub screws but the actual plate is just a plate. I don't mind as long as the grub screws aren't protruding, the slotted saddles also reduce how far the strings stick out as well as stopping them moving side to side.
     
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  8. Brian blaut

    Brian blaut Friend of Leo's

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    The Wilkinson bridge is fine- perhaps others didn’t have this problem, but I bought one over 10 years ago and the hole pattern for the pickup was slightly off - my pickup was always to the side slightly to the point of the strings not going over the pickup pole pieces. I don’t think this is indicative of the product, but rather the piece I had.

    if price is a concern, it is your best option.

    If price isn’t a concern, I’d go Glendale all the way- their bridges are the correct thickness for fender specs.

    another option is to buy a stock gender bridge and drill the necessary holes. I’d go with the Wilkinson if I were you.
     
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  9. mikestearns

    mikestearns Tele-Meister

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    Ok, I think I'll go Wilkinson for this one. Now - the compensated saddles in the Joe Barden bridge I have don't have slots. Are they supposed to? Or do they sometimes not have them? This is my 2nd tele and first with these type of saddles, my other one has the 6 adjustable pieces like a strat.
     
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  10. PhredE

    PhredE Tele-Holic

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    I put Wilkinson locking tuners on a guitar in the last year or so. Very good quality and price was super reasonable ($32?). I really like their products. QC seems excellent.
     
  11. Asmith

    Asmith Friend of Leo's

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    I think unslotted is the normal and vintage correct, it's just my preference
     
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  12. nojazzhere

    nojazzhere Doctor of Teleocity

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    The "stock" compensated saddles on the Wilkinson bridge are not "slotted". When I used them, I never had a problem with strings moving. The ONLY reason I switched to Bensonite saddles is largely to do with the way I play. Even with filed down grub screws, I would scratch and "hurt" my right hand and wrist. The Bensonite saddles completely eliminate any sharp edges or corners. I think you'll be very happy with the Wilkinson. ;)
     
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  13. mjr428

    mjr428 Tele-Meister

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    Did you try loosening the neck bolts a little and adjusting the neck a little to see if you can get the strings to line up correctly? Might save you from buying a new bridge...

    Sent from my G60 using Tapatalk
     
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  14. Peegoo

    Peegoo Friend of Leo's

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    You can convert any three-saddle bridge to work as a toploader simply by drilling six holes in the rear flange. Drill six 3/32" holes just above the through-body holes, de-burr them, and it's ready to go.

    I've used Wilkinson bridges for top-loader builds (I like 'em), and I've always had to drill out the low E and A string holes because they're too small to easily allow the wrapping through so the ball can seat against the flange.
     
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  15. mikestearns

    mikestearns Tele-Meister

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    this helped a little. Still a little off but not as bad.
     
  16. RogerC

    RogerC Poster Extraordinaire

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    You can probably drill the holes slightly larger in the neck pocket to give you even more adjustment. I’ve used that trick quite a few times to get the adjustment I needed.
     
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  17. Jim622

    Jim622 Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    I agree with Nojazz. Wilkinson - I have them on 2
     
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  18. Telecentric

    Telecentric Tele-Holic

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    The Joe Barden angled saddles do not come with slots. I have one, and I have a slight string spacing issue because of this (but it intonates perfectly), so I plan to cut slots with a jewelers file. Wilkinson comp saddles do not have slots either, but since they are not slanted there is less of an issue regarding spacing.
     
  19. Mr. Neutron

    Mr. Neutron Tele-Meister

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    This^^^^^^^!!!!

    For my latest Strat/Parstcaster I'm working on, I converted a standard vintage tremolo body to a hardtail body (filled in the trem cavities). Decided I prefer the Tele bridge pickup combo, and rather than drill string-thru holes thru the wood, I did exactly like @Peegoo stated above. I think I have a whopping $12-$15 invested in a vintage Fender "Pat. Applied For" Tele bridge From Reverb. I had a set of compensated saddles from some Lord-only-knows-what past project.

    I just drilled 1/16" holes, but the 3/32" size Peegoo mentioned will work well'; even better for the big fat E string. The metal the Fender bridge is fairly soft, machineable, easy-to-drill steel. I think I used a piece of 1/2" MDF just wide enough to fit inside the bridge, and clamped the MDF/bridge combo into a vise. This provides some stability and backing in the vise while you layout the hole locations, center punch them, and drill them.

    I scribed a mark using a ruler to get the horizontal location for the height of the new holes to drill. I used another bridge's string-thru holes to mark the string spacing. I then put small center punch divots on my future string locations, and poked the holes. Deburr the holes, and ya have an inexpensive top-loader bridge.
     
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2020
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  20. mikestearns

    mikestearns Tele-Meister

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    I will definitely give that a shot eventually, but currently I am god awful at drilling, getting things in a straight line, spacing, generally everything other than wiring and soldering, which I am merely somewhat satisfactory at, haha.
     
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