*@^!!! brass Tele saddles

Discussion in 'V.C.'s Parlor' started by DUSTER, Feb 9, 2019.


    DUSTER Squier-Meister

    May 2, 2014
    Greensburg, Pa.
    I got this Tele the other day and in setting it up for myself I was reminded how and why I hate setting the intonation with the Tele brass saddles. I know, it's a Tele and I'm not going to get it perfect with those type of saddles but that still doesn't keep me from pulling out what hair I have left.
  2. brogh

    brogh Assistant Admin Staff Member

    Jan 21, 2019
    Dont' pull your hair :)

    Get compensated ones, the best thing I ever did :), there are tons of aftermarket compensated saddles slotted and not, although you can get very close if you tinker .... A LOT ..
  3. ElRey67

    ElRey67 Squier-holic

    Jan 10, 2016
    Chandler, AZ
    Can you explain what the issue is for those that are not familiar?
    Like what is easier vs the brass?
    I’m a bit of a Tele novice even though I built one partscaster Tele. It has brass barrels.
    Kenneth Mountain likes this.

    DUSTER Squier-Meister

    May 2, 2014
    Greensburg, Pa.
    I found this one I had laying around. Maybe toss it on the next time I change strings or something like that. IMG_20190209_132150206.jpg
  5. bigtuna

    bigtuna Squier-holic

    Nov 1, 2015
    I thought the brass was the real shizzle.
  6. Michael7

    Michael7 Squier-holic

    The stock traditional Tele saddles are brass barrels that are threaded to be perpendicular to the 3 intonation screws. Since each barrel does 2 strings, intonation of adjacent strings can be an issue, since normal intonation requires a double stair step arrangement of the saddles to be correct.

    Modern Tele bridges don't have this issue, they can be individually adjusted to be perfect. Pic at left. Note the stair steps, which repeats between the D and G strings.

    For keeping a more traditional look, intonated saddles have flats added to alter the string break point in order to take into account the different string lengths needed.

    moderntelebridge.jpg wilkinsontelebridge.jpg
  7. jjudas

    jjudas Squier-holic

    Mar 23, 2016
    Metro New Orleans
    3 barrel brass saddles can be challenging to intonate. I get pretty close, but it takes me a little while.
  8. Dr Improbable

    Dr Improbable Squier-holic

    Apr 4, 2015
    I'm in the "Close enough" school of intonation.
  9. brogh

    brogh Assistant Admin Staff Member

    Jan 21, 2019
    Brass gets your tele more "spank", steel sounds different, there are many videos on the web with some comparisons, the issue with the "original" three saddles is that as per the nature of the guitar to be in tune the "saddle points " don't fall perfectly in straight line, there is an angle, with the three barrels you have hard time to do that because when you put in tune one point, the other on the saddle is probably out a little bit and getting that right is "almost" impossible

    Compensated saddles are "cut" to avoid this problem and you dont' get mad that much :)

    Compensated :


    Old style

  10. squierTony

    squierTony Dr. Squier

    Jul 4, 2012
    MAUD Oklahoma
    Me too....
  11. -r3-

    -r3- Squier-holic

    Jan 28, 2016
    NC Piedmont
    Of course, the three hard-to-intonate brass saddles are part of the classic tele sound, and were played in many a tune that is near and dear to a lot of us, I'll bet.
  12. ElRey67

    ElRey67 Squier-holic

    Jan 10, 2016
    Chandler, AZ
    Thanks for the education, guys. I get it now. My Tele build seemed to be properly intonated when I finished my set up. I let a friend borrow it (young kid who was learning guitar.....sob is probably a better player than me after a year). But when he returned it, it seems like I need to redo the setup. So when I get around to replacing the neck, I’ll keep in mind the issues discussed here.

    Here is mine. There are grooves for each string.
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2019
  13. fattboyzz

    fattboyzz Squier-holic

    Nov 29, 2017
    Newnan ,Ga.
    I'm in the non cork sniffers section myself :D:p:D
  14. LutherBurger

    LutherBurger Squier-holic

    Sep 2, 2015
    For me, compensated saddles get "close enough" but I prefer 6-saddle bridges.

    I need all the help I can get to sound good.
  15. Bluesnote

    Bluesnote Squier-Meister

    Couldn't agree with you more.......
    I just dont get it with Fender and their designs.
    They produce two of the most classic guitars i.e. Tele and Strat, they put in this stupid bridge system on the Tele that is almost impossible to intonate and they put in the most stupid tremolo system on their Strat with the six screws into the body which the system pivots on causing terrible tuning issues.
    Why didn't they modify both guitars early on with a six piece saddle on the Tele and a two bolts on the body pivot system on the Strat???
    I find it a bit crazy
    Kenneth Mountain likes this.
  16. otma

    otma Squier-holic

    Nov 4, 2012
    Owen, Wisconsin
    My question is: why do people complain about this on an electric . . .


    But find this perfectly fine on an acoustic . . .

    acoustic bridge.JPG

    Even though that's less adjustable than this . . .


    Which is typically considered cheap and cheesy on an electric?
  17. archetype

    archetype Squier-Nut

    Oct 24, 2017
    Williamsville, NY USA
    From my perspective, these bridges and their design aren't crazy or stupid.

    A string can intonate correctly at only 2 points on the fretboard: 0 (open) and the 12th fret. The physics involved makes everything in between "off" by a few cents. A 6-saddle Tele bridge doesn't change that. The 3-saddle bridge compromises the intonation by a few cents over the entire fretboard, but only by a few cents.

    On a 21-fret 6-string neck there are 126 points where you can place a finger and play a note. People have learned to tolerate imperfect intonation for 95% of that fretboard, but get fixated on having perfect intonation at 12 specific points, the other 5%.

    It's all close enough for a tempered stringed instrument. I have 3 Teles with 3-saddle bridges that intonate close enough. 2 have standard barrel saddles and 1 has compensated saddles because I happened to have some. It intonates better at those 12 points, but the entire fretboard is close enough just like the 3-saddle Teles. Once in a while you find a Tele that just won't intonate close enough with a 3-saddle bridge, but that's usually due to bad bridge placement or a poorly cut nut with incorrect slot angles.

    The first thing I did to my James Burton Standard Telecaster was to replace the stock 6-saddle bridge with a 3-saddle bridge. Because of the string through design and string alignment along the neck, the intonation screws aren't on the center lines of the saddles and string tension shifts all strings in one direction, causing string misalignment on the neck. That, and contact between saddles that caused rattling, was enough for me.

    My 3 Strats include 2 with 6-screw bridges an one with a 2-post bridge. Set up properly, they have zero tuning issues.

    Everyone's mileage may vary, but I'm at a loss to know why.
  18. Bluesnote

    Bluesnote Squier-Meister

    We all have our own ideas on what our guitars should and shouldn't have.
    Personally I much prefer my six saddle bridge as said on my Tele.
    As for the Strat....I had a Japanese made Strat in the eighties with the two bolt pivot and it was great at gigs, every time I used the trem it never went out of tune.
    I have two Squier Strats and both have the six screw system, I've tried everything to get them to stay in tune, so much so that I've now hard tailed them, admittedly they are cheap and nasty units they have on them being the bottom of the range, perhaps I do Fender an injustice. I just use my Ibanez if I feel the need to whammy lol
    We all seem too picky in many ways I guess.
  19. Bluesnote

    Bluesnote Squier-Meister

    Point taken
    Pat V. likes this.
  20. KelvinS1965

    KelvinS1965 Squier-Meister

    Apr 6, 2014
    Wokingham England
    I've got two Teles and one of them came with compensated brass upgraded saddles as I bought it used. The thing I don't like about a 3 saddle Tele is the lip on the bridge plate, so I copied an idea I saw elsewhere on the web and ground the side lip down.

    I changed the saddle screw springs after this photo as they were a bit loose (might not have been the correct ones).
    Bridge mod 5.jpg

    I've left my other Tele standard (it came with steel saddles) and seem to get on OK regarding intonation, so I guess I'm in the 'close enough' school anyway.
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