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Steel or Brass saddles on a Tele?..


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Posted (edited)

I bought a mexican fender tele custom(wow that's a mouthful) and it sounds about the most tele like thing i've heard before.

It's the 1st one i've owned without the 6 saddles. I think the ashtray bridge makes it sound different too. You can hear it unplugged which is a pretty good test I reckon. I compare it to my deluxe with the 6 saddle bridge and it really has a classic twang to it compared to the deluxe with the same maple fingerboard and alder body.

I tried a few G&L's out 1st and then lastly the custom and remember thinking that the tele had more of a classic twang to it.

Alot of people prefer the brass saddles but I can't see myself bothering to change as it sounds perfect to me.

From memory a youtube video comparison emphasized the steel ones being the most bitey.. I think the brass were a bit more muted but I may be wrong.

Thoughties?..

Grant can go eat some crayons though as he blocked me for annoying him. Not child like at all. I will pray for him :)

Edited by macken_nz
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1 hour ago, macken_nz said:

 

Alot of people prefer the brass saddles but I can't see myself bothering to change as it sounds perfect to me.

Since tone is purely subjective and you say it’s perfect right now there is no reason to change saddles

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I have 2 RI tele's and one has brass saddles and one has steel.

I have played the sh@t out of the 62 RI with steel saddles.

It's my go to axe for 35 years.

The ash tray cover for the 52 is sitting in the case.

 

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16 minutes ago, Mikeo said:

I have 2 RI tele's and one has brass saddles and one has steel.

I have played the sh@t out of the 62 RI with steel saddles.

It's my go to axe for 35 years.

The ash tray cover for the 52 is sitting in the case.

 

So tell me.. What difference do you notice between the two teles?.. Are they the same body and neck woods?..

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1 hour ago, gardo said:

Since tone is purely subjective and you say it’s perfect right now there is no reason to change saddles

Yeah if it works it works.. Part of my brain is curious at the difference though. 

Any thoughts on the tone difference of the two materials?

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I used to own a tele. I think I had both steel and brass saddles on it at different points. I think brass saddle might give the guitar a slightly brighter attack. I had the 3 saddle version, which looks nice aesthetically especially with brass, but the intonation wasn't as accurate as guitar with 6 saddles.

I also switched the saddles on my jazz bass from steel to brass. It definitely changed the attack, it is brighter sounding to me.

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47 minutes ago, davie said:

I used to own a tele. I think I had both steel and brass saddles on it at different points. I think brass saddle might give the guitar a slightly brighter attack. I had the 3 saddle version, which looks nice aesthetically especially with brass, but the intonation wasn't as accurate as guitar with 6 saddles.

I also switched the saddles on my jazz bass from steel to brass. It definitely changed the attack, it is brighter sounding to me.

That's interesting to hear you consider the brass brighter. I thought the steel may have been the brighter material. I remember the youtube test video comparison and not expecting much difference but was surprised to hear quite a substantial difference in the material. 

When you consider that the saddles are the point where all the string vibration transfers through it can be a very important part in the tone. The nut is the other point but obviously it only transfers the vibration from the open strings and not the fretted ones.

I used to think graphite was the way to go due to it's durability but I've heard how the tone's high frequencies are significantly cut with this material. 

I agree brass looks nice though.

Along with speaker choice, the bridge saddles can have a big impact on tone yet the average guitarist(grant harding) will mostly consider pickup or amp changes above the former.. which is a bit short sighted in my aggressive and hate filled opinion :) 

Thanks for your input man.. I really like your view points.

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I'm not sure if I remember how the tele sounded exactly. It was probably 10 years ago. lol

But one thing I noticed in my jazz bass is that the brass saddles give more of a humming quality in the higher overtones, which imo made the attack sound more defined.

Have you ever considered using Graphtech Tusq? Its a very interesting material. It's probably the one material that maximizes overall tone. I use both Tusq saddles and nut in my Yamaha 'strat', which is my main tracking electric guitar. It's originally a budget guitar, but I made it more usable with some custom mods.

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8 hours ago, macken_nz said:

So tell me.. What difference do you notice between the two teles?.. Are they the same body and neck woods?..

No the 62 RI is a rosewood fret board and the 52 RI is a maple fret board.

 

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9 hours ago, macken_nz said:

Yeah if it works it works.. Part of my brain is curious at the difference though. 

Any thoughts on the tone difference of the two materials?

I have 3 telecasters with the ashtray type bridge plates .They are all have brass so I can’t really compare ,They sound good and look good so I never saw a reason to change. 2 of them use the Wilkinson compensated saddles which I recommend for intonation 

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before you go spending all that time and money trying for a brighter tone, try changing the bleed cap...

IMHO, the tonal differences between brass and steel are negligible, and the overall acoustic tone of the instrument is dependent on other factors, like string diameter, nut material, top mount vs thru mount, body wood...but once you plug in, that mostly goes out the window, and it is all about the p-ups, the pots and the bleed cap. Because that is the filter you are putting the acoustic tone through.

If my opinion makes me an 'average guitarist' in your opinion, well, that is your opinion...

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Posted (edited)
6 hours ago, daddymack said:

before you go spending all that time and money trying for a brighter tone, try changing the bleed cap...

IMHO, the tonal differences between brass and steel are negligible, and the overall acoustic tone of the instrument is dependent on other factors, like string diameter, nut material, top mount vs thru mount, body wood...but once you plug in, that mostly goes out the window, and it is all about the p-ups, the pots and the bleed cap. Because that is the filter you are putting the acoustic tone through.

If my opinion makes me an 'average guitarist' in your opinion, well, that is your opinion...

I disagree. I believe the most important factors are the bridge termination points and type of saddles and the type of body wood that is used for the bridge transfer resonance. I can hear the difference clearly with all my guitars unplugged and the only difference to them is the bridges and body woods.

The nut material similarly makes a difference yet unlike the bridge it obviously only terminates the open strings therefore has a marked lesser effect on the tone.

For example my tele custom and deluxe sound dramatically different acoustically and the only factor of difference between them is that one has an ashtray bridge and steel barrel saddles and the other has a standard 6 saddle bent steel design. This acoustic sound quality is just mostly amplified by the pickup and although subtle changes in pups and caps and pots can alter things the inherent tone remains the same to my ear which is the acoustic resonance coming through. 

I can't determine how much of a factor the ashtray bridge makes and what part is the saddles to be fair but from memory the slab steel tele's don't sound as twangy to my ear. I'd love to get to the bottom of things and have the money(and nerdiness) to do these tone comparisons for myself at home and really establish what is going on tonally with these material factors. maybe one day when I am a bigshot with megabucks :)

Anyhow, I wasn't suggesting i'd be going ahead with any changes as I love the tone of the steel saddles and remember the youtube comparison video featuring a substantial difference in tone that a bright cap change, although pronounced, will not acheive a similar sound.

Nice little dig at the end there.. I obviously offended you at some frivolous comments made to your mate Grant and you intend to use your authority to come down hard on dissent in the ranks. I even got a 'Disarm' personal email from you which was something special to my heart. Look at me mum?! I'm making troubling comments to bedroom guitarists! i'm flying mum i'm flying! seems there's a fragile bunch here that are very precious about some silly and fun taunts.. I thought you were made of sterner stuff megatron.

I'm 100% sure I will get banned for this outspoken rant because people in power have only one option in their little brains.. control and dominate. Good times here though.. Some of you guys are truly insightful and not temperamental to the point of childishness.

Do it daddy mack.. end it.. finish me because I named your boy grant as a child.. such critical abuse that you obviously take personally given your final statement. 

Gooooo Intolerance!

72 custom I still love you.. goodbye everyone! :) :) 

Edited by macken_nz
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16 hours ago, davie said:

I'm not sure if I remember how the tele sounded exactly. It was probably 10 years ago. lol

But one thing I noticed in my jazz bass is that the brass saddles give more of a humming quality in the higher overtones, which imo made the attack sound more defined.

Have you ever considered using Graphtech Tusq? Its a very interesting material. It's probably the one material that maximizes overall tone. I use both Tusq saddles and nut in my Yamaha 'strat', which is my main tracking electric guitar. It's originally a budget guitar, but I made it more usable with some custom mods.

That's interesting and no I haven't bothered to investigate tusq.. So many options in materials can make one dizzy but it's good to hear you like the changes with your cheaper instrument.

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