Classic Tele Bridges~Setting Intonation & Action~What's key?

Discussion in 'The Small Company Luthiers' started by Lucidology, Feb 15, 2009.


  1. Lucidology

    Lucidology Member

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    Through experience (or lack of) I've never been able to intonate
    or set the action on classic Bridged Teles right ...
    Therefore I've passed up many an opportunity to purchase/trade
    for wonderful Tele style guitars with classic bridges ...
    Actually have gotten rid of Teles with such because of this fact ...

    What's the key to getting it right with these kind of bridges ...?

    [​IMG]
     
  2. Irreverent

    Irreverent Silver Supporting Member

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    I don't know the answer to your inquiry, but I do know that that is one SMOKIN' guitar, Joseph! What is she a TCM?

    Peace.
     
  3. Lucidology

    Lucidology Member

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    Yes .... isn't she a beautiful TCM ...?

    Wish it was mine ... it belongs to a TGP'er ...
    (hiested it from another thread as a great look example of the classic bridge ..
    luv the brass combined with silver ... )

    Never have found the trick getting a 3 nut brass bridge set right ...
    even though I've read up on it & have made the effort several ..

    Just wondering if there's any tricks or insights into the setup from those who luv 'em ...?
     
  4. walterw

    walterw Gold Supporting Member

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    those angled saddles are the "magic bullet", allowing the intonation to get a lot closer to perfect than straight saddles. adjust each so its pair of strings is equally close to right, or maybe so one is dead on and the other a little flat (good for vigorous players).

    take some time to get the string spacing just right, then file slight notches in the back half of the saddles to keep the strings in place while leaving the contact point smooth.

    find/modify height screws short enough to not stick out and dig into your palm.

    if the bridge doesn't have the little screws at the front corners like in the TCM pictured, take pains to keep the plate flat against the wood to prevent ringing. i bend the plate a little convex while off the guitar (by flipping it over and carefully hammering the middle), so that the mounting screws force the 4 corners flat against the wood.
     
  5. Terry McInturff

    Terry McInturff 40th Anniversary of guitar building! Gold Supporting Member

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    Walter's advice is excellent...as usual.
    Somebody order some TerryCasters...I want to run a batch!
     
  6. dewman

    dewman Gold Supporting Member

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    Those TerryCasters are KILLER, and the compensated saddles plus Terry's essential MOJO makes for an amazing guitar- totally in tune all over the neck!

    Here's mine:
    [​IMG]


     
  7. Chris Rice

    Chris Rice Member

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    With straight or fixed-angle saddles, adjust the intonation to split the difference. Play a bit and decide if you want to favor one of the strings in a pair. For example, with a straight saddle I like the A to be a little more flat than the E being sharp. More pleasing with my hands.

    The swivel Wilkinson saddles are the best for setting intonation. Adjust the angle so that each string in a pair is equally unintonated, then pull the whole saddle into position. Patience is key.

    For action, be aware that changing one string affects the other one on that saddle. Tweak and play, tweak and play.

    I hate long height screws.
     
  8. Lucidology

    Lucidology Member

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    Don't know ... but the great answers that have been provided make me leary of the classic Tele saddle even more ... guess I'll six with my sixers ....
     
  9. diego

    diego Member

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    Ludicology, the bridge saddles in Dewman's picture work... you can move each pair of strings back and forth and then unlock the allen screw in the middle and then swivel the saddle to dial each string in. It might sound complicated, but it's not that bad... and worth the effort if you want the tele tone. Suhr also uses these on his Classic T's... You can buy either the saddles or the bridge and saddles from All Parts. They're made by Wilkinson.
     
  10. Jan Folkson

    Jan Folkson Member

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    My teles sound best when I perfectly intonate the low e, g and b strings. Let the others fall where they may.
     
  11. big mike

    big mike Fixed Bias Moderator Staff Member

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    You need to play a properly set up one mate. There's nothing like it.

    Definitely has it's place.
     
  12. Lucidology

    Lucidology Member

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    Yo Mike ... that's exactly the problem, as I have played 'em properly setup
    .. thus I can tell the difference (just that little touch of organic lovely-ness)
    However, I'm one of those guys who often intonates and does his own action on a whim..
    & I've never been able to get it right with the 3 saddle classic bridges ..

    Hey, but I'm happy with my sixers for what they are ... & they sound great...

    Just have been tempted with all the great T Suhrs popping up in the Empo lately ...
    Have you noticed this particular phenom ...?
     
  13. diego

    diego Member

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    I've noticed it -- the sudden rash of Suhr T's, that is. I was getting ready to sell one or two of them, and thought the timing was good, because none have been up for a while, and then...
     
  14. oscar100

    oscar100 Supporting Member

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    gotta have compensated sadles:hide
     
  15. Terry McInturff

    Terry McInturff 40th Anniversary of guitar building! Gold Supporting Member

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    The angled brass saddles do not differ, tonally, from the straight brass saddles of yore. Thats probably obvious to you all.

    They are perhaps a bit rounded-off in the high's as compared to the straight, steel "allthread" saddles.

    I do totally dig the sound of the straight originals...that bit of intonation "tension" sounds quite "smart-alecy" in the right hands....

    But stacking tracks with them is just awful, in general.

    Intonation issues get magnified, logarithmetically(new word), as you combine with other instruments that tune-up better, or at least, differently.

    To me, going for the angled saddles...made of an appropriate material...makes for a better tool without giving up the essential voice of the chassis.
     
  16. Chris Rice

    Chris Rice Member

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  17. big mike

    big mike Fixed Bias Moderator Staff Member

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    I do use compensated, but I so prefer the sound of the vintage tele bridge over the modern style (America standard?) bridge. I do have one tele with the big gotoh 6 saddle, a necessary evil to get the Glaser B Bender. Sweet guitar but doesn't 'quite' get the vintage snap. Great modern sounding tele. (It's a partscaster).

    I also have one tele with a 2tek bridge, a fabulous design. Different again in tone than a vintage tele style, but definitely worth the change. Such an amazing sounding bridge. Guitar becomes almost 'piano-like'
     
  18. skeeterbuck

    skeeterbuck Member

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  19. Terry McInturff

    Terry McInturff 40th Anniversary of guitar building! Gold Supporting Member

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    No Chris, but Id love to and will! Thanks for the reminder.

    As for intonation issues...I'll be covering this rather completely at the TCM Setup Clinic at Sound Pure this coming Saturday.

    A self-serving plug-a-roonie!
     
  20. Rick51

    Rick51 Member

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    Joseph, you just fiddle with the little screws until you get it right. :jo It can't be perfect with the stock saddles, but there's lots of compensated saddles out there.

    Or, adjust the saddle position to exactly 'split the difference', then bend the adjuster screw to angle the saddle.

    Or the best idea, take your new (to you) tele to a pro and pay a couple dollars for a set up. I had been doing my own for 40+ years. Took one to a guy just to see what he could do with it. It was decent when I dropped it off, now it is just excellent. Cut nut slots a little lower, leveled off a couple high frets, adjust it all.
     

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