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Highwood vintage strat saddles review

seljetnoma

Member
Messages
43
Hi,

I installed a fresh set of Highwood vintage style saddles on my strat with a Gotoh 510T tremolo.
Until this week I had the Gotoh block saddles on the trem, but I decided I wanted something more vintage sounding and looking on my strat.


One of the major benefits of the Highwood saddles is that the height adjustment screws aren't sticking out and don't pry in you hand as real vintage saddles do, the saddles are bend a bit inwards on the underside so the height adjustment screws go through both the upperside and the lowerside of the saddles.


There's a little notch on the saddle where your string will rest on, keeping your string in place when doing bends.
The result is a more steady platform for the string to rest on, giving the saddle slightly more mass resulting in a bit more sustain and more tuning stability!


Installing the new saddles was a bliss and after installing a new set of strings I put the Highwood saddles to the test.


The unplugged sound was very promising, but when I put the saddles for a real live test it's qualities became obvious!!
While I was under the impression that a vintage style saddle couldn't be improved any further, I was surprised to find that this saddle is a major improvement over the vintage design, they sound very articulate with all the vintage sound qualities but with added sustain.
Notes ring and there is a nice balanced warm sound, without any of the thin sounds other saddle brands gave me in the past.
I had vintage style Gotoh saddles on this trem some time ago, but went back to block saddles because the Gotoh's seemed to thin the sound a bit.
Not so with Highwood saddles, they are great with vintage appearance and modern features, they are the final answer to my search for new saddles.

Thumbs up for Highwood, they are great to deal with and I highly recommend them for all in search for a major tone upgrade and their playing comfort is a nice added bonus, they feel smooooth!! :banana
Check them out http://www.highwood-guitarparts.com/
 
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buddastrat

Member
Messages
14,711
Cool. was gonna try the Raw Vintage but may try these instead. I use Gotoh vintage saddles right now and like that they are a little wider than Fenders, they couple together nice and snug. Are these like that?

Did you have Gotoh vintage saddles and say they were thinner in sound?
 

seljetnoma

Member
Messages
43
Cool. was gonna try the Raw Vintage but may try these instead. I use Gotoh vintage saddles right now and like that they are a little wider than Fenders, they couple together nice and snug. Are these like that?

Did you have Gotoh vintage saddles and say they were thinner in sound?
Yeah they fit snug.
I had those vintage style Gotoh saddles a while ago, but replaced them with block saddles since the Gotoh's to me sounded a bit bridle and overly bright.
You'll hear this high pitched resonating sound when you tap with a pick on the saddles, at least on my guitar it did.
The Highwood saddles are solid no bridle sound and they have a little more sustain compared to the Gotoh saddles I had.
 

buddastrat

Member
Messages
14,711
I dont know about the notched saddle though. I look on my strats and I run the two E strings are ever so slightly in a bit more inwards, because I use a 1.65" nut width and a vintage spaced trem. You have to watch those E strings and fall off. With a notched saddle, I'm stuck with those E's being wherever it ends up and can't adjust it.

I don't have a problem with the screws. I have come to like how I can feel exactly where to put my hand by the feel of them and get the sound I want. What does intrigue me about the saddles is if the sound will be a little warmer. I sometimes think I'd like just a tad less ping from my strat. I tried a zinc block and that did help, but the ball ends would get stuck in the block so I went back to the Gotoh steel block.
 

hudpucker

Member
Messages
6,474
Wonder how they compare to Raw Vintage saddles (which I preferred to the OEM Gotohs on my 510 trem).
 

seljetnoma

Member
Messages
43
I dont know about the notched saddle though. I look on my strats and I run the two E strings are ever so slightly in a bit more inwards, because I use a 1.65" nut width and a vintage spaced trem. You have to watch those E strings and fall off. With a notched saddle, I'm stuck with those E's being wherever it ends up and can't adjust it.

I don't have a problem with the screws. I have come to like how I can feel exactly where to put my hand by the feel of them and get the sound I want. What does intrigue me about the saddles is if the sound will be a little warmer. I sometimes think I'd like just a tad less ping from my strat. I tried a zinc block and that did help, but the ball ends would get stuck in the block so I went back to the Gotoh steel block.
I hear what you say, but I guess putting the strings a bit inwards doesn't do your tuning stability any good, does it?

Maybe you're better off trying a Gotoh 510T with a KGC brass block, and Highwood saddles!! :idea
 

seljetnoma

Member
Messages
43
Wonder how they compare to Raw Vintage saddles (which I preferred to the OEM Gotohs on my 510 trem).
IMHO the Raw Vintage saddles sound OK, but are a bit softer and sound warm with less ping and they wear faster because of the softer steel.

The Highwood saddles are made of a higher quality steel, more durable and sound warm, just right!
 
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buddastrat

Member
Messages
14,711
I hear what you say, but I guess putting the strings a bit inwards doesn't do your tuning stability any good, does it?

Maybe you're better off trying a Gotoh 510T with a KGC brass block, and Highwood saddles!! :idea

No tuning trouble. I don't care for brass blocks I tried. Too boing-y, ringy with reverb. This video is with the Gotoh vintage trem. Through a tiny amp so sound is not great, but you can hear the tuning stability is like a Floyd Rose. But it's all vintage. No locks at all.
 

seljetnoma

Member
Messages
43
No tuning trouble. I don't care for brass blocks I tried. Too boing-y, ringy with reverb. This video is with the Gotoh vintage trem. Through a tiny amp so sound is not great, but you can hear the tuning stability is like a Floyd Rose. But it's all vintage. No locks at all.
Yeah, that sounds "in tune" :)
 

buddastrat

Member
Messages
14,711
BTW that's some great playing! :)
Not my best at all. but thank you very much. Sorry I took your response as saying not so in tune. My bad.

So the Raw Vintage are a softer material? you think I'd get rid of a bit of "ping" by changing out the Gotoh vintage saddles for those RV?
 

seljetnoma

Member
Messages
43
No problem mate!!

RV wears out too fast IMHO after some time the string starts hanging on the saddle and that's rendering the saddle useless unless you want to polish an sand the saddle from time to time.
The Highwood saddle sounds just as warm as RV without wearing out because they are a bit harder ( 70 Rockwell ) and they don't have any of the Gotoh ping I also experiencedwhen I had those Gotoh's on my trem.
.
I just showed my new saddles to a buddy of mine and he complimented me on how warm and vintage like my strat sounds.
So for me it's Highwood all the way, no way turning back, once you've tried it you're hooked!! :)
 
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Dana Olsen

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
7,902
Excellent review Seljetnoma -

They look great, I've got a set on the way to demo myself. I think they're an excellent design solution to the old exposed screws.

Hey Buddahstrat - again, excellent playing on the vid. what guage strings are you using there, and around how low is the action? Are you at like 4/64 treble side and 5/64 bass side, or just a tad lower?

Thanks a bunch both of you, Dana O.
No tuning trouble. I don't care for brass blocks I tried. Too boing-y, ringy with reverb. This video is with the Gotoh vintage trem. Through a tiny amp so sound is not great, but you can hear the tuning stability is like a Floyd Rose. But it's all vintage. No locks at all.
 




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