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Tele Bridge Assemblies
Callaham Tele Bridge for American Standard
or American Series Guitars
w/ 3 Brass
Enhanced Compensated Saddles.
When the Telecaster (Broadcaster) was first designed and built in 1949, the bridge system at best was crude. It served its function of positioning the strings and allowed for coarse adjustment of the intonation. People forget this was a major complaint of players at the time and still is today. Leo listened and made the Stratocaster with a much improved bridge.
I am not interested in reproducing the mistakes and flaws of the past. And I am not influenced by vintage dealers who know nothing about vibration systems and guitar design. I am interested in producing a bridge that maintains the traditional look using superior materials and design that delivers a wider frequency response, increased sustain, and perfect intonation.
Fender Tele Bridge
The current production Fender bridge is made from .045 - .050 1010 hot rolled steel in a deep drawn process. This bridge is used on all reissues and custom shop models. Some of you are under the misconception that custom shop guitars use high quality hardware. They do not, they only charge you more for rusting or "relicing". Using this manufacturing process, parts can be made very quickly and cheaply, but at severe cost in quality.
The heavy scratches and the bowed bottom are easily seen on the Fender Tele bridge.
The steel used must be very soft and limited in thickness to allow it to fold and bend in the corners. The process also creates tremendous internal stress which bow the plate making it unable to sit flat to the body surface. This causes the unwanted feedback found in so many guitars. Aesthetically the plate shows the unattractive scratches from the die. The saddles cannot be adjusted for perfect intonation and the set screws interfer with the string.
Our Callaham Vintage T Model Tele bridge is manufactured completely different to eliminate these problems.
Our bridge is made from .075 thick cold rolled material using 5 stage bending process and then stress relieved so that the plate will sit absolutely flat providing maximum sustain and vibration transfer. Stiffness and flatness are paramount in our design, and would not be obtained using .050 material and stamping process. There is no chance of unwanted feedback with our bridge and we make our bridge from cold rolled carbon steel for tonal reasons. Hot rolled steel is too soft and contains pits and voids that require heavy chrome plating. Chromed plates must first be copper plated to fill the voids then nickel, then chrome to obtain an acceptable looking part hiding the material flaws. Using stainless steel would eliminate plating and requires only buffing but the sound is way too bright and thin making it unacceptable. The cold rolled material is extremely uniform and allows for direct buffing. We apply the nickel directly to the steel strictly as a rust preventative. The result is a warm finish that works great with those building a repro guitar.
Callaham Vintage T Model Tele Bridge
w/ 3 Brass Slant Compensated Saddles
Making the guitar easy to play is also an issue. The sides of our bridge are lowered to allow for easy palm muting. The front lip of the treble side is removed to allow access for finger picking. (A trick done for years by great Tele players.) The two small screw holes in the front plate may or may not be used. Because of the rigidity of our plate, using the screws will give an extra 8% increase in sustain. On less ridged bridges, it can make a larger difference because of their poor design. We add the screws for thoses wanting the maximum.
Callaham 3 Brass Enhanced Vintage Compensated Saddles close up
It is extremely important that the instrument intonate correctly. I guarantee that with our saddles. It is equally important that the strings do not touch the height adjustment screws. This is a major problem on Fender bridges and their copies. We insure this will not happen with our design. We are the only manufacturer that buffs by hand every saddle to a highluster. This allows the string to rest on a perfectly smooth surface. We also install the correct length of height adjustment screw to eliminate irritation to the picking hand.
Our saddles are available in either brass or stainless steel. The brass has a warmer tone and the steel has more punch and sustain. Our saddles are also available with either our original slant compensation or our enhanced vintage compensation. The enhanced vintage compensated saddles were introduced for those who want to maintain a complete vintage look and have perfect intonation. They offer the same benefits of our original slant compensated saddles but with a 90 degree look of an original 50's saddle.
I guess I should take it as a compliment that people are now copying our saddles. We have even supplied some of these people with parts. But they do not understand the details. The current Fender saddles and some of the other aftermarket saddles touch each other firmly. They even make a big deal about it. They are greatly mistaken and flawed in their thinking. Sympathetic vibrations from one string can now influence the vibrations of another string causing dissonant overtones to occur that will drive you crazy, especially at high volume. It is this type of vibration that occurs on acoustic guitars, with their single saddle, that causes beat tones when certain chords are played and phasing problems on other chords. We purposely try to avoid firm large contact between our saddles for this reason.
All of our design and thought produces the finest Tele bridge available to date, without departing from a vintage look. I am most proud of the fact that many of today's best custom builders use our hardware on their guitars.
Callaham Tele Bridge for American Standard
or American Series Guitars
w/ 3 Brass Enhanced Compensated Saddles
We also produce a Callaham Tele Bridge for American Standard / American Series guitars. This replacement bridge is designed to give true Tele tone from the American Standard guitars.
The Fender factory bridge is a chromed brass plate with cast stainless saddles and this combination will not give the Tele tone that is in most peoples ears and minds.
It is important to note a vintage bridge will not retrofit on an American Standard. The hole patterns and locations are completely different. I do get asked to make American Standards with sides but I do not offer it. The sides of the original bridge are there only so that the "cover" nobody uses can be attached. I can think of no other musical instrument that puts an obstruction in the way of your picking except a vintage Tele. The American Standard style plate is an improvement. Our plate matches the factory plate and body dimensionally so that the proper setup is correctly achieved for a drop-in installation.
Our bridge plate is high strength steel providing maximum rigidity and uses our enhanced compensated saddles. There is a night and day difference in improvement. I strongly suggest changing the bridge before changing pickups for those who are unhappy with their American Standard Teles.
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This page last modified June 16, 2013
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