Callaham Vintage Guitars & Parts
 
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Callaham
Vintage S Model Strat Bridge Assembly

2006 Enhanced
 
 
 
 

I have tried to assemble the finest vintage bridge for use on our guitars and for home builders who want the best. It is the small details that make the difference. We use stainless steel screws for the intonation, saddle height, and top plate mounting screws. The 6 heat treated pivot screws are essential. The top plate is cold rolled carbon steel that is nickel plated. And in 2006 we incorporated our enhanced vintage tremolo block and our "64" Virtual Pop-in stainless steel arm design (block details). We are the only vintage bridge to have these components. It is the traditional 2 7/32 vintage spacing.

 

Vintage Model S Bridge Assembly Callaham Vintage S Model Bridge Assembly Callaham Vintage S Model Bridge with Stamped CG saddles Close up of
Callaham Vintage "CG" saddles, top plate, and tremolo block
 
 
 

The top plate on the Callaham bridge has an important detail that both original and current production Fender bridges have missed.

 
 
Callaham Vintage S Model Top Plate Callaham Vintage S Model
Top Plate

  Current Fender production and Custom Shop Top Plate Current Fender production and
Custom Shop Top Plate

 
 

The bevel on the bottom side of the plate which allows the bridge to pivot must not extend past the diameter of the pivot screw. We take care in machining this angle. It allows the bridge to pivot along a single axis. The Fender bridge is not only crudely angled but extends well past the diameter of the pivot screws. This causes the bridge now to try and pivot along 2 axis. The bridge slides down the screws instead of pivoting and then must slide back up on return. This creates unnecessary friction and inconsistent return to pitch.

 
 
 
 
 
Saddles slot comparison
Callaham * Pre-CBS Current production
 

Our saddles are designed from original Pre-CBS saddles with improvements. The above picture shows a Callaham, Pre-CBS, and a current production Fender® saddle. We have slightly lengthened the string slot compared to the Pre-CBS saddle so that the string will not bind and bend against the sharp edge before it goes over the saddle. This greatly reduces string breakage and improves intonation. The current production saddle is moved too far to the rear causing string breakage, loss of downward pressure on the saddle hurting both sustain and tone.

 
 
 
 
 
Saddle threads comparison
Callaham * Pre-CBS Current production
 

The above picture shows the threads of both the Callaham and the Pre-CBS saddles running the entire length of the front edge of the saddle. The current production saddle only has a few threads and has a much shorter front edge. It is extremely important that the height screws are held securely with as much thread contact as possible to maintain sustain and saddle stability.

There is the belief that the Pre-CBS saddles were "hardened". Every Pre-CBS saddle we have tested, only measures an average of 50 Rockwell B and were not hardened. We choose to use a steel with a hardness of 95-98 Rockwell B for our saddles. The steel work hardens in the making of the saddle and is well over 115 Rockwell B where the string crosses.

 
 
 
 

When installing a new bridge or checking the set-up of your current bridges, I recommend the following:

On vintage styled bridges the pivot screws need to be down almost to the top plate. I screw the screw down until it touches the plate and lifts the back off the body. Then back the screw off until the plate rests back down on the body. You should feel small movements, side to side and forward and back of the bridge. It pivots fully up and down. Too far down and the bridge will bind. Too far away and the bridge will slide up the screws. Both mistakes cause tuning problems.

I recommend a minimum of 4 springs for the bridges. They should be set so that if you are doing double stop bends, the guitar remains at pitch. This means the top plate will have a slight pressure against the body. Sorry no pull ups with a vintage bridge, unless you can live with pitch problems.

 
 

* old picture of callaham saddle without "cg" stamping.

 
 
 
Vintage S Model Bridge Assembly Price  (Strat Parts page)
 
 


 
 
Prices and Content subject to change without notice.
 
 
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This page last modified June 16, 2013
 

 
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