Saturday, August 9, 2008

This time, really Dave's Guitar

There is a black Wilkinson Compensated Telecaster bridge in town. It waits for Brown to decide to bring it to me. This looks to be Monday. Same source as the pickguard, the control plate and the knobs.

This, if you recall, is my Fender family. It is my best picture of my Telecaster. As you can see, there's a black/white/black pickguard, black control plate and knobs. The chrome bridge sticks out like a big silver thing in the middle of a big black thing. And soon, it will be gone.

The big worry is the screw issue. The current bridge is an Ultra-style bridge from Japan, held on by 3 screws. The bridge to be installed is held on with four screws. So I will have to redrill the bridge screw holes. And likely fill up the old screw holes.

If it was an ash or alder body, I would care much much less. As is, it's a basswood body. I have had to fill screw holes for the control plates, the pickguard and the strap buttons. The rear strap button at least five times. So I'll do that process, showing you how Dan Erlewine showed me. Through his books, of course.

So, when it comes, I'll set my bridge. And I'll take pictures and blog the process. Wish me luck!


Pribek said...

Are there any amongst the brotherhood who have not devoted time to contemplating the "Tele Bridge Issue"?
I remember a phone conversation with Joe Barden after, he had misplaced my order for a set of pickups and after the check had cleared but, before I received the actual product. He set it right but, he also launched in to a very involved diatribe about how the Tele bridge was ill conceived from the beginning and how he, after much research, trial and error had came up with a design for the perfect Tele bridge. His discussion of intonation, tone and durability was very convincing and I said, "send one out Joe". Then, asked me how I wanted to pay the $320.00 or so, and I decided that I would move on without the perfect Tele bridge.
I did replace mine with a six saddle model at a much lower cost though. Ever since, I keep doubting myself on going with the 6 instead of the 3. I still have the original and I may put it back on there.
The black on black will look bitchin' and Wilkinson makes good stuff. If Erlewine says, "this is how it's done", I would take that as Gospel and proceed with confidence.
Good luck and enjoy.

Dave Jacoby said...

I'm mostly at the point in my life where no elecric guitar over $700 is worth it. Maybe $500. So until my playing makes me money, a $300 bridge just makes no sense. Give me something that gives me greater capability and I'll consider it.

I'm not against swapping up if you get something for it. I've been dreaming about adding a Parsons-Green bender but I'm a bit worried about the structural integrity of a basswood body after the route necessary.

This bridge could be in all sorts of shapes and as long as it was black, I'd lean toward it. I am curious about the tone diff between a six-saddle and three-saddle bridge, but I'm not greatly curious about it. So far, before I can A/B my axe on the subject, I figure there's likely a difference, but a difference like that between a medium pick and a heavy pick: enough that you could notice if you were comparing but not nearly enough that you could tell from a recording. "Jimi's playing a reverse-strung Strat with overwound pickups through a Arbiter Fuzz Face and a Vox Wah into a Marshall 50-watt head with 2 4x12 cabs with Celestion Blue speakers, with .010-.046 nickel strings and a clown-barf Fender medium teardrop pick." Just not gonna happen. There is an intonation difference, but that is what the compensated saddles are there to fix.

But the Callaham heavy-burl knobs are just tough-looking, aren't they?

Pribek said...

3 vs. 6: you know something that's funny is "I figure there's likely a difference, but a difference like that between a medium pick and a heavy pick:" Because, last night, I played the gig with a heavy pick instead of a medium for the first time in years and the tone was drastically different to my ears. Maybe it's just me bugging on it I don't know. Anyway 3 saddles or 6 as it applies to tone. I had a 62 reissue that I played for many years. At one point, I swapped the 3 for a 6 and the 6 sounded better as well as improved the intonation. But, that bridge was a Fender replacement that I took in trade from a guy, I think it listed around $90.00. It was a well made piece. The one that I swapped on this current guitar is a StewMac and not as well machined, I think. Made me wonder if the old wisdom about the three saddle sounding better held water, after I played and tweaked it for a week. At the time, I was using the .012 strings and It has seemed to me that it gets more difficult to set the intonation with the 3 saddle when using heavier strings because you have to pull the saddle back a good ways.

Those knobs look like you could use them for industrial grinding purposes in their spare time.

Dave Jacoby said...

Hadn't considered that issue. I'm still rockin' the .009s, trying to bend like a Nashville cat. .012s just sound better. Maybe next string change I'll go with tens.

I can't name another 3-saddle guitar right now. The 3-saddle bridge might be part of the Platonic Ideal for a Telecaster, but they're problematic enough that nearly no other model wanted to deal with it. Which I think is really funny.