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Telecaster intonation when in drop D

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Telecaster intonation when in drop D

Postby chew_rocket » Tue Jul 12, 2011 12:04 pm

The intonation on my telecaster goes out when I go into drop D (which is my main tuning) though it is perfect when in standard.

The guitar is a 50s re-issue so has a bridge with 3 saddles rather than 6. So I cant adjust the saddle to suit the E(D) string or the A goes out too.

Is there anything I can do or am I going to have to look into buy a new bridge?
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Re: Telecaster intonation when in drop D

Postby zenguitar » Tue Jul 12, 2011 12:51 pm

I'm afraid it's a double whammy chew,

Intonation is always a compromise when you are using altered tunings because it does change with string tension. And on a traditional telecaster bridge intonation is also compromised because each saddle is shared by two strings.

There are a few options to consider. First would be a replacement bridge with individual saddles. That gives you most control, but it can subtly change how your instrument sounds. The sound of a telecaster comes from a number of factors and changing any of them could make a difference. The problem is that everyone has a different idea of whether or not the difference is noticeable.

If you want to keep the shared saddles, there are two options, both from Wilkinson.

The simplest is the version with compensated saddles, which are machined at an offset angle. It is affordable and minimises the inherent problems with the design.

If you want more control, there's a version with adjustable saddles. These can rotate and then locked in position. It's probably the best solution, but the most expensive... £51 compared to £19 for the basic version. However, StewMac in the US sell the saddles only. The price looks good, but don't forget you have to add postage, Duty, and VAT so the price will be closer to £40.

A final option would be to modify the existing bridge by removing the paired saddle and then drilling it to take a pair of individual strat saddles. But depending on the saddles you find you might need to do a lot of work, and it will always look 'wrong'.

Anyway, hope that helps.

Andy
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Re: Telecaster intonation when in drop D

Postby matt keen » Tue Jul 12, 2011 5:36 pm

SNAP!

I'm a tele player who uses dropped D most of the time as well

I use a Baja but had Wilkinson compensated saddlles put in and its fine - well no different to standard
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Re: Telecaster intonation when in drop D

Postby chew_rocket » Tue Jul 12, 2011 6:06 pm

great stuff! I like the idea of these compensated sadles :]
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Re: Telecaster intonation when in drop D

Postby Music Wolf » Tue Jul 12, 2011 9:31 pm

I put compensated saddles on my Telecaster Lite Ash which is used for alternate tunings. I bought just the saddles without the base plate for around £7.50. Dead easy to fit and work a treat.
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Re: Telecaster intonation when in drop D

Postby chew_rocket » Wed Jul 13, 2011 9:57 pm

going to get an adjustable saddle for just the E and A string as that is the only area I am having problems with... is there likely to be any issues using 2 different types of saddles?
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Re: Telecaster intonation when in drop D

Postby zenguitar » Thu Jul 14, 2011 12:23 am

If you are happy that will solve your problem I see no potential problems.

Glad we could help

Andy
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