Crawls Backward (When Alarmed)

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For Red Is The Color That My Baby Wore*

Whatcha got there, Mr. Yr Fthfl Blggr Man?

That, my Fthfl Rdr, is the box for a Glendale 'Blackguard' Telecaster bridge! We gonna put it on our Internationalcaster and see what happens!

There has been a lot of praise thrown in the direction of Glendale Guitars of Arlington, Texas. Part of this project is to try out some of their stuff. Their bridges and saddles are highly recognized for their 'twang' factor and lotsa fammis Tele players rave about 'em.

One of the 'downsides' of the original Telecaster bridge is that you can't get accurate intonation on all six strings since there are only three saddles, and two strings share each one. Usually you can get the intontation close, but it's usually a bit off on one of the strings on the shared pair.

As a result, there has been a move by a number of manufacturers to develop a compensated set of three saddles. I have a set made by Callaham Guitars on my white Tele, and they intonate perfectly. I wanted to try the Glendales to see how they compare.

As an aside, the obvious solution is to simply put six saddles on the thing. Clearly, Leo Fender recognized the issue and corrected it on the Stratocaster with its much more sophisticated bridge. Modern Teles sold by Fender do, in fact, have a six-saddle bridge. But for a lot of folks, a Tele just ain't right unless it has 3 saddles. The original setup has a lot to do with its tone.

Anyway. Back to our project at hand.

The Glendale bridge and saddles come separate, and you need to put the saddles into the bridge. If you know which end of a screwdriver to pound on, it's pretty easy. There are even handy-dandy instructions with pixtures that show you just how easy it is. Flip the saddles bottom-side up, and run the intonation adjustment screw (which also serves as the mounting screw for each saddle) into the saddle.

After you have all three in place, you got something like this. You'll notice that two of my saddles are brass and one is silver. The silver one for the low E and A strings is aluminum. This is known as the 'Twang Plus' set - it also comes with a brass E/A saddle too.  Brass is the traditional 50's Telecaster saddle material. I wanted to hear the aluminum one too, so I sprung for the set with both a brass and aluminum E/A saddle.  You can get brass, steel, aluminum in any combination from Glendale.  They're listed on the box, and you can check 'em all out on the Glendale website.

You can see the compensation - the adjustment (length screws - the perpendicular ones) are set on a precise angle for each pair so that each respective saddle is slanted the proper amount.  Very clever.

I didn't want to lose the string height I already had set up on the old Fender bridge, so I measured the saddle heights and used them as a guide when I put the new saddles in. As it turned out, the heights I adjusted roughly on the new set were a bit high, but it was an easy matter to lower them.

After the saddles are in, we just put the four screws that hold the bridge onto the geetar back into place.

You get an idea in these closeups how nicely made the Glendale parts are.  It's a real nice touch to have the names of the saddles (e.g. 'E/B') on the bottom.  Otherwise they'd get mixed up, since they're compensated for each pair of strings.

*Bonus points for anyone who gets the song reference.


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