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FDP Forum / Fender Guitars: Stratocasters / Strat saddles CBS question

Previous 20 Messages  
RicOkc

Nicoma Park, OK.

"Let the music do the talking"
Jun 29th, 2019 04:25 AM   Edit   Profile  

There are plenty of replacement saddles available, even stainless steel.

Just do a web search.

https://www.guitarfetish.com/Upgrade-Stainless-Steel-Saddles-Fits-import-or-USA-Trems-Set-of-Six_p_773.html

External link

Peegoo
Contributing Member
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Planet Peegoo

Rhythm & Lewd Guitarist
Jun 29th, 2019 05:35 AM   Edit   Profile  

That's good advice.

Fender has used different bridges and saddle sizes over the years--even within the same model year on many of their Strats. Best approach is to measure your E to E string spacing and get the proper sized saddles for your bridge.

I mention this because saddles made for the wider bridge won't fit on the narrower bridge.

Despite the fact that narrower saddles will fit on both bridge sizes, it's not ideal because on the wide bridge there will be a gap between the saddles that allows them to move around. It's best if they're snuggled up against each other.

Look here.

amplifyD

USA

Jun 29th, 2019 07:13 AM   Edit   Profile  

Thanx for replies.
I am keeping this guitar stock on the saddles, and don't want to mix saddles due to the variances in tone. [This guitar is quite bright and I kept it stock because I love the tone, and didn't like moving to all stainless steel] The ones I have found online were over $100 for a set and not in good shape. The ones I ordered did not match the photo as claimed and were the claw type. Mine do not have the FENDER stamp on top [they are smooth]. I have heard both a)they are solid ZAMAK b)no, they are thinly chrome-plated.
Can you file these and if so, method?

(This message was last edited by amplifyD at 09:16 AM, Jun 29th, 2019)

ejm

usa

Jun 29th, 2019 08:08 AM   Edit   Profile  

I too would like to know why the recommendations are to replace the saddle or saddles. I agree that there are an ample number of replacement saddles available that would work, but why replace them if it isn't necessary?

Whether you use the word "file" or "polish" to me it implies the same thing.

I have done it on a couple of different types of saddles.

Also, pedal steel players often develop problems with the bridge pieces (rollers, which are analogous to saddles) and polish them. I have never heard it recommended to replace a roller on a PSG simply because it developed a groove or a burr.

(This message was last edited by ejm at 10:10 AM, Jun 29th, 2019)

Peegoo
Contributing Member
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Planet Peegoo

Rhythm & Lewd Guitarist
Jun 29th, 2019 08:11 AM   Edit   Profile  

Zamak is an alloy of zinc; it also contains aluminum and magnesium (among other metals) depending on the specific alloy.

There are several zamak formulations. All of them are comprised primarily of zinc, which is gray in color and does not polish to a mirror finish. Zamak is often chrome plated to improve its appearance, and this is the case with the saddles on your Strat.

You certainly can work the metal using fine jeweler's files, smooth abrasive paper or cord, and a polishing wheel to smooth things out. The process will remove the plating, however. You could even go as far as taking the part to a custom bike shop or gunsmith and have the part re-chromed. It's not that expensive to do.

If that were my Strat, I'd find some decent-quality aftermarket saddles--which would be better than what Fender initially used. Zamak castings are cheap and Fender used it as a cost-cutting measure. It's softer than steel and you've discovered the drawbacks for yourself.

The guitar is not particularly collectable, but if you're going to play the thing and you want it to work properly and be reliable, swap in some good saddles and keep the originals in the case.

amplifyD

USA

Jun 29th, 2019 07:19 PM   Edit   Profile  

OK, so sounds like they ARE chrome-plated - which they certainly appear to be. The person who told me that they were believed that if you remove the burr and the plating, they will deteriorate fast. That's why I didn't try. [Not sure what to think of the info that they were just highly-polished ZAMAK]. So far, I've not found after-market saddles that are a close-enough match for size/tonal specs. When I started on this project I thought there would be many stores with old 027037 saddles lying around but it appears they are more rare than that?

These are all great and valued responses/thoughts on this tech issue. My thinking so far is to make sure I have 2 replacement saddles before I attack the burrs - but I've looked in about a dozen shops for these things and twice ordered online. BTW - I had this guitar appraised and it is valuable - only a handful of '79s had this neck and finish. Other Strats I have modded but not this one. I would have to mail these somewhere for re-plating so that's probably a no-go because oversight on the results would be tricky.

(This message was last edited by amplifyD at 09:22 PM, Jun 29th, 2019)

Mick Reid
Contributing Member
*****

Australia

American-made in Oz!!
Jun 29th, 2019 08:09 PM   Edit   Profile  

Isn’t it MAZAK, not ZAMAK?

Not trying to be a ***, just clarifying for my own edification.

(This message was last edited by Iron Man at 06:35 PM, Jul 21st, 2019)

Achase4u

U.S. - Virginia

Jun 29th, 2019 08:16 PM   Edit   Profile  

How. Dare. You. Mick.

Go to your room.

Mick Reid
Contributing Member
*****

Australia

American-made in Oz!!
Jun 30th, 2019 02:25 AM   Edit   Profile  

“Go to your room.”

Jokes on you! All my guitars are in my room!




Achase4u

U.S. - Virginia

Jun 30th, 2019 02:49 AM   Edit   Profile  

I bet you were a hard kid to punish...

Hope the saddle thing works out. If it must be original, smooth it out, prep it for plating and go the bike shop route.

Peegoo
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If irritation occurs

contact your physician
Jun 30th, 2019 09:39 AM   Edit   Profile  

You may be over-thinking this. Here's a stupid-simple fix:

Swap the low E string saddle with the B string saddle.

Problem solved, because the low E string won't get sucked into the teensy groove created by the B string.

Cheers.

Achase4u

U.S. - Virginia

Jun 30th, 2019 01:56 PM   Edit   Profile  

That's another great solution by resident 'goo'ru.

Peegoo
Contributing Member
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If irritation occurs

contact your physician
Jun 30th, 2019 02:32 PM   Edit   Profile  

Hey man, I ain't no dang guru; I'm just a stupid guitar player.

Achase4u

U.S. - Virginia

Jun 30th, 2019 10:54 PM   Edit   Profile  

My apologies!!! I didn't realize, gall dernut.

Mick Reid
Contributing Member
*****

Australia

American-made in Oz!!
Jul 1st, 2019 05:06 AM   Edit   Profile  

Ok, now I'm going to be a ***...

One reason they might be hard to find, is that most of them ended up in the bin when everyone pulled them off and replaced them.

I've never known them to be desirable due to softness of the alloy, and the chrome usually flaked off as a result of corrosion from sweat.

I'll go back to my room now...

(This message was last edited by Iron Man at 06:37 PM, Jul 21st, 2019)

Peegoo
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If irritation occurs

contact your physician
Jul 1st, 2019 06:58 AM   Edit   Profile  

Mick, spot on. They are pretty crappy as saddles go, because strings should be the wear item--not saddles. Fender didn't use zamak because it's a tone enhancer. It was a way to save pennies on production cost. Matter of fact, zamak is known in metallurgy for having vibration *damping* qualities that exceed most other alloys, and it's used for parts that perform better because of this factor.

I've lost count of the number of times I've replaced cheap saddles on guitars that had grooves cut by strings, plating bubbling off, and corrosion so bad that the saddles cannot be adjusted for height and intonation.

Softer metals such as brass for saddles on a guitar like a Tele (no vibrato) work better because there's less string movement over the saddles.

(This message was last edited by Peegoo at 09:02 AM, Jul 1st, 2019)

hpete
Contributing Member
**

USA

Jul 5th, 2019 01:11 PM   Edit   Profile  

I like Peegoo's solution but I kind of wonder if you could fill the groove with superglue and baking soda. As for the chrome it's already gone that's why there's a groove.

Peegoo
Contributing Member
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If irritation occurs

discontinue use.
Jul 5th, 2019 04:39 PM   Edit   Profile  

That doesn't really work well for metal repairs.

Additionally, I don't like it for permanent repairs in nut material because sodium bicarb crystals are abrasive to metal, as well as it can promote corrosion on metal in the presence of moisture (sweat from the hand, beer, BBQ sauce, etc.).

If you want to make a permanent, invisible repair in a nut slot, use CA and bone dust, which you saved from the last time you did nut and/or saddle work.

Only use bone dust that you removed with a file. Don't use dust you've collected while using sandpaper, because it contains bone dust as well as particles of the abrasive from the paper.

DrKev

Paris, France

It's just a guitar, not rocket science.
Jul 6th, 2019 10:07 AM   Edit   Profile  

I filed and sanded the top of my MIJ strat saddles for years. No issues. It was something I did regularly, every few months. No problems (maybe because I did it every few months, but I enjoy that kind of thing).

Peegoo
Contributing Member
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If irritation occurs

discontinue use.
Jul 8th, 2019 08:54 AM   Edit   Profile  

You can do that with steel saddles (cast and stamped types) but not the cheaper alloy version.

Previous 20 Messages  

FDP Forum / Fender Guitars: Stratocasters / Strat saddles CBS question




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