Possible loss of sound and sustain on a guitar bridge with block saddles

With this blog post I just want to make you aware of a possible sound loss due to a wrong setup. This affects  all Strat or Tele bridges with the  ‘block’ saddles instead of the bent steel pieces of the vintage Fender design, like the American Standard bridge, or vintage Schecter bridges and consequently also the Dream Machine Tremolo and Tele bridges.

I found that you need to make sure that both of the Allen screws used for the height adjustment have firm contact to the bridge base plate. Both screws should be at exactly the same height. Otherwise it is possible that one of them has no direct contact to the bridge plate at all; the bridge saddle will stand on one screw only then. With the vintage Fender design the saddle would simply tilt a bit to the side of the shorter screw which is probably not ideal either but will hardly affect the tone. The higher block saddles however can be jammed between their neighbour saddles and cannot tilt easily to one side for this reason.

A block saddle might stand on only one screw which reduces sound quality

As the string runs in the middle of both screws, the string vibration will not be transmitted ideally to the guitar body when one screw is in midair. The saddle should sit firmly as only then all vibration is equally transmitted, even small movement of the block can reduce sound and tone quality.

The right screw of the b-string does not touch the bridge plate here

Check not only if both screws seem to be the same heigth but also check if there is enough pressure against the bridge plate by slightly turning them with the Allen key. Do this regularly – e.g. after changing strings –  as due to the vibration of the guitar the screw might have turned lose.

2 thoughts on “Possible loss of sound and sustain on a guitar bridge with block saddles

  1. The interesting thing for this article is the information on saddle and bridge parts. I have to learn these two parts and the content is good enough to know about these. I have learned the effects of wrong setup on the sound system. It is important to know about this for a guitar player. After reading this article I am confident to set up the right screws and saddle parts with the Les Paul Bridge part for my own guitar. I have to install the Les Paul bridge, this article will help me a lot.

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