Block vs Bent Steel saddles?

Discussion in 'Stratocaster Discussion Forum' started by StratGuy4692, Sep 17, 2021.

  1. publius

    publius Strat-Talker

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    Modern vibe V. Vintage. I changed the bent steel to stainless steel blocks on my MIM Strat. Mainly because of the screws of the low E string saddle.
    I have the three block saddles on the 50's FSR Tele, stamped on the USA Strat and blocks on the MIM Strat, Surf Pearl 2020 Tele came with blocks and Tele Deluxe as well.
    Since the Tele Deluxe was my first I always figured them's the ones. Does not really matter though if I dig up another American Strat I will fit her out with bent steel saddles, slotted tuning pegs, Alnico 3 pick ups............
     
  2. jackietreehorn

    jackietreehorn Strat-Talk Member

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    I bought a used strat that the seller had installed block brass saddles. I was given the stock bent steel saddles. I recently switched to the bent steel saddles I think they sound a pinch better but it could also be confirmation bias.
     
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  3. White Dog

    White Dog Strat-Talker

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    This is my answer as well.
     
  4. ToneRanger

    ToneRanger Most Honored Senior Member

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    The block on his high E has string saver graphite at the string contact point to tame some of the high end - I've tried it, and it is a legit difference - I had originally bought an entire set years ago for another strat but didn't like how dark it made the guitar sound.

    I think you would be hard-pressed to hear the difference between typical Fender bent saddles and blocks, but I do hear a slight difference in Callaham's bent saddles - which probably comes down to the quality of materials and craftsmanship - they are brighter and "zingier" than stainless block saddles - to the point that I swapped out a set of Cal's for stainless blocks on one of my warmer starts and ended up switching back to the Callaham as I missed the clarity.
     
  5. Slacker G

    Slacker G Strat-O-Master

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    I prefer the block saddles just because they look more state of the art. I'm a sucker for eye candy.
     
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  6. 76standard

    76standard Strat-Talk Member

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    Block or bent steel is a preference issue. The most important thing for either is using “cold rolled” steel saddles. Remember, that this is a “tone” issue, not a looks issue. That said, I understand your comfort issue with block saddles. If bent steel saddles are uncomfortable because of the protruding adjustment hex screws, get some that don’t protrude above the top of the saddle.
     
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  7. Personal Gsus

    Personal Gsus Strat-Talk Member

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    Block-style Graph Techs FTW -

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
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  8. Wayne Adams

    Wayne Adams Strat-O-Master

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    I prefer the block type. It may just be psychological, but to me, they feel more substantial.
     
  9. RL21980

    RL21980 Senior Stratmaster

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    Bent steel. Purely aesthetic.
    Don’t be a sissy.
     
  10. ptb1

    ptb1 Strat-Talker

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    Strange that the Man in Black never swapped them with other types on any of his Strats.
     
  11. Thrup'ny Bit

    Thrup'ny Bit Grand Master Curmudgeon

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    I didn't know that Valentine Dyall even played Strat... :whistling:
     
  12. SIngles Forever

    SIngles Forever Strat-O-Master

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    So surprised that all these old timers prefer the block saddles. I would have thought it would be a complete blow out in favour of bent.

    Bent for me...looks so classic. Never really owned a block saddled strat though. Except for the week it took for me to convert one to bent steel. Still have that block saddle bridge on my Custom Flying V though.
     
  13. Ebidis

    Ebidis Providing the world with flat bends since 1985

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    Or Johnny Cash.
     
  14. rolandson

    rolandson Dr. Stratster

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    Bending the parameters of the OP just a little...

    Bill Callaham proffers a sonic difference associated with saddles in an ABR-1 bridge that Gibson uses. His discussion advocates, obviously, his saddles. Then there is the discussion surrounding nylon, Graph Tech, brass...

    I've switched from whatever alloy is used for the ABR-1 to ...

    Wood.

    I had a wood saddle that came with a junk archtop that is a direct drop-in on the Gibson trestle. Just to see if it changes the flavor. Intonation is a touch different...
    If it turns out I prefer the sound I'll invest in a higher quality compensated saddle.

    As for strat saddles...
    My only experience is between bent steel and Graph Tech. I've never used the cast saddle. I didn't care for the Graph Tech.
     
  15. MoHump

    MoHump Strat-Talk Member

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    Although others may be cast from other types of metal such as brass.
     
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  16. train

    train Worlds largest private army Silver Member

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    I like f.r. Block I have a medium sized hand and the Floyd give s me more real estate to anchor . When I’m anchoring .
     
  17. diogoguitar

    diogoguitar Senior Stratmaster

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    I can't tell the difference in sound, but I haven't A/B'ed either
    I grew up playing with bent saddles, so either way don't make any difference in feel for me.
    I do prefer the looks of the block saddles, but I tend to think that bent saddles help keep the guitar lightweight

    John Suhr thinks it does make a difference. Here is what he said in 2019. I don't agree or disagree with him, but thought I'd share what he thinks:

    https://www.thegearpage.net/board/i...o-bent-vs-block-saddles.2057891/post-28762330

    upload_2021-9-21_12-59-39.png
     
  18. guang

    guang New Member!

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    In my limited experience (dwarfed by Mr Suhr’s), bent saddles make a noticeable difference. I put Graph tech stainless block saddles on my MIM Strat several years ago. Over time I starting feeling that the sound wasn't as stratty as it could be. I tried lowering my pickups and various eq and amp fixes, but when I finally reverted to the original stock bent saddles a few months back, it suddenly found that little extra bit of high end ring. I don’t know if the Graph techs’ slightly darker tone was because of the slippery coating or the shape of the saddles. I can see how the extra treble might be too much for some but not for my setup. The blocks were more comfortable but putting shorter grub screws in the traditional saddles helps.
     
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  19. of this world

    of this world Senior Stratmaster

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    i like the block saddles in the PRS trem - way more comfortable. the whole bridge is. on my last strat type build i used a PRS trem and vowed to always do so.
     

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  20. Tremoluxer

    Tremoluxer Strat-Talker Gold Supporting Member

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    I prefer the cast saddles that are on my AM Std Tele; my vintage-looking Strat has the stamped saddles. But, if I'm playing like I should play (focused on the music), I don't notice them at all.

    Except now that you've gone and branded stamped vs cast indelibly onto my brain; I'm going notice the stamped saddles every time I pick up, and play, the Strat.