Discussion in 'Tech-Talk' started by zozoe, Sep 17, 2019.

  1. zozoe

    zozoe Strat-Talker

    Dec 19, 2018
    Hey all~~ As I wait for my custom neck to be finished, I'm busy contemplating what bridge components I want to put together for a rather traditional Fender style whammy assembly, brass or steel parts & all. My question is are roller saddles really a tone/sustain/resonance 'killer' for any build? After all, I am going for the most resonance I can get even before I plug in. Some guitars w/good wood, ring for days, and I don't want to put any weak links into the chain. In keeping with very much a Stratty p/u setup, is a brass big block the way to go, and brass or steel saddles? I want as little friction with the saddles due to my Bigsby-like trem approach, & thinking rollers would help stay in better tune. No dive bombing here!! So, as for the 'roller saddles'.... or ? And other metals to consider?
  2. dirocyn

    dirocyn Senior Stratmaster

    Jan 20, 2018
    Murfreesboro, TN
    The thing about sustain is, how much do you need or want? Most guitars will sustain a note for 16-18 seconds, unplugged. While in music, sustained notes more than 8 seconds long are few and far between. This just came up in another thread--if the speed limit is 70 how important is it to have a car that will go 180 or 200?

    Next thing, I totally get the benefit of roller saddles vs. a tune-o-matic & Bigsby; I have roller saddles on my Bigsby-equipped Casino and it was a night-and-day improvement in tuning stability. But what benefit would roller saddles have on a Strat? On a Strat, the saddles move forward along with the whole trem plate--there is essentially no movement of the string across the saddle when the trem moves. There is some movement across the saddle during bends--but there's not very much string to stretch on the other side of the saddle. You get a lot more movement of string across the nut. IMO roller saddles on a Strat are trying to solve a problem that doesn't exist on a Strat.

    Next thing, roller saddles can vibrate and buzz IF they are loose, and that is a weak point in the transmission of vibrations and could rob the string of energy. But it's less likely to be an issue given the break angle of the string over the bridge in a Strat type setup than in a tune-o-matic type setup. With Stratlike break angle, there's enough tension on the saddle that rollers won't buzz and they're unlikely to rob you of sustain. I seriously doubt if they'll hurt anything--other than your wallet.

    Now regarding the block--I replaced the half-sized pot metal block in my Squier with the GFS full size bronze block, and I didn't notice any difference in sustain. The guitar sustained for 16-18 seconds both before and after making that change. I couldn't say that the tone was the same after, but the change in tone was really small and could have been from replacing the strings.

    Regarding saddles--different saddle materials and designs do sound different. Changing from block type steel saddles to 3-barrel brass saddles on my Tele made a dramatic tonal difference. Steel goes "zing" and brass goes "zang," brass imparts a sound that reminds me of acoustic guitar strings.
    Bob the builder and Bowmap like this.
  3. Bowmap

    Bowmap I nose a thang or two Gold Member

    Dec 23, 2017
    Surrounded by Sticks
    If you want slicker saddles for a regular strat trem look at Graphtech string saver. For the nut I am thinking an LSR roller or Graphtech Tusq. If want ridiculous sustain, get an EOB Strat. It even comes with batteries. Just my two cents. I agree with @dirocyn and his food for thought.
    Bob the builder and dirocyn like this.