Fender “vintage style” stamped saddles have been used for decades on Stratocasters and many other S-style guitars. Made of bent steel, they are highly adjustable and posses a classic look.
However, for some playing styles, these saddles have a major drawback. Even when properly adjusted, the saddle height adjustment screws often extend well above the top of the saddle!
Players that like to palm mute, or rest their hand on the bridge, while playing have experienced the discomfort that comes from the sharp screw tops pressing against the fleshy palm of their hand.
For many years, the best available “fix” for this problem was to vary the adjustment screw sizes so that the outer saddles used smaller screws than those in the center. While this can help reign in extreme cases, it does not address the fundamental issue! Fortunately, the folks at Highwood Guitar Parts have re-engineered Leo Fenders original design to correct this problem.
Highwood HG Contoured Saddles
Highwood Guitars Parts HG Contoured Vintage Guitar Saddles are an upgraded replacement for Fender vintage style saddles. They retain the look and sound of the original Fender design with improvements to fit the demands of modern players.
The key feature of these saddles is the redesigned curve at the front end. The front of the saddle bends underneath and is threaded at the bottom, rather than the top, to prevent the height adjustment screws from sticking out above the saddle! Highwood saddles are also notched for more accurate string placement and less movement.
Like the original, these saddles are made of steel for a familiar look and tone. In another clever move, the height adjustment and intonation screws are made out of stainless steel to prevent rust.
Feel The Difference
Authorized Dealer of Highwood Guitar Parts
Guitar Repair Long Island is proud to carry these fine products.
They are available in three sizes and two different finishes to match your instrument.
HG Countoured Vintage Saddles - GLOSS
10,50 Gloss - 2-1/16" string spacing
10,80 Gloss - 2-1/8" string spacing
11,20 Gloss - 2-7/32" string spacing
HG Countoured Vintage Saddles - RELICED
10,50 Reliced - 2-1/16" string spacing
10,80 Reliced - 2-1/8" string spacing
11,20 Reliced - 2-7/32" string spacing
What Size Saddles Should I Buy?
Measure Your Existing Saddles
For the best fit, it is essential to measure your instrument. To start, measure an individual saddle, ideally, using a micrometer or caliper; While the number you get may vary slightly based on a number of factors, it should closely approximate one of the three sizes available (10.5mm, 10.8mm, 11.2mm).
Next, measure the overall string spacing at the bridge from the 1st to the 6th string. Ideally, these saddles will correlate with the overall string spacing of your instrument. For example, an individual saddle of 10.5mm matches with a 2-1/16th inch E to E string spacing.
Mismatched Saddles on Strats
Unfortunately, it is all too common to find instruments with saddles that are not correctly matched to the instruments string spacing.
In the adjacent photo, you can see an example of this. The installed saddles, while factory original, are too small for the bridge. While the string spacing is 2-7/32″, the saddles are only 10.8mm each instead of the 11.2mm expected. This causes a few problems.
First of all, they just look off! The saddles are bunched up in the front and there is space visible on the back sides. If the saddles were too big, we would have the opposite problem. Correct fit saddles should sit fairly flush against one another. Besides just looks, this poor fit effects functionality.
When improperly fit, the string does not leave the center of the saddle but can instead rub against the side. (zoom in on the 1st string for an example). The additional friction can throw the instrument out of tune and lead to premature string breakage, especially with whammy bar use.
To correct this issue, we will fit this instrument with the wider 11.2mm saddles instead of the original, but incorrect, 10.8mm.
About Guitar Repair Long Island
Guitar Repair Long Island is the area’s premier destination for fretted musical instrument care and maintenance. Led by owner/head technician Erik Salomon, the shop is dedicated to providing quick, honest, and reliable service. Our vast experience in all aspects of instrument repair ensures that we can help with whatever your needs are. Contact us with any questions or book your appointment today.