What Saddles Should I Get?
So, you’ve decided on your new bridge but now you are unsure of which type of saddle to choose. Faber offer saddles in a range of materials:
• Nickel Plated Brass
• Aged Nickel Plated Brass
• Natural Brass
• Aged Natural Brass
Faber also offers all saddles as unnotched allowing the installer to cut their own string slots. We recommend this is carried out by a professional luthier to ensure accurate alignment.
There are two main reasons people choose specific materials for saddles, aesthetic and tonal. Your USA Gibson or import model will most likely be pre-installed with nickel plated brass saddles. There is nothing wrong with nickel plated brass, many players choose to keep the factory installed saddles in place. A common upgrade that some players make is from nickel plated brass to natural brass. The theory is that natural brass will provide a warmer, more vintage tone, however, there is no audible tonal difference between nickel plated brass and natural brass saddles. This change is purely aesthetic.
The biggest tonal change you can make to bridge saddles is adding titanium saddles. Titanium saddles will provide a noticeably brighter and tighter tone. We recommend that if you have a guitar with a naturally bright sound that a whole titanium saddle loaded bridge might result in the guitar becoming brighter than it naturally is and sounding too bright. Titanium saddles are the perfect upgrade if you feel your guitar is a little too dark sounding and you want to enhance the top end response.
If your guitar does have a naturally bright tone but you still want to experiment with titanium, then we would recommend our HYBRIDge system. The HYBRIDge is a combination of brass and titanium saddles for specific strings to achieve your ideal tone across the string range. If choosing this option, we recommend titanium saddles for the lower strings and brass for the higher. The titanium saddles will add extra brightness to the lower strings and remove any muddy frequencies. They will also make the strings sound tighter. The brass saddles for the higher strings will provide a rounder, warmer tone. The combination of both saddle types will provide the most balanced tone across the strings.
All Faber bridge saddles are direct replacement parts and will fit any Faber bridge with removable saddles except for the Wraptonate model. All saddles are sold in packs of 3. 2 packs will be needed to re-saddle an entire bridge, each pack of 3 saddles includes the retaining clips. Retaining clips and bridge saddle screws are also available separately if replacements are required.
Notched Vs. Unnotched
All Faber bridges come pre-installed with notched saddles. This means you will be able to install your new bridge on your guitar and play away. The notches are considered “starter” notches and are dead center on the saddle. This means, they will be perfectly functional for your plain strings, however, you may wish to widen these with a small file if you want the wound strings to sit deeper in the saddle. The wound strings will still sit perfectly on the bridge without this widening taking place, but if you use a heavy gauge of string it’s something you may consider doing.
Unnotched saddles contain no starter notch, the saddle top is totally flat. The saddles will need to be notched prior to string installation. This saddle configuration gives you the freedom to have the notches cut to your specification. This action should be completed with specialist gauged files that are designed for this very purpose. As the saddle notch deepness can affect the guitar’s playability, we would always recommend this be carried out by a qualified technician.