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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Has anyone ever just left the Fender stock 3 barrel saddles on there Telecaster\Nocaster and had dead on intonation?
I'm just curious. I have a friends Masterbuilt Nocaster heavy relic at my house for a few weeks. I was comparing the intonation on it to my telecaster with Rutters saddles. The Masterbuilt with the stock fender saddles is dead on just as accurate as my Rutters, if not a little better.
Just wondering if this is common or if its something to do with the Masterbuilt quality.
I may be buying a CS Nocaster and if the stock saddles are going to give me good intonation I'll just leave them
 

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I own 2 teles, 1 with compensates and 1 without.
They are both dead on.

You can tweak the old school saddles way more than people realize, a shift up or down can give you pretty good intonation.

Nathan
 

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My sand blasted telecaster was as close as i have ever seen for perfect intonation with the normal stock saddles. i was quite shocked, so was my luthier. LOL
 
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When you think of the 752,546 songs that have been recorded on a stock tele,seems to me they work just fine.
Leo was seldom wrong .
 

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When you think of the 752,546 songs that have been recorded on a stock tele,seems to me they work just fine.
Leo was seldom wrong .
Correlation between the songs recorded and the accuracy of the intonation aren't causal.
This is a logical fallacy.

In my experience, the three saddle system is never spot on, but to most that doesn't matter if it's within a few hz of 440
 

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In my experience, the three saddle system is never spot on, but to most that doesn't matter if it's within a few hz of 440
I had to check my highway one Telecaster after reading this and the worst one was out .7Hz at the 12th fret.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I've got a Masterbuilt Nocaster here (just on loan) and its dead nuts on with the stock 3 barrel saddles. I have a Peterson Strobe tuner and a polytune thats very accurate.
My 52 thin skin has highly acclaimed Rutters compensated saddles and they are dead on except one string that wavers slightly flat. So minuscule that you wouldn't even notice. So in this case the edge goes to the Masterbuilt stock saddles. But the edge is negligible.
 

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Even if the saddles are not compensated, you can achieve perfect intonation with some finicky math; the only downside is you could potentially end up with a set of strings that feels “unbalanced”, but it would have to be some pretty radical string gauges to happen.

Anyways, basically the same concept of the Wound vs. Unwound G on a wraptail bridge. Using the wound or unwound G in the wrong situation can obviously throw off your intonation in pretty crazy ways, meaning that string construction and more importantly gauge can have a big effect on intonation.

Back to the point, if you have a tele with the standard 3 saddles, where you can get one string perfectly intonated, but not both, you can potentially alleviate the issue by using a different gauge string in order to get your intonation closer to perfect. I used to have the exact calculations on hand, but I can’t seem to find them.

But, do I think the work is worth the time and effort? Absolutely not. The intonation on a standard tele is fine for live music, and I haven’t had any issues with recording. By the time you start piecing together custom sets of strings for immaculate intonation, you could have just bought a set of compensated saddles and even then, the difference in intonation would be so small that I would have to wonder if it’s even worth investing the effort in.

TL;DR: 100% true perfect intonation is possible on a tele, it’s just a pain in the ass and decidedly not worth the hair pulling/money spending for minimal gain.
 
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