Nickel plated brass vs nylon saddles

Discussion in 'Historics & Reissues' started by joedonner2001, May 10, 2015.

  1. joedonner2001

    joedonner2001 Senior Member

    Messages:
    4,466
    Likes Received:
    3,996
    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2011
    I was messing about with my R8 today, and noticed that the G string's intonation saddle screw is all bent to hell.

    So I was looking at replacement screws and saddles, and came across ABR-1 nylon saddles on crazyparts.de.

    I've never given it much thought, so was wondering what the differences between modern nickel plated brass saddles and nylon saddles are supposed to be (I'm assuming it's going to be a different type of nylon from that used in the 60's and such)?

    Would appreciate any thoughts on that, 'cause I'm tempted to give nylon saddles a try just for sh*ts and giggles.
     
  2. joedonner2001

    joedonner2001 Senior Member

    Messages:
    4,466
    Likes Received:
    3,996
    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2011
    Well, I ordered some and will just have to find out for myself, it seems.

    Lots of varying opinions knocking about on the WWW, with the main one being that it's supposed to sound smoother/mellower than metal saddles. Can you imagine that.
     
  3. Falconbill

    Falconbill Premium Member

    Messages:
    1,305
    Likes Received:
    1,126
    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2012
    I tried brass saddles on my 335 for sh*ts and giggles and went back to nylon. IMHO, the nylon saddles are better for that 335 sound. The brass made it sound more like a LP.

    I've never heard of putting nylon saddles on a LP. I'd be interested in your findings.
     
    1 person likes this.
  4. dwk302

    dwk302 Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,341
    Likes Received:
    1,623
    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2012
    IME, the nylon saddles are just a bit mellower, but there really isn't a big difference.
     
    1 person likes this.
  5. joedonner2001

    joedonner2001 Senior Member

    Messages:
    4,466
    Likes Received:
    3,996
    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2011
    I've read somewhere that some people use nylon saddles for the three unwound strings and regular nickel-plated brass saddles for the wound strings, which "even out" the strings' response/sound in some way. I don't think I've seen that on Les Pauls before, though.

    There seem to be a million different opinions about it all, unsurprisingly. Some say nylon has a muting effect, which others vehemently disagree with. Some say you get better string definition. Some say it makes no discernible difference. Many say you get a mellower sound.

    I'll report back what I hear, for what it might be worth.

    At the very least it will amuse me for a couple of hours, perhaps.
     
    1 person likes this.
  6. joedonner2001

    joedonner2001 Senior Member

    Messages:
    4,466
    Likes Received:
    3,996
    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2011
    By the way - is it true that in the Gibson factory they whack the top of the saddles with a mallet to notch them, when they string the guitars up for the first time?

    Pretty sure I've heard that before, too - and that will account for the bent screw.
     
    2 people like this.
  7. goldenugly57

    goldenugly57 Member

    Messages:
    84
    Likes Received:
    50
    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2008
    I have some of those nylon saddles from Crazyparts and I don't use them because I don't like the sound. To me, it seemed mellower and with less sustain. I tried them on different Les Pauls with different basic sounds but went back to brass with all of them. Joe B., however, seems to be one of those who use them on the unwound strings, and his tone isn't bad, is it? ;)
    In the end it's your personal taste :)

    BTW: I heard the same about the Gibson notching practice and I also had an LP on which one of the bridge posts was completely bent and had to be replaced - quite annoying!

    Cheers :)
     
    2 people like this.
  8. Steam

    Steam Senior Member

    Messages:
    371
    Likes Received:
    1,013
    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2012
    My 'aged' Dickey Betts "Brother To Brother" SG has nylons. Sounds sweet.
     
    3 people like this.
  9. strat1701

    strat1701 El Diablo Cazador De Hombres Premium Member

    Messages:
    5,349
    Likes Received:
    6,255
    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2011
    my 62 has nylon saddles. I honestly don't notice that big a difference between that and another SG reissue I had that has brass. Yes a slight less brash tone but not a huge deal to my ears.
     
    2 people like this.
  10. ridethatbike

    ridethatbike Senior Member

    Messages:
    410
    Likes Received:
    272
    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2013
    I have a "Bonamassa" Creamtone bridge on my R8, and really like it. I don't think it completely changes the tone, but I haven't found my unwound strings to ever have a sharp sound to them. I guess you could say it's mellower.
     
    1 person likes this.
  11. dwk302

    dwk302 Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,341
    Likes Received:
    1,623
    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2012
    If you're really particular, Tonepros makes a "G Formula" ABR bridge with nylon saddles using the same nylon formula as Gibson used in the 60s. I have one on my 335. The saddles are a bit harder than Gibson's current nylon saddles. They sustain a bit better than stock nylon saddles without losing top end warmth.
     
    1 person likes this.
  12. sws1

    sws1 V.I.P. Member

    Messages:
    648
    Likes Received:
    587
    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2015
    Yep - that's a fact. I think it's a small whack, with a rubber mallet.
     
    1 person likes this.
  13. JorNak

    JorNak Senior Member

    Messages:
    670
    Likes Received:
    554
    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2014
    g string intonation
     
  14. 437

    437 Senior Member

    Messages:
    733
    Likes Received:
    444
    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2009
    Mine were bent also--to the point where it couldn't be intonated. Had to make a visit to the shop and get a warranty repair. Wouldn't send new screws, but they did send a whole new bridge (albeit in a weird brushed finish, wth). :shock:

    I would think for as common as it seems to be that those screws get bent, they would change their approach. Oh well, they made it right for me in any case. :thumb:
     
    1 person likes this.
  15. joedonner2001

    joedonner2001 Senior Member

    Messages:
    4,466
    Likes Received:
    3,996
    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2011
    It must be one hell of a whack to bend that screw.

    I've had bent screws on other historics I've owned, too. All but one, actually, IIRC.

    I also cannot intonate the G string properly, because turning the screw makes the saddle ride out of the bridge.

    Eejits.
     
    2 people like this.
  16. Greg's Guitars

    Greg's Guitars Senior Member

    Messages:
    5,249
    Likes Received:
    2,625
    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2009
    I think ES models and some Epiphoine models in the mid 60 era all had nylon saddles and several Les Paul models since have also had them,I know a 69 and early 70 Custom I have had did come factory equipped with nylon bridge saddles.
     
    1 person likes this.
  17. joedonner2001

    joedonner2001 Senior Member

    Messages:
    4,466
    Likes Received:
    3,996
    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2011
    Well, that was quite an abortive attempt.

    The nylon saddles I ordered are supposed to fit the ABR-1, but they don't even come close to doing that. They swivel from side to side due to not making contact properly, and are unusable in that regard. I did put them on and they sound a bit smoother, for what it's worth. If they did fit properly, I'd have been happy with them.

    Luckily, I also ordered regular saddles which fit perfectly, so those are on the bridge now. They are an improvement to my ears, in their current unnotched state. The stock saddles were really rather badly notched or hammered or whatever the hell Gibson does to them. It's just plain idiotic that they cannot do this properly.

    I'm getting really pissed off at everything in general, but especially at guitar companies who cut corners when they are perfectly capable of doing things properly. Get your sh*t sorted out - honestly.
     
  18. CreamTone

    CreamTone MLP Vendor

    Messages:
    647
    Likes Received:
    348
    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2011
    True. Cheers!

    http://youtu.be/0oVmiW5aDSo
     
  19. trapland

    trapland Senior Member

    Messages:
    399
    Likes Received:
    323
    Joined:
    May 18, 2015
    The bent screw is historically accurate. :laugh2:
     
    1 person likes this.
  20. joedonner2001

    joedonner2001 Senior Member

    Messages:
    4,466
    Likes Received:
    3,996
    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2011
    My nylon saddle quest continues.

    I ordered some from Philadelphia Luthier Tools, and they fit the bridge much better. Not perfectly, but better.

    I really like the way they sound. They seem to have a smoothing effect, without introducing dullness. A rounder, mellower, slightly fuller sound. And they cure that weird metallic pinging thing which I always seem to have on my guitars, especially on the higher frets. I don't know how to explain it, but it's there and I hate it with all my being - it drives me nuts even though you can't hear it through an amp.

    It might be my imagination, but the guitar also feels "softer" to play. Kind of like the effect top wrapping can give you. Like you can play with a lighter touch, kind of thing.

    I'm going to have the guitar set up properly by a well-respected luthier here in London. I'm not using the guys in Denmark Street again, not after that little fiasco of last time, which I don't even want to think about anymore.

    I'll try to think of more flowery ways to describe what the nylon saddles do, but I really like it so far. Well worth a try if you're into tinkering.
     
    1 person likes this.

Share This Page