Stan Bobrowski contacted me from KTS Musical Products to let me know about their fine line of titanium guitar bridge saddles. He knows of me through the good folks at Mercury Magnetics and was told I am a bit of a Tele fan….to say the least. After a few emails Stan sent me a set of the titanium saddles for a Telecaster type guitar to check out and review. I was both curious and excited to get these mounted on one of my Tele’s to give them a whirl and to see if this exotic metal would make any difference.
The KTS titanium Tele saddles are perfectly machined and have small grooves cut into them for the strings to ride in. This prevents the strings from slipping around if you have a heavy pick attack as well as keeping them aligned over the pickup’s polepieces. The saddles mounted up in a jiff and as expected the strings lined up perfectly. The allen head height adjustment screws adjust easily and there is plenty of length to adjust the saddle height. On my particular guitar the intonation was really close even though the saddles were not angled…a definite plus. They have a pretty cool look too..! There is an angled compensated set available as well. I am going to stray from my normal review format and just give you the scoop on these saddles. Let’s get right down to bidness…
I mounted the KTS titanium saddles on my Lentz T type guitar. It has a swamp ash body with maple neck/rosewood fingerboard. I have a cold rolled steel Glendale bridgeplate with the Glendale brass saddles. This is my normal set up for my the Tele’s that I own except I use stainless steel bridgeplates with my Barden pickup equipped Tele’s. I have gotten very used to the sound and response of brass saddles over the years so I was very familiar with them and and no hurry to change them out. I have to say that I was a little hesitant and skeptical but I figured that it wouldn’t be a big project to install the saddles.
I played my Lentz T type guitar through my 5F6-A Bassman clone using Mercury Magnetics transformers, Sozo caps, carbon comp resistors, a Larry Rodgers tweed covered pine cabinet and 4- Eminence 1028K speakers. Current production Sovtek 12AX7LPS’s and Tung Sol 5881’s were used and the GZ34 was an N.O.S. General Electric. The amp was hand built by me here at 300Guitars. I plugged into the Normal channel and set the Volume at 12 o’clock, Treble at 11 o’clock, Bass at 9 o’clock, Middle at 11 o’clock and Presence at 11 o’clock. The Glaze was set with the Gain at 2 o’clock and the Volume at 10 o’clock.
I could hear a definite difference from the first chord with the KTS titanium saddles. It is subtle but there is a difference. It is a bit difficult to put into words but I will try my best. I found that the titanium added more “air” or a slight acoustic/resonant quality to the overall guitar tone. There was also a slight woody component as well. Some definition was increased along with note separation on chords. I did not notice a sustain increase per se but notes and chords seemed to linger when you let them ring out. The difference is apparent whether you use the guitar and amplifier clean or overdriven with pedals. I also used my BYOC TS-808 clone I built and the sound was just awesome. As I said the difference is hard to put into words.
I kept the saddles on my guitar for about 3 weeks or so playing it as much as I could. I then swapped the KTS titanium saddles with the brass saddles I originally had on the guitar and I actually noticed difference going in that direction as well. Gone were the cool overtones and harmonics, the airy-ness I got used to, the woody-ness and the definition was a bit more blurred. I think I was more surprised at the difference switching back to brass..!!! I am in no way saying that the brass saddles were bad sounding but the KTS titanium saddles sounded…better..!
So in a nutshell here is the quick final analysis. What you gain: More “airy-ness” to the sound, a woody component to the sound, more definition with more harmonics and overtones that somehow influence sustain. What you lose: Nothing… The added sonic components do not affect the fundamental so there is nothing to lose.. Win-win..!!
So there it is. A quickie saddle change that can open up your guitars sonic palette and bring the best out of it. KTS Musical Products manufactures titanium saddles for Tele types, Strat types, Jazz Bass, Mustang, tune-o-matics, wraparound tailpieces and even Floyd Rose inserts. The Tele set I tried was priced at $90.00 and in my opinion they are worth the upgrade. I really got accustomed to the enhancements that the titanium brought to the table and highly recommend them to players with any type of guitar. All I am saying….is give titanium a chance..!!
Click here to visit KTS Musical Products for more info and ordering.