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Squier Telecasters and the Brass Barrel Bridge

So what makes Telecasters special?  Many things, in my opinion, but the brass barrel bridge stands out in my mind.  It contributes to Telecaster iconic chime. something Keith Richards values highly in his own pet Telecaster "Micawber."

Ironically, Keef's '54 Black Guard must have had the original bridge replaced, because it no longer has the iconic brass barrels. This is curious to me since he mentions the chime in his book as something he values highly. 

Regardless, this is the bridge valued by many Telecaster enthusiasts.  So can you take a lowly Squier Tele and install a brass barrel bridge? The answer is YES.  After researching this subject extensively online I finally asked master guitar builder Bernie Hamburger, if it could be done neatly.  His answer is reflected in the picture.  If you look closely, you can see three extra screws in the body just below the bridge.  They are actually in the shadow of the bridge and can barely be seen.

More good news.  As opposed to the original brass barrel bridges from the early days, these are "compensated" saddles, for improved intonation.  The also stay in tune better, I am told.  The old bridge stayed in tune just fine, but didn't have the right look or chime, based on my perceptions as a beginner.  This is a "top loader" bridge, as opposed to "bottom loader" where you string the guitar through ferrules in the back of the body.  Actually, this bridge can go both ways, but we elected to stay "top loader" to avoid having to drill more holes in the body.

So what do we have here?  In the picture you see a $199. Squier Telecaster, with Seymour Duncan Quarter Pounder pickups, and a vintage brass barrel bridge, PLUS a custom pearl pick guard and matching knob tops.  It plays GREAT!  And didn't cost that much.  Compare to a Fender Pro Telecaster with stock pickups, for about $1500. new.  This cost less than $500. with all modifications.

So the quick answer to, "Can I install the vintage bridge on my Squier," is YES.   All you have to tolerate is the 3 screws that don't seem to have a purpose that no sees or notices.


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