Callaham Tele Bridge Description:
Callaham's bridge is made from .075" cold-rolled carbon steel using a five-stage bending process, and then stress-relieved so that the plate will sit absolutely flat, providing maximum sustain and vibration transfer. Stiffness and flatness are paramount in this design, and would not be obtained using .050" material and stamping processes. There is no chance of unwanted feedback with this bridge, and Callaham has chosen cold-rolled carbon steel for tonal reasons.
Hot-rolled steel as used in the Fender bridge is soft, and also contains pits and voids that require heavy chrome plating (chromed plates first have to be copper-plated to fill the voids, followed by nickel and then chrome, to obtain an acceptable-looking part that hides the material flaws). Using stainless steel would eliminate the need for plating - it would require only buffing - but the sound is way too bright and thin, making it unacceptable. The cold-rolled material as used by Callaham is extremely uniform and allows for direct buffing. Callaham applies a nickel plating directly to the steel strictly as a rust preventative. The result is a warm finish, which works beautifully for those building a repro guitar.
Making the guitar easy to play is also important. The sides of Callaham's bridge are lowered to allow for easy palm muting (Leo Fender wasn't a guitar player, and one of his most glaring design flaws - on both the Tele and Strat - was designing bridges with covers that prevent palm muting). The front lip of the treble side is removed entirely to allow access for finger picking - a trick done for years by great Tele players. The two small screw holes on the front corners of the plate may be used at the player's discretion. Because of the rigidity of the plate, using the screws will provide only a modest increase in sustain (they would make a more noticeable difference on less rigid bridges). Screws are included with the bridge for those wanting the maximum available sustain.
Callaham Tele Saddles:
It is extremely important that an instrument intonate correctly, and Callaham guarantees this with their saddles. It's equally important that the strings don't touch the height adjustment screws, which can be a problem on Fender bridges and their copies. Callaham ensures that this won't be a problem with their saddles by using smaller-diameter set screws, and moving them out closer to the ends of the saddles. Additionally, they are the only manufacturer that buffs every saddle, by hand, to a high luster. This allows the string to rest on a perfectly smooth surface. They also install height-adjustment screws of the correct length, preventing the screws from protruding up above the saddles and causing discomfort to the picking hand.
Callaham's saddles are available in either brass or stainless steel. The brass has a warmer tone and the steel has more punch and sustain. The enhanced vintage saddles were introduced for those who want to maintain a complete vintage look and have perfect intonation. They offer the same benefits of Callaham's original slant-compensated saddles, but with the 90° (right-angle) look of original '50s saddles.