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So, it’s time to upgrade your Tele.
Generally, Telecasters are well-loved guitars. They look great, sound great, and play great.
And even though they’re sometimes thought of as “country guitars” or “rhythm guitars”, they’re awesome for a multitude of playing styles. Rhythm or lead. Rock or country. It doesn’t matter. You can do so much with a Tele!
When it comes to upgrades, the first thing that comes to mind might be pickups. But you’d be surprised how much a new bridge can freshen things up for your axe.
So, in this guide, we’ll be looking at the best telecaster bridge for an epic guitar upgrade.
Best Overall Telecaster Bridge: Gotoh Modern Bridge For Tele Chrome
Sleek, modern, simple, minimalist. From the outset, you can tell the Gotoh Modern Bridge has been designed to look good, feel good, and not get in your way.
If you’re looking for something with a little more pizzazz, then this bridge might not be for you. Like I said, it looks rather ordinary.
To be fair, looks can be deceiving. Goth claims this is an improved version of the traditional Tele bridge. It comes with all the standard stuff you would expect – adjustable saddles for string height, radius, and intonation.
The “secret”, if there is one, is that this bridge comes with a solid brass baseplate and is heavier than its counterparts.
This is one of the pricier Telecaster bridges out there, so you’re probably going, “it’s got to be worth it”, right?
Well, this is a highly rated bridge, and what buyers liked most is that the Gotoh bridge created a stronger connection to the body of the guitar. They also found the bridge gave their axe a more full-bodied sound.
Complaints are few and far between for this tray, but it doesn’t fit all Teles – just so you know!
Item weight: 6 ounces
Dimensions: 7 x 5 x 7 inches
Best Fender Telecaster Bridge: Fender Bridge Assembly For American Pro Telecaster
What’s better than a Fender American series bridge? A Fender American Pro bridge, of course! Well, that’s grade schooler’s logic, anyway.
This steel bridge does come with the “ashtray” though, and that’s something worth writing home about if you’re a fan. You also get a saddle height wrench.
Some go so far as to say this is the best bridge they’ve ever used. Some say it didn’t fit properly on their guitar, and even noted that it didn’t work on a Vintage Tele.
We always recommend doing some research before settling on a bridge regardless (unless you want to make some mods to your lovely axe!).
Item weight: 1.1 lbs.
Dimensions: 4 x 2 x 6 inches
Fender American Series Tele Bridge
I can already hear it. When it comes to guitar components, some of you are already screaming, “accept no substitutes!”
Hey, I get it. The Callaham and Gotoh are B.A., but if you’re thinking the only way is purity boulevard, then what you want is a Fender.
The Fender American Series Tele bridge is just that, a bridge designed for American Teles (important distinction there, as not all Teles are American, but this bridge should still fit most).
What else is there to say, really? This is a solid, dependable, Tele bridge. It’s genuine Fender and it’s chrome. Mounting hardware is included.
How does it hold up? Well, most users said the product was exactly as described and worked quite well.
Far from perfect, however, as some said the saddle didn’t fit their guitar (we’ll talk more about that later), and some said the included screws were a little short (good news is, you could always find better screws).
Item weight: 5.6 ounces
Dimensions: 11.42 x 7.48 x 3.54 inches
Fender Road Worn Telecaster Electric Guitar Bridge Assembly
Like the look of old school, worn bridges? Then maybe the Fender Road Worn Telecaster electric guitar bridge will be right up your alley.
Some buyers said they liked the look and feel of the bridge and enjoyed the quality of it.
Others said they weren’t too fond of how the bridge looks and thought it was maybe too aged.
Overall, though, if you want to road worn look without having to take your guitar out on the road for years and years, you’ll probably dig this.
Item weight: 3.2 ounces
Dimensions: 9.2 x 5.15 x 0.75 inches
Fender Telecaster Chrome Bridge Assembly With 3 Brass Saddles
As you can see, the Fender Telecaster chrome bridge assembly looks a little different. That’s because it’s specifically for American and Mexican Vintage Telecasters.
Yep. We’ve got to cover our bases because we know some of you love those Vintage Teles. Also, good to know if you’re thinking this baby might fit your non-Vintage Tele (nope!).
This is a durable, genuine Fender replacement part, and this body tray is high quality too.
The good – this bridge should “drop right in” to your Vintage Tele, and even give you that classic look.
The bad – some buyers had issues with quality control. If you get a dud, be sure to send it back for a shiny new one.
Item weight: 3.2 ounces
Dimensions: 11 x 4.5 x 1.7 inches
Wilkinson Vintage Bridge Tele Staggered Saddle Nickel Allparts TB-5129-001
The Wilkinson Vintage Tele bridge is another worthwhile alternative if you’re looking for a Vintage style bridge.
Its price is reasonable, and it’s highly rated to boot.
Item weight: 3.24 ounces
Dimensions: 6.3 x 3.8 x 0.5 inches
Callaham Vintage Telecaster Bridge, Enhanced Vintage Compensated Brass Saddles
Okay, right off the bat, this baby’s got to be special. Because it’s highly rated, and pricy compared to other bridges.
The Callaham Vintage Telecaster bridge is obviously intended for Vintage Teles (we do cover some alternatives below) and is designed as a replacement for Fender equivalents.
This tray features a thick steel construction and is nickel plated. It sits flat on your guitar for enhanced sustain.
The manufacturer even says this bridge should fit Mexi-Teles too.
So, here’s what’s great about this bridge. Many users agree – it improves your guitar’s sound. Some even go so far as to say it gave their guitar the best Tele sound they’ve ever heard, and the solid steel construction plays a huge role in that.
Negative reviews for this bridge? We couldn’t find any!
Item weight: 5.6 ounces
Dimensions: 3.37 x 3.12 x 0.6 ounces
Fender Standard Series Telecaster Bridge Assembly
What’s the difference between an American series and Standard series bridge? Well, the Standard series bridge just isn’t as special. And it’s cheaper. Doesn’t sound technical, but it sure makes things simple.
So, the Fender Standard Series Telecaster bridge assembly is just as it appears and basically comes with most of the bolts and screws (some literal, some figurative) you need to put this hot baby on your beloved fiddle.
Sadly, it doesn’t include bridge or pickup mounting hardware. Hmm… wonder if that has something to do with price point. No matter. You can find everything you need on Amazon.
Joking and banter aside, this is the bridge you’ll find on most Standard Mexican Teles. Plenty reliable. Not as good as the American. Just saying. Not a replacement bridge if you’ve already got something better.
Mileage will vary depending on the user. Some said this bridge worked perfectly for them. Others said they had issue with fit, especially around the pickup region. Some found the saddles too long too.
Item weight: 0.48 ounces
Dimensions: 11.42 x 7.48 x 3.54 inches
Squier By Fender Telecaster Electric Guitar Bridge
Okay, so you’ve got yourself a Squier guitar. And your bridge has seen better days. If you need a quick replacement, the affordable Squier by Fender Telecaster electric guitar bridge should fit the bill.
In most cases, this chrome tray isn’t going to serve as an upgrade for your guitar. Sorry.
But this is a genuine chrome-finished Fender/Squier Tele bridge with satin saddles and a strings-through-body design.
Most users are quite sanguine about the bridge, saying this baby is great bang for buck, and some even said you’d be hard pressed to find anything better even if you spent more (whoa there).
It’s not all Positive Pauls though, because some guitarists said this bridge didn’t fit their guitar (always check first).
But if you’re looking for a budget bridge, you should at least give this one a quick look.
Item weight: 0.353 ounces
Dimensions: 4 x 4 x 0.25 inches
Are There Specific Things I Should Look For In A Telecaster Bridge?
Yes. You should look carefully at the options and do a bit of research before you settle on a bridge.
There are several reasons for that, and the main ones are covered below – fit, tone, and budget.
Getting a quality bridge means having quality kit you can rely on. And quality kit generally disappears into the instrument (because it’s so reliable, you don’t have to think about it!).
So, here’s what we recommend when it comes to Telecaster bridges:
The Right Bridge For The Right Guitar
We recommend doing all your homework before buying a replacement telecaster bridge – and we do mean all of it.
Because not all bridges fit all guitars. Nope. You just won’t find it.
You’ll want to look at the specs and dimensions, as well as what type of Tele the bridge was designed for to ensure perfect fit.
So, while shopping, take your time and find the right kit for your guitar.
Material & Tone
The material the bridge is made of will affect the tone of your instrument. Because a bridge plays a critical role in your instrument’s tonal palette – and it’s just as important as your pickups
Since the bridge sits flush against the body of your guitar, this makes perfect sense. At minimum, it will have an impact on your guitar’s resonance and sustain. But it can affect more than just that, as it can also give your guitar more tonal spank, or even increase its warmth.
We’ve done our best to steer you towards a bridge that matches your needs, but tone is highly individual. If possible, we suggest doing some additional homework in this regard. Watch video reviews and see if you can get a better sense of what you like best.
The Right Price Point
Most Telecaster bridges cost somewhere in the $10 to $130 range (although there aren’t too many exceeding $75).
This isn’t going to be – and shouldn’t be – a major expense that breaks the bank.
But we always like to remind you to be smart about your spending. Make sure you’ve got the funds available before your go ahead with the purchase, and you will have no regrets.
No need to go into debt for such a small expenditure!
How Will A New Bridge Impact My Telecaster?
It might seem like a funny thing to say, but bridges are a hotly debated topic. Not everyone agrees on the difference they make, or the benefits individual Tele bridges carry.
But here are some of the ways in which we see (practically speaking) a bridge affecting your guitar:
Despite all the controversy and myths, there’s just no way around it – a replacement bridge will affect your guitar’s tone.
Some bridges will give your guitar more twang (which in the case of Telecasters is generally preferential), while others might offer more of a warmer tone.
The bridge generally sits flush against the body of the guitar, which affects resonance. Further, it’s the termination point for the guitar strings (on the body end – on the neck end, the strings terminate at the headstock).
This means the bridge is just as important as your pickups and tonewood.
It could be said that tone and sustain are the same thing, but it’s best to think of sustain as a sub-element of your guitar’s tone.
In much the same way the bridge can affect the resonance of a guitar, it can also affect sustain.
Sustain (more or less) is a matter of preference, and if hollow body guitars are any indication (they generally have less sustain), it plays a crucial role in how a guitarist approaches the guitar.
Although this may be less of a factor when it comes to Telecaster bridges, bridges can affect string tension, and therefore the playability of your instrument.
This typically applies to Bigsby and tremolo bridges, so while we don’t expect to see a huge difference between Tele bridges, you may notice some difference.
Tuning & Intonation
No surprises here – bridges can have an impact on your instrument’s tuning and intonation.
So, unless you’re in a pinch or on a tight budget, you don’t want to buy a low-quality bridge. It’s unlikely to hold up as well as a bridge of higher quality.
If you’ve been practicing guitar for any length of time, you probably know how embarrassing it can be to go on stage to perform, only to find you’re not perfectly in tune with the rest of the band, who constantly casts stink eyes in your direction.
Better safe than sorry!
You can’t maneuver around this one either – a bridge will affect that sometimes intangible thing us guitarists like to call “feel.”
Now, while there are some aspects of feel that are harder to define, there are some things that are more pronounced – especially string tension and how a bridge feels against your palm.
After all, unless you’re Marty Friedman, you’re probably going to be employing techniques like palm muting while playing. Well, if the bridge is sharp and cuts into your palm, you’re probably not going to enjoy this aspect of your bridge overly much (and in this instance, the bridge doesn’t “disappear” into the guitar).
Make no mistake about it – a bridge will affect your guitar’s feel!
Best Telecaster Bridge, Final Thoughts
Just so you know, there are many other Tele bridges out there. We could have spent all day getting into each one, but we figured we’d cover the best ones, because that’s where most people look first.
Like I said, a bridge will affect your guitar’s tone, playability, and feel, so you might as well invest in quality gear. You’re going to have such a better experience with your axe if you do.
Thanks for hanging with us, and happy shopping!