This is my review for the HG Contoured Vintage Guitar Saddles from Highwood Guitar Parts which I recently installed on my Yamaha Pacifica 510v, I’m endorsed by Yamaha. This guitar is modified by myself and I’ve changed the tremolo to a Wilkinson WVP6SB and the pickups to DiMarzio Transition in the bridge, Area 67 in the middle and an Injector in the neck. This guitar also has an active ATC-2 preamp from Gitaarservice (http://www.gitaarservice.nl) installed.
The Wilkinson WVP6SB tremolo came with block (modern) saddles installed. I replaced these with vintage bent steel saddles from Wilkinson (10,8mm) which had a great sound but also a number of disadvantages being: the screws sticking out of the saddles and strings breaking much more often when using the tremolo with down and up movement compared to the block saddles.
During that time I created audio samples with 3 different saddle types: vintage bent steel, block and Graphtech saddles. The block saddles sounded pingy and brighter/less balanced than the vintage bent steel saddles, the graphite saddles added more mids and lots of highs, muffled the sound a bit. For a strat type guitar my conclusion was that I really preferred the vintage bent steel saddles. Because of the disadvantages I settled with the block saddles.
HG Contoured Vintage Guitar Saddles
I stumbled upon a review of the HG contoured vintage guitar saddles on TGP which really looked like the perfect saddles I’ve been looking for! I quickly found out that Highwood Guitar Parts was located in the Netherlands where I also live, so I contacted them and I received a 10,8mm set from them to try out.
What do you get?
You get 6 beautiful looking contoured vintage bent steel saddles that are fitting perfectly! These are great aftermarket vintage bent steel saddles that keep the vintage look. The saddles come with 2 different lengths of height adjustment screws and these go through the saddles top and bottom. The screws make that these saddles feel great without harming the palm of your hand. The indent is really smooth and resolves the issues of breaking strings. The string holes of the Wilkinson tremolo aren’t all in one line but luckily it wasn’t necessary to shorten the intonation screws. Also included is an allen wrench to adjust the height of the saddles. All in all this was a swift replacement process without any issues.
Material and sound
These innovative HG saddles are made from perfect quality steel, consistently hardened to Rockwell 70 B which is not as hard as some other brands which results in a warmer, less pingy sound. They are nickel coated directly onto the steel body which really gives you pure vintage tone! Looking at the HG Contoured Vintage Guitar saddles in detail you’lll notice these have more mass especially in the area where the height adjustment screws are located. This gives you a better sustain, more touch sensitivity, greater note separation and definition and a really vintage sounding harmonic response. Sizes: 10,8 and 11,2mm , 10,4mm is in the works.
I highly recommend these HG contoured vintage guitar saddles!