As many regular readers would know, I recently finished my Strat build project. I was lucky enough to have Hantug Custom Guitars in Turkey make up a specially spec-ed custom bridge for this project. The temporary bridge was a Wilkinson vintage strat style tremolo, which was alright, but really was a placeholder for this special custom bridge.
I first saw Hantug’s custom work on a forum where a member in Turkey was showing people some of Hantug Custom Guitars guitar hardware. I really liked their use of titanium, and thought I’d contact them to see what sort of options they had for hardware. I was contemplating building a Strat and so I asked them about a vintage 6 hole style bridge, and they were more than happy to build the bridge to my specifications once I had started building the guitar.
Fast forward a couple of months and I finally found myself a Strat body at a price I was happy with. It was a Mexican made alder Strat body with the 2-1/16″ import spaced bridge. I really wasn’t keen on the string spacing being that narrow, so I asked if Hantug could make the screw spacing 2-1/16″ so the bridge was a direct fit, but the string spacing at 2-1/8″ which was pretty much identical to my guitars equipped with Floyd Rose type bridges. This was no problem, and they got onto building the bridge, with regular updates to me as parts were made.
So the eventual specs were as follows:
- Vintage 6 hole Fender Stratocaster style
- Brass baseplate, black plating
- 2-1/16″ screw spacing, to match standard MIM/Import Stratocaster fitment
- 2-1/8″ string spacing
- Modern style Stratocaster saddles, one set brass with black plating, one set bare titanium
- Titanium sustain block
- Push in whammy bar
It took a little under two months for the bridge to be made and arrive at my door. When it arrive I was really impressed with the quality of the components. Hantug even etched the sustain block with the specifications of my bridge. The only issue I found with the bridge was that the holes in the baseplate and screws to mount the bridge to the guitar were too small to suit the holes already in the guitar. Hantug were happy to make another baseplate to suit the holes on the guitar, but I was able to make the holes a little larger to work with the screws that came with the previous bridge, and everything fit together nicely.
I first installed the bridge with the brass saddles in place. Compared to the Wilkinson bridge I had first installed the Hantug bridge had a much fuller, louder, more complex tone. Sustain was better as well. Both clean and overdriven tones, rhythm and lead had a much warmer, richer tone that was particularly pleasing to the ear.
Swapping over to the titanium saddles just took everything up a notch. The tone was brighter, and even more rich and articulate. Chords and notes just jump out of the guitar with such clarity. I found this tone just perfect for my needs.
I recorded some samples of some simple riffs showcasing the sound between the Wilkinson bridge, which in many aspects is similar in build and quality to a stock vintage Stratocaster bridge, and the Hantug setup, using both brass and then titanium saddles. Click the link below to take a listen to it:
The push in whammy bar is brilliant too. I don’t like the bar swinging around while I play, and the design on this bridge keeps the bar in it’s place. The fitment is nice and firm without being too difficult to install, and it hasn’t slipped up at all in the last few months since I’ve been using it.
Intonating the bridge is just like a standard Strat bridge, so there are no surprises there. As per any standard Strat bridge you may need to trim a saddle spring or two. Setting up saddle height is the same as well. Tuning stability is as good as your setup skills, nut and tuner quality will allow. I decked the bridge so that I could maximise tone and sustain, so dives are a little stiff, but the strings stay in tune for the most part on return neutral.
Being a custom made bridge, there are many options you may like to choose, but to give you a basic ball-park figure of prices I’ve got two quotes from Hantug Custom Guitars for standard orders. An all brass bridge will set you back a very reasonable $118 USD, while one with titanium saddles and sustain block will be $275 USD. Of course if you are just after some upgrade parts for your current bridge Hantug Custom Guitars will be able to help you out with those too.
Overall the Hantug Custom Guitars custom vintage Strat style tremolo is a brilliant piece of kit made by a custom shop with great attention to detail and customer service. If you are looking for a strat style bridge or anything else contact them and see what they can do for you. I’m sure they’ll be able to build what ever you desire at a great price too.