The Squier Deluxe Stratocaster is a hell of a guitar straight out of the box. With fantastic sounding Duncan Designed SC-101 single coil pickups providing a great modern Stratocaster tone, a sublime, smooth feeling satin finished neck, and a two point vibrato system that does well under a bit of whammy bar stress, with guitar punches well above it’s weight. Some of the hardware is, of course built to a budget, so stands to be replaced. My last post was about replacing the stock pot metal sustain block, one of the weak points on the bridge. Next up is replacing the block saddles, which while perfectly serviceable, could stand to be replaced with something a little higher quality.
Hantug Custom Guitars are one of my favourite aftermarket parts manufacturers. I’ve used their parts on several guitars, and have always been impressed by how well made, and well priced their parts are. When it came to looking for saddles to replace the Deluxe Stratocaster’s stock block saddles, I went straight to Hantug to see what they could do. I loved the look of the vintage style Ti saddles on their Vintage 6 Screw Titanium Tremolo, so I thought I’d see if they could provide a set of saddles to match the 2-1/6″ spacing on the Squier’s 2 point bridge. They were happy to oblige, making a custom run for me.
To reiterate, I installed the Hantug Ti saddles one my 2018 Squier Deluxe Stratocaster, which has a basswood body, maple neck and fretboard, aftermarket bone nut, and the stock 2 point bridge, albeit with an upgraded brass sustain block, courtesy of Killer Guitar Components.
Replacing saddles on a Stratocaster type bridge is quite simple. Take note of saddle placement to make setting intonation easier, remove the strings, unscrew the intonation adjustments screws, place the new springs and saddles in place, and screw in the new intonation screw, and set to the correct length for intonation. It was immediately noticeable how light these saddles were, as the baseplate was pitched towards the neck after installation, thanks to the lighter weight.
Visually the Hantug saddles give the look of vintage bent steel saddles, something that I was looking for with a saddle upgrade, but on closer inspection you can make out that they are solid. This gives a nice middle ground, where you can have the vintage looks, while benefiting from the block saddle construction.
The build quality, like all other Hantug parts, are of top quality. The saddles are solid milled Grade 5 Titanium, making them super strong, and resistant to any degradation or corrosion. The string slots are nice and smooth, meaning that the strings have no burrs or edges that they could snag on, causing tuning issues, or worse premature string breakage. The smooth string slots also allow a reasonable amount of whammy bar use, with minimal issues in tuning stability.
Tonally speaking, titanium is probably my favourite metal. I enjoy the bright, articulate sound that it provides, as well as the slight bump in sustain that good quality metals provide. The Hantug saddles definitely give a bit of a boost over the stock saddles in this regard, which I feel brings in a little more of that vintage bright, zingy Stratocaster tone, which is normally generated by bent steel saddles.
Overall the Hantug Custom Guitars Vintage Stratocaster Style Ti Saddles, are like all Hantug parts, superbly built, and top quality. The saddles provide all the tonal benefits expected of titanium construction, and the quality of the build ensures that the guitar looks, sounds, and plays great. If you’re looking for a slightly different option when upgrading your Stratocaster definitely check out Hantug, you won’t be disappointed.