The bridge saddle is in direct contact with the strings and transmits the vibrations to the body. Though the electric guitar processes sound electrically, if the source of the vibrations is not solid, the effects pedal will not work well and the final sound from the amplifier will also be unsatisfactory. If you want to elevate your sound to new heights, why not invest in this seemingly humble yet vital part?
Pioneering the Era of Titanium Guitar Parts
Allow us to introduce KTS, a growing Japanese company known for crafting excellent titanium bridge saddles that have earned the respect from musicians and builders worldwide. With an unwavering commitment to quality, KTS has established itself as a trailblazer in the realm of guitar parts.
One might assume that these meticulously engineered components were the brainchild of a specialized metalworking factory run by ardent guitar enthusiasts. In fact, that assumption would be entirely accurate. In 1995, KTS, already recognized for their expertise in creating titanium watch bands for the iconic CASIO G-Shock, ventured into uncharted territory by harnessing this innovative metal for the world of electric guitars.
KTS revolutionized the industry by developing the Tune-O-Matic style saddle, ingeniously incorporating this groundbreaking material. The inaugural creation, aptly named "PR-01," was specifically designed for the Japanese ABR-1 style TOM bridge. Take a glimpse at the photo below to witness the birth of this remarkable saddle.
The first saddle developed by KTS, the 'PR-01,' designed for the Japanese ABR-1 style TOM bridge.
Refining the Bridge Saddle: A Quest for Beauty and Sonic Excellence
In developing this titanium saddle, KTS had two other concerns in mind besides precision. First, it had to be beautiful, and second, it had to be the optimum hardness of the material to produce the best sound quality. We will not go into the details of the manufacturing process, but if you are interested, please check out the links at the end of this article.
In other words, KTS invested considerable time and effort into the creation of this remarkable saddle. The results were nothing short of extraordinary: the titanium saddle boasted an astonishingly long sustain, a crystal-clear tone, improved string-to-string definition, and other exceptional sound qualities.
However, KTS's commitment to excellence extended beyond their own appraisal. To ensure a more objective evaluation, they enlisted the expertise of the esteemed Japan Acoustic Lab in Tokyo. The revealing graph below illustrates the results of the D string frequency analysis, comparing the titanium saddle with a conventional zinc alloy die-cast saddle. Just by looking at the waveform, you can see that the titanium saddle has a more stable vibration.
Results of D string frequency analysis comparing titanium and conventional type saddles (sonagraph)
Titanium Saddle for the Stratocaster
In 1998, KTS has introduced its second product to the market, the saddles for the Stratocaster, which is probably the most popular guitarist's favorite.
By simply comparing KTS’s Titanium variants against conventional steel saddles, you can’t miss hearing and feeling the differences in response and sensitivity. The synergetic effect of Titanium’s pure and natural tone provides ultra-clear note separation, and even makes chords sound more defined and full.
Three different sizes are available according to string spacing and with offset intonation screws. Incidentally, the block-type saddle in the title image at the beginning of this article is the PR-17, which was later developed as KTS's top-of-the-line model.
Insert Block for Floyd Rose® Bridge
Although not a bridge saddle itself, the “Ti-Block” is popular among players who love Floyd Rose style tremolo.
The insert that holds the strings inside the saddle is made of titanium and molded using a proprietary process, eliminating the problems of corrosion and breakage that had plagued previous models. “Ti-Block” is also supplied as the genuine Floyd Rose® upgrade parts.
Testimonials from Professionals
Now that KTS has the Titanium Saddle, with its excellent acoustic analysis data and product lineup, it is important to hear the evaluations and testimonials from top players, guitar builders, and other professionals in the field. On behalf of guitar builders, here are some comments from Stephen Marchione, luthier at Marchione Guitars, a super high-end guitar builder in Texas.
"I use KTS saddles to bring out more fat rich tone from my guitars. They help any fine instrument ring and sing without an unnecessary bling!"
KTS Titanium saddles are a simple way to significantly improve the tone of your guitar. I really like your product and plan to use more KTS saddles for my next batch of Marchione Semi-Hollow Body guitars." ―Stephen Marchione
Collaboration with Schaller, Germany
Let us conclude this article with a collaboration with Schaller, Germany, which began in 2018.
The world's number one guitar parts manufacturer, which has over 80 years of history and insists on Made in Germany in everything, has adopted small Made in Japan bridge saddles. The product lineup, which Schaller itself has labeled "Powered by KTS Saddles" will be a major step forward for KTS, which has always emphasized global branding.
(This article was excerpted and edited from an advertisement that published in "Electric Guitar Mechanism" written by Yutaka Takeda, published by Ritto Music in Japan in 2019.)