Interview with Dale Clark, owner of Glendale Guitars

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Dale Clark is the head of Glendale Guitars, one of the finest guitar hardware makers that we can currently find in the market.

Based in Arlington, Texas, the guitar parts that Glendale is producing is being acclaimed by famous artists, such as Bill Gibbons, frontman of ZZTop and perhaps his most illustrious customer. Gibbons installed a Glendale bridge in the famous “Super model Telecaster” that John Bolin made for him.

Besides a wide range of quality guitar parts for Telecasters, Glendale is producing two high-end custom Telecasters, both made of pine wood like the earlier Telecasters and has started to introduce some promising Stratocaster parts, a product range that hopefully will increase in the near future.

After having tried a Glendale bridge plate and a saddle set on our custom 52 Telecaster, we were so impressed that we wanted to knew more about the man behind all this stuff. It not only did improved the tone but the whole guitar itself came to a next level, getting close to the high-end realms. In this interview, we take an in depth look into Glendale Telecaster parts.

JosePerdicion.com; When did you started to play guitar and what kind of music did you listen when you started? What did it lead you to purchase your first Telecaster?

Dale Clark; At 12 years old, Bluegrass. I played a Gibson Les Paul from 17 to 19, a Strat from 20 to 27, finally got a good Tele and never looked back.

Except for a few strat parts, your whole product range is devoted to Telecaster. Is this one your favourite guitar? In your opinion, what is so great about Telecasters that after more than 50 years it’s still one of the most demanded electric guitars?

Yes. The sound, look, and feel Leo got it right, and his first Broadcasters are made from Pine. The Pine bodies sound best to me.

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How did you come to start your own business of Telecaster guitar parts? Did you missed some particular kind of stuff in the market or did you choose to build Telecaster parts for its simplicity… ?

I could not find parts on the market that were good enough for my guitars, so I made them myself for myself as a guitar player first, I though other guitar player would like them also. There is nothing simple about making guitar parts.

Your catalogue include almost all hardware you may need to build a Telecaster and you pay attention to a lot of small details. Bridges, saddles and string ferrules in different alloys plus bodies, necks, pickups and caps. All these components are key for the tone but in your opinion, what are the most important parts that affect the sound of a Telecaster?

Bridge-plates and saddles.

If a Telecaster player had a good guitar with no particular issues and he wanted to improve its sound, what parts should he first upgrade?

Saddles.

Regarding your bridges; you are currently offering bridges in vintage, single-cut and double cut format in three different alloys, stainless steel, cold rolled steel and titanium, a Bill Gibbons signature bridge and half plates, what’s your best seller?

It was my stainless steel, but after I made my cold rolled steel Blackguard it has become my best seller.

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You strive in providing historically accurate plate thickness, .048, why it is so important this measure?

If you get the plate to thick it will sound harsh and un-pleasing.

Same question for the chrome thin plating, can a thicker layer of chrome ruin a bridge?

You do not want to get to thick with the plating it does effect the tone.

According to your notes, cold rolled steel bridges offer balanced highs, mids and lows, stainless steel cuts 3k harsh mids and titanium tweaks highs giving natural compression, warmth, and super twang. Let’s say that a potential client is not familiarized with the meaning of each frequency. Is any of your bridges more suitable for a particular musical genre? for example, would you say that your cold rolled steel bridges are more suitable for classic rock or country while stainless steel is better for modern rock?

That is the hardest thing for me to do is pick a plate and saddle set for someone. I use my Titanium bridge and Bakersfield Twang set ( 1/4″ Aluminum E/A, Cold Rolled Steel D/G & B/E) and get every country tone I want plus every rock-blues tone I want. If I used my Blackguard bridge and Brass saddle set I can steal achive the tones I like.

You produce a Billy Gibbons signature bridge. Was this bridge designed by him? Why does he like to install the Seymour Duncan 59 bridge pickup in a straight orientation?

Yes. He cares very much about his fans and whatever guitar he plays he make sure it sound like how his fans remember the songs from the recordings. A Gibson Les Paul has a straight pickup so Billy wanted a straight pickup for his Tele.

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Your saddle sets are quite impressive too. All are compensated saddles and I have to say that the set I installed left the guitar millimetrically intonated. You offer them in different alloy combinations; brass, aluminum with brass, steel, cold rolled steel, titanium… What set is the best seller?

Brass (three brass) and Twang (Aluminum E/A, Brass D/G & B/E).

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One thing I noticed is that your saddles are bigger than the Fender stock sets. Is this fact important for a better tone?

For better tone and more string spacing.

You are producing string ferrules in the same alloys; aluminum, brass, cold rolled steel and titanium. A lot of players don’t even notice that string ferrules are there in the back of the body. Do they change so much the sound?

Yes it is the final little tweak.

If somebody already installed one of your saddle sets, how can he find out what ferrules will suit that particular saddle set?

I like 3 aluminum for the low strings and 3 brass for the high strings. I think that could work for everyone.

Glendale Guitars

The Telecaster bodies you produce pay tribute to the early Fender Broadcasters and Esquires. Pine wood and 1 9/16″ (3.9cm) thick against the later 1 3/4″ (4.4cm). Vintage specifications have an obvious market appeal but what’s the advantage of Pine wood over ash and alder wood?

Lightweight and sounds the best to me.

Do you have any new product in mind?

Always. I have new 250k pots coming out soon. GlendaleGuitars.com

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