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Author Topic: Tusq vs Bone Challenge On-Line Shootout  (Read 12176 times)
ronmac
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« on: February 18, 2006, 02:10:54 PM »

Anyone tried this?

http://www.tusq.com/champ/

Technical Specifications

Test conducted in-studio on a Larrivee Acoustic Guitar equipped with GHS Phosphor Bronze Acoustic strings.

One Neumann KM 184 placed 4” directly in front of the sound hole.

Recorded directly into a Behringer ultragain pro-8 digital ADA8000 analog-digital pre-amp converter.

Optically input into a Creamware Pulsar audio card.

Sample rate: 24bit, 44.1 kHz. Recorded using Sonar 4.0 software.

No EQ or filtering was used.
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Ron

Randy_R
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« Reply #1 on: February 18, 2006, 02:20:19 PM »

I'm in. thanks for the link...
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Randy R., Georgia, USA
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jimmyd
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« Reply #2 on: February 18, 2006, 04:56:10 PM »

Me too. Thanks for the link. BTW I thought Tusq sounded better.
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woody b
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« Reply #3 on: February 18, 2006, 08:15:46 PM »

Me too. Thanks for the link. BTW I thought Tusq sounded better.

Graphtech isn't going to post a recording with the bone sounding better.   It sounds to me like the used a thick rigid pick for the tusq strum and a thin flexable pick for the bone strum.   You can do alot with recordings, without even messing with the actual recording. 
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Randy_R
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« Reply #4 on: February 18, 2006, 08:20:29 PM »

Graphtech isn't going to post a recording with the bone sounding better.   It sounds to me like the used a thick rigid pick for the tusq strum and a thin flexable pick for the bone strum.   You can do alot with recordings, without even messing with the actual recording. 

I would expect they did everything as exactly the same as possible. perhaps even to the point of not telling the strummer which was which. The frequency choosen to measure graphically may have been one which the tusq favors though.
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Randy R., Georgia, USA
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ronmac
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« Reply #5 on: February 18, 2006, 08:28:31 PM »

To my hearing the tusq clip was a bit louder than the bone clip. This may well be due to the fact that one material is louder than the other, or it could be that it was altered somewhat. I hope it is the former. Louder almost always sounds "Better" than softer.

I'm going to drop them into my audio editing suite and have a look at them myself. I may even try and match their levels and have a listen to that sample.
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Ron

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« Reply #6 on: February 18, 2006, 10:59:33 PM »

Louder almost always sounds "Better" than softer.

As John Caulkin once said "Give em loud and they will hear tone"

I thought I was hearing more overtones but who knows what exactly was more appealing to me in the Tusq sample.  If you do analyze those samples please let us know what you find out.  I do admit that I've never had a problem with the toine I've gotten from Tusq saddles. I got a bunch of them from a guy in a going out of business sale and have used them in several inexpensive instruments with good success. I still use bone for more expensive instruments. Seems every high end luthier uses bone. 
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Randy_R
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« Reply #7 on: February 18, 2006, 11:20:01 PM »

Most high end instruments used to use ivory.

And Tusq is supposedly engineered to be a synthetic equivalent of ivory...

I put a great deal of stock in what people did prior to the electronic and media age. choices had a tendency to be made more on hard facts and experience rather than who has the fanciest marketing department....

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Randy R., Georgia, USA
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Fstpicker
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« Reply #8 on: February 19, 2006, 02:44:08 AM »

Before I knew which was which, I chose the Sample A because I thought it sounded fuller and richer. Sample B sounded thinner to me. Come to find out, my ears heard it right. 

Jeff
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inspector13
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« Reply #9 on: February 19, 2006, 03:37:14 AM »

Jeff, you may want to remove the results of the comparison so it is not to bias others taking the test. :WNK>
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jeremy3220
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« Reply #10 on: February 19, 2006, 04:34:58 AM »

One strum is not a good way to make a comparision. espcially since they're not even at the same velocity. Sample A is clearly strummed softer and quicker. In Sample B it is blatently obvious that they dig in and take their time, that last string is lagging so far behind. The strummer may have even missed a few bass strings in sample A. Blah, sales gimics.
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didymus21
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« Reply #11 on: February 19, 2006, 06:09:05 AM »

One strum is not a good way to make a comparision. espcially since they're not even at the same velocity. Sample A is clearly strummed softer and quicker. In Sample B it is blatently obvious that they dig in and take their time, that last string is lagging so far behind. The strummer may have even missed a few bass strings in sample A. Blah, sales gimics.

Doesn't even sound like the treble was hit in sample A...
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ronmac
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« Reply #12 on: February 19, 2006, 12:54:38 PM »

So, the debate continues....

I downloaded both samples and dropped them into my audio editing suite (Adobe Audition 2.0 with Ozone 3.0 mastering) and have no problem identifying differences in the two recordings. The difficulty is to make an accurate assessment of why those differences are there. Since the two samples are not recorded exactly the same it is impossible to compare amplitude, velocity, harmonic content, etc. in an objective way.

First off, since the materials are different, you would expect that the bone and tusq would sound dissimilar. BUT, I would also expect that samples taken form different pieces of bone would also be somewhat different. Tusq samples should remain consistant given they are a manufactured product from a composite material. This alone will make any single sample comparisons meaninless.

The only meaningful test is for each of us to decide what works for us. The reason any individual instrument appeals to us more than another, of the same model and materials, is the small characteristic differences of all the material used. The saddle material is just one part of the equation.

One thing has always bugged me about this debate. I have never heard of anyone wanting to swap out their tusq saddle for another tusq saddle in the quest for superior tone. This leads me to believe everyone agrees that since tusq is a composite material, manufactured to high tolerance, it would produce piece to piece similar performance. Why then is it that everyone that tries a new bone saddle immediately declares a winner, one way or the other, simply by trying one sample of a material that is known to be inconsistant?

 
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Ron

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« Reply #13 on: February 19, 2006, 05:55:59 PM »

When I put a bone saddle in my D05, I was hard pressed to actually tell much difference. They both sounded good and in the end I left the bone because as a jimmyd said it seems all high end guitars use bone.
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jwhitcomb3
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« Reply #14 on: February 19, 2006, 06:05:57 PM »

One strum is not a good way to make a comparision. espcially since they're not even at the same velocity. Sample A is clearly strummed softer and quicker. In Sample B it is blatently obvious that they dig in and take their time, that last string is lagging so far behind. The strummer may have even missed a few bass strings in sample A. Blah, sales gimics.

I noticed the same thing. I thought the Tusq sample sounded more compressed but also had more overtones. And yeah, it was louder and there was a heavier pick attack. FWIW, I vaguely preferred the bone sample.

I'm very new to Tusq: I've been playing guitar for 33 years and only met Tusq a couple of months ago. I like the compensated saddles, and both guitars I've spent time with a Tusq saddle sound fine. If I was unhappy with the sound of a guitar I'd certainly try out several different types of strings before I started monkeying with the saddle.

I have guitars with ivory, bone and Tusq saddles. I'd be hard pressed to single out how the saddle material contributes to a particular instrument's tone.

-Jonathan
http://www.e-misery.com
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ducktrapper
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« Reply #15 on: February 19, 2006, 06:10:35 PM »

Jonathon - No reason not to have a compensated bone saddle.
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cldplytkmn
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« Reply #16 on: February 21, 2006, 10:45:09 PM »

man... way too many variables (IMO) to use something like this to prove anything... change the pick angle, strength, material... attack speed... there's one test i trust... putting both in MY guitar with the same strings... did this already with one of my guitars and it was obvious that i prefered bone for that guitar.  i've never been dissatisfied with the tone of my other guitars to even try anything but compensated bone.
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Hudman
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« Reply #17 on: February 22, 2006, 03:01:45 AM »

They sound very similiar. The tusq clip was a little brighter with a touch more volume and sustain. Although, it took several listens to make that determination. I would be happy with either one. Both materials are far superior to plastic.
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mdrulez
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« Reply #18 on: February 22, 2006, 03:35:44 AM »

I JUST changed out my Tusq saddle for a Colosi bone in my D-09.  Noticeable difference, and the bone is definitely better.
It was a pain to shape the stupid thing though.
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Hudman
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« Reply #19 on: February 22, 2006, 03:57:45 AM »

I JUST changed out my Tusq saddle for a Colosi bone in my D-09.  Noticeable difference, and the bone is definitely better.
It was a pain to shape the stupid thing though.

Yeah, I did that on a all solid wood Washburn last year. It had a plactic saddle. I ordered one of Colosi's bone saddles. It took quite a bit of shaping to get it just right. Huge improvement over plastic. I'm planning to leave my tusq saddle in my L-03. I love the way it sounds right now.
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