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Author Topic: TUSQ AND BONE  (Read 2516 times)
guitarforlife
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« on: September 14, 2006, 01:22:59 PM »

i was interested in your opinions on a tusq or bone saddle in your guitar. i have put bone saddles in several taylors, and old martin d-35 and a  couple of vintage yamahas. from what i read, the consensus seems to favor bone over tusq. i've found that it pretty much depends on the particular guitar. i bought a taylor 110 a while ago and assumed the bone saddle would enhance the tone,better bass, note clarity etc. i found the bone to give a little more sustain but to actually make the guitar thinner souding,or not as woody sounding as the tusq, taking away the natural sound. the guitar is already bright, and the bone saddle made it brighter. i was kind of surprised because i had gotten good results on some other guitars. just curious as to which you prefer and why.
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ronmac
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« Reply #1 on: September 14, 2006, 02:04:51 PM »

I most cases I prefer bone, but I have found a few guitars that just sound better with Tusq. Since both are freely available it is quite easy to find which one is best for an individual instrument.
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« Reply #2 on: September 14, 2006, 03:03:50 PM »

Extra brightness I'd expect but thinness and lack of wood in the tone doesn't sound right.

I suspect there's a problem with the installation.  Is the bottom really flat?  It's pretty hard for us non pros to get it truly square freehand.  Is is nice and snug laterally?  The fit is actually at least as important as the materials.
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guitarforlife
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« Reply #3 on: September 14, 2006, 07:01:47 PM »

its in there flat and snug. i've done about 8 now, plus the ones i screwed up, sanding too much etc. i check real close for flat bottoms. i may have gone a little far with calling it thin for lack of better description. actually i noticed the difference when recording both saddles  in the same guitar, under the same circumstances. the tusq saddle just sounded better to me.
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WIZARDMI
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« Reply #4 on: September 14, 2006, 11:07:28 PM »

To take this discussion a step further, is there a significant difference between tusQ and bone bridge pins?
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jimmyd
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« Reply #5 on: September 14, 2006, 11:52:15 PM »

I've used both with good results. Some time ago I got a pile of Tusq saddles and nut blanks in a going out of business sale which prompted me to use em up. I've never pulled out a Tusq saddle because it sounded bad. I have replaced a bone nut that was too soft and affecting tone. Literally crumby. Tusq often gets a bad rap as being just another plastic saddle which isn't true. I haven't done a lot of serious  A/B testing, switching saddles using the same strings and listening for obvious differences.  Now I usually use bone because it is cheaper than Tusq and is the current standard for a lot of high end guitars, and I ran out of Tusq blanks. I still suspect that some manufacturers like Larrivee and Taylor switched to bone at least in part for marketing pourposes. Listing a bone nut/saddle in the specs has become a selling point that a lot of consumers look for.
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guitarforlife
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« Reply #6 on: September 15, 2006, 04:50:57 AM »

To take this discussion a step further, is there a significant difference between tusQ and bone bridge pins?

i've never tried tusq pins but there is a difference between ebony and bone. i put bone bridge pins and a bone saddle in a taylor 710 and it made it way too bright for me. the ebony pins toned it right down. i've done a lot of a/b testing, and recorded it and thats where i could hear the difference. you hear it best when you are actually playing the guitar. thats where you hear the difference the  best. i got pretty fast at changing out saddles!
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Austiban
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« Reply #7 on: September 18, 2006, 04:50:04 PM »

I just put a tusq saddle on my 00-05 and it made a vast improvement.  It was kinda harsh before.  Now you can feel it resonate a lot more and it sounds much fuller.
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Calvin
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« Reply #8 on: September 18, 2006, 10:25:38 PM »

Personally Bone sound better, however I can see applications where TUSQ will sound better.  TUSQ tend to brighter, and rather mellow sounding (I suppose a bit more strum friendly).  Bone has a really in your face solid sound, but tend to be less forgiving with hitting hte wrong notes.

Suffice to say, which ever you prefere (and the jury will probably be hung on this for... er... ever) there is a significant perceptable sonic difference.
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jwu53
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« Reply #9 on: September 18, 2006, 11:40:05 PM »

I just put a tusq saddle on my 00-05 and it made a vast improvement.  It was kinda harsh before.  Now you can feel it resonate a lot more and it sounds much fuller.

I'd recently put a set of Elixir PhosBrnz mediums on my LS-05, but it was just too harsh and jangly and wouldn't mellow-out even after much playing time. So last night I swapped the Colosi bone bridge I had in there for a Tusq saddle -- Much Better! A while back I had Newtone Masterclass Meds on this guitar with the bone saddle and it sounded great however -- but I never tried Newtones with Tusq -- that will be next. I think I'll be leaving the Tusq in there.
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« Reply #10 on: September 19, 2006, 12:42:17 AM »

In my experience, I wouldn't say that bone sounds better than Tusq, certainly not in all guitars.  Different, yes.  Since Tusq saddles are pretty cheap and don't't require much expertise to shape or install, it's easy to dismiss them, but if you like the sound of a Tusq bridge in a guitar, there's no good reason to change it out to bone.
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Calvin
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« Reply #11 on: September 19, 2006, 05:50:24 PM »

Anything is better that plastic stuff yamaha put in their guitars.  I think someone in the corp head quarter should realize they can actually make more money with a bone/tusq saddle since ppl will actually be really impressed with their sound when they make that change.  Iknow it's a 250 dollar guitar, but then I also know that by making them slightly better  you'll sell that many more.
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jimmyd
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« Reply #12 on: September 20, 2006, 01:51:32 AM »

Anything is better that plastic stuff yamaha put in their guitars.  I think someone in the corp head quarter should realize they can actually make more money with a bone/tusq saddle since ppl will actually be really impressed with their sound when they make that change.  Iknow it's a 250 dollar guitar, but then I also know that by making them slightly better  you'll sell that many more.

Agreed. I've kept a couple of  cheapo plastic saddles to show people the difference between bone, Tusq, and junk. I'm pretty sure that Alvarez uses Tusq even in their cheapest guitars which i think is one reason they are among the best sounding low end instruments. And just to keep a little contovery going I'll remind everyone that Bone is not a "better" material. Tusq is  more consistent and uniform than bone and often sounds better! Either material works well.  Bone blanks often come from asian sources. Bone buyers scour their territories and use anything they can, cow, camel, elephant, water buffalo, etc,,, No way to verify just what you are putting on your guitar or what specific properties a given blank has until you install it.
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Calvin
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« Reply #13 on: September 21, 2006, 05:11:08 PM »

Well said, I think the idea is that if you save $2 per guitar over 50,000 then you are getting 100,000 in profit.  But seriously, it's hurting the sales. hahaha.  Bone and tusq both has places, but either is just leaps and bounds beyond plastic.
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