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Author Topic: Elephant Ivory Saddles?  (Read 5896 times)
LawDogStrgsAttach
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« Reply #20 on: March 12, 2007, 04:07:15 PM »

Please understand that I understand your point.  My subtle point is that many of those ethical issues are driven by uninformed views of what is going on.  If it is clear that there is legally harvested ivory, then to some people, it is much less of a personal ethical issue.  That should have been clear from my CITES comment.  If there is still a personal ethical problem, then it only follows that one should also consider ceasing to buy/play guitars made from braz, EIR, honduran hog....


Believe me, I am not disparaging this personal ethic and resulting decisions - I wrestle with these as well.  My point is that we should deal with this decisions with a more uniform logic and with across the board consistency.
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McIlroy AJ30 Sitka/East Indian Rosewood
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« Reply #21 on: March 12, 2007, 07:58:21 PM »

My issue with this is partly tonal, partly ethical.

Vendor's descriptions of some of their products boast a sonic superiority of one material over another, be it tonewoods, saddle material, etc. Doesn't this create a desire to have that product regardless of whether the tonal claims can be proven or not? It's anecdotal at best which, unfortunately, is usually quite convincing to the consumer.

Not to mention the simple fact that these so-called superior materials just happen to come from protected, endangered, or extinct flora and fauna?

Regardless of the legality of their acquisition, I find it irresponsible...

 
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LawDogStrgsAttach
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« Reply #22 on: March 12, 2007, 08:42:12 PM »

OK, again I understand the personal ethical issue.  Can someone answer this as simply as possible:

Given that there are always bad eggs to ruin even the best laid intentions and processes, why is there objection to LEGAL ivory use just like there is LEGAL rosewood use.  Both are abused, smuggled, stolen, etc...but when the DOCUMENTED source points to a valid harvest (which there ARE for both resources), why is there still an ethical issue for IVORY but not ROSEWOOD?

Thanks!   bigrin
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McIlroy AJ30 Sitka/East Indian Rosewood
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« Reply #23 on: March 12, 2007, 09:26:45 PM »

Given that there are always bad eggs to ruin even the best laid intentions and processes, why is there objection to LEGAL ivory use just like there is LEGAL rosewood use.  Both are abused, smuggled, stolen, etc...but when the DOCUMENTED source points to a valid harvest (which there ARE for both resources), why is there still an ethical issue for IVORY but not ROSEWOOD?

Ivory vs. Rosewood. Personally, I DON'T make a distinction. I would suggest that many people don't draw parallels between chopping down a tree and shooting an elephant...

As for the documentation, anything can be made to look like it comes from one source or another. It's suspect, especially when you have luthiers and musicians saying things like: that farmed Brazilian Rosewood isn't nearly as good as the stuff they used to build with. You really NEED to have the old-growth stuff to make a great sounding guitar.

Cut to:

A poor land owner/farmer in Brazil who's nervous because he has some very old trees on his land that some loggers have been eyeing up to take down, and who just happen to have the official documentation proving that it's "stumpwood" and OK to harvest and export.
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LawDogStrgsAttach
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« Reply #24 on: March 12, 2007, 09:41:34 PM »

You are an honest and consistent man and that is a good answer - thanks!

And as for chopping v. shooting - I agree, but extinction would be the primary concern why I raise this...so the method would be relative to the organism.
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McIlroy AJ30 Sitka/East Indian Rosewood
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bearsville0
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« Reply #25 on: March 13, 2007, 02:46:34 AM »

LawDogStrigsAttach

I agree about the logical issues you raise.
For me of course doubt puts one at a crossroad: we either seek more data or make a decision with the data we have. I recommend having as much data to work with as possible. As Bateson used to say "two eyes are better than one."

Bob Colosi's ivory may be legal. The 23,000 poached elephants mentioned in the article  from JimmyD  influenced my decision to reject the idea of buying even a "legal" saddle because it seems to me that the desire for the material was greater than the legal supply. Hence if I can reduce the desire for the material, it may have an impact on the amount being poached.

In previous threads on this topic, the poaching issue was brought up. I was hoping that along the way over the intervening years, that the poaching had subsided enough to justify my buying an ivory saddle. Alas, unless you know of reports that say otherwise, it does not seem to be the case .


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Queequeg
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« Reply #26 on: March 13, 2007, 05:56:45 PM »

No one here is maligning Bob Colosi. I have dealt with Bob & I will again. I believe his inventory to be legally obtained, as stated.  I do however wish that the industry such as it is would use a more applicable nomenclature than "fossilized" which serves to wittingly or unwittingly misrepresent the true nature of the product.
Look, I like the guy on the corner who runs the convenient store, but that doesn't mean that I have to buy cigarettes from him or believe that they are good for me. A guitar forum it would seem to me would be the logical place to discuss this, and engage in information exchange. If someone is uncertain or we are experiencing public uninformed discourse, isn't it best to shine the light of truth? This results in a better informed public. Surely this cannot be damaging to dealers and/or artisans or forum members. That's what I come to the forum for: the best information.
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LawDogStrgsAttach
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« Reply #27 on: March 13, 2007, 06:18:53 PM »

Fair enough...and I probably made the statement about disparaging Bob too early.  I guess the bottom line for me is that the ethical issue is valid, but since there is a legal option, we should not (and it HAS NOT happened) deter others who may want to get an ivory saddle because they do not share the ethical problem.  That would not hold true if all ivory were illegal.

disclaimer:  I do not have nor plan to get an ivory saddle.
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McIlroy AJ30 Sitka/East Indian Rosewood
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« Reply #28 on: March 13, 2007, 08:00:30 PM »

  Fair enough!
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el guitana
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« Reply #29 on: March 13, 2007, 08:17:48 PM »


>The general logic early on that suggested that doubt = an answer.  If that is the case, what is the worth in wrestling with perspectives to any problem?  The use of our higher faculties constantly involves doubt since that pressure in our thoughts leads our rationality.  If only life were that simple as to negate the process of weighing arguments and perspectives and just yield to doubt!


 >I think public uninformed discourse, similar to what we are encroaching in this thread, is damaging to dealers and artisans -

These ideas seem to me to be in conflict.
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canoe65
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« Reply #30 on: March 13, 2007, 08:30:41 PM »

I've been reading (off and on) over the last couple of days about the 'agony and the ecstasy' of bone nuts  / saddles versus Tusq and tonal changes / improvements.

I am (and I bet I'm not alone) not the world's greatest guitar player.  The improved sound 'possibly' provided by 'bone' would not be THE deciding factor in the sound that comes out of the guitar.  My ability to play the instrument would be what's noticed over ANYTHING else.

If anyone else is in the same boat, then the ethics of bone (i.e., ivory from ANY animal) versus Tusq is not really a factor in the decision making process.  Why change technical effects of the guitar until we have 'better' mastered the instrument?

I can go out and buy the most expensive golf clubs that are available, but unless my technique improves the benefits that the new equipment offer will be mostly a non-issue.

I just read a quote from a well known guitarist (at the moment I can't remember who).  He told the interviewer, "For many guitarists, the $5000.00 spent on a high end guitar and / or accessories would be better spent on $5,000.00 of lessons".    
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jeremy3220
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« Reply #31 on: March 13, 2007, 08:44:58 PM »

These ideas seem to me to be in conflict.
They're not. They're not even related how could they be in conflict? Is it impossible that one should not rely on doubt to answer a question and the dicourse in this thread is damaging to dealers?
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LawDogStrgsAttach
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« Reply #32 on: March 13, 2007, 09:02:56 PM »

Great point, Canoe.  That point is exactly what keeps me from investing in ivory, gotoh 510's, etc...I even feel bad for having a -09 series because I am not that good!!!

Thanks, Jeremey - stated much better and more succintly than I could re: conflict.
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McIlroy AJ30 Sitka/East Indian Rosewood
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el guitana
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« Reply #33 on: March 14, 2007, 11:11:19 AM »

They're not. They're not even related how could they be in conflict? Is it impossible that one should not rely on doubt to answer a question and the dicourse in this thread is damaging to dealers?

Sorry - I should clarify this. This makes it seem, to me, that discussion and debate are good and educational, but should not be engaged in.

Qualifying factor: the words, "to me", present in both posts.
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bearsville0
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« Reply #34 on: March 14, 2007, 12:04:52 PM »

el guitana,
any discussion/debate has to have some kind of ground rules if only to keep it from devolving into a slug fest. Hidden taboos are more tricky to spot but can also crimp an honest debate (if a taboo means "we can talk about anything but THAT!").

I'm not sure if there is a taboo at play here, but I am still curious about the actual tone possibilities that elephant saddles make possible (not that I'm going to buy one). We see a lot of praise for regular bone saddles, different string choices, tonewoods etc, but since they are out there, I would still like to hear about the ivory.  For those who have them at this point I would hope they are CHERISHED.

 And Canoe65, I agree we are all in the same boat (canoe?) in that musicianship outweighs all else. I don't think that conflicts with our interest in accessorizing. If bling (or long hair) helps you rock harder, go for it.

Thanks
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jimmyd
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« Reply #35 on: March 14, 2007, 12:41:59 PM »

In reading through these posts I believe a basic ethics question was raised but not completely addressed. Is legal always right and is right an absolute?  For me the answer is no to both.  It also doesn't help when we pass judgements and admonish others based on assumptions. People have a right to buy ivory that is certified as legal and I don't believe I have a right to condemn them for doing so. I have the right to be informed and let my values guide my choices even if they are different then what the law specifies. I also reserve my right to speak openly in response to questions openly asked. My point in response to actual question asked was that poaching is increasing dramatically and the legal ivory trade is fueling illegal poaching. There is ample evidence to support this claim if one chooses to do a little research.  I've posted just one more example below if anyone is interested in what the Kenyans had to say about ivory poaching as far back as 2002. The problem is much worse today.

http://209.85.165.104/search?q=cache:UipkmzMgVhsJ:www.ifaw.org/ifaw/dimages/custom/media_center/KenyPositionOnIvoryTrade_2002.doc+illegal+documentation+ivory+poaching+Kenya&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=1&gl=us

BTW  I agree that Bob Colosi is a reputable business person and should not be judged for any of his business practices. I also agree that Tusq or bone are up to my playing ability and the instruments I play and that I've found Ping tuners to be perfectly adequate on every Larrivee I've owned.
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bearsville0
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« Reply #36 on: March 14, 2007, 01:32:03 PM »

Hi jimmyd and again thanks for another article link that supports my decision not to buy.

We all end up living lives based on individual preferences and values, secondary to what is officially legal. We also try to influence others to agree with us. I think the intentions of all on this thread are benevolent. We are sharing opinions in good faith that we will make a positive difference in our lives, from sleeping well to enjoying our guitars more.

This discussion potentially raises all kinds of dilemmas that will not  be all resolved here, but I personally have resolved mine on this issue and will continue to enjoy the healthy debate as long as it continues.
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saffron_boots
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« Reply #37 on: March 14, 2007, 02:19:13 PM »

I'm not sure if there is a taboo at play here, but I am still curious about the actual tone possibilities that elephant saddles make possible (not that I'm going to buy one). We see a lot of praise for regular bone saddles, different string choices, tonewoods etc, but since they are out there, I would still like to hear about the ivory.

OK, I'm going to answer THIS question based on my guitar building experience and various (controlled) experiments. Saddles tested: TUSQ, micarta, bone, elephant, walrus, and fossilized mammoth tusk. The only SIGNIFICANT tonal difference that was noted consistently among a group of listeners was when the saddle was not well-seated in the saddle slot. Same guitar, same strings, similar string compensation, and musical passages. The effect was varied: less bass, lack of note separation, clarity, etc.

This can be perceived as merely anecdotal evidence, BUT it has shaped my opinion on the matter (pun intended).  bigrin
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bearsville0
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« Reply #38 on: March 14, 2007, 03:00:07 PM »

Thanks Saffron Boots

I value your contributon to this. Very interesting.
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« Reply #39 on: March 15, 2007, 07:07:43 PM »

I guess the bottom line for me is that the ethical issue is valid, but since there is a legal option, we should not (and it HAS NOT happened) deter others who may want to get an ivory saddle because they do not share the ethical problem. 

If you have a firmly held ethical opinion aren't you obligated to seek to deter others from engaging in that behavior? I really don't think that legality has much to do with it. There are plenty of laws that we have had and have that are either immoral (slavery) or wrong-headed (prohibition).

This is a little out there for this topic, but I do support the idea of advocacy.
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