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Author Topic: Saddle/bridge Pin Replacement  (Read 3277 times)
plumb
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« on: June 25, 2003, 09:01:22 PM »

i've read on other forums about how saddle and bridge pin material can affect tone, so last night i spent 3 hours refitting a micarta saddle to replace the tusq one from the factory, and put in ebony bridge pins to replace the plastic ones.  this is all going in a OM-02, mahogany orchestra model.

first of all, the micarta saddle was very difficult to work with.  it's supposedly very close to the consistency of bone, and i agree.  after 3 hours of sawing, sanding, and filing, i created a micarta saddle identical to the tusq one.  the sound is markedly warmer, with more distinct bass.  i lost the edge off the high-end brilliance, which is what i intended.  the tusq sounded too brittle and bright for my ears, but the micarta gives a rounder, more even sound across the spectrum.  the micarta blank was only $3, but the labor in shaping it was considerable.

secondly, the ebony pins take a little off the treble and thicken up the midrange, making it sound more complex.  some people have complained of loss in volume and sustain with ebony pins, but i can't detect much difference.  this was a very subtle change, not sure if i could detect it blindfolded.  the new pins only cost me $6 though.

finally, i replaced the d'addario exp16's with elixir polyweb lights.  at first the elixirs sounded awful... there was markedly more bass volume, but the midrange was muted and lost all its wonderful complexity, and the treble was also muted and much too bright.  after an hour of playing, the sound has changed halfway back to the way it was with the d'addarios.  i think i like the d'addarios better: thick upper and midrange, nice warm complexity, articulate and responsive.  the bass on the d'addarios was sufficient, but had a sort of rubber-band quality to it.

anyway, i just wanted to share my experience, YMMV
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« Reply #1 on: June 29, 2003, 05:00:38 AM »

Interesting. Never heard of anyone changing a TUSQ saddle to micarta. I prefer the sound/tone of D'Addarios over Elixir also.

Just curious...why didn't you go with a bone saddle instead of micarta? Those of us over in "Martinsville" usually change our original micarta saddles to bone, or in some cases, to TUSQ with better results in most cases.

When I had my Larrivee D-03E I changed the TUSQ saddle to bone to get rid of the "treble brittleness" associated with TUSQ saddles. It gave the trebles a much more "rounded" tone. Interesting how micarta did the same thing for you that bone does to the trebles.
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« Reply #2 on: July 07, 2003, 08:01:59 PM »

I changed the Tusq saddle to bone on my L-05.  Big difference . . . clearity/definition improved and sustain was increased dramtically.  I prefer the Elixer Nanowebs, I find the Polywebs too muted for my taste.
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Griff
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« Reply #3 on: July 11, 2003, 04:42:20 PM »

I too have never heard of "upgrading" from Tusq to Micarta. If you had said "Corian" I would agree. Micarta is fairly soft and easy to work with, which is probably why Martin liked using it and it is fairly good at transmitting sound - but not as good as bone or corian or various forms of legal ivory.

However, I just wanted to mention that I am about to upgrade my 6 year old LJ-10 from Tusq to Mammoth Ivory. The Tusq that was used 6 years ago was a very strange and rather ugly brownish shade (an attempt, perhaps to look like Walrus Tusk?)

I intend to change the saddle, nut and pins to Ivory. Anybody want a set of ebony pins and Tusq saddle and nut?

Griff
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« Reply #4 on: July 16, 2003, 05:02:33 PM »

Does anyone know how much a luthier would (or should) charge to upgrade/install bone or tusq saddle and nut, replacing plastic? My Larrivee has bone, came with it, (along with ebony end pins...bless them guys). But my Gibby used plastic.

Labor and materials for the job...how much $$?
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« Reply #5 on: July 16, 2003, 07:34:39 PM »

Most guy's charge $75.00 each for the nut and the saddle.I charge $25.00 each because it's not a big deal the bone cost around $5.00 each and we sell after market ebony pin's for $8.00 a set of 6.Disclaimer.......I'm a player and a repairman and don't believe in any of the mystic of the bussiness of repair.Fair price for a pro job,not I've been doing this for years and your going pay me for it.
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« Reply #6 on: July 16, 2003, 08:03:56 PM »

Thank you, unclrob. I learned something today!
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