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Author Topic: Bone saddle with Undersaddle pickup  (Read 2019 times)
Brett M.
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« on: June 16, 2005, 12:22:30 PM »

I have heard some folks say that undersaddle picks don't perform as well under bone saddles. What do you guys think? I have a LV-05E and I think it could really benefit from a bone saddle. On the otherhand I don't want to sacrifice pickup perfomance.

Advice?

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Manzanita
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« Reply #1 on: June 16, 2005, 12:42:41 PM »

As long as the saddle is fitted properly, your UST will do just fine.  You'll probably notice an actual improvement there, too.  An important thing when sanding your saddle down to fit is making sure the bottom stays absolutely flat and the angle of the bottom edge is perpendicular to the sides of the saddle.

I have heard of UST's having a slightly uneven surface resulting in a string imbalance when the saddle is perfectly flat.  When you take your old saddle off, place it on a flat surface and look carefully at the bottom to see if it's even.  In extreme cases you may have to contour the bottom of your new saddle to match it.  I've fitted about six or seven so far (about half of those with USTs) and have never seen that particular problem.
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ronmac
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« Reply #2 on: June 16, 2005, 01:21:05 PM »

The biggest concern with bone saddles is with their density consistency. If the bone has some soft spots you may get a different  transmission of energy from some strings, and of course that will transmit into an unbalanced string to string output from the pickup.

There are two tests that you can perform to test density:

1) Bounce the saddle blank on a very hard surface (a glass coffee table, granite counter top or the top of a cast table saw are good). The sound you hear will indicate the relative density of the blank. The more dense it is the more "plink" you will hear. Compare it to the saddle you are going to replace to see if you are going to gain anything.

2) Light test. Place the saddle blank on a light source (a light table is ideal) or hold it up to an exposed light bulb. Hopefully you will not see be able to see any variations in light transmission. If there is a soft spot in the bone it will appear more transparent.

Good luck. It's always fun to tinker...
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Brett M.
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« Reply #3 on: June 16, 2005, 02:28:29 PM »

Thanks guys. I think I'm going to give it a shot. If it doesn't work out, I can always go back to the Tusq saddle.

Brett
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dreamsinger
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« Reply #4 on: June 16, 2005, 02:33:21 PM »

There's another way to look at it, too; you go to the trouble and expense of fitting a bone saddle then insulate it from the vibration chain with a metal encased chunk of artificial crystal that degrades the acoustic tone (at least to my ears).  The density problem of bone is much less of an influence than the fit. There can be *no* gaposis between the bottom of the slot, the UST and the saddle. *That* is the tonekiller.  Better solution.... get a K&K SBT
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« Reply #5 on: June 16, 2005, 05:13:00 PM »

There's another way to look at it, too; you go to the trouble and expense of fitting a bone saddle then insulate it from the vibration chain with a metal encased chunk of artificial crystal that degrades the acoustic tone (at least to my ears).  The density problem of bone is much less of an influence than the fit. There can be *no* gaposis between the bottom of the slot, the UST and the saddle. *That* is the tonekiller.  Better solution.... get a K&K SBT

Seeing as how my guitar already has the B-Band A6 with both the under saddle transducer and soundboard transducer I think I'll pass on this solution but thanks.
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Bobalouie3
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« Reply #6 on: June 29, 2005, 05:52:37 AM »

You can also give Bob Colosi a ring (or email), he runs a guitar saddle business and is one of the more knowledable folks on the tonal effects of saddle material and is spot on in his recommendations.  He makes a superb saddle product (along with nuts and pins) in bone, ivory or fossilized ivory.  You can find him at www.guitarsaddles.com.

BTW, I have 2 of his fossilized walrus ivory saddles, one in my Taylor and one in my Martin, they made a huge improvement to the tone of each guitar. :GRN>
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Russ

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« Reply #7 on: June 29, 2005, 08:15:57 AM »

Problem also arise when you change the break angle from the original.  The pickup may not sound as good if you have a bone saddle if it gives a significantly more shallow angle.
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Brett M.
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« Reply #8 on: June 29, 2005, 11:31:29 AM »

You can also give Bob Colosi a ring (or email), he runs a guitar saddle business and is one of the more knowledable folks on the tonal effects of saddle material and is spot on in his recommendations.  He makes a superb saddle product (along with nuts and pins) in bone, ivory or fossilized ivory.  You can find him at www.guitarsaddles.com.

BTW, I have 2 of his fossilized walrus ivory saddles, one in my Taylor and one in my Martin, they made a huge improvement to the tone of each guitar. :GRN>

Yes, I've purchased a number of saddles from Bob. I've only purchased the bone saddles. I haven't tried the FWI. I just haven't installed one on a guitar with an UST.
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Brett M.
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« Reply #9 on: June 29, 2005, 11:33:02 AM »

Problem also arise when you change the break angle from the original.  The pickup may not sound as good if you have a bone saddle if it gives a significantly more shallow angle.

Yes, I can see how that would change the pickup response.
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