Bone on the guitar...

Discussion in 'Acoustic Instruments' started by Daniel B., Sep 20, 2006.

  1. Daniel B.

    Daniel B. Member

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    I have a Takamine G series I bought back in '97. It has great bass and depth that has come out from playing over the last 9 years. However, it lacks crispness and the higher notes are a little bland. I was wondering if putting a bone nut and bone bridge on it would help the tone a little bit. I also have the Takamine DSP (digital preamp) installed. If there is a change in tone would it transfer over to the speakers?

    Where do you get these bone nuts and bone bridges anyway and what do they cost? I'm obviously new to the bone situation. Please help me with my bone knowledge.

    Thanks
     
  2. Rock Johnson

    Rock Johnson Member

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    You can get bone nut and saddle blanks on ebay for less than $15 delivered. Then, take 'em to you favorite luthier and have them installed.

    Or, skip the first step and just tell your luthier what you want.
     
  3. jayhawk

    jayhawk Member

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    I had a bone saddle and nut installed on my Gibson J45 and I cannot recommend it highly enough. It made a very good guitar into a phenomenal guitar.
     
  4. mikeo2

    mikeo2 Member

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    To me, bone saddles and nuts create a somewhat clearer tone with better note division. Most shops should be able to cut these and install them for you with little problem.
     
  5. MichaelK

    MichaelK Member

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    What the other Mike said.

    It will not make a big difference, but the bridge saddle especially will be an audible improvement. Most shops keep blanks on hand.

    I don't know the Takamine system but if the guitar sounds better unplugged the pickup should "hear" it, no?
     
  6. bobaraba

    bobaraba Member

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    i've found it depends on the guitar whether there's an improvement or not. i've replaced tusq saddles in a couple of taylor guitars with bone, and ended up putting the tusq back in. the bone was crisper and brighter on the high end, and also added a little more sustain, but seemed to take the woody, or natural tone out of the mids. the overall change in tone wasn't worth the trade off to me. might be good for someone who plays a lot of lead stuff on the high end strings.. i would describe the over all tone as metallic. the taylor is already a bright guitar. i found tusq saddles and ebony bridge pins worked best for me with the taylors. its a personal preference, so experiment and see what you like best.
     
  7. MichaelK

    MichaelK Member

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    I could see that being true with Taylors.
     
  8. Daniel B.

    Daniel B. Member

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    Thanks for the replies. I think adding a bone nut and saddle will improve the sound of my Takamine. I probably wouldn't get a Takamine if I had to do it over again. However, I do have one and I'm trying to get the best sound I can so I'm not tempted to go buy another acoustic. I'll let you know how it sounds when the deed is done...
     
  9. exhaust_49

    exhaust_49 Member

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    How many other people notice that a bone nut (compared to tusq) takes the woody tone out of the mids? I was thinking about putting a bone nut on my acoustic in the future, but not if I loose the woody tone in my acoustic. I love that woody tone.
     
  10. gainiac

    gainiac Senior Member

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    I have a bone nut and bridge on my Taylor 814CE. It sounds grand piano spectacular.

    I do use regular bronze strings not phosphor which I find makes the guitar bright.
     
  11. MichaelK

    MichaelK Member

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    I have never heard of it being anything but an improvement until that post. A bone saddle transmits vibration to the bridge better. Graphite/tusq/plastic tends to transmit the high end less. So if a guitar is already exceptionally bright as some Taylors are, bone might give the illusion that it has "taken out" some mids when actually it's the tusq that had taken out some high end. But if tusq sounds better to him, that's the bottom line. While I have my doubts that I might agree, I see no reason to dispute his preference.

    I spoke to Joe Glaser, Nashville guitar tech extraordinaire, about this at length when I had him replace the saddle on my wife's guitar. He told me that he personally has tried every imaginable material, old and new, on every imaginable type of acoustic guitar, old and new, and that he feels bone is undisputeably the best bridge saddle material for any acoustic guitar. But again, we're talking about a subtle difference. It will not change the character of the guitar.

    I asked him about fossilized ivory, petrified wooly mammoth tits and stuff like that, and he laughed. He said if there's any audible difference between that stuff and bone he can't hear it. As far as he's concerned it's just overpriced bone.
     
  12. exhaust_49

    exhaust_49 Member

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    I was thinking about it and I'm gonna put another tusq nut/saddle on the guitar when it needs it. Right now my acoustic is the most even sounding guitar I've played and the guitar is bright. It's got maple back and sides. I don't want to risk making the guitar brighter with a bone nut so I'll stick with tusk.
     
  13. GuitarBrent

    GuitarBrent Member

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    Where can I get some of these? :D
     
  14. Tone Disciple

    Tone Disciple Gold Supporting Member

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    Daniel

    Go to the Tonequest site - good stuff at any rate

    www.tonequest.com

    Click on the get sample issue in pdf file - and select the issue on the Welder - this link might work -

    http://www.tonequest.com/pdf_pubs/samples/TQRSep06_Proof.pdf

    Read what Neil Young's acoustic tech has to say abpout improving the tone of your acoustic and the tone quest report later in the issue of how these mods (neck adjustment and buffalo horn pins w/ebony) worked for them.

    This all goes somewhat to the point of your quest, and if nothing else, links you to some other cool material.

    Report back on what you think!
     
  15. GuitslingerTim

    GuitslingerTim Member

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    The Takamine G series are ok guitars as far as budget boxes go, but you shouldn't sell Takamine short, their Japanese-made acoustics will hang with some of the best acoustics on the market, and at quite competitive prices to boot.

    The blandness you're hearing in the upper registers is a result of simple bracing and laminated woods. The Keystone, Natural, and Supernatural Takamine models feature solid woods and complex scalloped bracing, so you get what you pay for. Installing a bone nut of a G series might be a waste of money, but it's your money to waste.
     
  16. johneeeveee

    johneeeveee Member

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  17. geetarman

    geetarman Member

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    A big +1 all my acoustics are fitted with Colosi saddles.
     
  18. MichaelK

    MichaelK Member

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    I love it when a thread that's been dead for 18 months gets resurrected over little stuff like this! What on earth had you been searching for to find it??

    Anyway, bridge and nut blanks of petrified mammoth tit and fossilized walrus balls are available from Accessories for Dilettantes.

    Remember: the more you spend on esoteric crap you've never heard in actual use, the more awesome it is.
     
  19. Bob V

    Bob V Member

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    Actually it's not the price you pay for an Unobtanium saddle, but the time you spend trying to find it on the internet that makes it special.

    Anyway, I'm surprised no one has pointed out yet that the manufacturers of piezo or film undersaddle pickups recommend synthetic materials (like Tusq or Micarta) for the saddle since there's a possibility that an organic material like bone might be inconsistent in density and some strings won't be as loud as others. I think most luthiers wisely ignore that advice and use bone anyway.
     
  20. Structo

    Structo Member

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    As others have said the nut does not affect tone once you fret a note but the saddles affect everything.

    A good bone saddle on an acoustic will make or break the tone given that the guitar is of decent quality to begin with.
    But, sometimes when you install a piezo transducer under the saddle it can affect the tone negatively if not done right.
    So it is definitely dependant upon the tec/ luthier's skill set whether or not it kills the tone acoustically.
     

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