Ivory tonal improvements

Discussion in 'Acoustic Instruments' started by sinner, Sep 15, 2006.

  1. sinner

    sinner Member

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    I was thinking about putting ivory bridge pins in my "new" 1998 Gibson J45 and ran accros a legal source (within the US) for Pre-Ban Elephant Ivory.

    http://www.ivorybuyer.com/sales/guitar_pins.php

    They offer (with Pre-Ban Documentation) bridge pins, nuts, saddles, and strap pins in either Elephant Ivory or Ancient Wooly Mammoth Ivory, as well as traditional Bone (Oxen Bone from the Middle East).

    They note the acoustic properties of the modern, Pre-Ban Elephant Ivory as superior to ancient fossilized ivory, as well as superior to that of Bone. They also offer specially treated Ancient Wooly Mammoth Ivory and say it offers a "softer" sound many guitarists seek.

    I never tried Ivory, but do like the sound of a bone nut and had them installed on my '31 Duolian, wood body acoustics and several electrics

    Can anyone comment on using the Elephant or Wooly Mammoth Ivory? How effective is this for nut, saddle, and/or bridge pins?
     
  2. 6Tones

    6Tones Supporting Member

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    Wooly mammoth ?!Are they kidding? lol
     
  3. empty71

    empty71 Member

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    Let me put it this way, if the Ivory makes such a significant difference, guys like Bourgeois, Collings, Santa Cruz and Goodalls will be using them on their guitars.

    Nothing beats good ol' fashion quality bone IMHO.
     
  4. clemduolian

    clemduolian Silver Supporting Member

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    Since you are in So. Cal., go by Westwood Music. They stock many "exotic" bridge pins and will help you A/B the sound so you can see for yourself. I got 3 different sets (for 3 different guitars) after I was able to compare the sounds. They have/had amber, ivory, bone, etc. It takes some time but its worth it. Call and see if Fred or Mark is around to help you.

    Clem
     
  5. sinner

    sinner Member

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    Thanks, Clem--great idea!
     
  6. Barefoot

    Barefoot Senior Member

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    Many luthiers don't use elephant ivory due to the precieved difficulty in verifying pre-ban status.

    Many consumers shy away from ivory for the same reason. It therefore becomes a material sourcing and marketing issue rather than whether it sounds good, different or whatever.

    I have fossilized mammoth saddle and pins and an ivory nut on my acoustic. I like it.

    Just had a friggin beautiful ivory nut cut for my 99 Brazilian McCarty.
    I think its terrific visually and sonically.

    YMMV of course....
     
  7. K-man

    K-man Member

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  8. exhaust_49

    exhaust_49 Member

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    Can you really tell the diference between Ivory and bone in a blind test? Is it worth the trouble and upcharge?

    I'm going with bone from stewmac. Seems most reasonable to me.
     
  9. Ogre

    Ogre Member

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    For the bridge, yes. A big waste of $$ for bridge pins.
     
  10. sinner

    sinner Member

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    Some good info pass on here, thank you!

    So, let's say some could tell a difference between bone and ivory (for the bridge). How can the different tonal qualities be described?
     
  11. jiml2.1

    jiml2.1 Member

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    I replaced all my "TUSQ" and "Micarta" saddles with bone or ivory. Elephant Ivory sounded great in my Santa Cruz OM, but had kind of a muddy sound in my Martin CEO 5 (12 fret dreadnaught). I have a Martin d18ge which comes with fossilized ivory saddle and nut and it sounds GREAT ( after comparing my CEO 5 with ivory to the D18GE, I decided to replace the ivory saddle with bone -- big improvement). FWIW, Bob Colosi http://www.guitarsaddles.com/products.asp
    (sp?-owner of the above site) does nice work ... I called him directly and discussed options and am happy with the saddles I bought from him. I used bone in my Gibson (J100 and L4-a) and like sound -- I also replaced bridge pins with bone, but have my doubts that has much if any effect outside of a cosmetic upgrade.
     
  12. royd

    royd Member

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    The material used in saddles makes a huge difference, nuts less so, bridge pins next to none.
    Whether you'll prefer one material to another is a matter of taste.
    I was pleased to see the picks though. I have some bone and ivory picks that I've had for a few years and fear what will happen if I lose them or wear them out. One broke and I even super glued it back together!
     
  13. MichaelK

    MichaelK Member

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    Oh for sure, wooly mammoth is softer. All that hair, doncha know.

    Folks, we are talking about bridge pins, not even the saddle or the nut.

    Here's a recent post I wrote concerning a bone saddle. It's interesting not for what I had to say, but for what Joe said on the topic.

    What I left out is that he said bridge pin material is nearly irrelevant to tone. He said he can't hear any difference it makes.
     
  14. sinner

    sinner Member

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    I like how the folks at ivorybuyer say "the complete tone chain (i. e. bridge pins), nut, saddles, pins."
     
  15. Tuberoast

    Tuberoast Silver Supporting Member

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    I have had the people at Elderly Instruments in Lansing , Mi tell me the difference is minimal between the two. I have a 58 D-28 and I have discovered that I like CORIAN just as well as either bone or ivory. The strings cut into the saddle a slight amount between the pins and the edge of the saddle....but the sound to my ears in loud, sweet, and woody. I had some spare pieces of corian lying around and it dawned on me to see what it would sound like and was surprised......it's easy to work with too.
     

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