Wanting to change my plastic saddle and nut?


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R2-Guitar
03-26-2010, 03:17 PM
Hi.

I have a Yamaha LL16 which was originally 725 in the store but I got it in a sale at 499. Solid rosewood back and sides solid spruce top.

I am happy with the sound for the price all but the open B string can sound "throaty" when played hard and overall tone is perhaps leaning towards a tad too much treble.

The sales guy is also a Luthier and can custom set up the guitar with a bone saddle and nut. My question is.

What sort of change to the sound/tone could I expect from having the plastic saddle and nut replaced with bone?

Many thanks!

Blaster Bob
03-26-2010, 03:27 PM
A few years ago I switched my saddle and bridge pins from plastic to bone and ebony respectively. Bone will yield a better sound overall, but may make your treble problem worse. The ebony bridge pins boosted my bass response and in general made the guitar warmer and smoother sounding (just in case you become interested in that modification as well).

It's important to note however, that bone bridges have a sort of "break-in period" that others don't. When I first put a new set of strings on, they sound pretty bad. Thin, brittle, and harsh. It takes a few days to a week for them to really start sounding kick ass, but when they do, it's worth it.

Guitar Hack
03-26-2010, 09:58 PM
When I switched it made it sound better across the board. Everything sounded better

|Long|
03-26-2010, 10:21 PM
Changing the saddle on your acoustic will generally improve clarity. The nut will improve clarity on your open strings, but due to the required cost, I don't see it to be worth the change.

You can buy saddles from Bob Colosi (the go to man) which fit into your instrument properly. If you go through a local tech/luthier, they will most likely take a blank and cut into it which if fine, but you end up paying for their time.

Installing your own saddle will cost at least half the price and it worth it.

A few years ago I switched my saddle and bridge pins from plastic to bone and ebony respectively. Bone will yield a better sound overall, but may make your treble problem worse. The ebony bridge pins boosted my bass response and in general made the guitar warmer and smoother sounding (just in case you become interested in that modification as well).

It's important to note however, that bone bridges have a sort of "break-in period" that others don't. When I first put a new set of strings on, they sound pretty bad. Thin, brittle, and harsh. It takes a few days to a week for them to really start sounding kick ass, but when they do, it's worth it.
I highly (highly) doubt that bridge pins have any effect on tone at all. Some people may have different views on this and that's fine. The string starts from the nut and ends at the saddle. The pins are there to hold the string in place - any change in the pin will be purely cosmetic.

When I switched it made it sound better across the board. Everything sounded better
The nut change will only affect the open notes, so I don't see how everything will sound better :)

patticake
03-27-2010, 05:35 AM
changing your strings may have more impact than changing your bridge and nut. try martin silk and steels - they're what i use on any guitar that's too bright for my taste. also chances are that the guitar has more bass for the listeners than the players. if that is true - perhaps you can find out by having someone play the guitar to you - then cutting a soundport will allow you to hear that bass when playing. it worked wonders on our rogue beater.

LeftyDave
03-27-2010, 09:17 AM
Besides quality strings, upgrading from plastic to bone saddle is the best improvement you can make to your guitars tone.

|Long|
03-27-2010, 09:26 AM
Don't forget the important of your pic :) Although it's a little and relatively cheap piece of material it has a huge different on your tone.

Bikewer
03-27-2010, 11:03 AM
We are always tempted to make some modification to our axe and then decide that it sounds better....After all, we paid good money.....
I agree with the bridge pins; the vibratory length of the string is between nut and saddle.
The infentisimal change in mass (if any) to the top would not be noticed.

Bone nuts have an advantage over plastic aside from sound; they wear better and won't cause the string to bind when tuning. When tuning, do you sometimes turn the key and then hear a "creak" from the string? That's the string binding a bit in the soft nut material.
A properly-cut and adjusted bone nut won't do this.

patticake
03-27-2010, 03:25 PM
actually if you hear a string creak, it's usually a poorly cut, too-tight slot in the nut.

Skeet UK
03-27-2010, 06:25 PM
Hi.

I have a Yamaha LL16 which was originally 725 in the store but I got it in a sale at 499. Solid rosewood back and sides solid spruce top.

I am happy with the sound for the price all but the open B string can sound "throaty" when played hard and overall tone is perhaps leaning towards a tad too much treble.

The sales guy is also a Luthier and can custom set up the guitar with a bone saddle and nut. My question is.

What sort of change to the sound/tone could I expect from having the plastic saddle and nut replaced with bone?

Many thanks!

If you search carefully, you can buy pre-made saddles and nuts of various materials on ebay.
The guy that I am thinking of, sells some made of bone, snake wood, Lignum Vitae etc. I suspect that this would offer a less trebley sound, as well as offering some of the advantages of bone.

The guy is called Treeroot Guitar Saddles, but if you just search for "snakewood saddle" you will find him straight away. I imagine an email to him asking if he can help, would work. They are between 12 and 15.

Mad Marius
03-27-2010, 06:40 PM
A bone saddle will definitely improve the sound.

R2-Guitar
03-27-2010, 11:18 PM
Thankyou so much to everyone that replied I will defo heed the advice given.