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Old 10-05-2009, 11:39 AM   #41
Spike Strider
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Originally Posted by captivate
Myth: .

Saddle material - This is one of the most important, and often overlooked improvements that you can easily make to your guitar. Most cheaper guitars come with either a plastic(if they're REALLY cheap guitars) or more often TusQ(man-made ivory) saddles. The reason for doing so is because plastic and TusQ are easily mass produced. They don't need to be shaped or fitted(as extensively) by hand. They can be made in molds and require minimal shaping when fitted to the guitars.

Now why is the saddle material so important? As we know, the acoustic guitar is basically just a big soundbox. The body of the guitar vibrates to produce sound. The saddle is the main energy transfer point between the kinetic energy of the moving strings and the audible sound energy created by the body of the guitar vibrating. The more efficient the transfer in energy is, the clearer, more articulate, and louder the sound will be.

Saddle materials such as FWI(Fossilized Walrus Ivory), FMI(Fossilized Mammoth Ivory), FEI(Fossilized Elephant Ivory. Illegal without proper documentation), and bone(either cow or ox) are the better materials than TusQ or plastic. Bone is the industry standard. The fossilized ivories will tend to be a little brighter and slightly "better"(subjective).




A myth I've heard is that a plastic saddle is better for A/E bridge pick-ups. Supposedly it transfers vibrations better. Sounds like that might not be true.

Thoughts?
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Old 10-05-2009, 12:20 PM   #42
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That's false.

The more solid the object, the better it transfers energy. For example, water is actually a better medium of sound energy transfer than air. The energy transfer is stronger because water is more dense and the molecules are more uniform and stable.

Likewise, harder materials like ivory or bone will transfer energy into the undersaddle/bridge pickups better because it is more dense. Plastic is a very poor material to transfer energy through. It's much too soft.
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Old 10-05-2009, 01:41 PM   #43
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Originally Posted by captivate
That's false.

I would certainly say it's not true, but I wouldn't argue that plastic is worse than other materials. The two biggest factors that will influence the response of the saddle are stiffness and weight. Plastic is generally very light and can be anywhere from super-soft to incredibly stiff, depending on what type of plastic the saddle is actually made from. Bone is also also stiff, but can be heavier. Brass is really heavy, but also pretty stiff. If carbon-fiber saddles exist, they would be really light and really stiff. The isn't really a clear answer as to which is best. I'd say the short answer is that they will all get the job done.
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Old 10-05-2009, 02:06 PM   #44
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Even with the hardest plastics, it's still not as strong as bone or ivory and still quite soft. As well, it wears down quite quickly compared to those materials as well. You'll have one of those annoying grooves in them much sooner than bone or ivory.

My response was based on those reasons as well as taking into consideration the fact that he was talking about "vibrational transfer", which more dense materials will excel at(my example being why water is a better medium of energy transfer than air).

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Old 10-05-2009, 04:51 PM   #45
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Originally Posted by captivate
My response was based on those reasons as well as taking into consideration the fact that he was talking about "vibrational transfer", which more dense materials will excel at(my example being why water is a better medium of energy transfer than air).


I think the word your looking for is "stiffness," not density. Dense materials just have a lot of weight per volume, but aren't necessarily hard or stiff (lead is an example). As for transferring vibrations, water vs. air is tough comparison to make, because the change in how sound moves is the result of differences in compressibility, which isn't directly related to density or stiffness. That, and they're both fluids meaning they are amorphous and don't behave like solids. Look what you've done. I'm rambling now.

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Old 11-04-2009, 07:24 AM   #46
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Out of curiousity, what's meant to make playing classical/acoustic harder than electric? I've been playing classical for 8 years and have been trying to learn some electric stuff. I'm finding it pretty hard..the main problem being getting used to a pick. Any advice?

And if classical is meant to be harder, what would be the advantages of having played it for a long time before learning electric?
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Old 11-04-2009, 07:42 AM   #47
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I wouldn't say classical is harder. The skill sets are just very different. The only thing more difficult is the fact that those who judge it seem to be a lot more anal about precision of technique.

Some people take to picks naturally, while some people are just better with their fingers.
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Old 11-04-2009, 07:58 AM   #48
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i grew up playing classical, and never really did take to picks even all these years later. i once spent 3 months playing guitar and bass only with picks, and i did improve, but i didn't enjoy it much so i happily went back.
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Old 11-04-2009, 08:02 AM   #49
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GC Shred Off

Myth: Inexpensive guitars are bad and expensive guitars are good.

Truth: Good guitars are good, bad guitars are bad.

Explanation: It will hopefully please the beginners (and owners of a few cheap guitars, like myself) on UG to know that just because they didn't spend $2,000 on a guitar, they may still have gotten a stellar instrument.



I agree. I've have a great Lowden for many years probably worth about 2000+ but I just sourced an Ephiphone EJ200 artist series for a friend beginning to learn.

It cost 150 has a solid top, good action and a great tone - oh and it looks great.

I'm going to get me one as a 2nd guitar
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Old 11-04-2009, 08:20 AM   #50
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Originally Posted by captivate
That's false.

The more solid the object, the better it transfers energy. For example, water is actually a better medium of sound energy transfer than air. The energy transfer is stronger because water is more dense and the molecules are more uniform and stable.

Likewise, harder materials like ivory or bone will transfer energy into the undersaddle/bridge pickups better because it is more dense. Plastic is a very poor material to transfer energy through. It's much too soft.


Actually cap, I think the correct word you're looking for here is mass. Any solid material of sufficiently low mass will excel at the transfer of the vibrational energy imparted by the strings. The key is strength. The material of choice needs to have 1) sufficient strength to support the row of strings and the associated tension 2) have low mass to weight ratio. This is important in that a low mass object will allow more of the vibrational energy to pass through it cleanly rather than dampen it out.
It's for these reasons that bone is superior to plastic. The cellular structure of bone has voids within, or minuscule air pockets, which lessen the overall mass of the piece, while still allowing for ample strength. Plastic by nature does not have this unique structure, no matter how it's made. The molecular bonds of the polymers involved don't mimic the structure of bone nearly close enough.

An excellent visual description of what I'm referring to lies within the pages that follow:
http://www.frets.com/FRETSPages/Mus.../ltmandobr.html
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Old 11-04-2009, 12:10 PM   #51
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Originally Posted by LeftyDave
...2) have low mass to weight ratio. This is important in that a low mass object will allow more of the vibrational energy to pass through it cleanly rather than dampen it out.

You may want to rephrase that. Mass and weight are directly related by a natural constant, so a ratio is trivial. Did you mean mass/volume (density, in other words)?

Edit: Actually, I think you just mean low mass, period. Not a ratio.

Last edited by GC Shred Off : 11-04-2009 at 12:13 PM.
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Old 11-04-2009, 12:24 PM   #52
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^ haha, yeah. I was struggling to find the correct words.

What I was trying to get at is that the material needs to be hard enough to transfer the vibrations properly, but light enough so that it doesn't weigh down the top.

Anyhow, I wonder if anyone's tried a carbon fibre saddle. It should be strong enough and light enough at the same time.
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Old 11-04-2009, 02:10 PM   #53
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Originally Posted by captivate
Anyhow, I wonder if anyone's tried a carbon fibre saddle. It should be strong enough and light enough at the same time.

The crappy thing about carbon fiber composites is that they can be fairly brittle and susceptible to scratches. I'd be curious to know how they'd work too.
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Old 11-04-2009, 03:28 PM   #54
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I agree with everything in the initial post.

For the 'easier to learn on'

I personally started on a classical acoustic. I found this very useful for the greater spaced strings made chords easier, yet it strengthened my fingers as the strings were tougher on the fingers than my squier that i got next. Someone might find electric was better to learn on but that was my experience.
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Old 11-04-2009, 11:32 PM   #55
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Originally Posted by GC Shred Off
You may want to rephrase that. Mass and weight are directly related by a natural constant, so a ratio is trivial. Did you mean mass/volume (density, in other words)?

Edit: Actually, I think you just mean low mass, period. Not a ratio.


Right. Ratio is the wrong word to use in this context. I should have said "low mass and weight".
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Old 11-05-2009, 12:58 AM   #56
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Originally Posted by undecided1993
Out of curiousity, what's meant to make playing classical/acoustic harder than electric? I've been playing classical for 8 years and have been trying to learn some electric stuff. I'm finding it pretty hard..the main problem being getting used to a pick. Any advice?

And if classical is meant to be harder, what would be the advantages of having played it for a long time before learning electric?

Personally, I feel like learning different styles from what you started on (like fingerpicking to flatpicking) is like learning another language. You already have one style down-pat perfected, in a sense, so trying to learn another one seems to take forever and is very frusterating. This is something you DIDN'T notice as a beginner because you were, in fact, a beginner.
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Old 11-06-2009, 12:09 AM   #57
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Originally Posted by captivate
Anyhow, I wonder if anyone's tried a carbon fibre saddle. It should be strong enough and light enough at the same time.


My understanding is that the benefit of using carbon fiber is in its tensile strength -- I don't know how it would work as a saddle under compression.
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Old 11-08-2009, 12:12 AM   #58
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Would the myth about nylon strings being for beginners, steels for better players and electrics being the 'best' come under this thread?
I play nylon-string, because I like the tone. I find it's mellower and smoother than steel strings which tend to be janglier or tinny (subjective, of course). I don't particularly like electrics because they tend to be over distorted, etc, and beside I mostly play folk. However I am seen by some people as not so good a player, because I don't use the 'better' and 'more professional' steel strings.
Could you dispel these myths? (apologies if you've already covered them)
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Old 11-08-2009, 01:27 PM   #59
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Originally Posted by obeythepenguin
Absolutely a myth...

As disgusted as I am that you say Kurt Cobain is bad, I'll let your post slide because:

A) I agree with everything else.

and

B) The way you included your opinions while stating facts was so damn clever.
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Old 12-05-2009, 06:58 PM   #60
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Originally Posted by obeythepenguin
I personally think it takes much more skill to build and/or play an acoustic instrument well.


I would have to disagree with you on that one. "well" is very subjective.
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