Go Back   UG Community @ Ultimate-Guitar.Com > Instruments > Acoustic & Classical Guitar
User Name  
Password
Search:

Reply
Old 10-16-2012, 08:24 PM   #1
Somekid94
Dingus
 
Somekid94's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: PA
Graph Tech nut, saddle, and end pins. Worth it?

Hi guys! Hopefully I posted this in the right forum. It was either this or GB&C, but I figured since this is about my Alvarez 5040 this would be the better place to go. If I'm wrong, I'll delete this thread and move it.

Seeing as how I'm finally making financial headway, I'd put some money into my acoustic. I want to put a new Graph Tech TUSQ XL nut, compensated saddle and new (black) end pins on it.

Before I go and spend my money, is it really worth doing this?

Thanks!
__________________
Quote:
Originally Posted by PaulyVengeance
I'm growing to enjoy reading your posts.
Somekid94 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-16-2012, 08:56 PM   #2
stepchildusmc
Registered User
 
stepchildusmc's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
changing from plastic to tusq will be a vast improvement. go for it !
stepchildusmc is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-16-2012, 09:18 PM   #3
|Long|
String Theory
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
First thing is first. An upgraded nut/saddle may not make an improvement on your guitar, but it will change it. By that I mean, the characteristics on the material that you are upgrading to may not fit well your guitar. It's just something to be aware of, so that if the case if that you find the sound of your guitar not pleasing anymore, you know the culprit.

Moving on. End pins, by this do you mean the bridge pins? or do you mean the pins where you typically attach a strap too?

End pins, change for style or functionality (strap locks, etc)

Bridge Pins, change for style, to match your guitar. They won't provide any tonal change (debatable, but most agree that you need a heavy pin, like metal alloys to make a difference)

Nut, will only affect the open strings.

Saddle, will affect all notes played.


Now that all of that is out of the way. Plastic parts are quite crappy and can become disfigured easily. Moving to TUSQ is a cheap upgrade that shouldn't set you back to much.

Else, if you want bone, or any exotic material, you should deal with Bob Colosi,
http://www.guitarsaddles.com/
He is highly regarded and his products are top notch.

See, with natural materials like bone, you can have inconsistencies within the saddle and/or nut and you should not just buy from an unknown ebay seller etc.

...Ok, so I presented you with a lot of information, more than you asked, but it's better to be educated right? Let us know on your decisions and your results!
__________________
Hydroxic acid, kills thousands of people every year. Studies have shown lakes and rivers all over North America contain high levels hydroxic acid. Currently governments have taken no action against this life threatening chemical.
|Long| is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-18-2012, 07:22 PM   #4
Somekid94
Dingus
 
Somekid94's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: PA
^Thank you for that.

To go into detail, I like the tone my acoustic produces, but I feel that maybe it could be improved.

In specific, I was looking to get these parts for it:
A Graph Tech nut (whatever size fits, I can't be bothered to measure it now)

A comensated bridge, also GT TUSQ XL (Also, whatever size fits because I'm too lazy to measure now)

And BRIDGE pins. Black, and probably with the pretty little pearl inserts, to match the inlays better.

Thank you for your help. I'm curious though, how will these make my tone change? Brighter? Bassier? etc?
__________________
Quote:
Originally Posted by PaulyVengeance
I'm growing to enjoy reading your posts.
Somekid94 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-18-2012, 09:10 PM   #5
|Long|
String Theory
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Bridge pins what do anything for your tone.

I can say that they SHOULD make your notes resonate better/cleaner/more?, you should get some better note separation - how you interpret that, is up to your ears.
Maybe it makes your bass notes ring better, which makes it bassier. Etc.

And, are you sure you want black nut/saddle? Don't think I've seen anyone go that route. Another mention, the saddle is unslotted, so you'll have to take it to a tech to get it cut.

Another plug for Bob Colosi, he can provide you with pre cut saddles. I'de check the prices to make sure you get the best deal.
__________________
Hydroxic acid, kills thousands of people every year. Studies have shown lakes and rivers all over North America contain high levels hydroxic acid. Currently governments have taken no action against this life threatening chemical.
|Long| is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-18-2012, 09:24 PM   #6
Somekid94
Dingus
 
Somekid94's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: PA
Thanks.

I went for the double black just for that reason; I thought it'd look cool, and no one has done it. But my current (not compensated) saddle isn't slotted either.. I don't see a point in needlessly slotting it?
__________________
Quote:
Originally Posted by PaulyVengeance
I'm growing to enjoy reading your posts.
Somekid94 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-18-2012, 11:42 PM   #7
|Long|
String Theory
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by Somekid94
Thanks.

I went for the double black just for that reason; I thought it'd look cool, and no one has done it. But my current (not compensated) saddle isn't slotted either.. I don't see a point in needlessly slotting it?

Er slotted wasn't the correct term. Notches to be more precise. There should be small notches on your saddle from where your string sit. You want these on the saddle to make sure the string spacing is correct. If no notches exsist, then the string as easily move when you pick hard, or bend ... and everything goes wrong.
__________________
Hydroxic acid, kills thousands of people every year. Studies have shown lakes and rivers all over North America contain high levels hydroxic acid. Currently governments have taken no action against this life threatening chemical.
|Long| is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-19-2012, 02:38 PM   #8
Somekid94
Dingus
 
Somekid94's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: PA
I don't think that my current saddle has any notches in it..
__________________
Quote:
Originally Posted by PaulyVengeance
I'm growing to enjoy reading your posts.
Somekid94 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-20-2012, 04:06 AM   #9
Captaincranky
Registered User
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Quote:
Originally Posted by Somekid94
I don't think that my current saddle has any notches in it..

If you're going to make notches for the strings in the saddle, think of them more as "nicks", just barely enough to stop the string from traveling side to side.

I'm also of the opinion the strings will eventually grind their own small notches, as the guitar is played. (Although over a fairly long period of time. Steel and bronze are stronger than plastic, and even tusque).

Whether the string will even travel from side to side, is partly dependent on the break angle as the string passes over the bridge. If the saddle is riding high in the bridge, the angle of the string is fairly steep before entering the peg holes, and the potential for movement is reasonable low. However, if the top of the saddle is low, near the bridge, the strings will travel quite a bit, and even fail to sound correctly.

Last edited by Captaincranky : 10-20-2012 at 04:09 AM.
Captaincranky is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-16-2012, 01:57 PM   #10
theHAZ
Registered User
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Quote:
Originally Posted by Somekid94
Before I go and spend my money, is it really worth doing this?

Thanks!


I'm sharing a video I made about replacing your guitar nut with a Graph Tech nut . It should help you install it yourself AND explain why Graph Tech sounds better. Hope it helps! Let me know if I should add more to the video.
theHAZ is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-16-2012, 06:18 PM   #11
patticake
Acoustic Goddess
 
patticake's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Right under the Hollywood sign
the thing that makes the most noticeable change to guitar tone is changing the strings. my over-boomy cargo sounded amazing using DR rare phosphor bronze stings, and my cheap and nasty rogue beater sounded like a decent guitar when i changed its strings to silk and steels.

if you like the tone of your guitar, be sure to hold only any parts you remove. just because the tone will change from an upgraded nut and saddle doesn't mean you'll find it an upgrade in tone.

btw, does graf tech offer nuts and saddles for your specific guitar? if not, chances are very high that someone who knows what they're doing may have to shape them so your guitar is correctly intonated.
__________________
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skeet UK
I just looked in my Oxford English Dictionary and under "Acoustic Guitar", there was your Avatar and an email address!
patticake is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-16-2012, 06:42 PM   #12
DarkHorseJ27
Registered User
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Changing the saddle does have a very significant impact on the tone, since it transfers the vibration between two of the most important parts of the guitar, the strings and the top. In my opinion, tusq sounds much worse than plastic, while bone is a big improvement over both. But that is my ears and my guitars, and you have a different guitar and different ears, so your experience may be different.

Concerning the nut, it only has a tonal impact on the open strings. Play at open string and play a fretted string and note the tonal differences. There is a clear difference, but not really that great of one. That is the tonal difference between the plastic but and the metal frets. Changing the nut to a different material can make an audible difference, but a much smaller one than the already small difference between the nut and the frets. It is up to you to decide if that small tonal improvement is worth paying for. However, it should be noted you'll likely be using open strings a lot. If it were me I would upgrade the material, but more for the longevity and stability.

Different pins do make a tonal difference, at least to my ear. However, I have yet to experiment with enough different pins to determine whether the tonal differences are due to the material, the mass, the fit, or any combination of those factors. At any rate, the tonal difference is small, and many consider looks a more important factor than tone when it comes to pins. Plus pins are cheap enough to play around with and decide for yourself.

I'll also echo others recommendation for Bob Colosi. He does great work.
DarkHorseJ27 is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump



All times are GMT -4. The time now is 02:51 PM.

Forum Archives / About / Terms of Use / Advertise / Contact / Ultimate-Guitar.Com © 2014
Powered by: vBulletin Version 3.0.9
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.