Page 2 of 3
#41
Quote 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?
#42
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.
Equipment:
- Art & Lutherie Cedar CW (SOLD! )
- Martin D-16RGT w/ LR Baggs M1 Active Soundhole Pickup
- Seagull 25th Anniversary Flame Maple w/ LR Baggs Micro EQ

Have an acoustic guitar? Don't let your guitar dry out! Click here.
#43
Quote 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.
#44
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).

Equipment:
- Art & Lutherie Cedar CW (SOLD! )
- Martin D-16RGT w/ LR Baggs M1 Active Soundhole Pickup
- Seagull 25th Anniversary Flame Maple w/ LR Baggs Micro EQ

Have an acoustic guitar? Don't let your guitar dry out! Click here.
#45
Quote 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.
Last edited by GC Shred Off at Oct 5, 2009,
#46
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?
#47
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.
Equipment:
- Art & Lutherie Cedar CW (SOLD! )
- Martin D-16RGT w/ LR Baggs M1 Active Soundhole Pickup
- Seagull 25th Anniversary Flame Maple w/ LR Baggs Micro EQ

Have an acoustic guitar? Don't let your guitar dry out! Click here.
#48
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.
#49
Quote 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
#50
Quote 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/Musician/Mandolin/LtMandoBr/ltmandobr.html
#51
Quote 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 at Nov 4, 2009,
#52
^ 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.
Equipment:
- Art & Lutherie Cedar CW (SOLD! )
- Martin D-16RGT w/ LR Baggs M1 Active Soundhole Pickup
- Seagull 25th Anniversary Flame Maple w/ LR Baggs Micro EQ

Have an acoustic guitar? Don't let your guitar dry out! Click here.
#53
Quote 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.
#54
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.
#55
Quote 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".
#56
Quote 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.
Quote by necrosis1193
As usual Natrone's mouth spouts general win.

Quote by Silverstein14
man, Natrone you're some kind of ninja I swear


Quote by gregs1020
plexi


i realize the longshot that is. little giant to humongous one.


Rest In Peace Stevie Ray
#57
Quote 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.
#58
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)
He likes Keats but she's into Yeats - it's a matter of Romance

E-Mistress to UG's Finest Gentleman


Come away, oh human child,
To the waters and the wild
With a fairy hand in hand;
For the world's more full of weeping than you can understand.
#59
Quote 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.
#60
Quote 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.
#61
Well, on an electric, you can get away with stuff like minor fret buzz that doesn't get picked up really easily. On an acoustic, you hear everything. On an electric, tapping isn't too difficult. On an acoustic, if you don't do it right, you'll get a VERY BAD sound, and it requires a lot more volume/finger strength to actually be heard. Also...try playing an electric guitar song on your electric; now try it on your acoustic. Not as easy, is it?

And Obeythepenguin, those links fit wonderfully in with your statement. I laughed.
Quote by obeythepenguin
You win this thread. Pipe organs FTW.


Quote by ShadesOfGray
Let's take it one step further and add a slogan:

Big Bach is listening you!
#62
There is a vocal segment who seem to think that if you play acoustic, then you're somehow more literate than if you play electric. Electric players are knuckle draggers who can't put together a cohesive sentence. Obviously it's not true, but don't let the truth get in the way of a good story!
#63
Starting off on an acoustic is a lot better than electric. Your fingers become very hard and you put more effort into sounding it out , hammer on/pull off, bending - everything.
#64
^ I wouldn't say better... but I would say that it helps finger strength development and learning to play much cleaner. There's no distortion to let you cheat.
Equipment:
- Art & Lutherie Cedar CW (SOLD! )
- Martin D-16RGT w/ LR Baggs M1 Active Soundhole Pickup
- Seagull 25th Anniversary Flame Maple w/ LR Baggs Micro EQ

Have an acoustic guitar? Don't let your guitar dry out! Click here.
#65
I was going to add something relevant to a bunch of recent posts, but I can't remember what the hell it was. So, until I figure that out, I'll use this post as a little bump. Those who haven't seen this thread, read up!
#66
*waits for a report from the same nubs who report all of the NGD threads in here*

Gear:
Partscaster/Tele into a bunch of pedals, a Maz 18 head, and a Z Best cab.
#67
Does age really make alot of difference in sound with solidtops?

Quote by Karl Pilkington
Jellyfish are 97% water or something, so how much are they doing? Just give them another 3% and make them water. It's more useful."
#68
Quote by Jiggzy.UK
Does age really make alot of difference in sound with solidtops?

Opinions aside, there is no evidence beyond hearsay that says aging makes any physical improvement to the guitar.

I suspect any "improvements" come from being very familiar with the guitar, the player himself improving, or the concept that "old is cool." Wood doesn't change much as it gets old. Phrases like "grains loosening up" are essentially nonsense and lacquer hardening is completely negligible.
#69
Quote by GC Shred Off
Opinions aside, there is no evidence beyond hearsay that says aging makes any physical improvement to the guitar.

I suspect any "improvements" come from being very familiar with the guitar, the player himself improving, or the concept that "old is cool." Wood doesn't change much as it gets old. Phrases like "grains loosening up" are essentially nonsense and lacquer hardening is completely negligible.

Although there is no proof that age improves sound, that hasn't stopped people from "synthetically" aging woods by blasting them with sounds waves

My opinion is that age does affect tone, but to say for better or worse isn't my place to choose. They say the wood with tighten up more so over the years - key word "they say".
Last edited by |Long| at Feb 15, 2010,
#70
^ I always felt the longer you played the same instrument, the more accustomed & dull it sounds to your ears.
Quote by Kyose
You sir are my God.

That game had the best synthesis system ever.


Quote by firebird103
I'm pretty sure you just won the thread. I can confirm everything you just said as well being a heavily qualified geek myself....

Congrats sir
#71
I've actually heard some arguments that it's not the wood itself that improves, but something about the finishes which make the wood sound better over time. They argued it from that position because Stradivarius' violins sound absolutely phenomenal and they say that the finish is the biggest factor to it.
Equipment:
- Art & Lutherie Cedar CW (SOLD! )
- Martin D-16RGT w/ LR Baggs M1 Active Soundhole Pickup
- Seagull 25th Anniversary Flame Maple w/ LR Baggs Micro EQ

Have an acoustic guitar? Don't let your guitar dry out! Click here.
#72
Quote by captivate
I've actually heard some arguments that it's not the wood itself that improves, but something about the finishes which make the wood sound better over time. They argued it from that position because Stradivarius' violins sound absolutely phenomenal and they say that the finish is the biggest factor to it.

Wiki ftw

Quote by Construction

While Stradivari's techniques have long been fertile soil for debate and not fully understood by modern craftsmen and scientists, it is known for certain that the wood used included spruce for the harmonic top, willow for the internal parts and maple for the back, strip and neck. There has been conjecture that this wood was treated with several types of minerals, including potassium borate (borax), sodium and potassium silicate, and vernice bianca, a varnish composed of Arabic gum, honey and egg white. He made his instruments using an inner form, unlike the French copyists, such as Vuillaume, who employed an outer form. It is clear from the number of forms extant that he experimented with some of the dimensions of his instruments throughout his career.[1]


Quote by Sound Quality

Above all, these instruments are famous for the quality of sound they produce. However, the many blind tests from 1817 to the present (as of 2000) have never found any difference in sound between Stradivari's violins and high-quality violins in comparable style of other makers and periods, nor has acoustic analysis.[2] In a particularly famous test on a BBC Radio 3 program in 1977, the great violinists Isaac Stern and Pinchas Zukerman and the violin expert and dealer Charles Beare tried to distinguish among the "Chaconne" Stradivarius, a 1739 Guarneri del Gesú, an 1846 Vuillaume, and a 1976 British violin played behind a screen by a professional soloist. The two violinists were allowed to play all the instruments first. None of the listeners identified more than two of the four instruments; two of the listeners identified the 20th-century violin as the Stradivarius.[3]

The violinist Christian Tetzlaff formerly played "a quite famous Strad", but switched to a violin made in 2002 by Stefan-Peter Greiner. He states that the listener cannot tell that his instrument is modern, and he regards it as excellent for Bach and better than a Stradivarius for "the big Romantic and 20th-century concertos."[4]


Quote by Blind Test

A golden age Stradivarius and a biotech violin were played as part of a five-violin blind test in September 2009 at the 27th “Osnabrücker Baumpflegetagen,” a German conference on forest husbandry. The tone of the engineered instrument was considered superior by the most listeners during the test. [5]

The violin, christened "Opus 58", was crafted by Swiss violin maker Michael Rhonheimer from wood treated with fungus by Empa researcher Francis Schwarze. The remaining non-Stradivarius violins were also made by Rhonheimer, two from untreated wood and one more from treated. All violins were played by British violinist Matthew Trusler. The Stradivarius played belonged to Trusler himself; made in 1711 in Cremona by Antonio Stradivarius it is valued at two million dollars.

Trusler played all instruments behind a curtain. Conference participants along with an expert jury participated in judging; 113 listeners misidentified the sound of Opus 58 as the Stradivarius'. 90 out of 180 listeners preferred the tone of Opus 58, while the Stradivarius itself coming in second with only 39 votes.

The wood used to make Opus 58 had been treated the longest, nine months. Schwarze treated Norwegian spruce with the fun*gus Physi*por*i*nus vit*rius and syc*a*more with Xy*laria lon*gipes. These fungal species reduce wood density without degrading the compound middle lamellae, when kept to earlier stages of decay.

Microscopic analysis of treated wood, along with resonance frequency testing to measure five physical properties (density, modulus of elasticity, speed of sound, radiation ratio, damping factor) have revealed a reduction in density, accompanied by relatively little change in the speed of sound. According to this analysis, treatment improves the sound radiation ratio to the level of cold climate wood considered to have superior resonance. [6]

So who knows.
#73
Well spruce does need a break in period but thats usually not too long at all. A quality nitro finish is forever changing however so I would guess that most of the sound change on an instrument would be more related to that.
#74
Quote by |Long|
Although there is no proof that age improves sound, that hasn't stopped people from "synthetically" aging woods by blasting them with sounds waves

Those machines are a sham, sadly.

Quote by soundjam
A quality nitro finish is forever changing

The change is extremely small. Once the initial curing is done, the cross-linking is essentially stable forever.
Last edited by GC Shred Off at Feb 16, 2010,
#75
Dryness of the wood has a much more profound tonal effect [more so structural] than age.
#76
Quote by patticake
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.


I started with fingers on classical and used a pick when I got my electric...I now rarely use a pick on electric...like Mark Knopfler said "I have 5 fingers and they are all attached to my hand and my hand is attached to my brain'.

I'll only use a pick on accoustic when doing some rock-a-billy...or a distinct 'picking tune' tune like 'Hotel California.'
#77
I think the Penguin's post at the top of the page has to be one of the funniest things I've read in a long time on UG.
Quote by necrosis1193
As usual Natrone's mouth spouts general win.

Quote by Silverstein14
man, Natrone you're some kind of ninja I swear


Quote by gregs1020
plexi


i realize the longshot that is. little giant to humongous one.


Rest In Peace Stevie Ray
#78
Here's another myth, inspired by some recent posting by confused, overwhelmed, or otherwise unhappy guitar players. It's a recreational hobby, everybody. Don't stress over it.

Myth: Guitars are complicated.

Truth: Guitars aren't complicated.

Explanation: Think about this. What do you say when you go to grab your guitar to make sound? You probably wouldn't say "I'm going to understand guitar" or "I'm going to learn about the intricacies of the guitar," you would say "I'm going to play guitar. It sounds ridiculous, but it shows an idea that I think some readers could benefit from if they'd consider it for a moment.

To phrase it strangely, there are lots of things that can be known about acoustics. No one will deny that. Sadly, the simplicity of the art is often clouded by things like learning to effectively use augmented chords, understanding the relevance of truss-rod relief, and debating the merits of bronze versus phosphor-bronze strings. Of course, I do recognize that this is a forum to answer questions about these types of things, but a few unsettled posts from some members have given me the impression that there are readers who think they've in some way jeopardized their playing by, just to pick a few goofy examples, "not boiling their strings," (which is stupid, please don't do it) or holding their picking wrist out slightly more, or some other trivial thing.

It's one thing to be concerned if you've bashed a hole through the headstock of your guitar, but the goal of my post is to ease anxieties about the less important, "finer" qualities of the hobby. Remember that just because the aim of this forum is to deliver information, which it does quite well, learning guitar isn't only about understanding it and getting everything perfect. It's about enjoying it.

It took me a few years of playing before I could get away from the fear of filing saddles, or wondering if it was OK that my pinky, ring, and middle picking fingers hung out strangely as I picked. I don't even bother trying new strings anymore, because having a slightly different wind, coating, or alloy doesn't make me any happier, regardless of how subtly they change the sound. I guarantee that if those afflicted readers can relax a bit, you'll improve in leaps and bounds, even if you don't have a fossilized whale penis nut and saddle.
Last edited by GC Shred Off at May 27, 2010,
#79
It's as simple and as complex as you want to make it :dunno:
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.
#80
Quote by |Long|
It's as simple and as complex as you want to make it :dunno:

Yep. So if you don't want it to be a science, don't look at it like a science.