#1
I live in Wisconsin, USA and I have a Martin D-1 with a Tusq saddle and bridge pins. I am interested in getting bone to replace them. My wife is pressuring me hard to give her ideas for X-Mas gifts and I think this will improve my guitar's tone, and at the very least improve the appearance.

Does anyone have any recommendations on a good place to purchase bone saddles and bridge pins? I will likely have a luther install the saddle.

I have come across this site:http://www.guitarsaddles.com/ Are they any good?

Also, can anyone help me identify the saddle I would need for my Martin D-1? I see on the Martin site it says my guitar has a 16'' Radius/Compensated/White Tusq saddle. Can anyone help me compare this to the Martin options on the guitarsaddles.com site?

Please let me know if you need any additional information and thank you in advance for your help!
#3
I hate to be the one to say it, but... I do not think that upgrading from TUSQ to Bone would make too much of a difference. Maybe for aesthetics, as you say, but I don't think TUSQ stuff looks bad. Way better than the "ordinary" plastic ones. But hey, I've never tried a great acoustic guitar with bone nut, saddles and pins, so I wouldn't know.
Those buffalo horn ones and the brown ones look awesome to me. Especially on a lighter coloured natural, matte-finished guitar. Hoping that it matches the mounting though!

If your wife needs some other ideas, here's a few
Tuner, Capo, new strings, new picks, metronome, humidifier, humidimeter.. if you've got all those, then I don't know.
Gear pics

Quote by Cathbard
Bugera cloning Blackstar is a scandal cloaked in a tragedy making love to a nightmare.

Last edited by Sakke at Dec 6, 2014,
#4
Quote by Sakke
I hate to be the one to say it, but... I do not think that upgrading from TUSQ to Bone would make too much of a difference. Maybe for aesthetics, as you say, but I don't think TUSQ stuff looks bad. Way better than the "ordinary" plastic ones. But hey, I've never tried a great acoustic guitar with bone nut, saddles and pins, so I wouldn't know.
Specifically, when a guitar with a pin bridge is restrung correctly, the bridge pins shouldn't actually touch the strings. (Which is why modern pins have grooves in them, to clear the strings). I'm not sure how much something that doesn't touch the strings, is going to affect the sound.

To be completely true, the pin does jamb the ball of the string, but the majority of the contact with the guitaris made by string tension holding the string against the lower bridge stiffener/backing plate, the front of the pin holes(s), and the bridge itself.
Quote by Sakke
Those buffalo horn ones and the brown ones look awesome to me. Especially on a lighter coloured natural, matte-finished guitar. Hoping that it matches the mounting though!
Yes. Arguably, the belt, the shoes and the handbag should all come from he same designer.

Quote by Sakke
If your wife needs some other ideas, here's a few
Tuner, Capo, new strings, new picks, metronome, humidifier, >humidimeter<.. if you've got all those, then I don't know.
That would be a, "hygrometer", sil vous plait.

In any case, you're correct that it might have better or worse consequences to switch from Tusq to bone. A good bone saddle and top nut, (changed together), might sound a touch better, but some examples of bone might not be as good.

There is a lot of snobbery and price gouging, in the realm of those parts. I figure it's anybody's guess as to whether a petrified pterodactyl ass bone would sound better than a damned old common cow's leg bone.

You usually change strings along with those parts, so that makes any sonic evaluation you might make, completely subjective.

Even if you don't change strings, tuning up and down sort of kills the strings anyway, and you wind up with more subjectivity, but in the opposite direction.

Somebody here said something the other night that had me in stitches; "this is the internet, where some people claim they can hear the difference between all tin, and 60/40 solder inside an amplifier".
Last edited by Captaincranky at Dec 8, 2014,
#5
Thank you all for the input.

In regards to the bridge pins... I am not convinced that the bridge pins will effect the tone (although I really do not know), but the ones I have are plastic so the change would be purely aesthetic.

In regards to the saddle, there seems to be a lot of debate as to whether it effects tone. I do understand the difficulty in comparing the tone before and after making the change as changing strings has a big effect on tone. It is also difficult to compare the differences when there is such a long delay in playing the old saddle, removing strings, replacing, and playing the new saddle. Ideally you could modulate quickly back and forth between the two in order to hear the difference but that is not possible making it difficulty to compare. That said, I have been listening to my guitar and the current saddle every day for years. With that level of familiarity with my instrument, I would think that a small difference would be noticeable.

If I do go with a new saddle, I will attempt to run a controlled test where I record my current saddle with 4 day old strings and then record the new saddle with new, 4 day old strings to try to control for string changes. I can report my findings.

Does anyone have experience going from TUSQ to Bone? If you could share that would be appreciated. Similarly, how about TUSQ to elephant ivory? I am not sure about EI though as I do not think I want to contribute to ivory demand.