#1
I hear theres special types of plectrums aswell..

Do these improve anything or are they just for fancy dans
Damien Rice === Legend
#3
i dont know about bridge pins, but in my opinion bone saddles are a noticable, yet small, improvement in sound
#4
pins? i dont think so...
saddle? yes. especially if you only have a plastic saddle right now. if you have TUSQ, the difference isnt as big.
plectrums? slightly, but unnoticeable.
#5
Quote by rockybo
Fancy dans and guitar snobs.


You don't know what you're talking about, and I'm ashamed to say I live in the same state as you.


Quote by slidething31
i dont know about bridge pins, but in my opinion bone saddles are a noticable, yet small, improvement in sound


Besides strings, upgrading to a bone saddle is the single most noticible improvement you can make to an acoustics sound. Tusq can't hold a candle, no matter their claim to the contrary. Bone's unique cellular structure, low mass/strength ratio is what makes it superior to anything currently man made. It really is the ideal material for saddles.
So much more guitar can be heard once you make the switch to bone, it'll blow your mind and make you think "Why didin't I do this sooner!". But you don't have to take my word for it. Try it for yourself.
#6
Quote by guitarguy182
I hear theres special types of plectrums aswell..

Do these improve anything or are they just for fancy dans

I had attempted to start a thread containing an analysis of different materials for nuts, saddles, and pins. You might look there for an elaboration on more scientific evidence.

Bone upgrades are a simple and worthwhile way to soup-up your acoustic. I first switched to bone pins on my Seagull. The difference was slight, but still noticeable. Then I changed the saddle to bone. The difference was like night and day. My guitar seemed to open up; sustain, tone, clarity, everything just seemed to come together. I switched then to a bone nut, and there was a marginal difference in tone.

As far as plectrums go, the best one I've ever held was a Tortis pick from Red Bear Trading Co. In my opinion, it mates well with standard phosphor bronze strings, but sounds a little harsh with 80/20 strings. A very noticeable difference, though. I wish I had the money for one

Edit: and for all the TUSQ-fans out there, these upgrades were from original TUSQ ones. There's a vast difference. Also, bone shows wear much less than TUSQ.
Sincerely, Chad.
Quote by LP Addict
LP doesnt have to stand for les paul.. it can stand for.... lesbian porn.
Last edited by Chad48309 at Mar 22, 2008,
#7
I don't really know for sure but I have a Blueridge BR-240 which has a bone nut and saddle and fossilized walrus ivory bridge pins. It's one of the nicest sounding guitars I have heard. A veritable "tone machine".

I bought the guitar used on ebay and it came with that stuff. Couldn't tell you what it sounds like without them.

If you would like to hear for yourself I have a song called "Send My Blues Away" I am working on and you can listen to it at:

http://www.soundclick.com/bands/page_music.cfm?bandID=477036
Last edited by Guitar Hack at Mar 22, 2008,
#8
Quote by LeftyDave
Tusq can't hold a candle, no matter their claim to the contrary. Bone's unique cellular structure, low mass/strength ratio is what makes it superior to anything currently man made. It really is the ideal material for saddles.
So much more guitar can be heard once you make the switch to bone, it'll blow your mind and make you think "Why didin't I do this sooner!". But you don't have to take my word for it. Try it for yourself.

I disagree strongly... Bone sounds different to TUSQ not better. Yes, structurally it is "better" but that just leads to a clearer brighter tone which not everybody is after from their acoustic. If you're playing a Taylor then whacking on a bone saddle might set it over the edge as they're already bright (too bright IMO.) Also if you use an undersaddle pickup a bone saddle (due to natural differences in densities) can lead to some strings shrieking and being MUCH louder than the others when plugged in. Not to mention that if your guitar is already extremely harmonically resonant adding a bone saddle can make it uncontrolable.

Like everything it depends, as such I don't state a preference. Apart from on Taylors as stated above.

Oh and I've heard the difference in bridge pins. It's not as obvious as a saddle but does make a difference. For a "safe" choice I reccomend Ebony as a pin material.

As for plectra, they make a huge difference IMO. The two points you make physical contact wth the strings is when fretting or picking, thus it makes sense that those are 2 "critical" points in shaping your sound?...


For sale: Early 1985 Ibanez AH10 (Allan Holdsworth signature model) PM for details
#9
saddle = huge difference, well worth the $. Bone is better than TUSQ in some ways, TUSQ is better than bone in others. It's much wiser to view these 2 materials as "different" not "better".

pins = small difference, only get if you're really picky about the sound.
#10
Ivory and Bones.....
either of the two for me..
I even like to try somethin else...

maybe...teeth & nails....lol
....so little time.
#11
I've never cared for TUSQ. I don't care how much they market it; it doesn't have the strength of bone. I actually wore out a TUSQ saddle recently, because the strings made such deep grooves protruding into it, that they began buzzing.

I've never liked the tone of TUSQ. It sounds muddy, in my opinion. Granted, I only play on cedar tops, so that could certainly make a difference. I suppose if you wanted to dampen your sound, then TUSQ is the material for you. Though, in my opinion, it's just glorified micarta.

A bone saddle causes an undersaddle pickup to shriek? Rubbish. If you buy a high grade of bone from a reputable dealer, you would never have this problem. I have never had this problem with any acoustic/electric I've owned, and I make sure any guitar I own has a bone nut and saddle.
Sincerely, Chad.
Quote by LP Addict
LP doesnt have to stand for les paul.. it can stand for.... lesbian porn.
#12
Chad48309 I know a top pro luthier of electric and classicals. He explained that unbleached bone is harder and polishes up prettier than white bleached bone. And it transmits sound better than unbleached bone. The saddle is what matters sonically. The pins and the nut guide the strings. thew saddle transmits vibration into the top. 
#13
I have found very noticeable differences due to saddle materials (ie graphtech black versus bone), and I use bone or aluminium. I think that differences in bridge pins are due entirely to their differences in mass. I use three brass pins and three wood pins in my kona, which I found by trial and error nicely moderated the very up-front treble response.

EDIT I also thought I heard a small difference in tone using small small brass washers between the string ball and the bride plate to "harden" the contact between them. Their combined weight wouldn't have been enough to affect tone in the way that brass pins might, and it might just have been confirmation bias anyway.
Last edited by Tony Done at May 17, 2017,
#14
Saddles are important for tone and if you have a plastic staddle and upgrade to bone you should hear an improvement.  If you string your guitar correctly bone or wood pins won't sound different than plastic however harder materials hold the string in place better and make it easier to string the guitar correctly so people that struggle to get the string to hook under the bridge plate will hear a tonal difference if they switch from plastic to bone.  Brass pins are heavy enough that they do affect tone but the difference is so slight that many people can't hear it and it's not necessarily an improvement it's just different.
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#15
All the materials make a difference, even pins.  Poor pin quality will have a small effect on sustain.  The sound waves travel through the saddle to the bridge and into the top.  The pins are part of the bridge material.  It may not be noticeable to everyone.  It would be best to have pins the same material as the bridge.  I have a supply of antler so I make saddles, nuts and pins from that.  I'm also a fan of brass.  I didn't like the fact that an archtop bridge/saddle has all the sound waves traveling through those two steel bolts so I manufactured a fixed height, intonation adjustable bridge/saddle (just like on an electric) with all brass everything for my Silvertone archtop.  Great tone, a hair more volume and much improved sustain.  I may try the nut in brass as well.
If I need to lift a saddle I use 1/16th sheet brass and adjust the saddle accordingly.
I haven't tried aluminum or other metals but I suspect they could have advantages. 
#17
I like tusq the best for nut and saddle(bone's bright) and I wouldn't bother changing bridge pins. If you are expecting a drastic improvement from plastic, you will be disappointed. Strings and pick make a bigger difference. It's still a worthwhile investment though I'd say. 
Last edited by hotrodney71 at May 19, 2017,
#18
The string's ball end should hook under the bridge plate and when the guitar is in tune the pins holding the unwound strings can even be taken out and the string will stay in place and the guitar can still be played.  If you can't do this then you are not stringing the guitar correctly.   The weight of the pins does change how the top resonates but the pins themselves don't radiate sound nor are they a sound conducting link between the string and the top and the very small difference in weight between wood, bone, and plastic is why the difference in tone is inaudible when the guitar is strung correctly.  Unfortunately many modern guitars don't cut deep enough notches in the bridge pin holes to accommodate the string.  If the notches are not deep enough you need to cut them deeper with something like a jewelers file or the blade from a jewelers saw.
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Last edited by CorduroyEW at May 20, 2017,
#19
CorduroyEW 

There seem to be two equally legitimate schools of thought on that, the way you suggest, that can use pins that aren't grooved, and those that use a shallow groove in the pin hole and  groove in the pin itself. I personally prefer the second option, as their is no risk of losing a pin.
#20
Now this is a fine necro thread. 9 years old! 

For the record the OP (guitarguy182, aka "John") died in a hail of gunfire during a botched robbery at a local blood bank. 
Last edited by TobusRex at May 20, 2017,
#21
Despite this being a severely necro'd thread, I'll leave it open because there are some quality posts full of information  
My God, it's full of stars!
#22
I should have known it was a necro thread when I saw powerfreak posted in it.

Tony Done maybe I'm just stuck in my ways but I still maintain there is only one correct way to string the acoustic.  The way I do it is more difficult until you get used to it but the other way damages the bridge plate of the guitar.  Replacing bridge plates that have cracked is difficult to do and  cracked bridge plates is a relatively common issue when people use pins to hold the string down rather than using the pins to push the string forward. It also hurts the tone and hurts tuning stability if the string isn't hooked under the plate because energy isn't transferred from the string to the soundboard as efficiently when it isn't pulling on the bridge plate and when it's sandwiched between the pin and plate the string pulls the ball end into the bridgepin holes causing the instrument to go flat more often.  An added bonus to stringing the guitar my way is that the pins don't get stuck so you don't ever risk damaging the guitar or breaking a pin trying to get it unstuck.  I've only ever lost 1 pin in 15+ years on playing acoustic but I've had many guitars come into my workshop with broken pins and cracked plates due to improper stringing.   It all seems like a lot of drawbacks for the sake of convenience.
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#23
CorduroyEW

I just did a quick survey, and opinions seem to be somewhat in your favour - though I don't plan on changing. It does, however, raise another question in my mind - why there isn't more widespread use of modern materials for bridge plates. I very much on non-traditionalist when it comes to implementing modern technology - like Taylor's neck joint and richlite fretbaords.
#24
Tony Done A large part of it is tradition.  Also the bridge plate does contribute to the overall tone of the instrument so we like to use what we know works.  I have seen some luthiers use modern materials like carbon fibre but it's rare and it is usually reserved for very expensive guitars.  You can typically get a couple  bridgeplates from the offcuts of back and sides so it's cheaper or even free for the luthier to use something like rosewood.
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