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dnewton2
02-26-2009, 04:09 PM
So I have seen and heard about several different materials that can be used for the nut and saddle. So my question is mainly for the saddle. Does the material affect the sound? and how? Is it the hardness or density of the material make it better? Does a harder/denser material transfer vibration to the bridge and soundboard better? I know alot of questions but I am curious.

I have a uke with a wood saddle and was wondering if it was worth switching out the saddle and/or nut.

Renaissance-Man
02-26-2009, 04:22 PM
Yes, to all the questions you asked.

You say you have a wood saddle now. If so, it's probably ebony. Ebony ranks on par with a quality bone saddle.

dnewton2
02-26-2009, 04:33 PM
Yes, to all the questions you asked.

You say you have a wood saddle now. If so, it's probably ebony. Ebony ranks on par with a quality bone saddle.

Thanks.

I am pretty sure it is not ebony. It is a Koa Pili Koko and i would guess it is rosewood. It looks like the bridge, nut and fretboard. I also have Stagg which appears to be some sort of plastic material.

Renaissance-Man
02-26-2009, 04:42 PM
If it's rosewood, you may be able to get a little more sustain from a bone saddle replacement. It's not much an investment to try. A good bone saddle is hard to shave with a file, though.

HoldinCoffee
02-26-2009, 07:00 PM
I've seen sadles and nuts that are made of "man-made ivory". Since elephants are protected, real ivory is taboo. So what then is man-made ivory? PVC?

koalohapaul
02-26-2009, 07:08 PM
Man made ivory is most likely in reference to Graphtech's product, Tusq or Nubone. Many guitar companies use Tusq, as well as a few of us local builders. We have ours custom molded for our ukulele, but slabs are available for purchase all over online. You can shape the slabs with tradtional hand tools, but beware. It kills cutting edges almost instantly. Tusq is some kind of plastic. Exactly what, I don't know.

Regarding the original question, harder is better, generally speaking. I find Tusq to be brighter, while bone is warmer. Wood like ebony is hard to describe. It's bright and barky, yet not really like tusq or bone.

dnewton2
02-27-2009, 07:54 AM
Thanks Renaissance-Man and Koalohapaul. It is so cool that there are knowledge rich members here on the forum and they share their knowledge.

So does the nut material have any affect on the sound produced or is it ussually just matched up with the saddle material for looks?

Renaissance-Man
02-27-2009, 08:37 AM
A good nut also (potentially) aids note sustain. Basically, the harder the material, the less potential to dampen string movement. Change out the saddle first. If you think it was worth it, go for the nut.

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
02-27-2009, 11:46 AM
A good nut also (potentially) aids note sustain. Basically, the harder the material, the less potential to dampen string movement. Change out the saddle first. If you think it was worth it, go for the nut.

In reference to the sound, I only use either Micarta or bone as saddle material and have found no difference in tone quality with either material whether the string is played open or it is fretted. Remember, with the exception of the Am7 chord, all of our playing is fretted, if not fully then at least partially. As long as the nut material is fairly hard, strong, workable and durable, I don't think it much matters.
Only my one and a half cents worth.

dnewton2
02-27-2009, 12:23 PM
Only my one and a half cents worth.

Probably worth at least three if not four and a half in my book.

Thanks agian to all that gave input. I am not sure if I am going to do anything I was really just curious. I might try changing the saddle on my KPK and/or Stagg to see if I can notice a difference. I might tinker around with one just to satisfiy my curiousity. Than I can say I did some upgrades to my uke.

HoldinCoffee
03-01-2009, 11:45 PM
Please excuse me for highjacking this thread, but back to TUSQ/nubone, the nuts are pre-slotted. And Graphtech doesn't list a Nubone ukulele nut. Are the preslotted Tusq Nuts made to fit most production line ukes: Kala, Lanikai, Ohana, etc..?

The reason I ask is because I currently have a very nice production-line uke (Vineyard/Ohana) with a slab of hard plastic with droplettes of hardened Krazy Glue that serves as a nut. Although this method is a bit of an ey1sore, it seems to be working surprisingly well, but I don't think its gonna hold up. And the next string change will probably be the death of the "Krazy Nut". So... Tusq nut, is there a standard nut for production ukes? Are all fretboards the same width? They couldn't possibly be... or could they? I'm tempted to just pay the 7.95 and find out. But if anyone has any experience with nut replacement, I could really use a pointer here. Thanks.

(Edit: the measurements seem to be compatible with mine, but how standard are the dimensions of these manufactured ukes?!!)

HoldinCoffee
03-02-2009, 12:58 AM
After some digging, reading and Wiley E. Coyote plotting, it would be quite possible (and not all-that-krazy) to just mix some baking soda with some more krazy glue and reshape the make-shift nut slots! Eureka!! :music:

koalohapaul
03-02-2009, 08:44 PM
HoldinCoffee,

I think they do make a Tusq ukulele nut, but I don't know the product number off hand. I would suggest going with the Tusq, if it's offered in both Tusq and NuBone. Basically, Nubone is reground Tusq remnants, recast into a useable product. Not to say that it's not suitable, but it is a little softer. Basically, it's Graphtech's way of using the waste, rather than throwing it in a landfill and it also offers manufacturers a cheaper alternative than Tusq. We did try both and ended up sticking with the Tusq, which produces a slightly brighter tone.

Most ukulele fret boards should be about 1.25-1.5" at the nut, with string spacing over/under 1". If you do order the Tusq nut, you will probably have to do a little shaping to get the final fit and finish customized to your ukulele. Shouldn't be too much trouble if you're decent with your hands and like DIY projects.

As for the baking soda and krazy-glue fill, don't sweat it. We all do it and it beats replacing the nut all together. At the shop, we don't replace a nut unless it's beyond fixing with krazy glue and dust. We do use bone dust instead of baking soda, but the latter works as well. In fact, I just came back from a training session with one of our Japan distributors and fixing the nut slots with krazy glue was a subject that we covered.

Good luck!

cornfedgroove
07-18-2009, 03:04 PM
how good of quality is corian in comparison to ebony and bone?

E-Lo Roberts
07-19-2009, 06:12 AM
In reference to the sound, I only use either Micarta or bone as saddle material and have found no difference in tone quality with either material whether the string is played open or it is fretted. Remember, with the exception of the Am7 chord, all of our playing is fretted, if not fully then at least partially. As long as the nut material is fairly hard, strong, workable and durable, I don't think it much matters.
Only my one and a half cents worth.

I'm with Chuck on this one. It's a simple fact that most people don't consider. As soon as you fret the string, the nut could be made out of jello for all it's worth at that point. It doesn't matter. It's out the picture as far as sustaining that note is consider. Focus on the saddle if you want to address sustain factors considering the nut & saddle contributions to a ukulele sound qualities. Score: Saddle 10, Nut 1.5 ...e.lo..

uluapoundr
07-19-2009, 04:09 PM
I'm with Chuck on this one. It's a simple fact that most people don't consider. As soon as you fret the string, the nut could be made out of jello for all it's worth at that point. It doesn't matter. It's out the picture as far as sustaining that note is consider. Focus on the saddle if you want to address sustain factors considering the nut & saddle contributions to a ukulele sound qualities. Score: Saddle 10, Nut 1.5 ...e.lo..

What about chords that have open strings, wouldn't the nut still come into play so to speak? Like a simple "C" on the 1st string 3rd fret, the GCE strings are still open, wouldn't the nut material be important then?

ichadwick
07-20-2009, 05:06 AM
I've seen sadles and nuts that are made of "man-made ivory". Since elephants are protected, real ivory is taboo. So what then is man-made ivory? PVC?
It's a plastic. Tusq makes them. I put one on my Pono mango and there was a small but noticeable improvement in brightness and sustain over the original bone.

The saddle is arguably the most important component in an instrument: it sends the string energy to the bridge and topboard where it gets translated into sound. So the better the material is at transmitting the full spectrum of the energy, the fuller the resulting sound.

In general, dense materials transmit sound better than less dense materials. Some materials don't transmit high-end frequencies very well, others are better with low frequencies. Glass is an excellent transmitter, but you need tempered or plate glass to avoid fractures, sanded to reduce the sharp edges. Brass is also good. I have also read aluminum may be.

Bone can be good when it's dense and consistent but bone often has porous areas and holes that reduce its effectiveness. Fossil bone like mammoth ivory has a great reputation but is expensive.

E-Lo Roberts
07-20-2009, 06:22 AM
What about chords that have open strings, wouldn't the nut still come into play so to speak? Like a simple "C" on the 1st string 3rd fret, the GCE strings are still open, wouldn't the nut material be important then?

Ulua, of course, if you are a big open chord player then it does come into play. However, I would consider matching the sustain of the open notes to the frets notes. Why have open strings ring out longer than others? I would prefer an even balance between each note if it is possible. Just a thought...

uluapoundr
07-20-2009, 03:29 PM
Ulua, of course, if you are a big open chord player then it does come into play. However, I would consider matching the sustain of the open notes to the frets notes. Why have open strings ring out longer than others? I would prefer an even balance between each note if it is possible. Just a thought...

After I posted my question, I took out my MB tenor and played a fretted "G" note and the open "G" string, they both have clarity and sustain. Perhaps it has to do with Mr. Moore's build quality, but on my uke, I guess there is little difference...to my ear anyway. I hear you about being a balanced instrument, that to me is what sets apart a really well made instrument. Other ukes are loud and with great sustain when just strummed open, but when chorded, there is an imbalance. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

E-Lo Roberts
07-21-2009, 06:23 AM
After I posted my question, I took out my MB tenor and played a fretted "G" note and the open "G" string, they both have clarity and sustain. Perhaps it has to do with Mr. Moore's build quality, but on my uke, I guess there is little difference...to my ear anyway. I hear you about being a balanced instrument, that to me is what sets apart a really well made instrument. Other ukes are loud and with great sustain when just strummed open, but when chorded, there is an imbalance. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

Ulua, you're a lucky man. Yes Chuck is an incredible luthier. I believe he uses bone for both the nut & saddle. So it makes sense that there is equal sustain and tone across your fretboard on your CM custom. I'm hoping he'll send me one for Xmas with all the plugs I keep throwing him. :D hahaha.. ..e.lo..

flyingace
07-21-2009, 06:36 AM
Please excuse me for highjacking this thread, but back to TUSQ/nubone, the nuts are pre-slotted. And Graphtech doesn't list a Nubone ukulele nut. Are the preslotted Tusq Nuts made to fit most production line ukes: Kala, Lanikai, Ohana, etc..?
...

I used a TUSQ nut and saddle on my concert Oscar Schmidt. Yes, it fit perfectly with just a little sanding on the sides to fit the width of my neck. They are made a little long, tall and wide to help fit most uke necks.

I use only TUSQ on all my acoustics as well. They are really easy to shape/sand to perfect intonation. I usually mount then mark with a pencil for where I want to move the "saddles" via sanding, then lastly I sand down the bottom to get the action I like.

The little OS mahogany concert already sounded alright with bone and plastic but now it really resonates and sounds right after the TUSQ and intonation/action work!! I recommend them!

When I get my Tenor, i'll be using a TUSQ blank and custom compensating it as well as installing a pickup under the saddle.

I learned how to do all this from books at the library, btw!!

flyingace
07-21-2009, 06:41 AM
It's a plastic. Tusq makes them. I put one on my Pono mango and there was a small but noticeable improvement in brightness and sustain over the original bone.

The saddle is arguably the most important component in an instrument: it sends the string energy to the bridge and topboard where it gets translated into sound. So the better the material is at transmitting the full spectrum of the energy, the fuller the resulting sound.



...AND not just the material but how it's mounted to the bridge that counts too. A loose saddle or improperly fitting saddle will not do the job as well. I like getting the TUSQs from graphtech, they are always alittle too thick and require a little sanding to fit into the slot for a perfect tight fit! it's important to keep the bottom perfectly flat when sanding down for action as well to help transmit that vibration to the bridge. just FYI :P

ichadwick
07-21-2009, 02:21 PM
...AND not just the material but how it's mounted to the bridge that counts too.
I realized that when I was playing around with saddles on some of my ukes. I tried to be very careful to fit the saddle in as well as I could, with no obvious scalloping or angled bottom.