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View Full Version : Has anyone experimented with unusual saddle materials?



cyber3d
10-12-2017, 04:27 PM
Carbon Fibre, Aluminum, Titanium, polycarbonate, etc. . . .?

Wondering as I am going to change my spruce top soprano saddle with bone and began to wonder about other materials.

spongeuke
10-12-2017, 06:21 PM
Carbon Fibre, Aluminum, Titanium, polycarbonate, etc. . . .?

Wondering as I am going to change my spruce top soprano saddle with bone and began to wonder about other materials.

I made a nut with carbon fiber once. The process dulled several blades and I found out that the dust is extremely harmful. Bone seems to work well, why change?

sequoia
10-12-2017, 07:03 PM
Bone seems to work well, why change?

I agree. Bone works great. Why change?... In my limited experience I used ebony (sounded fine to me) and mycarta in the infamous Vegan Uke. The mycarta was really easy to work with because it is basically soft and soft is not a great thing in a saddle or nut if you ask me. Results: not that great. Then one time long ago I learned that Mark Knopfler used brass in his saddles and nuts so I switched to that on my guitar. Funny, but I never did sound as good as Mark even with the brass nuts. Could it be because I'm not Mark Knopfler? Ya think? Lesson: It ain't so much the material as it is the player.

This is an interesting area of research that I've never really explored. Easy too. Just make a bunch of nuts and saddles and swap em out on the same instrument. Note changes.... How about ceramics? Also never used Tusq which is interesting. Glass? In the end I think bone provides maybe that perfect mix of hardness yet not too hard. Plus they have been using it for about 7,000 years and that is pretty good history.

ProfChris
10-13-2017, 01:08 AM
Anything which transmits sound well should work - a good test is to drop it on a hard surface and see if it rings or thuds.

Beyond that, it's a question of what sound you want and how easy the material is to work. My last uke was a cigar box soprano with a spruce top and floating bridge, and I used fretwire on top of the saddle. This is nice and bright (the uke has to compete with a tuba!), but doesn't allow me to compensate the saddle. So a compromise. An all brass bridge would have allowed me to compensate, but have been too heavy.

finkdaddy
10-13-2017, 03:28 AM
I will be fitting my current build with a brass nut and saddle, so I will definitely report back with my results, along with a video of the sound.

jcalkin
10-13-2017, 03:44 AM
My 2x4 uke still has a spruce nut and saddle. Sounds fine, and no wear after 1 1/2+ years. Swapping them for ebony was on my list, but every time I take it down I end up playing it. The saddle also stands alone with a thin spruce tailpiece and no bridge, so that probably makes a difference.

printer2
10-14-2017, 05:57 AM
I was re-topping a clunker of a guitar and found I did not have a saddle for it so I made a quick one out of aluminum. Surprisingly it sounded somewhat metalic.

Timbuck
10-14-2017, 06:20 AM
Any hard substance will work, even glass.

cyber3d
10-14-2017, 10:44 AM
Any hard substance will work, even glass.

But, different materials are going to impart different sound quality. Glass will colour the sound differently than bone. That I think is the point of trying wildly different materials.

It is not just the harmonic waves from the strings over a cavity that produce the sounds. The saddle transmits vibration to the saddle which affects the soundboard which affects the sound.

TjW
10-14-2017, 05:52 PM
There's a guy on Frets.net who's been experimenting with composite saddles of wood and bone. Bone where the string sits, a lighter wood in between. The idea seems to be to lower the weight of the saddle.

lauburu
10-18-2017, 11:38 AM
Coming out of hibernation after 6 months - selling house, moving house, trip to Europe, building house. Nice to see the forum is still so well patronised and that ideas are candidly shared and debated.


composite saddles of wood and bone.
Some of the bridges on my mandolins from early 1900's are constructed this way. I have tried an ebony/bone composite bridge and it worked very well.
Miguel

spongeuke
10-18-2017, 06:47 PM
Some of the bridges on my mandolins from early 1900's are constructed this way. I have tried an ebony/bone composite bridge and it worked very well.
Miguel
They also look great

Hilomar
10-18-2017, 08:22 PM
My 2x4 uke still has a spruce nut and saddle. Sounds fine, and no wear after 1 1/2+ years. Swapping them for ebony was on my list, but every time I take it down I end up playing it. The saddle also stands alone with a thin spruce tailpiece and no bridge, so that probably makes a difference.

My 3x2 wildestcat ukulele has a 'baked' pine saddle..it sounds splendid!

Sven
10-19-2017, 02:34 AM
On my second uke I built years ago I used aluminium (aluminum) for the nut and saddle. I don’t recommend it, the sound was very zingy.

Parto
10-19-2017, 03:18 AM
Anyone used MOP? I have a couple of blanks but not tried them yet.

ukantor
10-20-2017, 10:16 PM
A friend had a uke made for him by an amateur builder. I commented on the deep yellow material of the nut. He told me it was bone - dog bone! The maker had been digging his garden when he uncovered a long forgotton doggie grave.

Please don't ask if it gave extra 'bark'.

Titchtheclown
10-21-2017, 01:31 PM
A friend had a uke made for him by an amateur builder. I commented on the deep yellow material of the nut. He told me it was bone - dog bone! The maker had been digging his garden when he uncovered a long forgotton doggie grave.

Please don't ask if it gave extra 'bark'.

First time I've heard of a subwoofer on a ukulele....