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View Full Version : Tusq Ukulele Saddle???



hybridnightmare
02-09-2008, 06:41 AM
i saw this on ebay, anyone know what its for?
http://cgi.ebay.com/Tusq-Ukulele-Saddle-PQ-9250-00_W0QQitemZ350021783002QQihZ022QQcategoryZ101976Q QssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

Fred Miu
02-09-2008, 06:51 AM
you know that little bar thing thats right under the place where you put your strings on? thats the saddle. http://iz.honoluluadvertiser.com/images_ads/KamakaUkulele.jpg


heres a diagram for you to know more parts of the ukulele if you didnt know them already: http://www.theuke.com/content.php?article.12

NukeDOC
02-09-2008, 06:52 AM
the saddle is the part of the bridge that the strings sit on.

check out my video on the home page on my 6 to 4 string conversion. this is the same stuff i used to make a new saddle for one of my ukes. good stuff IMO.

ichadwick
03-11-2009, 11:54 AM
Has anyone used Tusq saddles here - builders or anyone who has replaced a saddle witha Tusq version? Any comments? Did it improve the sound?

cpatch
03-11-2009, 12:30 PM
Has anyone used Tusq saddles here - builders or anyone who has replaced a saddle witha Tusq version? Any comments? Did it improve the sound?
I know Kanile`a uses Tusq. I've heard lots of word-of-mouth on how they improve the sound but haven't seen any objective tests.

NukeDOC
03-11-2009, 12:44 PM
ive only installed them in cheaper instruments. i like them. they are obviously stiffer than the softish plastic nuts and saddles that some of the ukes come with, so they cant be bad. but to my naked ear on these particular instruments, i dont notice any major difference. i never timed the sustain before and after. i always see it as a plus on instruments that are already fitted with them. but i honestly cant say if i hear any diff.

Big Bob
03-11-2009, 02:46 PM
Well here is one for you,I don't know if this is normal but I have a kanilea tenor and when I recently changed strings I noticed that the low G string has dug into the bridge.There is a visible chip on the bridge.any info would be appreciated.

cpatch
03-11-2009, 03:06 PM
Well here is one for you,I don't know if this is normal but I have a kanilea tenor and when I recently changed strings I noticed that the low G string has dug into the bridge.There is a visible chip on the bridge.any info would be appreciated.
On the bridge or on the saddle? If on the bridge, do you mean between the pin and the saddle?

Big Bob
03-11-2009, 03:17 PM
Ah gee ,having a seniors moment here ,not using the right words .I ment the saddle and it's suppose to be a bone saddle.

Kekani
03-11-2009, 05:32 PM
I use Tusq for both nuts and saddles. From a machining standpoint, I love it. Easy to work with, excellent consistency, doesn't smell bad. Yes, the nut may not make a difference (to some), but from a builder's standpoint, it does.

As for UST's, composite saddles are recommended by LRBaggs for consistency, and for me, Tusq works very well.

Other factories use them as well (guess who). Kanile`a uses NuBone, or did in the past.

-Aaron

ichadwick
03-12-2009, 09:11 AM
I've just ordered a couple of Tusq saddles. Plan to experiment a bit with my ukes and see what difference a new saddle makes.

Paul December
03-12-2009, 09:26 AM
I've just ordered a couple of Tusq saddles. Plan to experiment a bit with my ukes and see what difference a new saddle makes.

I'll be interested in your observations.

ichadwick
03-13-2009, 01:23 AM
I can understand how the effect might be more evident on a larger instrument like a guitar, but is a uke's topboard too small for a significant change to be heard? I guess I'll find out.

The manufacturer - GraphTech - makes a good case for improved material for saddles on their web site (http://www.graphtech.com/products.html?CategoryID=1) but the info is targetted at guitars, not ukuleles. Still, there must be some convergence.

I can easily understand the importance of the saddle for transmitting the energy to the wood. It acts as both a transmitter and filter, and from what the company says, their material is superior in both areas.

I can't see that the nut provides as much relevance for the overall sound except in the case of an open string. A denser material would, as I read it, absorb less of the energy and help sustain be returning more of the wave energy back along the string. But on a fretted string, your fingertip deadens the return pulse, so the nut has no effect.

And then again I wondered about the difference in energy between metal and nylon strings - whether a better saddle would really improve nylon as much as it might steel. Or will the lower energy of nylon show greater improvement than steel simply because even a small change would be noticeable?

I'll post my thoughts after I've had a chance to experiment.

ichadwick
03-18-2009, 08:23 AM
I'm also on the hunt for other materials to experiment with. Just got some small pieces of ebony (old piano keys) and am expecting some brass strips and even some bakelite from another source.

What I really want to try is glass. Glass is a great transmitter, but I'm not sure about its function as a filter. Might be too bright? But that could be mitigated by the bridge material...

Paul December
03-24-2009, 06:41 AM
Hey Ian, did you have a chance to install it yet?

ichadwick
03-25-2009, 01:52 AM
Saddles arrived Monday. They're too big for any of the slots on my current ukes (three are on loan to the library for a ukulele display there until Sunday). I will have to wait for the weekend before I can get to them and do some finishing to make one fit.

An initial reaction: if you tap the Tusq saddle on a hard surface, it gives a clear, bright 'plink' almost glass-like. Tap a bone or plastic saddle and it gives a more muted sound. That's probably an indicator that the Tusq will pass more energy to the soundboard.

The top edge of the saddle is rather sharply angled, which I may want to sand down a bit to make it a bit rounder. The contact point is a place of potential conflict and too-sharp an angle can encourage string breakage. Sanding it will also increase the contact area. I think a larger contact zone is important, too.

I got two, but I haven't decided which ukes to experiment with. My first thoughts are the Mainland (because I've already had the saddle out to lower it and it's a good size slot to work with) and my Pono Mango (because mango is not as good a tonewood for some frequencies as spruce or cedar, and it's not as bright - I thought the Tusq might bring that up).

ichadwick
03-29-2009, 09:12 AM
Quick update:
I changed the bone saddle on my Pono mango to a Tusq saddle about an hour ago. I chose the mango because it is more muted/mellow than my other ukes and I hoped to brighten it up with a different saddle. It has a piezo/passive under-saddle pickup, so that also affects (dampens) the acoustic sound from the saddle.

The Tusq saddles are the right height, but are too long and too thick, so they require some trimming and sanding. Fidgety job done by hand and at the expense of some of my fingertips, but not difficult. The saddle would benefit by being 1/32" (or so) taller because it is really a hair too short for the action of this uke - but it isn't so low now that anything buzzes.

First thoughts: The Tusq saddle does brighten the sound, not a huge amount, but noticeably so to my ears, and seems to add some extra sustain. That's good - for the small cost and the time invested, it's probably worth it. I think the extra sustain is the best result.

Plugging it in to my amp, I really noticed the difference - it's louder and brighter by a lot, and VERY sensitive to strng noises such as sliding and scraping my now roughended fingers on the strings. I had to balance the amp sound quite a bit with more mid-range/bass on the equalizer to make the sound I wanted. But it sure rings.

Next: the Mainlaind uke. And possibly an ebony saddle.

Paul December
03-29-2009, 09:20 AM
Thanks for the update.
I'm thinking of swapping out the ebony saddle on my KPK with a Tusq. A bit more sustain would be welcome. Elsewhere I read that ebony is already pretty dense, so don't know how much it would help.

scooterguitar
03-29-2009, 09:28 AM
The tusq or bone will be more dense than ebony.
BRass will add a wee bit of sustain and wee warmer, at least with guitars. BRass also adds too much weight which effect alters other characteristics of an instrument.
I'd stick with the faux bone like the tusq, etc. Time proven...bone is great, thus any counterpart equivalent is likely to be as well.
Graphite is nice when their is a lot of movement on a given point, super tiny lubricators in a sense, but tends to be duller toned IMO.

ichadwick
03-30-2009, 01:26 AM
Time proven...bone is great, thus any counterpart equivalent is likely to be as well.
I agree bone is generally good, but I am keen to try new or different materials. Glass is the one I'm really intrigued by.