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Discussion in 'Acoustic Heaven' started by DrPepper, Jul 13, 2020.
Who would you recommend in the central Texas area to make/install a nut and saddle.
Any experience with Straight Frets in Austin?
I used to use a guy near San Marcos named Ross. Sorry, I've lost his info. Someone else here may know though.
maurys music https://www.maurysmusic.com/inc/sdetail/7753?noc=true has some fossilized mammoth bridge pins saddles and nuts.
his notes on fossilized mammoth ivory.
"PLEASE NOTE: Due to state legislation, we cannot ship Mammoth Ivory or Walrus Ivory products to California, Hawaii, Illinois, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oregon or Washington. We are also prohibited from shipping ivory products outside of the United States."
For ethical reason I will not touch an ivory product, no matter how long its been dead. There are too many acceptable substitutes and believe me, on a middle class guitar like your Yamaha it won't make any difference.
But I thought you said you did setups. Making a nut and a saddle is part of doing setups.
A bone or TUSQ counterpart will probably sound nearly every bit as good. (Cheaper and less hassle too).
In the last few days I swapped OUT a bone saddle and put IN a TUSQ saddle. The sound is only slightly different (more harmonics, the marketing hype is probably true in this case). The fit was 99% out of the package.. about 3 minutes of sanding, and boom! all done. Perfect fit, even good overall height too. (Easy is good). Gonna leave it for now.
Ross Jennings is a nice guy and a great luthier.
You could look him up.
Last I heard he was not taking new work.
You could try Dick DuBois, or Lauren Ellis at the south Strait Music, too.
^^^ Yes Bill, that's him
Why not try making your own out of bone? I remember you mentioning in another three that you are an amateur tech and enjoy tinkering. Nut making is an essential skill to have. Takes a lot of practice, trial and error and you'll go through a bunch of blanks in the process, but it's a skill you'll be happy you learned.Also, investing in the proper tolls for nut making and filing nut slots makes things way easier. You could also start out with pre-made nuts and fit and shape them and fine tune the nut slots before diving into making a nut from a blank.
Also, agree with a poster above, putting fossilized ivory on a Yamaha is a bit ridiculous. I hope you aren't spending a ton of money on that Yamaha in hopes of turning it into something it's not and will never be. Acoustic guitars aren't like electrics. You can't swap a few pieces, parts and pickups and totally transform it into something magical. IF the guitar is a turn or mediocre it's still going to be a turn or just a mediocre guitar. People seem to think swapping bridge pins or nut/saddle material is going to transform a so-so acoustic, but in the end it's usually a negligible change that only you may hear. I've found over the years it's best to be honest with yourself and instead of trying to turn a guitar into something it's not it's better to just save up for what you really want (within reason/budget), and usually all the money you've dumped into a guitar you weren't that stocked on could have been saved and out toward something you really liked down the line.
This is EXACTLY why I use TUSQ whenever I can. Huge time saver. I have a TUSQ nut and saddle for my acoustic sitting right next to me now.
Tusq is a good modern replacement material - it has a couple of advantages for mass producing nuts or saddles. It can be molded to shape and cnc cut to make lots of generic parts - think of Taylor just turning out thousand of perfect saddles. One big advantage over bone is that bone is sometimes inconsistent in density - sometimes it has softer spots.
I use nothing but cow bone - bleached or unbleached as fits the guitar. I buy dozens of blanks at a time and can make a saddle or nut for almost any sized slot. It takes me about a half hour to make a compensated saddle, maybe an hour to do a nut, but since making either one is really part of the bigger job of setting up the guitar I don't think of them as individual items.
I've done the same experiments with saddles that I describe in the thread on ebony pins - I can't tell the difference between bone and Tusq materials. As I said before, anyone who insists on ivory in a new guitar simply is not welcome in my shop.
For Gregulator450 and Freeman..
Yup, "I hear ya". I used to fuss a lot about the materials, and have used bone on/off many times, but, really the workmanship (filing, shaping, fit) that makes all the difference. I had to experiment a bunch myself to kind of figure that all out, but yeah, I am in total agreement.
I have two guitars (yeah, classical both of em). The main one is an old K. Yairi that is parked most of the time these days ('semi-retired'). It's fragile so I try to shift playing time to my newest one -- my el cheapo from Thomann (which I absolutely love, as I have said before here). It is completely solid wood construction, even if unremarkable in appearance, but it is a great testbed for all my experimentation and tweaking. To me, it has been a totally successful experiment about eeking out the best possible sound/tone out of a guitar (even if a low budget one). I have learned a lot in the process. I am 110% happy with the result. A guitar does not need to have any tropical hardwood(s) to be good sounding, great playing, decent looking and structurally sound.
Also have to agree with Freeman on the use of exotic vs. conventional materials -- exotic materials aren't absolutely necessary to make a fine guitar, totally aside setting the issues of legality and all. It just isn't necessary. In any case, with limits being placed on rare/endangered animals and woods, guitar builders are going to have to figure out how to use alternative materials (which I believe can and will be done) eventually anyhow. IMO, those who figure out the methods and materials that 'work' best will have a huge leg up on the competition in the long run, especially for factory made guitars.