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suburude63

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A while back I posted an article about a sound check and test on sound transmission here is an interesting bit on "Legal" Elephant Ivory saddles and are they best for acoustic guitar sound. The last article started quite a stir!! It was interesting!

suburude

 

Originally posted by collingscowboy:

Actually, hardness has little to do with it, else we'd be using boron nitride saddles (or diamond for the more affluent).

 

Simply put, exciting the top of your guitar most efficiently and effectively is the aim. The motion of any waveform will be affected by the medium through which it travels. Elastic modulus, grain structure, homogeneity, and to a lesser extent density and hardness play a role. Throw in transit time, scattering, attenuation, and very interestingly, frequency content (higher frquencies attenuate to a greater degree), and you have a permutative soup to contemplate.

 

Here, elephant ivory is king. A colleague of mine did his PhD dissertation in Physics on the transmission of sound waves in acoustic cavities and he found that EI was the best transmitter after trying tons of other materials, some quite exotic. EI is about as soft as your fingernails, with very low density. Why is it best? I don't know. However,I and many others have found it to be so. Walrus is much less efficient though a little harder. Try EI, especially from the rind, not from the pith (core) and you will not be disappointed. It is also quite attractive. I find mammoth ivory (the one one Doc calls fossil ivory) to be a tad petrified and glassy sounding.

 

 

Have any of you used legal EI? Whats your take??

 

suburude

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suburude - I know you mean well' date=' but I've read several firsthand accounts by people who witnessed others attempting to put ivory saddles on elephants and they were trampled to death.[/quote']

 

You know I've always shied away from doing so for this very reason.

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suburude - I know you mean well' date=' but I've read several firsthand accounts by people who witnessed others attempting to put ivory saddles on elephants and they were trampled to death. Please, stop this while you can!![/size']

 

I finally got the saddle on but I can't get my feet in the stirrups.

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You lost me at 'elastic modulus' +:-@

 

Young's Modulus of Elasticity. Hardness and density (and it's supposed efficiency of energy transfer) is quantified. Soft wood might rate a 50, hard wood might rate a 100, aluminum 500, steel 1000. I made those numbers up, I have no idea what the true numbers are... Space age engineer type stuff that takes too long to read and uses a lot of big words. Engineer geek types couldn't fold a business letter to fit a #10 envelope without doing a topographic survey of the area around the mailbox and testing the shear strength of the envelope glue.

 

In a very small nut shell and tweaked to how it relates to us guitar people, it says that the harder the saddle material, the more efficient the transfer of energy. Side note, it doesn't talk about guitars at all, I'm just using it to show where we fit in.

 

A couple years ago I had an old archtop made in India. It had some severe Hofner influences and therefore had a bridge with slide-able saddles like a Beatle Bass. The assembly was made of plastic that was softer than a sneaker full of puppy sh**. I figured I would make one out of harder material because I knew that soft plastic was sucking a lot of tone out of it. I didn't end up making one from scratch; it didn't get that far. I had an assortment of bridges and even though the width or radius wasn't right, I experimented by swpping them out to try and determine if 'harder was better' (insert snicker here). I did notice an overall improvement in tone when I went to a rosewood bridge but when I tried one of those Bigsby type aluminum bridges it got tinny. A 60s Japanese tune-o-matic from a hollow body was even worse. I think the higher frequencies are more affected by the higher density and can easily reach a point where they overpower the lower frequencies and the result is a very unbalanced unpleasant tone.

 

End result, I opted to go back to the soft plastic. It might not be optimum but it was quirky like the rest of the guitar. If I "improved" everything on that guitar I wouldn't stop until the entire guitar was replaced, piece by piece. Kinda silly now that I think about it.

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The saddle and its material effects the sound incredibly !! Stumps go from a plastic saddle to bone then let us know about the difference ! If no one has done this they should! Pins and nut dont effect sound that much but saddle material does ask any luthier. Stumps if you dont hear a difference you need a hearing aid. suburude

 

 

 

 

I think I see your mistake...

 

you got a PhD and physics and science involved.

 

The only thing that matters is how it sounds' date=' and I doubt that there is enough of a distinguishable difference to warrant the expense and the cost

[/quote']

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suburude - I know you mean well' date=' but I've read several firsthand accounts by people who witnessed others attempting to put ivory saddles on elephants and they were trampled to death. Please, stop this while you can!![/size']

 

Ah Mr Wilson, we can always rely on you to get to the nub of the matter. Careful or shall invoke the 'bugle of pain' again... :-k

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I think I see your mistake...

 

you got a PhD and physics and science involved.

 

The only thing that matters is how it sounds' date=' and I doubt that there is enough of a distinguishable difference to warrant the expense and the cost

[/quote']

 

I too am a bit o a cynic but I've never tried it and I'm certainly willimg to be persauded.

 

Despite another of my posts, I will try it soon. My SWD is having some minor surgery soon on some lacquer cracking around the neck binding and I've been thinking of relacing the saddle. I'm right in thinking the stock one is plastic?

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It may be TUSQ, which is a synthetic plastic I guess.... the word plastic has a negative connotation when we're talking about nuts, saddles, bridge pins..... and having grown up on cheap POS Asian guitars with plywood fingerboards, it's mainly justified. However there are some good durable plastic parts out there.

 

One of the weak points about using bone is that being organic it is bound to have variations in density, even within each individual piece. Getting a bone nut about 90% shaped and then the saw hitting a soft spot and cutting too deep is a sad thing. Without a doubt it's not cost effective right now, but maybe someday someone will find a way to extrude a mixture of ground up bone and some kind of epoxy or super glue into nut blanks and saddle blanks..... the density could be controlled to a degree and the consistency would be better.

 

The first time I saw a 2x4 made from shorter pieces finger-jointed together I laughed too. WTF? I said to myself. Then I saw an industrial film of Andersen windows and most all of their window frames are finger jointed.

 

Sometimes I think the future isn't so much dependent on more technology, it's conservation and finding new and better ways of using what we already have.

 

Old Ovation bowls could be used for holding the potato salad at the picnic for example. Or a punch bowl. Or flipped upside down and used for a very small dog house.

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Old Ovation bowls could be used for holding the potato salad at the picnic for example. Or a punch bowl...

 

You could put both potato salad *and* punch in there, distribute straws and invite everyone to simultaneously sup and imbibe through the soundhole.

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A while back I posted an article about a sound check and test on sound transmission here is an interesting bit on "Legal" Elephant Ivory saddles and are they best for acoustic guitar sound. The last article started quite a stir!! It was interesting!

suburude

 

Originally posted by collingscowboy:

Actually' date=' hardness has little to do with it, else we'd be using boron nitride saddles (or diamond for the more affluent).

 

Simply put, exciting the top of your guitar most efficiently and effectively is the aim. The motion of any waveform will be affected by the medium through which it travels. Elastic modulus, grain structure, homogeneity, and to a lesser extent density and hardness play a role. Throw in transit time, scattering, attenuation, and very interestingly, frequency content (higher frquencies attenuate to a greater degree), and you have a permutative soup to contemplate.

 

Here, elephant ivory is king. A colleague of mine did his PhD dissertation in Physics on the transmission of sound waves in acoustic cavities and he found that EI was the best transmitter after trying tons of other materials, some quite exotic. EI is about as soft as your fingernails, with very low density. Why is it best? I don't know. However,I and many others have found it to be so. Walrus is much less efficient though a little harder. Try EI, especially from the rind, not from the pith (core) and you will not be disappointed. It is also quite attractive. I find mammoth ivory (the one one Doc calls fossil ivory) to be a tad petrified and glassy sounding.

 

 

Have any of you used legal EI? Whats your take??

 

suburude[/quote']

 

First things first- I have not used elephant ivory, and I do believe that the saddle material makes a meaningful difference in tone. So take my comments below for what they are worth.

 

I am one of those geeky engineer types mentioned above, and I want to point out that your PhD friend did one particular test, one particular way. He used an acoustic cavity of a certain size, with a test tone of a certain frequency and magnitude, couple to a certain output device- and found that EI performed best in his test.

 

Now I haven't read his dissertation- but I think that taking this one particular test and inferring that the use of elephant ivory will improve the tone of a guitar (much less all guitars) is incorrect and possibly irresponsible.

 

I would also submit that given the extreme scarcity of elephant ivory, it is much less likely to get a piece that is homogeneous and without defects than it would be to get a similarly sized piece of bone.

 

Finally- there is sometimes a difference between what's legal and what's ethical. That decision is left to each of us, but we should all give some thought as to whether or not it is ethical to create demand for a product that is taken from endangered animals when suitable alternatives are available.

 

Just my thoughts on the matter; if someone else thinks it through and decides to use ivory for a bridge and has good results, good on them.

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Can someone remind me what the laws are regarding elephant ivory? I thought it was illegal and has been illegal for a long time.

 

Fossilized is a different thing altogether. But even the fossilized has restrictions on shipping.

 

I'm unsure why anyone would be extolling the virtues of a material made from the tusks of endangered animals.

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A while back I posted an article about a sound check and test on sound transmission here is an interesting bit on "Legal" Elephant Ivory saddles and are they best for acoustic guitar sound. The last article started quite a stir!! It was interesting!

suburude

 

Originally posted by collingscowboy:

Actually' date=' hardness has little to do with it, else we'd be using boron nitride saddles (or diamond for the more affluent).

 

Simply put, exciting the top of your guitar most efficiently and effectively is the aim. The motion of any waveform will be affected by the medium through which it travels. Elastic modulus, grain structure, homogeneity, and to a lesser extent density and hardness play a role. Throw in transit time, scattering, attenuation, and very interestingly, frequency content (higher frquencies attenuate to a greater degree), and you have a permutative soup to contemplate.

 

Here, elephant ivory is king. A colleague of mine did his PhD dissertation in Physics on the transmission of sound waves in acoustic cavities and he found that EI was the best transmitter after trying tons of other materials, some quite exotic. EI is about as soft as your fingernails, with very low density. Why is it best? I don't know. However,I and many others have found it to be so. Walrus is much less efficient though a little harder. Try EI, especially from the rind, not from the pith (core) and you will not be disappointed. It is also quite attractive. I find mammoth ivory (the one one Doc calls fossil ivory) to be a tad petrified and glassy sounding.

 

 

Have any of you used legal EI? Whats your take??

 

suburude[/quote']

 

 

Tell you what mate, you send me a chunk and ill give it a try... im all for experimenting me!!

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Just this morning I ordered a elephant ivory saddle from Bob C, along with a set of EI bridge pins for the WC 200. I will be replacing a walrus ivory saddle and stock plastic pins and expect I will hear some sonic difference in the guitar. The nut was done in walrus ivory the first week I owned the guitar and it will stay......perhaps an odd combination of string bed materials. According to Bob, elephant ivory reduces the agressive edge in the high strings which, at first blush, appeals to me. I don't like excessive "jangle" from my instrument. The heavy, round edge pick I use goes a long way toward reducing shrill highs, but I'll fit the EI saddle and see how that affects things.....

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What I would like to find is a material that sounds good both unplugged and with an undersaddle pickup.

 

Tusq is a good compromise, and is in both my SJ200 and Hummingbird, but I would like to find something better, if it's out there.

 

Having said that, I'm pretty set on binning the Fishman in my SJ200 (it has done a mammoth amount of work in the last 5 years and is starting to sound tired), putting in a FWI saddle I have and installing a K&K Pure Western Mini.

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Legal Ivory has been in some sort of storage for years (Pre Ban) and is "not" taken from endangered animals. Trees are rapidly vanishing off the planet as well as lots else! Ethically we should be playing Carbon Fiber Guitars! Are we! No!

 

Brazilian Rosewood is protected but some people somewhere bought some pre ban and stored it! Its available and its legal if its pre ban. I dont feel guilty playing my BRW Bourgeois D 150. I know that Dana is a very very ethical guy

99% of Braz. RW was put in danger of extinction certainly not due to guitar backs and sides BTW. But due mostly to the furniture Industry. So theres my 2 cents on ethical and Legal Elephant Ivory.

suburude

 

 

"Finally- there is sometimes a difference between what's legal and what's ethical. That decision is left to each of us, but we should all give some thought as to whether or not it is ethical to create demand for a product that is taken from endangered animals when suitable alternatives are available."

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