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Tusq Saddle for IB 64 Texan


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In case anybody was thinking of doing this, I think I have found a Tusq saddle that is a pretty good fit for the IB 64 Texan: it's the PQ-9650-00 Piezo balanced saddle. It's not perfect because it is made for a 16" radius and the Texan has a 14" radius but it's pretty close.


Why did I want to commit this sacrilege; after all the IB comes with a bone saddle? Well, my IB had a pretty high action. I wanted to lower it but I also wanted a way of backing out what I had done, in case I fixed things worse. By getting a replacement saddle, I just keep the original as a back up and do all the work on the replacement.


Anyway, I am glad I did. Once I got the original out, I discovered that it was pretty roughly made. The bottom wasn't flat. In fact, I don't think there can have been much contact between the saddle and the pickup/bridge on the 6th string, which could explain why my IB sounded light in the bass department. Also, the factory had made the saddle pretty sharp and it was actually breaking up in a couple of places from string pressure. It was telling that the high E snapped when I tuned it up a tone: just too narrow at the top.


I had to thin the PQ-9650-00 down a bit to get it in the slot but Tusq is great for that: a bit of 240 grade wet & dry, followed by 600 and it was fine. The length is pretty well spot on as stock. The PQ-9650-00 has compensated B but pretty straight otherwise, whereas the original saddle seemed to be cut fully compensated. However, I've not noticed any intonation problems with the Tusq. I did take a lot off the bottom to get the action where I wanted it, which just about got rid of the weird crenelations. I think they are meant to concentrate the vibrations into the piezo. Sounds OK amplified though: certainly no worse than original, maybe even better.


In the process I also replaced the plastic bridge pins with Tusq PP-1142-00 Martin style white with small MOP dots. To be honest they do spoil the vintage vibe of the IB a bit but as far as I am aware Graphtech don't make vintage white/cream Tusq bridge pins. They should, I am sure they would sell. The Martin style pins are slightly shorter than the originals and the heads are slightly smaller and flatter. However, they really work! With a new set of 11's on, the IB has been transformed. It's like it can breath properly. Much better bass response and really clear highs.


I am not convinced that the Tusq saddle has contributed to the improvement in sound as much as the pins. I have a bone blank that has been with me for about 20 years. Now might be the time to use it, although I am not confident I have the skill to copy the IB's original, while improving on the quality issues described above. If I do, I'll post the results.

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good job!


On my Masterbilt, I could distinguish the sound from bone / tusq saddles. Bone makes it a little louder, with more overtones, and the wood resonates longer.


However, on some other guitars (like Taylor dreads), I can't tell the difference in sound.


On most guitars, it seems factories put loose tusq saddles. Maybe that's a reason to custom fit your own saddle.



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  • 2 years later...

I need to evaluate the saddle situation on my IB Texan. The high E and B slap and aggravate the piezo when finger-picked. I've fixed this on other acoustics with piezos. I think I'll try the Tusq p/n you mentioned above. My IB Texan has only a compensated B string saddle, so the Tusq should work OK. Appreciate the heads-up on sanding the width. That's pretty simple to do. I just wasn't sure about the cutouts on the bottom - they seem like they'll reduce contact not improve it. But, I'll give it a shot.

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  • 2 weeks later...


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