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switching adjustable saddle to TUSQ


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This should be a fun experiment kzoo. I have two adjustable bridge J50s and like Tusq on the '61 and ceramic on the '67. I think it has to do with bridge plate material. The '61 has a solid maple plate and the ceramic just gives it too many, unpleasant, overtones. The '67 still has the laminate maple plate and the ceramic works really well in it. It gives it an almost reverby, warm tone. Tusq sounds good in it but ceramic sounds best.

And yes I know I should change out the laminate plate but this guitar just has such a warmth I can't bring myself to do it. To my ears the plate just makes it a little quieter, doesn't ruin it.

Have fun and report back.

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Well I started the process of saddle comparison last night. First I removed the ceramic saddle and initially just replaced it minus the springy steel piece to see how it sounded (not an overly dramatic difference but slightly more volume/brightness). Took the ceramic bridge out again and I checked the sizing of all the other bridges to see how everything fit. While the rosewood and ceramic both fit snuggly, the bone and tusq seem to need just a small amount of sanding to narrow them so they would fit.

 

Unfortunately as I was swapping pieces out tw,o of my strings broke up near the tuning peg. I knew that a true A/B/C/D comparison was out of the question at that point because I was already going to use different strings with my next string change.

 

I decided since I was going to change the strings I would do that and go back to the original rosewood set-up as a starting point. I changed the strings to GHS Phosphor Bronze from the Diaddario I had on the guitar (I have a six pack so if I need to change them out for breakage at least I can still compare apples to apples for the most part). Now I'll use this set-up as my new basis to start comparing the various saddles.

 

The funny thing is that right now I actually like the rosewood better than the ceramic. It is purely just taste but the ceramic really keeps each string isolated and the rosewood has more complementary overtones and more "woodiness" (makes sense...). Next step is to sand the bone and Tusq bridges to fit and then I'll give each of them a go along with also putting the ceramic back on with the GHS strings. Each bridge will get a turn with and without the spring steel.

 

Any tips on sanding techniques to narrow the bone and tusq are appreciated. I have seen the tools that sand the bottom to adjust action, but haven't seen any special clamps or tools made specifically to narrow the saddle. Should I just hit it with some fine grit sandpaper along one or both of the edges? Anything to watch out for or common mistakes?

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Well I started the process of saddle comparison last night.

 

Anything to watch out for or common mistakes?

Hep for the serious approach - highly exciting

 

Been doin' a lot of this and await your results with more than curiosity.

Will chime in later, but have already written about my experiences several times back on these pages.

 

One thing you must be aware of, especially as you move without the rectangular metal-spring, is that the ceramic insert is fragile and can crack during the experiments if you enthusiastically over-screw. Of course this counts for bone too, but they are much easier (and cheaper) to replace.

 

Enjoy the mission - it's important

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Hep for the serious approach - highly exciting

 

Been doin' a lot of this and await your results with more than curiosity.

Will chime in later, but have already written about my experiences several times back on these pages.

 

One thing you must be aware of, especially as you move without the rectangular metal-spring, is that the ceramic insert is fragile and can crack during the experiments if you enthusiastically over-screw. Of course this counts for bone too, but they are much easier (and cheaper) to replace.

 

Enjoy the mission - it's important

 

Thanks, I'll definitely stay aware of that. The ceramic pieces seem to be the hardest to source and most expensive of the lot. I'll do some searches on your old posts as well!

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I have a 2003 Elitist Texan with the ceramic adjustable saddle. This thing is a tone monster; really love the sound. I often wondered if it would sound even better with a fixed saddle, but like the sound as is too much to mess with it.

Absolutely do not mess with a good thing.

 

Been there, done that, and regretted it.

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Just a reminder that if needed, this is an opportunity to tweak the intonation a wee bit.

 

Yes, I've intonated electric guitars in the past but I haven't really done it much with any of my acoustic guitars. I'm actually heading to Galloup guitar school this weekend and next to do a set-up workshop and a refretting workshop. I was tweaking the guitar last night adjusting the action, still with the rosewood bridge. I think tonight I'll try to sand down one of the other bridges. They don't seem to be all that much wider than the ceramic but they are both longer, I'm going to try to just touch them a bit with some fine grit and see if I can get them to fit snuggly into the bridge.

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