Does fossilized walrus ivory make subtle changes in tone?

Construction and repair of Classical Guitar and related instruments
Abyrd

Re: Does fossilized walrus ivory make subtle changes in tone?

Post by Abyrd » Thu Sep 03, 2009 1:48 am

MikFik-
I'm looking at the horn saddle in your picture. It's a good looking setup you've got. I've got a couple questions. Why is the part of the saddle under the 7th string white? I also see you've taken a bit off of the top underneath of the first three strings. Was that to affect the intonation or more to adjust string height?

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Jae Lee
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Re: Does fossilized walrus ivory make subtle changes in tone?

Post by Jae Lee » Thu Sep 03, 2009 3:18 am

Last year I posted my opinion on FWI elsewhere, but let me repeat here.
I've interested in saddle materials, so I've tested a lot of materials for a long time.
First, it's important to get a best quality FWI. I recommend guitarsaddles.com (don't get me wrong, I have no affiliation to it).
It's hard to say FWI is better than bone. But one is absolutely sure--FWI gives a brighter sound, whether it's spruce or cedar guitar.
So, if your guitar has too dard a sound, try FWI.
Volume? I don't know. No difference.
Clarity? I don't know. Maybe, the brighter sound with FWI gives us the illusion that the clarity is improved.
Balance? I don't know. No difference.
Warmth? Definitely, FWI gives less warm sound than bone.
Depth of tone? FWI gives less depth than bone.
So, I think it's worth trying FWI. In conclusion, it give a brighter romantic tone.
But still, I believe a high quality bone saddle (not very easy to find) is the best.
FWI is lighter than bone.
Don't try Mammoth ivory saddle and elephant ivory saddle. They are useless in any cases.
Also TUSQ saddle is useless for classical guitar (I'm sorry for the company...).
I hope my comments will be helpful.
Jaesarang

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bacsidoan
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Re: Does fossilized walrus ivory make subtle changes in tone?

Post by bacsidoan » Thu Sep 03, 2009 3:48 am

Here is my report on my saddle experiment (same guitar, same strings)
Guitar: Manuel Velazquez spruce/African blackwood
Strings: LaBella Argento Silver basses (high tension), D'Addario Titanium trebles (high tension)

Original Bone: Brilliant, clear but somewhat harsh trebles. Clear, sonorous basses
Fossilized Mammoth Ivory: muffled, muddle trebles. Darker basses
Soft East African Ivory: very similar to Fossilized Mammoth Ivory
Hard West African Ivory: Very similar to bone. The basses are the same. The treble notes remain clear but less harsh.

I did not test fossilized walrus ivory, but was told by Bob Colosi at guitarsaddles.com that it would be very similar to Hard West African Ivory.

After spending $100 I came to the conclusion that bone saddle is very hard to beat in term of sound purity of and gives the best bang for the buck. I end up switching back and forth between bone and West African Ivory saddle when I change strings so that I can get some mileage out of the $40 ivory saddle

daverkb
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Re: Does fossilized walrus ivory make subtle changes in tone?

Post by daverkb » Tue Feb 28, 2017 11:58 pm

Folks,

I have tried Fossil Walrus Ivory (FWI) on two Ashley Sanders lattice top guitars, one a spruce top and one a cedar top. A close friend recommended using Fossil Ivory as an upgrade to cattle bone. My report is that with the walrus saddle, the shrillness of the upper trebles of both guitars disappeared. I would say that the trebles were 'rounded over' with a sweeter, warmer sound brought into the guitar. It could be equally as well that the Walrus filters out unwanted nondescript 'white noise' and allows what is in the guitar just to show to better effect?

I have just recently tried a Mammoth Fossil Ivory (MFW) on a spruce top Malapanis. Again, adverse unwanted sound disappeared. I'd say that Mammoth brings a 'clearer' sound into the guitar than walrus, while the walrus add a bit of 'color.' I really cannot quantify in any scientific way the changes in the sound of the guitars. All I can say is that people notice a distinct change in the sound, and in all cases so far, the people I know say that their guitar is noticeably improved by using fossil ivory. That is my report, but from the above, obviously, not all people are in agreement.

I have two guitars currently at the luthier's shop for new saddles. Each guitar is getting one walrus and one mammoth saddle made. This will allow me to do some comparing of the two materials on two guitars. I'll let you know how this comes out on next month's post.

John higgon
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Re: Does fossilized walrus ivory make subtle changes in tone?

Post by John higgon » Wed Mar 01, 2017 8:06 am

I wonder if there is some 'magical thinking' going on here - "rare and weird materials must make better saddles than bone or Corian". I've used bone, Corian and buffalo horn. I found the buffalo horn to spongy, with the effect that it seemed to reduce the treble response. I really haven't seen much difference between Corian and bone. One advantage of Corian and other synthetic materials is that they are very consistent from piece to piece, unlike bone. Presumably the main factors of interest are hardness and weight, and we can make synthetic materials in various hardnesses and densities, therefore...? Having said all that, I once made a saddle out of dodo beak, and that turned out very well... :lol:

Jack Douglas
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Re: Does fossilized walrus ivory make subtle changes in tone?

Post by Jack Douglas » Wed Mar 01, 2017 2:03 pm

Call it magic, mysterious, voodoo, whatever, but I have replaced the saddles in several guitars I've owned with Mammoth Tusk Ivory and the result, while subtle, has been very pleasing to my ears. What I heard in all the guitars was a loss of overtones, 'sparkle', extreme brightness and added sweetness and clarity. The guitars all got a touch more velvety. I agree with others that bone is more precise/accurate, but also tends to be bright.
I happen to know Daverkb and I've played all of the guitars he mentioned before and after he installed the Walrus Ivory the 'shrillness', his word, was replaced by a sweetness, warmth.
In my case and in Dave's case the swap out of the bone saddles for Walrus and Mammoth Tusk Ivory did not change the basic tonal character of any of the guitars, but each one added enough something that it was worth the extra expense of installing these alternatives to bone. On my own guitar I seem to get clean, slightly sweet, warm tones with more ease and consistency than with bone.
I do not know how well Walrus and Mammoth Tusk will hold up over time; 7 years was the longest on one guitar and there was no wear or degrading of material.
I know of only one Luthier who offers Mammoth Tusk as an option on his most expensive version. If it's good enough for this Luthier, it's definitely good for me.
I'll be interested in others opinions who have tried either of these saddle materials or some of the other alternative legal Ivory materials.
Hauser III 2014!

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Brian McCombs
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Re: Does fossilized walrus ivory make subtle changes in tone?

Post by Brian McCombs » Wed Mar 01, 2017 3:37 pm

Never tried it....but the thing that runs through my head over and over again is:

I never make just ONE saddle, typically I make one and ruin it....make another, disapprove of it for whatever reason and make another. Then I accidentally stick my finger into the disc sander while shaping the third and ruin it too. Eventually I might make one that will actually find its home on the guitar....the potential cost vs. benefit model is unattractive to me. That saddle better make the guitar sound like an angel just fell into your lap otherwise....It gets the almighty bleached bone of beef.


Say that 5 times fast

bleached bone of beef.... :D

Paul Micheletti
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Re: Does fossilized walrus ivory make subtle changes in tone?

Post by Paul Micheletti » Wed Mar 01, 2017 5:43 pm

Brian McCombs wrote: I never make just ONE saddle, typically I make one and ruin it....make another, disapprove of it for whatever reason and make another. Then I accidentally stick my finger into the disc sander while shaping the third and ruin it too. Eventually I might make one that will actually find its home on the guitar....the potential cost vs. benefit model is unattractive to me. That saddle better make the guitar sound like an angel just fell into your lap otherwise....It gets the almighty bleached bone of beef.
Have you been hanging out in my shop watching me trash saddle after saddle trying to get one just right? You described my methods here perfectly! :lol:

Other than the stuffing your finger into the disc sander part. :shock:

If you want the ultimate in sonic purity, you need to save 6 baby teeth from your child and fashion a gilbert style pin bridge out of them. Nothing sounds better than baby teeth. :wink:

nmshu1
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Re: Does fossilized walrus ivory make subtle changes in tone?

Post by nmshu1 » Wed Mar 01, 2017 6:18 pm

I tried some materials of nut with highly responsive guitars...You can get better results...
Otto Vowinkel 650, Cedar/BRW; Córdoba C9 650 A&B, Cedar/MH;
Juan Hernandez Torres 640, Spruce/IRW; Sweet Tone 640, Spruce/Lam. RW;
German V. Rubio 635, Spruce/MP; German V. Rubio 635, Spruce/PE;
Kenny Hill Performance 630, Double Top/MP

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Brian McCombs
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Re: Does fossilized walrus ivory make subtle changes in tone?

Post by Brian McCombs » Wed Mar 01, 2017 6:34 pm

Paul Micheletti wrote: Have you been hanging out in my shop watching me trash saddle after saddle trying to get one just right? You described my methods here perfectly! :lol:

Other than the stuffing your finger into the disc sander part. :shock:
HA HA....Well...I may have embellished a little perhaps - I've not yet stuck a finger into the disc sander but I have removed several fingerprints on its evil little sister - The Belt Sander ( she's pretty unforgiving )
There is nothing like the initial realization you've just sanded the pad of your finger down to the closest thing to NOT having a finger pad. I only consider it bad if you can see the back side of your finger nail though.
No big deal I suppose, It only hurts when you squeeze some lemon into your tea, shellac something, zip up your pants or point at stuff. And after all...what else are you going to use all that super glue for?
I mean, if you've never squirted thin CA into a freshly opened chisel wound, you're not living life to its fullest. It makes the prettiest pink foamy scabs you've ever seen. :D

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geoff-bristol
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Re: Does fossilized walrus ivory make subtle changes in tone?

Post by geoff-bristol » Wed Mar 01, 2017 7:43 pm

Most commercially available bone in UK/EU seems to be water buffalo ?

Paul Micheletti
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Re: Does fossilized walrus ivory make subtle changes in tone?

Post by Paul Micheletti » Wed Mar 01, 2017 9:27 pm

Brian McCombs wrote:
Paul Micheletti wrote: Have you been hanging out in my shop watching me trash saddle after saddle trying to get one just right? You described my methods here perfectly! :lol:

Other than the stuffing your finger into the disc sander part. :shock:
HA HA....Well...I may have embellished a little perhaps - I've not yet stuck a finger into the disc sander but I have removed several fingerprints on its evil little sister - The Belt Sander ( she's pretty unforgiving )
There is nothing like the initial realization you've just sanded the pad of your finger down to the closest thing to NOT having a finger pad. I only consider it bad if you can see the back side of your finger nail though.
No big deal I suppose, It only hurts when you squeeze some lemon into your tea, shellac something, zip up your pants or point at stuff. And after all...what else are you going to use all that super glue for?
I mean, if you've never squirted thin CA into a freshly opened chisel wound, you're not living life to its fullest. It makes the prettiest pink foamy scabs you've ever seen. :D
Brian's posts always read like a Sweeny Todd screenplay. If there is not blood in this scene, just wait for the next one... :lol:

I wore out multiple finger tips last month, just not on a sander. I was installing floor tiles in my kitchen without gloves. Do you know there are only so many times you can wipe your fingers across wet thinset before you start adding natural coloration? I bought some tight fitting mechanics gloves to finish that job.

theknowle
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Re: Does fossilized walrus ivory make subtle changes in tone?

Post by theknowle » Thu Mar 02, 2017 12:20 am

Was looking for a bone saddle for my small bodied Torres model. Couldn't get one immediately. Desperately wanted to hear how the instrument sounded so I used some hard, white plastic material from an old electric socket. Sounds great! Clear trebles and warm resonant basses. Though, I must try out a bone saddle some day to see if there's any noticeable improvement.

daverkb
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Re: Does fossilized walrus ivory make subtle changes in tone?

Post by daverkb » Fri Mar 31, 2017 4:26 am

I just had two Malapanis guitars fitted with mammoth ivory saddles and I am very pleased with the sound improvement. The sound is enough improved over the bone to make the effort worth the while. I also had two walrus saddles made, but haven't tried them yet.

This is something worth trying.

Jack Douglas
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Re: Does fossilized walrus ivory make subtle changes in tone?

Post by Jack Douglas » Fri Mar 31, 2017 11:08 am

daverkb wrote:I just had two Malapanis guitars fitted with mammoth ivory saddles and I am very pleased with the sound improvement. The sound is enough improved over the bone to make the effort worth the while. I also had two walrus saddles made, but haven't tried them yet.

This is something worth trying.
Will be anxious to try when we visit..
Hauser III 2014!

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