1.  What do these parts do for the sound of my guitar?
Being a more dense material than factory-installed components, they serve as a much more efficient transmitter of the energy of the string to the top of the guitar, causing increased sustain and clarity, overtones, better separation and definition of the individual strings during strummed chords, and in many cases, increased projection.  The saddle plays the biggest part, followed by the bridge pins.  The nut "can" play a role in this regard, but only in specific circumstances, i.e. lots of open tunings, etc....so all in all, for the average player, the nut is not a huge sonic factor, if at all. 

2.  Are saddles easy to install?
YES! They take more patience than they do mechanical aptitude. If you can use a sheet of sandpaper, you can install a saddle. There are certain things that I would highly recommend the skilled hands of a luthier for.  However, installing a saddle is a very “do-able” do-it-yourself job.

3.  How do I know what to do after I receive my saddle?
All my saddles and pins are complete with a detailed instruction sheet, which will guide you through the entire process.  I'll gladly offer any tech support, and am always available by phone or email if you have any questions.

4.  I know I cannot do this myself.  Can you make one that is a perfect “drop-in” fit for my guitar?
Unfortunately I do not make “drop-in” perfect-fit saddles right out of the package.   Some people sell saddles that are advertised to be a perfect fit right out of the box.  I prefer not to do business this way since all guitars are different, even within the same model line, and I cannot  guarantee that it will fit absolutely perfect without having the guitar in hand for final fitting, plus I have no way of knowing how well your original saddle fit.   For this reason I make ALL my saddles SLIGHTLY larger and allow the user to do the fitting to his/her guitar.  If you are uncomfortable doing it, check with your local guitar tech or luthier.  They should be able to do this for you for a nominal fee.   

One other option is to send me your original!  Copying your original will allow me to get it MUCH closer and minimize the amount of work it takes to fit. 

5.  My guitar is not listed on your website. Can I still get a saddle?
Yes. If I do not have your particular template, I will need your old saddle and I will construct a duplicate.   I understand that this can be extremely inconvenient, so your order will be given full priority, and in almost every case, be shipped out to you the day after your old saddle is received. Your old saddle will also be returned in the condition it was received. If you send it in, PLEASE PUT IT IN A PADDED ENVELOPE and include a note indicating what you want done as well as contact information.  Even on the copies, I still oversize them slightly and it will still have to undergo final fitting, although I make these a lot closer than my standard saddles, so the total amount of work to fit it to your instrument will be quite a bit less!

6.  What is your return policy?
Unfortunately I cannot accept returns on any product that has undergone fitting, sanding, modification or installation. If it appears that something was constructed improperly, return the product, and I will offer a refund, or replacement.  On any custom ordered products where you provide dimensions the same applies unless the dimensions end up being incorrect.  "Measure twice, cut once," says Home Depot.

7.  I've heard that natural material saddles such as bone and ivory can be inconsistent and have dead spots.  Is this true?
The "dead spots in bone saddles" myth/conspiracy theory started about the time of the internet.  Imagine that.   That said, can two natural material saddles be inconsistent-sounding from one to the next?  Sure they can.....but only if your saddle is constructed from inferior quality materials.  All the materials I use are the best available. Period.  I do not have consistency problems with any of the materials I use or  products I sell.  Every blank that ends up as a completed saddle, nut or pin is thoroughly inspected  before it becomes your finished product. 

8.  I've heard that unbleached bone is better sounding than bleached bone.  What gives?
First, let's clear up some confusion based on a play on words.  We simply call the bone that is cleaned and whitened...."bleached."  WE DO NOT use bleach to whiten the bone.  If you clean and whiten your bone with bleach, it will be destroyed.   A lot of the bone out there is prepared this way as it is a fast, cheap and easy way to whiten bone. This is where the confusion comes from as these pieces do not perform as they should, typically have incredible sonic degradation and do not last, as the bone becomes weak and brittle.  

If you whiten your bone with the proper solvents, as we do, it does absolutely ZERO harm to the piece and it will sound identical.   The only difference is the color.   I do keep a small amount of unbleached bone laying around, simply because some people like the aged, natural look.

9.  What's up with the claims the "TUSQ is better than bone" as far as saddle materials go.  The people who make it seem to be pretty convinced, and even have sound files and graphs to prove it!   Plus, some large manufacturers use it for their standard material.
1.  The big manufacturers use it simply because it is the most cost effective solution when you are making 50,000 +  guitars per year.   If I owned a company that large I'd probably use it for my standard material too.  It's just smart business.    On a side note, it's not the material these manufacturers typically choose for their ultra-high end models.

2.  Here's a good test.  Check around with the most elite luthiers you can find...  the ones that make 8, 10, 12, 15 thousand dollar (or more)  hand-built instruments.  You'll be hard pressed to find even one that does not use bone as the standard material for their nuts and saddles.  Why?  Because it's the best overall material and has been THE industry standard on stringed instruments for over a century.  It's also no surprise that most of these builders also offer ivory components as optional upgrades.   I love their parts on my PRS electric, but I'm just not a fan of plastic on any acoustic guitar.

10.  What difference will bone or ivory bridge pins make on my guitar?
Very good question...  and one that elicits more anxiety, debate, childish internet guitar forum arguments and marital problems than any other question I get.   At long last you've come to the place for the correct answer. 

The bottom line:  If you are going to hear a difference with a pin swap, it will be with a harder material pin and typically in the sustain department.  ...and the results will absolutely vary from instrument to instrument.  There are some guitars that show absolutely NO difference with one pin or the next.  Some will show subtle differences and occasionally we'll find one that shows a significant, unarguable sonic difference.

Harmonics, overtones, brightness, more bass???  Yeah, maybe... some folks do find this to be true   ...but not enough for me to even mention or create a false expectation of what the pins do.  I always tell people if I had a definitive formula to determine what "your" results will be, I'd be a millionaire by now. 

Non-sonic differences:  Regardless of the above info, adding bone or ivory pins gives you a longer lasting component that in nearly every case, is of far better quality than factory-installed plastic or wood pins.   Bone and ivory pins are generally considered to be a nicer esthetic appointment as well.  I have a large number of customers and a few well known luthiers who simply use them because they look good and last a long time. 

11.  Do you make guitar nuts as well?
Yes I do.  I strongly recommend that if you want to simply order one from me, that you have a qualified technician or luthier install it!  Why? It is a much more complicated job requiring stricter tolerances and MUCH less room for error than a saddle installation. (See the general information section) Plus, the string slots need to be cut and the slot on the headstock needs to be groomed, all requiring a specialized set of tools to accomplish. Having said this, I will  be glad to make a nut for your instrument, but please understand that there will be a bit more work in finishing and dressing the nut for your particular guitar.  For nut installation I strongly suggest having your local luthier do the installation.

12.  Do you sell saddle and nut blanks?
Absolutely.  And unlike some other large-volume guitar part dealers, each piece is hand selected to make sure it is perfect and will result in a high-quality component for your guitar.

13.  I got my saddle and it already fits in the bridge slot with a lot of play. It’s too small! What’s up?
All bridge slots are different. I machine my saddles as close as possible on the “larger” side to minimize the amount of work you have to do. Lets say for example, your bridge slot is machined larger than normal, or is slightly worn or expanded from age. There exists a remote possibility your saddle will be too small. If this is the case, return the unmodified saddle and I will be happy to replace it with one that will work with your instrument!

14.  Bob, A guy in a guitar forum told me.....
The online forums at one time were VERY helpful places.  There was a wealth of info to be found, often times having some well known, heavy-hitters of the guitar building and repairing world as well as representatives from many of the larger manufacturers.    Those were the days.

Sadly, many of them have turned into overpopulated playgrounds filled with bad information, childish commentary and anonymous expertise from people who have absolutely no idea what they are talking about.  There are still a few good places left that are well-moderated, but they are few and far between.  As a result, I rarely, if ever involve myself with them anymore. 

The number of posts someone has on a guitar forum or how many guitars they own, does NOT directly equate their level of technical expertise.....so if you have a question about something you read, feel free to ask and I'll give you the right answer.   ...and not necessarily the one that ensures you buy something from me.   Giving it to you straight is the best thing for both of us.  

I sincerely don't mean for FAQ #14 to sound like a smartass diatribe.  Ironically, my products are frequently discussed with rave reviews in every forum out there.   ...talk about "biting the hand that feeds you!"     But I continue to get many questions on a weekly basis that start with the title of this FAQ, so I wanted to address it.  Getting good online (accurate) technical guitar info is tough sometimes   ....and I'm always very happy for the opportunity to give you the facts.

 


Questions Call: (912) 882-1321 -- Ask for Bob!