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TUSQ
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Ken C

Total Topics: 30
Total Posts: 558
Got ambitious and replaced my OMC's nut, saddle, and bridge pins with Graph Tech's Tusq. Not sure what my kit shipped with. The nut could have been bone, but the saddle and pins were sort of plasticy. What a change...Wow! Have you guys used this Tusq stuff yet? I cannot believe the sustain I get now, and the guitar also has some very cool overtones.

I had installed a Fishman Natural I under the saddle pickup in my OMC, and the Tusq really transmits the energy. So far I am a believer!

Ken

Aug 08, 08 | 4:40 am
Ken Hundley

Total Topics: 40
Total Posts: 2169
I haven't used it yet, I may have to try it.....I have strictly stuck with bone. I was just recently gifted a Corona special edition Fender mahogany and spruce acoustic, with their typical overmade plstic nut and saddle. Maybe I should convert the two......

Aug 08, 08 | 6:00 am
Bill Cory

Total Topics: 158
Total Posts: 3584
Tusq is a good substitute for bone, especially if you're using a UST pickup. Bone sometimes has areas of relative hardness and softness that can create stronger or weaker notes when plugged in. That's why Taylor uses Tusq exclusively, and Martin uses Corian for the same reason.

I still prefer the sound of bone when not plugged in, but it's a close, close call.

Bill

Aug 08, 08 | 6:22 am
Ken Cierp

Total Topics: 58
Total Posts: 2262
From the rumor mill --- I have read that "Tusq" is just "Corian" re-label, re-packed I have always used bone or "Corian" so I never bothered to follow up. Is there a Tusq manufacturing plant or lab somewhere? I think Martin was/is using "Corian".

Ken

www.kennethmichaelguitars.com

Aug 08, 08 | 6:47 am
Ken Cierp

Total Topics: 58
Total Posts: 2262
I think this is the stuff Martin is using for saddles these days

Ivory paper Micarta® when finished to a high polish
looks a lot like real ivory without the cracking and
expense of real ivory. Handle sets (1 pair of 5/16" X 1 1/2" X 5")
Price $8.75

Ken


Aug 08, 08 | 7:35 am
Bill Cory

Total Topics: 158
Total Posts: 3584
Both "Tusq" and "Corian" are trademarks for the use of a generic material -- just like the HPL (High Pressure Laminate) used in certain Martin models is also a material used for countertops, of which Formica is one trademarked brand. In that respect, Tusq and Corian are basically the same.

There is a "Tusq" manufacturing plant/lab: The website is http://www.graphtech.com/ .

Bill

Aug 08, 08 | 8:38 am
jeremy3220

Total Topics: 29
Total Posts: 242
I'm late to the discussion but in the few guitars I've swapped saddles between tusq and bone the better sounding of the two was always bone. The other thing about Tusq is that it's softer than bone and string grooves form in the saddle much faster.

Sep 01, 08 | 2:38 pm
Bassman

Total Topics: 0
Total Posts: 2
Tusq and Corian are not the same thing.

May 22, 09 | 11:52 pm
Ken Cierp

Total Topics: 58
Total Posts: 2262
The thing about Tusq – it’s a synthetic material – plastic – of some kind, that is supposed to be ivory or bone “like” ---- while there are surely many differences among the synthetics currently used, it appears (unscientific of course) that most of the internet hits conclude natural ivory or bone are still the best sounding materials (and that is totally subjective). I have no opinion and will continue use bone in the KMG “Success Kits”.

Ken

Kenneth Michael Guitars est. 1978

May 23, 09 | 7:00 am
Bill Cory

Total Topics: 158
Total Posts: 3584
According to some of the professionals, bone takes precedence in the absence of a pickup, but a synthetic like Corian or Tusq, being more consistent in its density, works better with under-saddle transducers. That same thing would not apply when using a bridgeplate pickup like a K&K Mini.

Still, I prefer bone overall.

May 23, 09 | 7:30 am
Herman

Total Topics: 38
Total Posts: 480
On my Ovation with a Fishman Matrix natural undersaddle pickup I tried a plastic, a Tusq and a bone saddle. The bone-one sounded best to me. And I stick with that.
BTW: The tusq saddle developed quite soon grooves under the strings.

May 23, 09 | 7:53 am
Ken C

Total Topics: 30
Total Posts: 554
Both sounded pretty good on mine, but I did notice some improvement from the fishman matrix with the tusq. My experience is based on one guitar. I switched to the Tusq when a local luthier told me the pickup would work better with Tusq. So far no regrets; however, I am using bone on the OM and SJ.

Ken

May 23, 09 | 1:32 pm
Bassman

Total Topics: 0
Total Posts: 2
Corian sounds good and I don't think you get any *better* sounding than that, just *different* sounding with other materials.

What's nice about Corian, is you go to a countertop fabrication shop, get some free scraps, and then the pressure is low when you screw up a nut, because you just make a new blank from your free material supply, and keep doing it until you get a perfect one.

Now, take a single blank you paid at least a couple bucks for, and the screw-ups don't make you chuck it as easily. That's when you start saying to yourself that maybe the super-glue baking soda fix is perfectly fine.

Anyway, Corian is stone or marble dust bonded tightly together with acrylic, built to take the abuse of metal frying pans banging on a counter-top made of the stuff. Patented by Dupont, I guess. Tusq is some secret special blend, intended from the start to be "dialed in" for a musical instrument.
If you drop a tusq blank onto a hard surface, it sounds quite close to what a piece of glass being dropped would sound like. Bone and Corian sound more dull than that, when dropped onto a hard surface.
I'm not a fan of trying to get the open strings to sound as bright as possible, so I've found *tone-wise* that even the cheapest hollow nuts actually provide a perfectly acceptable tone, although I've mainly happened to have experience with those, when using such a cheap nut as a temporarly "stand in", until I fitted a better one on there, but I became aware of what I was hearing.


May 24, 09 | 2:39 am
blues creek guitars Authorized Martin Repair Ctr

Total Topics: 52
Total Posts: 1011
Martin is using bone for the higher end guitars and tusq on the lower end. They are both an acceptable material.

May 24, 09 | 3:18 am
Kevin Sjostrand

Total Topics: 84
Total Posts: 981
I have been using Micarta for many years for knife handles, the the white paper micarta does look very nice polished up, and, it is quite hard, at least as much as bone. There is also an "Ivory" micarta available that has the slightly yellow cast and a bit of grain in it. That might make a really nice looking set of nut and saddle. I also have black paper micarta which on the right wood combo could look really sweet.

Kevin

May 24, 09 | 9:20 pm
Ken Cierp

Total Topics: 58
Total Posts: 2262
I believe that Martin swithed from Micarta to the Tusq because the Tusq can be "pre-molded" to a givien shape and dimensions, like compensated saddles and slotted nuts. Micarta and the Corian brand plastic have to be carved just like bone or ivory. To me that would suggest that moving to Tusq by the factories has much more to do with labor savings than any other factor.

Ken

Kenneth Michael Guitars est. 1978

May 25, 09 | 4:37 am
Tuneful

Total Topics: 3
Total Posts: 47
If you want to use some really crazy hard plastic, you will want to go with the G5/G9 grade of Melamine.
That's THE hardest plastic in the industry.


Aug 27, 09 | 8:37 pm



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