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Old 02-17-2016, 01:32 PM
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Ed-in-Ohio Ed-in-Ohio is offline
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Default Taylor Guitar Nuts and Saddles: Tusq/Micarta vs. Bone?

More than any other manufacturer I know, Taylor really "walks the walk" when it comes to using artificial materials for their nuts and saddles. Even their top of the line production models in the 800 and 900 series have Tusq Nuts and Micarta Saddles (though bone is offered as an option).

I'm curious how many owners of 800 and 900 series (or other) Taylor guitars either chose one with the bone option for nut/saddle, or upgraded to bone after market.
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Last edited by Ed-in-Ohio; 02-17-2016 at 02:31 PM.
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Old 02-17-2016, 01:42 PM
G_Sin G_Sin is offline
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Great question. To my knowledge, most, if not all, other high end makers use bone. This is not by accident. On the flip side, the folks at Taylor are not stupid. Like I said, great question.
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Old 02-17-2016, 01:52 PM
martingitdave martingitdave is offline
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I started a few threads about this in the past. I own 3 800 series. I fitted new bone saddles for each one after buying them. Now, 2 years later, they all use Tusq and Micarta. It sounds better on these guitars. My $0.02 (total speculation) is that guitars that have excess bass (and less treble) to start with sound better with bone, which emphasizes the upper register. I think guitars that are balanced to start with sound better with Tusq or Micarta, which I consider to be more tone "transparent." I think a great deal has to do with the voicing. As a practical matter, Taylor prefers the consistency of Micarta (they seem to have a new formulation) with their ES2 pickup system. In terms of emphasizing the upper register: Bone>Tusq>Micarta.
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Old 02-17-2016, 02:08 PM
steelerboy329 steelerboy329 is offline
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Both my 616ce and GS8e-12 were upgraded to a bone but/saddle after I received them. To me, it was an upgrade to both. My 562 will be upgraded to a west African hard ivory nut and an elephant ivory saddle before it even ships to me. That's what Bob Colosi recommended to me for a 12 string and if it works out well, I'll do the same for my other 12 string.
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Old 02-17-2016, 02:20 PM
Glennwillow Glennwillow is online now
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I own a 2002 Taylor 514CE that my wife bought me. That guitar was always a little thin sounding, so changing the Tusq saddle to bone has brought in some welcome bass to the sound of that guitar. I like it so much more now.

I did own a Taylor GS8, again a gift from my wife, and I switched that saddle from Tusq to bone and as a result mellowed out some of the harshness of the trebles on that guitar while adding a little bass. I later traded that guitar for a Taylor NS74CE, which I still own. The original Tusq saddle is still in the NS74CE.

I also own a Taylor 12-Fret from 2010. It has always had a great sound and I never had any interest in changing it, so I have left the original Tusq saddle in the guitar.

I have changed the Tusq saddle on my Voyage-Air VAOM-06 to bone, and that also mellowed the trebles and added bass and improved the tone for my tastes.

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Old 02-17-2016, 02:24 PM
bzl bzl is offline
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Added a bone saddle to my gs8. I thought it made the sound more even across the strings. Was a plus for me.
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Old 02-17-2016, 03:40 PM
sbeirnes sbeirnes is offline
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I put a bone saddle on my DN3 but switched back to the Tusq as I found it to sound warmer.
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Old 02-17-2016, 03:48 PM
PTC Bernie PTC Bernie is offline
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Default Nut/Saddle Material

As Taylor seems to offer everything standard with electronics it stands to reason that they'd use a man made material. Most people are of the opinion that the material is more consistent and gives a more balanced signal to the UST.

As it's rare that I play amp'ed I tend to replace all of the artificial nuts and saddles with bone or WAHI (of course from our good friend Bob Colosi, if you'll excuse the plug).

Like so much else in this obsession we share, it's a matter of personal preference.
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Old 02-17-2016, 04:34 PM
flaggerphil flaggerphil is offline
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I've kept the original nuts and saddles my Taylors have come with. I liked the sound with them so I felt no need to change them.
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Old 02-17-2016, 05:39 PM
jseth jseth is offline
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Most threads I have read about someone swapping out the nuts/saddles on their Taylors with bone have resulted in the player saying that they MUCH preferred the original nut and saddle compared to the bone ones... not all, but most... it probably depends upon the guitar and the player's tastes for tone...

Sometimes "upgrades"... aren't...
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Old 02-18-2016, 02:49 PM
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Like others I prefer bone or WAHI on my Taylors. I have done the swap on every Taylor I have owned and all have benefited from the change. The nut does not make much of a difference beyond durability but the saddle makes a big difference. Adds increased harmonics and usually sustain. I have never really perceived a difference in headroom, just the quality of the volume and how it ramps.

Taylor uses micarta for the saddles because it works well with the ES2 without tweaking. Bone or WAHI or whatever can work as well or better but it requires adjustment of the three screws to ensure the transducers are even on the material.

Cheap bone is a whole different bag of worms. The best test in my experience is to drop your saddle on a piece of marble or other hard stone and listen to the tone it makes. This tone will identify the quality of the saddle. If it chimes your golden, if it thunks or sounds dead then not good. FWIW Tusq does make a nice tone, not as nice as quality bone or WAHI. WAHI makes a heavenly tone.
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Old 07-07-2016, 10:39 AM
seamusknives seamusknives is offline
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Default Micarta saddle

I've had my Taylor 616 ( no electronics) now for a few months. The factory setup is good but can be improved on for fingerstyle, I think. I'm considering lowering the action just a bit by replacing the original micarta saddle with a new, slightly lower saddle. The consensus seems to be that Taylor uses the micarta saddle mostly to benefit their electronics due to it's consistency and density properties. Since I purposely went against the more common trend and have no electronics, would a bone saddle be an improvement?
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Old 07-07-2016, 12:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seamusknives View Post
I've had my Taylor 616 ( no electronics) now for a few months. The factory setup is good but can be improved on for fingerstyle, I think. I'm considering lowering the action just a bit by replacing the original micarta saddle with a new, slightly lower saddle. The consensus seems to be that Taylor uses the micarta saddle mostly to benefit their electronics due to it's consistency and density properties. Since I purposely went against the more common trend and have no electronics, would a bone saddle be an improvement?
If you are replacing the saddle my opinion is it should be replaced with a quality bone or better material. Tusq and Micarta are fine materials but are used because they are well suited for bulk production, and also for health reasons in the factory (its not healthy to breath bone dust).
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Old 07-07-2016, 12:54 PM
JohnCambo JohnCambo is offline
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Unlike previous posters, I find tusq to emphasize the highs more than bone, quite a bit too, have not tried micarta.

All of my bone nuts have given me a deeper tone, each to their own I suppose.
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Old 07-07-2016, 01:59 PM
Billitrippin Billitrippin is offline
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Both my 2001 and 2014 914ce's use Bone. I upgraded the 2001 to bone last month and love the tone it's now producing.

Taylor's switch to Micarta was to make mass production easier with their new ES2 system. As someone stated earlier, it was easier to set up without tweaking like sometimes needed with the bone saddles.
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