Username: Password:

Author Topic: Saddle Experiments - Best material???  (Read 38500 times)

Offline newlywashed

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 74
    • View Profile
Saddle Experiments - Best material???
« on: January 18, 2007, 12:24:25 PM »
I figured it might be time to start up a new topic on this...Check out the last few on the Sub $300?? post to get you started if you haven't been following along..Plastic, Resin, Bone, Metal, Carbon Fiber? What'll it be? Dreadman and dlovegrove seem to be the pros in this subject...
 

Offline Dreadman

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4163
    • View Profile
    • G-Tech Guitar Works
Saddle Experiments - Best material???
« Reply #1 on: January 18, 2007, 01:01:26 PM »
Excellent Washed. I was thinking the same thing.

Dreadman
My Guitars
Dreadman

The easiest way to make people believe you are a good man is to be a good man.

Offline Pike

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8745
    • View Profile
Saddle Experiments - Best material???
« Reply #2 on: January 18, 2007, 01:18:17 PM »
I like bone or tusq. You can click the various saddle materials against your teeth, the one with the highest ping will give you the brighter sound. Bone will ping just a little higher than tusq.
 

Offline Dreadman

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4163
    • View Profile
    • G-Tech Guitar Works
Saddle Experiments - Best material???
« Reply #3 on: January 18, 2007, 01:22:14 PM »
quote:
Originally posted by dlovegrove

You are right that it's hard to work with in a casting environment. The best way is to mix milled carbon fiber into powdered thermoresins, then melt & inject - a technique I can't quite pull off in my kitchen. While it's not as strong as laminating sheet fabric, the numbers are amazing - it adds an immense amount of strength to the plastic.

After reading up a little, it looks like I can stir finely chopped fiber into the resin and pour, but with an increase in the chance of introducing air bubbles. It's worth a shot, at least. I'll look around for a source for fiber.

I didn't think of milled CF. That makes sense, in a very high concentration. How about an inexpensive pastry bag for injecting? Not very high pressure but it's some and should keep the air bubbles to a minimum.

Dreadman
My Guitars
Dreadman

The easiest way to make people believe you are a good man is to be a good man.

Offline newlywashed

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 74
    • View Profile
Saddle Experiments - Best material???
« Reply #4 on: January 18, 2007, 01:56:49 PM »
I never heard of using carbon fiber like that - only in sheets. I've learned something I guess.

If you're going through the efforts, how about looking around for some place with a pressure chamber and rotocast machine? I'm sure somebody would be willing to help do it right.

Once you find some options...throw them in a bag with a label and send some off to Dave at RGGmusic? People might be interested enough!
 

Offline evenkeel

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1899
    • View Profile
Saddle Experiments - Best material???
« Reply #5 on: January 18, 2007, 02:46:38 PM »
If you want to experiment with exotic fibers for saddles e.g.  kevlar, carbon, boron, etc..  the marine world is a good place to look for the stuff.  Racing yachts and even some production boats are now using carbon fiber, kevlar composite hulls and masts.  Incredibly strong, stiff, very low weight and mass.  Energy transfer is a particular strength of carbon and kevlar.  I've known repairs done by chopping carbon mat into a epoxy resin.  Amazingly strong, light stuff.  Aluminum powder is another commonly used material that's suspended in epoxy.

Dread, dlovegrove if any of this is of interest, I can get you more info/source.
 

Offline nogin007

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2100
    • View Profile
Saddle Experiments - Best material???
« Reply #6 on: January 18, 2007, 04:48:15 PM »
Reading this topic gave me a thought. Anyone know what Rainsong uses for saddles in their guitars? Their guitars are made from carbon fiber, and I thought if it was better they might have already put it into use. I don't know, just a thought.
 

Offline just strum

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3498
    • View Profile
Saddle Experiments - Best material???
« Reply #7 on: January 18, 2007, 06:10:35 PM »
quote:
Originally posted by nogin007

Reading this topic gave me a thought. Anyone know what Rainsong uses for saddles in their guitars? Their guitars are made from carbon fiber, and I thought if it was better they might have already put it into use. I don't know, just a thought.



I checked there website and all their guitars list:

Tusqâ„¢ Nut, saddle. Abalone inlaid, Tusqâ„¢ bridgepins.


Mark

http://www.washburn.com/forum/pop_profile.asp?mode=display&id=6645


 

Offline dlovegrove

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 57
    • View Profile
    • http://www.planetlovegrove.com
Saddle Experiments - Best material???
« Reply #8 on: January 18, 2007, 06:41:05 PM »
Nogin - Rainsong uses Tusq. That's a fascinating point.
Evenkeel - although aluminum is commonly used, I think it will hurt the sound. I'm pretty sure the final product needs some porosity - that's why  the discussion turned to additives like powdered ceramic.
Newlywashed - I was hoping to avoid having to seek out rotocasting equipment since I'm just doing one-off tests for now. If a given mix indicates a lot of promise, then I'll move up. Right now I'm doing way to much guessing. My expertise is visual arts, not material science!
Pike - My original intent was to find a way to mold a decent Washburn acoustic saddle replacement, so that a beginner like me has an option that doesn't involve a) spending lots of money or b) handcrafting one. We all like bone saddles but it's hard to produce cheaply or in quantity (unless Dreadman gets his cool duplicator off the drawing board). Tusq saddles are decent, but I can't buy an off-the-shelf Tusq replacement for my Washburn (that I know of).
David




Offline just strum

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3498
    • View Profile
Saddle Experiments - Best material???
« Reply #9 on: January 18, 2007, 06:52:18 PM »
quote:
Originally posted by dlovegrove
Tusq saddles are decent, but I can't buy an off-the-shelf Tusq replacement for my Washburn (that I know of).

David




David,

What Washburn do you own that you don't believe you could find an off-the-shelf tusq saddle?

I've tried both tusq and bone and I didn't have favorable results with the tusq.  I don't remember which guitar I installed the tusq saddle, but I remember that I took it out after a couple of days and replaced it with bone.  To me there was just a better sound with bone.

Mark

http://www.washburn.com/forum/pop_profile.asp?mode=display&id=6645


 

Offline Dreadman

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4163
    • View Profile
    • G-Tech Guitar Works
Saddle Experiments - Best material???
« Reply #10 on: January 18, 2007, 07:25:11 PM »
Strummy - In my experience all Washburn acoustic saddles have the same exact compensation profile as well as length and width dimensions (12 strings too). I've also searched high and low for exact duplicates with no luck. Tusq sells some for Washburns so I ordered one but it's not correct, compensation-wise. I even tried Washburn (looking for a small quantity in the better material for another project) but it would've been a special order from Korea to get them.

It looks like we're on our own but between David and I there should be quite a selection available eventually.

Dreadman
My Guitars
Dreadman

The easiest way to make people believe you are a good man is to be a good man.

Offline spt

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 869
    • View Profile
Saddle Experiments - Best material???
« Reply #11 on: January 18, 2007, 09:04:46 PM »
I've thought of casting saddles (when my jeweller friend was still alive and I had easy access to a kiln) but I was more interested in ceramics than CF composites, somehow... Finish work is the tough part here, particularly with hand tools only.

My knowledge of CF is limited but are there resins hard enough to withstand the grinding or cutting action of the strings? Or would it be necessary to use a metal (or other hard material) insert on the contact edge?

So far, I have experimented with bone, ivory, fossilized ivory, mother of pearl, sterling, brass and Lignum Vitae (wood) saddles. I'm not done experimenting yet but I must say I would be the first surprised if I found something that beats bone.

Bone:
http://www.madaboutguitars.com/viewtopic.php?t=64

Fossilized ivory:
http://www.madaboutguitars.com/viewtopic.php?t=63

MOP:
http://www.madaboutguitars.com/viewtopic.php?t=69

Lignum Vitae:
http://www.madaboutguitars.com/viewtopic.php?t=66

My nut and saddle toolbox:
http://www.madaboutguitars.com/viewtopic.php?t=70
« Last Edit: January 18, 2007, 09:06:44 PM by spt »
 

Offline dlovegrove

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 57
    • View Profile
    • http://www.planetlovegrove.com
Saddle Experiments - Best material???
« Reply #12 on: January 18, 2007, 09:46:49 PM »
SPT, glad to see your work (which is beautiful in its precision, by the way). Honestly, I'm not trying to beat bone. My goal is to produce an inexpensive option to the soft plastic stock saddle on the normal Washburns. When an additive like powdered porcelain is added to resin, the finished hardness actually measures much higher than bone.

You mentioned that you have experimented with ivory (as opposed to fossilized ivory) - elephant? And you still found the bone to be preferrable? It seems like conventional wisdom holds elephant ivory to be the ultimate. I've thought about buying a small slab of the legal old stuff to check out the characteristics.

Your results still point in the direction of my general theory: the characteristics that define a good saddle are hardness, density, and porosity. The MOP, sterling, and brass would all lack porosity; the wood lacks hardness and density.

By the way, Newlywashed wondered about different types of bone in the other thread. I've checked the numbers, and it looks like we use cow femur for a reason. To get a better bone you have to move up to large exotic animals, which is either cost-prohibitive or illegal.
David




Offline spt

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 869
    • View Profile
Saddle Experiments - Best material???
« Reply #13 on: January 18, 2007, 10:10:20 PM »
Hey David, don't worry, I'd be delighted if bone was beat with something I personally like and can find easily... Porcelain powdered resin sounds interesting. Keep me posted if you do use it.
I really believe ivory has a particular mystique because of the ban. It IS a nice material and I wouldn't hesitate to use it if I had a good supply of legal ivory, from any animal but elephant. Like the fossilized ivory that I had (softest of the 3, BTW), ivory has a silkier tone than bone. It also has a peculiar sheen...
I'd be curious to know the hardness and density of Lignum Vitae. This stuff is really something, heavier and harder than ebony. It is also a naturally oily wood, near impossible to glue, which is really good for the nut because the strings slide on it.
You say hardness, density and porosity would be desirable. Wouldn't density and porosity work against each other?
Also, would you have a link showing the different Rockwell #s for various bones? Would love to see that.
Although it has been my experience that cow femur is very hard, I have no experience with other types of bone.
 

Offline dlovegrove

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 57
    • View Profile
    • http://www.planetlovegrove.com
Saddle Experiments - Best material???
« Reply #14 on: January 18, 2007, 11:27:10 PM »
I can't find hardness numbers on Lignum Vitae, but it's density is widely reported as 1.09 g/cc; compare to 2.06 for cow femur and  2.69 for aluminum.

Yes on density/porosity working against each other, but I think that conflict is in our favor. Here are my major data points, crudely summarized:
 

  • Dense, soft materials like lead don't conduct/transmit vibrations well at all.

  • Dense, hard materials conduct vibrations very well.

  • Dense, hard materials (e.g., brass) are widely reported to sound too bright. Theory: they conduct high/fast vibrations too well.

  • Bone is dense and hard, thought not nearly as much so as the metals, but doesn't sound too bright.

  • A ceramic saddle is more dense and hard than brass, yet doesn't sound too bright.

That leads to the key question: what do bone and ceramics have in common that isn't density or hardness, to make them both sound better?
My theory: their porosity. I'm thinking that the voids are damping the higher vibrations, resulting in a sound more in tune with the natural vibrations of the wood top, thus sounding more natural to our ears. There are several powdered materials than can be added to resin which bring characteristics of both porosity and additional hardness; powdered ceramics or calcium carbonate are examples. My hope is to find a mix that makes a suitable replacement for bone, yet is easily cast for faster production.

If that theory is correct, it might be that true ivory actually does sound better than bone - because the voids in ivory are much smaller and more organized than the voids in bone, resulting in more consistent damping and the silkier tone.

My starting place for materials data is http://www.matweb.com. There are several other materials databases out there, but that one is most extensive.

One more time: this isn't my field of expertise. I'm just a sucker for a challenge.
David