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You Asked, We Answered:
Top FAQs about Our TUSQ Nuts, Saddles & Bridge Pins

May 08, 2017
Guitar makers and players from around the world agree...acoustic guitars come alive with TUSQ man-made ivory. TUSQ is simply more efficient at transferring the right vibrations and frequencies to your guitar top, resulting in big, open lows and clear, bell-like highs.

Guitar makers and players  from around the world agree...acoustic guitars come alive with TUSQ man-made ivory. TUSQ is simply more efficient at transferring the right vibrations and frequencies to your guitar top, resulting in big, open lows and clear, bell-like highs.

If you're a real techy person, and want to know what's going on with string vibration and guitar tone, please see our white paper “The Science of  Acoustic Guitar Tone Sound”.

Graph Tech Guitar Labs has the largest selection of Nuts and Saddles in the world. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about our TUSQ Nuts, Saddles, and Bridge Pins:

What is TUSQ made of?
TUSQ is a proprietary material which is precision engineered under high pressure and heat. It is specifically formulated to deliver the right frequencies with the optimum transfer rate to the top of your guitar every time. Because of its formulation and manufacturing process, TUSQ is rich in tone and harmonic content, beautiful to work with and consistent.

How is TUSQ different from any other material (bone, micarta, and corian) used in nuts and saddles?
TUSQ is a very rigid, resonant material. It increases a guitar’s  harmonic content by up to 200% in some frequencies. More of the right harmonics results in a richer tone, pristine highs and big, open lows. It's like the difference in hearing a 6-piece choir singing a chord to a 18-piece choir singing a chord. Secondly, it’s a consistent material, from piece to piece and within each piece, allowing every note you play to sound just as clear and full as the next. In comparison, bone has natural grains, which cause dead spots. These dead spots can dampen certain strings, notes  or frequencies on a guitar balance. While micarta and corian are a lot more consistent and cost-wise very low for manufacturers, they just don’t have the musicality or harmonic richness of TUSQ. 

Click here for more lab sound analysis charts.

Can I modify TUSQ to fit my guitar?
Due to TUSQ’s consistency, it is great to work with. Similar feel to bone or micarta, but without the hazards of chipping or flaking

What if the strings start to dig into the slots?
If you’re experiencing any kind of binding you can easily fold a piece of 200 Grit sandpaper and sand the notch off. Again, being a consistent material you can file / sand the nut / saddle and you will still be working with the same quality material.

What does TUSQ sound like on an electric guitar?
In comparison to our String Saver saddles, you will notice a peak in the 1K range with TUSQ saddles. You will hear your guitar reaching noticeably higher frequencies. Simply put, you will get a slightly brighter sound and increased harmonic content.

"TUSQ nuts and saddles have improved the sustain and clarity on all our guitars. We are using them on all our models." - Bob Taylor, President Taylor Guitars

Is TUSQ permanently lubricated with PTFE (Teflon)?
For electric guitars, we recommend using our TUSQ XL and Black TUSQ XL, which is impregnated with PTFE, so strings slide effortlessly back into tune after big bends and tremolo use.

Which manufacturers use TUSQ on their guitars?
It’s a big list….To see a list of all the major guitar manufacturers using TUSQ products on their guitars, click here.

What If I have an under-the-saddle pickup?
We have our patented micro-balance design TUSQ saddles, which make it easy to balance out any discrepancies in string pickup volume. Available in 12” and 16” radius.

Will TUSQ bridge pins improve my tone?
It depends on who you ask! Some of our customers feel bridge pins do nothing for tone; they buy them just for their beautiful appearance to complement their instrument. Other people will tell you they make a huge difference. We will defer to one of the highest profile quality guitar manufacturers in the United States, who wrote in an unsolicited assessment that TUSQ bridge pins "contribute to a discernible improvement in tone". TUSQ pins are very light, rigid, and resonant and therefore do not dampen the string vibration. Most people will find their guitar has a more lively sound, especially in the bottom end where the most energy is needed to create movement in the guitar body. A little test is to pluck a string and listen. Then pluck it again while holding onto the bridge pin with your will hear the difference. The added mass of your fingers will dampen and reduce your bass response. Another thing to remember is the vibration of the string does not stop at the saddle; it, in fact, vibrates in a teeter-totter motion over top of the saddle terminating at the pin. If a pin is not made of a light, stiff, resonant material, a lot of energy is dampened before it even gets to the body of the guitar.

How do I know if your bridge pins will fit my guitar?
We make TUSQ in two pin sizes, Traditional and Presentation, which are available in Black TUSQ and TUSQ with different installed dot materials. Most guitars use our Traditional pin size: Taylor, Martin, Art & Lutherie, Seagull, Norman, Simon and Patrick, Godin, Composite Acoustics.

Click here to go to our TUSQ bridge pin page.

To learn more about TUSQ Nuts, Saddles, and Bridge Pins, or to purchase your own, click here.