There are many more examples of my work in the "gallery" pages.

 

BONE SADDLES
Bone is the most common and least expensive aftermarket natural material used for saddles. It is denser than any of the synthetic materials and in nearly all cases displays an immediate, noticeable difference after installation. Most of the bone used in today’s guitar saddles comes from Chinese cows or ox.  Is a Chinese cow or ox better than American ones? Probably not, but their bones are cheaper. Additionally, there is no difference between the final product whether the bone came from one animal or the other.  NO animals are unnecessarily murdered just for the purpose of anyone’s guitars.  These are simply the byproducts of the beef industry.  Nearly every guitar in the higher price range ($2000.00 and up) will come with a bone saddle and nut as the standard material.  As I mentioned in the general information page, rarely if ever, will you find ANY hand made guitars in the extreme price ranges that do not come equipped with high quality bone components.  It is unquestionably the standard in that section of the industry.

Bone saddles are a bleached white color, and can occasionally have some darker “speckling” in the grain. Most saddles can also be ordered in what is known vintage bone.  The only difference between this and regular bone is the vintage bone is dyed to a "baby poop" yellow-brown color to give it an aged or vintage look. 

Bone is usually the first step people choose in an aftermarket saddle, as it is relatively inexpensive, and offers significant improvement over factory-installed components.  Bone increases clarity and sustain, provides better overtones, and provides a better high to low end balance.  It provides a much more “focused” high end and punchier low end,  and is not at all shrill like some plastic saddles render the guitar.  Additionally, bone will long outlast the factory installed plastic saddles.

All the saddles I carry are listed on the pricing/ordering page.  If yours is not listed, I can copy it (in nearly every case) out of any of these materials if you can send it in.

    
   
(vintage bone)
 
New bone long saddle made from hacked up original.  Definitely an improvement!
Alvarez bone saddle copied from original
Click on select images to see an enlarged view.

ELEPHANT IVORY SADDLES
Elephant Ivory has traditionally been a highly sought after material for guitar saddles, nuts and pins.  It is actually less dense than bone, although far less porous which gives the feel that it is harder.  Its consistency from piece to piece is spectacular.  It maintains the ability to polish like glass and has a beautiful off-white/tan/cream appearance with an elegant grain structure.  Elephant Ivory provides a more subtle high end than bone or walrus and does not give the same “aggressive” overtones, although the elephant still provides exceptional clarity and string responsiveness throughout the entire frequency range.  Elephant offers the best string-to-string “balance” of all the materials.  Elephant is by far the most popular choice for those with vintage instruments because of its ability to retain the warm characteristics of such instruments, as well as it's intrinsic "traditional" value.  Elephant is also a very popular choice on 12-string guitars, where balance and the need to not over-brighten the guitar is critical.  ALL the elephant ivory I use is fully documented and legal to buy, sell and ship within the United States only.

Reminder.... I cannot legally ship Elephant Ivory outside of the United States!

   
  Elephant Ivory set made for a 1957 Gibson J45  
Click on any of the thumbnail images to see an enlarged view.

   WEST AFRICAN HARD IVORY SADDLES

This is the hardest material that falls into the usable spectrum of densities for an acoustic guitar and is the ultimate material for maximizing the harmonic and overtone content of the instrument.  For this reason, West African hard ivory is by far the most popular material used by fingerstyle players or those who simply want the best high frequency response and clarity.  Sonically, it is the same as the fossilized walrus ivory, although being slightly harder, it is somewhat better for wear and tear.   Personally, I feel this is one of the best natural materials I have used for guitar parts and the material I use in nearly all my personal instruments.

It's important to note that this material is significantly different than the regular elephant ivory listed above.  Elephant Ivory or "soft ivory" makes up a vast majority of popular usage, while hard ivory is far more rare and used for tactile products such as chess pieces or other crafts that are often hand-held.

A note about your nuts:    Because of its hardness, this is unquestionably the BEST material I have ever come across for nuts and will endure the years of wear and tear this component normally experiences.  As with all the nuts I make, they come oversized with the string slots uncut and need to be installed by your local luthier or qualified technician, unless you have experience changing them..

Click on either image to see an enlarged view.

  

 

BRIDGE PINS:  Because of the rarity of hard ivory, as well as the fact that sonically speaking there is no discernable difference between the ivories in terms of pin material, all the elephant pins are made from the soft ivory.  I do however keep a small inventory of W. African pins at all times.  They are visually differ from soft ivory pins in that they have a more elegant grain. 

HISTORY and COOL INFORMATION: Hard Ivory came from smaller animals that lived in Western Africa and are referred to as “Forest Elephants.”  The tusks are smaller, lighter in color and are measurably more dense than standard elephant tusks.  The forest elephants of Congo and Liberia had very strict harvesting controls imposed by their respective governments, eliminating nearly all of the poaching.  This is one reason for the extreme rarity of this ivory.   Unlike other areas of Africa, they were overlooked by hunters as potential “trophy elephants” because of the diminutive size of their tusks.  Additionally, if these elephants were legally hunted for any purpose, one tusk was allowed to be retained by the permit holder, the other was required to be turned into the government.  For this reason it is nearly impossible to find these tusks in pairs, which adds to its rarity.  Much of this material I currently have came from tusks which were exchanged as gifts (legally) between U.S. and African dignitaries in the early 20th century, and eventually sold at estate sales.

As with the soft elephant ivory, ALL the material I purchase is legally obtained through licensed ivory dealers and in keeping with all standing laws.

West African Hard Ivory nut on a 1981 Flying V

Reminder.... I cannot legally ship Elephant Ivory outside of the United States!



FOSSILIZED WALRUS IVORY, ELEPHANT and BONE

BRIDGE PINS

There are a lot of myths and arguments about the sonic effectiveness of the pins.  Here's the truth.   On some guitars, the pins have produced definable, measurable and unquestionable  acoustic advantages.  On others the results showed negligible difference.  Most customers find "some" difference.  In any case, you're putting a better quality, longer lasting, better looking component in your guitar.  The most commonly found attribute of the pins is increased sustain. 

I always try to keep the most popular sizes in stock with as many inlay options as possible, but it's impossible for me to carry every combination.  The pins are most commonly carried in 3mm or 4mm ebony, abalone, faux tortoise or NO inlay   I also stock some custom double-inlays as well. 

 

BONE BRIDGE PINS:   A lower cost alternative to their ivory counterpart, although sonically speaking, they are identical. They are fairly unassuming in appearance, but still offer a nice improvement over factory-installed plastic or wood pins.

I also make these in a "vintage dyed" appearance.  These pins spend about a week in a dye that results in a pin that simply looks old.  It's hard to make thousands of dyed pins that come out looking exactly the same, so there is variation between the sets..  from gently dyed, to dark and speckled and looking VERY old.  Everyone likes something a little different so I'll be happy to let you know what I have available at the time, and send any pictures of specific sets if needed.

There are always sets that don't make the final cut in appearance (both non-dyed and dyed), and I keep them aside and discounted as "factory seconds."  There are usually a number of size 1 and size 2A pin sets in stock, and I'll be happy to let you know what's available, as it changes constantly.  This is a convenient way to give some fully functional, ugly ducklings a home and save some $$!

ELEPHANT IVORY PINS:  Comes only in the standard creme color, the standard coloration of nearly all elephant ivory. 

WEST AFRICAN HARD IVORY PINS:  Nicer grain than the elephant, same standard creme color.  I normally have a limited number of these on hand in standardized sizes. 

FOSSILIZED WALRUS IVORY PINS:   The Walrus pins come in a multitude of beautiful colors and patterns.  I keep photographs of every set in stock, but do not keep them listed on this site as they come and go so frequently.  Please let me know, and I will send you any pictures you need..  tell me what size too, so I send you the right pictures!   One thing to keep in mind with this material is each set is unique and they come in MANY colors and variations.  I get a lot of requests for matching saddles, nuts, endpins, etc.   It's very difficult to always accommodate this, but I will do the best I can to get you the best match possible.   

BUFFALO HORN BRIDGE PINS:   Buffalo horn pins are more dense than ebony or plastic pins, but not as dense as bone or ivory.  Buffalo horn pins are great for someone who really does not want to change the appearance of a guitar normally equipped with ebony pins, in that the buffalo horn is black.  You probably won't find a big sonic difference, but they will outlast factory installed components, and look darn nice as well.  Contrary to popular belief, these pins are not "bowling ball" black.  They are indeed black, but have wisps of lighter grain through portions of the material giving it a very natural look.    

 

*A note about bridge pin fit and proper sizing!

My pins are sized for the maximum size found to fit your guitar.  I have to size the pins in this manner as all instruments are slightly different.  These may require some sanding of a few thousandths along the stem to fit them perfectly to your pin holes.  Reaming the pinholes to fit the pins is for some, a better option, and results in the best fit.  

Bridge pins come in billions of sizes.  Well, it's not that bad, but there are quite a few and unfortunately I can't carry that many sizes in stock.  Luckily, many of the larger manufacturers such as Taylor, and Martin use a standard size bridge pin.  Some of the smaller makers do as well.  Some manufacturers use different size pins on the same guitars.  For this reason, I have developed as best I can, a sizing chart for many manufacturers as shown below. 


Click on any of the images below to see an enlarged view

 

Bone Bridge Pins

   

Double Inlay, Ebony/Abalone             Double inlay, Faux Tortoise/Abalone

 

                

3mm abalone                         3mm faux tortoise                       3mm ebony

 

   
4mm abalone                         4mm faux tortoise                       4mm ebony

 

 TRADITIONAL DYED BONE PINS

   -  These are designed to replicate a naturally aged pin.  Designed to look OLD!

   -  Available in ebony, abalone faux tortoise or NO inlay,    Size 1, 1T, 1.3T &  2A

   -  Call or email for pics... the inventory changes constantly!      

   -  Prices range from $25 - $37       Sorry...no custom sizes!

   

UNIQUELY DYED BONE PINS

   -  These are all one-of sets.  Designed to look unique and/or match up to a top-color!

   -  Three basic color patterns:  Amber, Brown & Red

   -  Available in ebony, abalone or NO inlay,    Size 1, 1T, 1.3T &  2A

   -  Call or email for pics... the inventory changes constantly!      

   -  Prices range from $25 - $45       Sorry...no custom sizes!

   -  More info and pics can be found here:  DYED PIN PAGE

 

Amber 

     

  

 

Brown

  

  

Red

  

 
 
 

Elephant & W. African Hard Ivory Bridge Pins

 

  

 

Fossilized Walrus Ivory Bridge Pins

 

Premium dark walrus pins used by Jim Olson for a number of his beautiful instruments
 
 
 
Buffalo Horn Bridge Pins
    

 

Here are some helpful sizing & application charts:

BRIDGE PIN SIZES & DIMENSIONS

Size Taper angle Underskirt diameter Slotted? Notes
 1 3 Degree .210" Yes Can use 1T for these guitars
 1T 3 Degree .210" Yes Same as size 1 but with slot cut through skirt
 1.3T 3 Degree .203" Yes Round head design, slot cut through skirt
         
         
2A 5 Degree .220" Yes Unslotted available for Martin modification
2C 5 Degree .215" Yes Sits lower on most Martins
4.2C 5 Degree .223" No .223" for Bourgeois and Collings
 

BRIDGE PIN APPLICATIONS

Guitar Pin Size(s) Used Notes
Alvarez various Need measurements as shown in diagram below
Avalon Size 1  
Blueridge Size 1T or 1.3T  
Bourgeois Size 4.2C Normally cut to .223" underskirt to match manufacturers pin
Breedlove Size 1.3T  
Collings   after 2002 Size 4.2C Normally cut to .223" underskirt to match manufacturers pin
Collings   before 2002 Size 1  
Epiphone various Need measurements as shown in diagram below.
Fender various Need measurements as shown in diagram below
Gibson Size 1T, 1.3T, or 2A Need measurements as shown in diagram below.
Goodall Size 1 Underskirt is normally about .205"  A size 1 can be fit, although sometimes a 1.3T will work fine depending on guitar
Guild various Need measurements as shown in diagram below
Huss & Dalton Size 1.3T Occasionally I'll find a size 1T on these, but not all that often.
Ibanez various Need measurements as shown in diagram below
Kronbauer Size 1  
Larrivee Size 1 You can also use a size 1T
Martin  after 1994 Size 2A Will require some degree of fitting, particularly on newer models.  Pins stick up from factory...  so do mine.
Martin  before 1994 Size 1 On ANY old Martin, it's best to check first..  many of these guitars have been modified over the years
Maton Size 1.3T  
Morgan Size 1  
Olson Size 1 Underskirt is normally about .205"  A size 1 can be fit, although sometimes a 1.3 will work fine depending on guitar
Santa Cruz Size 1  
Seagull Size 1T or 1.3T Newer models work better with the size 1T.  Size 1.3T otherwise
Tacoma Size 1T Same as a size 1, but with the string slot cut through the skirt
Takamine  various Need measurements as shown in diagram below
Taylor Size 1 You can also use a size 1T
Washburn  various Need measurements as shown in diagram below

What size pin do I need?   How do I measure them?

Good Question!  Many guitars, as listed in the above chart use a standard size pin.  In that case, life is good.  On the other hand,  many manufacturers use varying sizes of pin, and often order pins in bulk, simply fitting what they get to the instrument. 

In this case we need two points of information to get you the correct pin, or make you a custom size if necessary.  To take measurements accurate enough for a correct fit, you'll really need a dial or digital caliper for step 2 of this!

1.  Is the pin slotted and does the slot continue through the skirt or stop below it?

2.  Measure your pin at the following two locations shown in the diagram.  As mentioned above, it is IMPORTANT that these measurements be done with a dial/digital caliper, or other device that will give you the dimension in decimal form to the thousandth  (.210" for example).   Measure in the two places indicated, the lower measurement exactly .750" (3/4") below the top.  This will give us the size of the pin as well as the ability do some math and figure out the taper angle.

Lastly, PLEASE ensure your measurements are correct !  If in doubt, it's always best to make them slightly oversized and fit them to the guitar. 


NUTS
I can manufacture nuts out of any of the abovementioned materials.  In nearly all cases, the effectiveness of the nut in changing the sonic qualities of your instrument is negligible, although there are certainly a number of circumstances in which you may want to install a new nut on your guitar.  As I have pointed out in other areas of this website, it is my strong recommendation to have your nut installed by an experienced technician or luthier!  Installation of a nut requires a certain degree of experience as well as specialized tools. Even if I construct an EXACT duplicate of the factory-installed nut on your guitar, there will still be a greater degree of “finish work” as compared with the saddle.  Nuts come with the final shaping done, but oversized and with the string slots uncut. 

ENDPINS AND STRAP BUTTONS

I carry the standard, 5 degree tapered endpins (.310" underskirt diameter) and strap buttons in  elephant and walrus ivory as well as a limited selection in bone.  I have a number of inlay selections for each material, and current photographs of the elephant or walrus sets are always on hand for your review. 

Click on any of the images to see an enlarged view.
        
Walrus strap buttons and endpins

Bone endpins


  GUITAR PICKS

 

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