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I wonder...
I had been told as well as I had many times read bone nut and saddle was best on acoustics : better sound and sustain. So, when I had to work on my acoustics, I would put bone everywhere ! ;-)

But Seagull (as was Godin 5th Avenue) has Tusk and there was a Tusk ad in the gigbag pretending, with a diagram, that Tusk had better sustain than bone !

Made a rapid search on the net and found different opinions, one of them saying bone may have uneven sounding properties on the same piece. I even found another type of material (sorry, I do not remember which) could be better than Tusk or bone, but some would say it is finally a matter of taste.

While nut does not matter for fretted notes, the saddle is always important.

So my question is : Tusk, bone, anything else ??
 

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There's sustain and then there's sustain. How much do you need? I swear the rate of decay isn't even on all guitars, never mind the length of decay.

I find most Tusk a little shrill, I sometimes don't quite hear it right away and it may depend on the string age, room acoustics, my ears on certain days, fully playing a guitar's neck with various articulation techniques, chord voicings, etc. Generally though, a quality bone nut and saddle won't disappoint me. If a guitar with bone does disappoint me, it's not likely those things that are responsible.

I've tried horn on a couple of nylon strung guitars. It's marginally softer than bone and wouldn't do for steel strings in my opinion, but it was awesome on one particular classical.

To be fair to many factory guitars, their nuts and saddles aren't always perfectly seated. I know, the wood nowadays will be finely milled, but look at the bottom of stock saddles and you'll often find a rough surface that doesn't make great contact with the bottom of the slot.
 

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I like brass.
It's much, much warmer than other metals but still sustains and resonates very well.
It's not easy to find though and I haven't run it in quite a number of years.
I currently run continuously compensated saddles on both of my acoustics; one is bone and the other is Tusq.
I can't say I notice a difference worth mentioning and I have swapped them a couple of times just to see.
I think hardness in a saddle or nut is important but only up to a point.
Many years ago I had a very hard 400 series stainless steel saddle on a Sigma dreadnaught and it was a bit much.
It definitely brought some welcome crispness and liveliness to the guitar along with some small increase in volume but it was a bit bright for my taste.
I also think the saddle is more important to tone than the nut since it always comes into play regardless of where on the fretboard you are playing ... and because it is connected to the sound board.
Bone seems to be a half decent compromise between plastic and metal.
Again, I don't seem to notice a whole bunch of difference between bone and Tusq.
I suspect the inconsistency of bone, purported by the makers of Tusq may be, at least in part, a marketing ploy.
 

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I agree with On Board. No experience with tusk, but I have used brass and like the brightness for both saddle and nut. An open string isn't as bright as a fretted string, bone being softer than frets. Especially on nylon strings, crisper sounding trebles. If that is what you like. Having said that I usually use bone. Brass is more effort. Russ
 

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It really doesn’t matter, they both work just fine.

Some people can hear the difference, most cannot.

I salvaged a bunch of ebony, (black keys from a busted piano), I’m going to try some nuts and saddles from it.

Nathan
 

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It really doesn’t matter, they both work just fine.

Some people can hear the difference, most cannot.

I salvaged a bunch of ebony, (black keys from a busted piano), I’m going to try some nuts and saddles from it.

Nathan
Cool idea. Old piano parts can be useful, I gave some soundboard braces and soundboard parts to a builder once...very tight and straight grain. Lots of old pianos being offered for free these days.

Ebony works great for mandolin saddles, and I replaced a ukulele saddle with ebony once.
 

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I have some ebony bridge/saddle material for a classical gtr I have been building, looking forward to hearing how it sounds
 

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I find Tusq to be a bit "zingy" while bone is "warmer". Tone is subjective. I tend to prefer the sound of bone on my guitars when I've done head-to-head comparisons, but not always.
 

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On the guitars I’ve done saddle and nut switches on, ive found bone to be consistently more pleasing - a fuller, warmer, throatier sound with more resonance. Ive found tusk to have a little more perceived volume (probably due to increased treble and upper mids).

On open chording I would say it didn’t make as dramatic a difference if I left a tusq nut on when changing saddles.
 
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I have found over the years that the guitar will tell you which is better I have seen many folks who switched over to bone only to find that they did not like the new sound that the bone gave the guitar.
I put it in the same category as strings you have to experiment to coax the very best out of acoustics what works on this guitar may not work so well on another.
 
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