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Thursday, May 24, 2012

Putting Tusq By Graphtech Guitar Labs To The Test, ... (Review)

Reviewed By: Jac Harrison
Purchased from: Manufacturer
Street Price:
Nut $13.65 USD 
Saddle $39.95 USD

About: 
Tusq Nut & Saddle Upgrade
Tusq by Graphtech Guitar Labs is a synthetic alternative to animal bone used on stringed instruments at the points where the strings touch the instrument.


Installation
Replacing the nut or saddle on a stringed instrument can get tricky, so if you don't know how to setup a guitar have your local luthier do it for you.  
 
Guitar:  
Hand built archtop (by me)
Carved Sitka spruce top
Solid Indian Rosewood back and sides
3 piece maple neck
Rosewood fingerboard
2 way truss rod
Bigsby tremolo
 
*This guitar does not have a floating bridge. It is a standard "Tune-O-Matic" Nashville bridge. The guitar is a hollow body with a small block mounted under the bridge for added sustain.

This guitar (her name is Candy) has always had the Tusq products on her, as do all of my stringed instruments. So for this review I installed the typical Allparts nut and nickel saddles that you will find on most stock guitars that sell for less than $1,000 USD.
 

Sound
Amp:
Vox Pathfinder 15r 

Cable:
Mogami

Impression: 
There is a night and day difference between your stock string point of contact materiel and a verity of upgrades that are available. There are many different types of materials that you can use to brighten your sound, increase sustain, string voicing, volume, and longevity of your strings. I have used them all from animal bone, plastic, fiberglass, glass, wood, brass, horn, etc.  By far animal bone is the best natural material in my opinion, but with bone you have inconsistencies that compromise your tone and sustain. With the Tusq products I have found that you get everything that an animal bone product offers, without the inconsistency. I also find the Tusq product easier to work with.

The Sound Difference

Sustain
Stock nut and saddle - 8.9 seconds
Tusq nut and saddle -  13.4 seconds  

Tone 
Stock nut and saddle -  flat almost dead
Tusq nut and saddle -  rich with bell like qualities

Life of Strings (DR Pure Blues 11's)
Stock nut and saddle -  4 weeks of average play
Tusq nut and saddle -  7 weeks of average play 

My advice:
I use Tusq product on every stringed instrument I own. If you are happy with your guitar but want to make her sing clearer, louder, and hold those notes just a little longer; replace the points where your strings contact your instrument with Tusq. 

 
Contact
Graph Tech Guitar Labs 
#5-7551 Vantage Way
Delta, B.C. Canada
V4G 1C9
1-604-940-5353
 
Posted 04/2012