The flatpicked guitar reviews database is here to help educate people before they purchase an instrument. Of course, this is not meant to be a substitute for playing the instrument yourself!
158 reviews in the archive.
Where Purchased: web site www.guitarsaddles.com
Bob Colosi's West African Ivory saddle was just what I needed for my Tacoma JR55 jumbo (rosewood back and sides) six-string guitar. After going back and forth between this and bone, I finally realize the benefits of this saddle. When you go to a jumbo instrument (like mine), you gain tone, complexity, and resonance, but at the cost of decreased brightness. Rosewood has some of this same difficulty; it has wonderful overtones and complexity, but doesn't tend to give the brightness that maple back and sides would give (maple lacks in the overtone/complexity area). I was considering selling this instrument, as it just wasn't quite bright enough. I re-installed the ivory saddle, after correcting a flatness problem I discovered on the bottom of the saddle (my error when I previously sanded to size...). The results were delightful! It dialed in the brightness that was lacking, without removing tone and complexity of sound.
This saddle is not for every instrument: If your guitar is already bright, this may make it just too bright. However, if you want to "dial-in" the tone on a guitar that is too warm / dark in tone, this may be a Godsend. For the price, it is a steal.
An added bonus: West African ivory is the hardest saddle material that is usable in the tonal range of the guitar. With this hardness, it should last a really long time!
This review supersedes my previous review for this item. (prior review has been removed and replaced with this one)
Note: The Bob Colosi saddles are made for your specific make of instrument. He deliberately makes them about .001 to 003" thicker than needed, and a bit of extra height. The buyer then sands down the saddle to the precise thickness for his specific instrument, so it will just slip in without forcing, but not have slop front & back. The height is then sanded to proper height, making sure your sandpaper is on a really flat surface! (that was my initial mistake...). use your old saddle as a guide, and dray a line across the bottom of the saddle where you want to sand it to. If you overdo it, you can salvage the saddle with an ebony shim from Bob Colosi. (yes, I have had to do that on other saddles too!). The ideal string height is 2mm for the high E string, and 3 mm for the low E string, at the 12th fret. I like to go to 2.5 mm for the high E, in case a groove wears in the saddle over time, and I need to sand it out.
A warning before I sign off... All bone and ivory saddles give the hazard of inhalation of the fine dust, which can supposedly lead to lung problems. The dust that gets into the lungs does not come out, and is not absorbed by the body. I do my saddle work outside. You should be cautious in this area, and use a face mask to be safe. Wash your clothes after the sanding job, and wash your hands. I am not offended by this risk factor, but it does need to be weighed into the equation.
I am thankful for the service Bob Colosi gives to the guitarists looking for ideal tone.
-Ken W in Portland, Oregon
Overall Rating: 10
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