Why Some Guitar Brands Use Plastic Saddles Instead of Bone

You may already know the benefits of bone saddles over inexpensive plastic ones. So why do some guitar brands use plastic instead of bone at the factory? Here are a few reasons.

Organic Material

Bone, like tonewood, is an organic material and will move subtly with humidity changes. This can require extra time sanding the saddle to fit the guitar, and increased technician time means increased costs. Plastic saddles on the other hand maintain consistent sizing and are easier to fit, which is ideal for a factory producing a large number of guitars.

Variations with Bone

As mentioned before, bone is an organic material and will vary subtly from saddle to saddle, and some bone saddles simply do not transmit tone well, requiring the saddle to be replaced. Guitar factories have enough problems with inconsistency of tonewoods, and so to be able to eliminate the saddle variation by using plastic saddles speeds up production. Additionally, natural bone variations can cause problems with transmitting to an undersaddle pickup. With MacNichol Guitars bone saddles, it’s very rare but sometimes one of our bone saddles simply does not transmit the acoustic tone well, or does not transmit well to an undersaddle pickup. If you purchase one of our saddles and are not entirely satisfied with the tone, though, we will provide a free replacement or full refund.


Plastic saddles are cheaper than bone saddles. For lower cost guitars that use inexpensive plastic saddles, this can add up to a significant savings. For guitars that use higher quality plastic saddle materials, such as Micarta or Tusq, the cost difference is less, but nevertheless helps reduce manufacturer costs.

Is a Bone Saddle Worth Your Time and Money?

Plastic saddles clearly provide benefits to manufacturers producing a large number of guitars. A manufacturer will save on the cost of each part plus half an hour of labor per guitar, which will add up to significant savings when producing a large number of instruments. So, is a bone saddle worth your time and money as an individual? Most likely the answer is yes. MacNichol Guitars bone saddles cost only slightly more than Tusq saddles do. Customers often report that installing one of our saddles takes about half an hour to an hour, but are pleased with the results. On the rare instances that one of our saddles doesn’t meet your expectations, we will provide a free replacement or full refund. To find the saddle needed for your guitar, please visit our Shop section.