Regarding the parts of the guitar, the most important part, in the sound, is the top; but how are the strings and the soundboard linked?
The acoustic membrane is the harmonic face. It is one of the most important parts of the guitar.
In previous publications, we have already mentioned the importance of having always a top made of solid wood, because its vibration is fundamental. The low-cost instruments which have a soundboard made of laminated wood, have less vibration in this element. Therefore, the sound decreases.
If you have the opportunity to compare them, the result is really noteworthy.
However, in this case, the approach is how the sound of the strings is linked to the top to get the sound.
Surely, it is not something that the guitarists keep in mind, but it is something which crucial in this instrument.
That said, the vibration goes from the strings to the harmonic top through the saddle located on the bridge and also through the nut, which is located on the "high bridge", between the fretboard and the head. Being sound transmitters, they are considered as essential guitar parts.
Although the bone in the saddle is not in direct contact with the top, this vibration is made by means of the bridge. It is important to mention that the bone is not in direct contact with the top, because the vibration itself could damage the top.
The material used to make the "bones" of the guitar
Traditionally, saddles have always been made of bone. The bones of calf that are cleaned and filed to get the desired shape.
Moreover, sometimes horns of different animals are used to make saddles; but, of course, the usage of these horns must be legal.
In the same way, we can find old guitars of very important luthiers, whose bones and pegs are made of ivory.
In addition, wood can also be used to make bones, though it must be hard wood, such as mahogany, which holds the friction of the ropes.
Nowadays, synthetic materials such as melamine or plastic are also used. Even on electric guitars, the "bones" are usually made of metal.
Different material, different sound.
Depending on the type of material used, there will be nuances of the sound. A nuance that depends on the capacity of vibration of the material used.
When these parts of the guitar are made of bone, the sound is more percussive than if we use melamine. But, if we used metal, we would get a more metallic sound.
Basically, it depends on the sound of the guitar to apply the correct material on these parts of the guitar.
In Alhambra Guitars, we choose between bone and melamine, depending on the guitar model to get the best sound, the most balanced. For instance, in the flamenco guitars, from 8F these elements are made of bone. Although you must always keep in mind that they are easily substitutable elements, and the choice of the guitarist is always possible.