Bridge Pins >> Tusk or TUSQ? The True Ramifications of Buying Ivory

Tusk or TUSQ? The True Ramifications of Buying Ivory


Graph Tech was recently mentioned in Music and Sound Retailer’s editorial “Pay it Forward – which brings forth all the good news and great things that are happening in the music industry today.  Many companies are supporting their communities and charities, reminding all of us that the spirit of goodness is very much alive.

At Graph Tech, elephant conservation is important, which is why we regularly donate to the World Wildlife Federation and frequently adopt elephants on our client’s behalf.  Our very own elephant is a blind Asian elephant named Jokia.  She was saved after her owners beat her and left her for dead.  Now she is on a reserve where she spends her days playing with other elephants.  Check back to this blog for updates on Jokia.

Most of us will only ever observe an elephant in captivity.  Majestic and enormous, elephants are the largest land living animals on earth.  Weighing in at about 11,500 lbs, and living up to an average of 70 years, the elephant has few natural predators.  Prized for their ivory, the elephant population has declined drastically and rapidly due to poaching.  In the mere span of 10 years, the African elephant population had been reduced from 1.2 million to less than 700,000.  With the demand for ivory so high, a ban was imposed in 1989 by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) because the elephant trade was killing over 100,000 elephants a year.   Currently there are less than 500,000 African elephants and only about 35,000 Asian elephants left in the entire world.

When elephants are allowed to mature to the age of 60 years, the average tusk weight for a male elephant is 135 pounds.  Poaching elephants reduces the life span of the elephant and in 1970, the average tusk weight for a male elephant dropped to a devastating 26 pounds with current average tusks weighing in at a mere 6.6 pounds.

The commercial trade of ivory is prohibited except for the populations of Zimbabwe, Botswana, South Africa and Namibia, where little trade is permitted in very poor areas that rely heavily on ivory to boost the economy.  Although this ivory is closely regulated and documented, ivory continues to be illegally traded with 9,400 seizure records in the last decade alone.  “Illegal ivory markets are having a direct impact on elephant populations, particularly in west and central Africa,” Ginette Hemley, Vice President World Wildlife Fund said. “Consumers need to realize the true cost of buying ivory is poached elephants.”

Why Choose TUSQ?

Graph Tech introduced TUSQ manmade ivory in 1985 as a replacement for ivory, bone and plastic nuts, saddles and bridge pins.  Graph Tech studied the natural properties of ivory and found that it is favored for its overall tone and increased harmonics.  TUSQ was made to noticeably enhance these characteristics and qualities while eliminating the natural inconsistencies like flat or dead spots found in ivory and bone.

Engineered for maximum vibration transfer, TUSQ has been laboratory proven to enhance harmonic content and provide a rich tone with a crystal clear bell like high end and big open low end.  Made of a proprietary formula, TUSQ files and polishes beautifully and is consistent throughout.  Drop a TUSQ product on a solid surface and you’ll hear a bright tinkling which is indicative of its harmonic and tone character, which you won’t find with a similar manmade product.  Teflon was added to the formulation to create a permanently lubricated product in both black and vintage colors to make Black TUSQ XL and TUSQ XL which imparts the added benefit of increased tuning stability.

As the world’s largest manufacturer of nuts and saddles, Graph Tech has produced about 504,191 lbs of product in the last 7 years, which equates to saving about 38, 196 elephants from entering the illegal ivory trade, based on current average tusk weights.  Not bad for a product that weighs an average of 0.1 oz and is roughly the size of a small finger.

“Why choose a product that devastates an endangered animal population when a viable alternative exists?”  Says Dave Dunwoodie, President, Graph Tech.  “The only way to end the innocent slaughter of elephants is to stop the demand for ivory and that begins with the consumer.”

We’ll change the way you play!

Vertefeuille , Jan. “Illegal Ivory Trade on the Rise, Global Analysis Finds.” World Wildlife Foundation. WWF, Sep 16, 2004. Web. 30 Jul 2010. <>.

“The Tusks and the Molars.” Friends of the Elephant. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Jul 2010. <>.