．．．We’re often asked this kind of questions.
Yes, there are several grades of titanium in the market. They were ranked as Grade 1, 2, 3. . .depend on the contained amount of titanium.
But this does not mean the Grade 1 is the best material. Each grades are used according to their purpose of use. In this ranking, from 1 to 4 are categorized as pure titanium. Within the category of pure titanium. As the grade number is larger, material is harder.
We use Titanium Grade 2 for our bridge saddle.
We use Grade 2 titanium which is softer than larger number of pure titanium materials for bridge saddles which are the conduit of string vibration.
As we have mentioned at another article, the best tone we aimed at was “Bright and Warm”. After a lot of trial and error, we learned that harder material such as larger grade titanium materials make longer sustain and bright tone but we sometimes found something harsh element in the tone. Also realized that the titanium material for bridge saddles require special heat treatment after cold rolling process to make its tone softer and rounder, also remove the harsh element in the tone. This is the reason why we use softer grade 2 titanium for the KTS saddles.
You might say, “So, why don’t you use grade 1 ?” There is an inappreciable deference in hardness between grade 1 and grade 2. We took advantage of cutting ability of grade 2. Also, we have considered the distributability in the market.
Ti-Block (string lock insert for Floyd Rose) is made of Grade 3.5???
As far as our Ti-block is concerned, material has to be harder than bridge saddles in order to resist any deforming by high compressive forces from string clamping. Therefore, we use special pure titanium material which was developed at a certain Japanese blast furnace steel manufacturer. This special pure titanium is classified between grade 3 and grade 4.
There is the unit of hardness known as Hv (Vickers Pyramid Number). As the number is larger, material is harder. Our titanium bridge saddles are around Hv160 which is almost the same as the standard fret wires made of Nickel Silver. On the other hand, our Ti-Block is around Hv260. And for your information, the original hardened steel block is over Hv400. You might say again, “So, that’s rather softer compare to the original..” But let us explain the reason why we are offering our Ti-Block as a replacement for conventional steel block.
The original steel block is extremely hard. But too much harder materials often have another character of brittleness. This will be a factor of cracking and string breakage. Our Ti-Block is softer than the original but titanium is very strong and has excellent corrosion resistance. These characters prevent any troubles caused by cracking or corrosion in the saddles.
※Grade xx is Classification in ASTM standard. There is no Grade 3.5