Shear wave velocity is an essential parameter to characterize the dynamic behavior of the soil in small-scale samples, centrifuge models as well as field deposits. In this paper, the bender elements system in the centrifuge lab at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is used to characterize the shear wave velocity and the small strain shear modulus of dry and saturated Ottawa sand. It was found that the shear wave velocity of saturated sand is smaller than that of dry sand having the same relative density. Also, the paper describes an analytical system identification (SI) method that can be used in the absence of bender elements to estimate shear wave velocity from acceleration recordings. The SI and bender elements were found to be in very good agreement with each other confirming the validity of both techniques, which are fully independent.