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So nut material does not matter for tone?

Discussion in 'Tech-Talk' started by ModestMussorgsy, Jan 21, 2013.

  1. ModestMussorgsy

    ModestMussorgsy Strat-Talk Member

    Age:
    32
    60
    Mar 9, 2010
    Chicago
    I called this shop the other day to see how much a bone nut installation would be and the guy talked me out of it. His reasoning is that nut material only really matters for two things: 1. String movement for trem users and 2. Tone for open chord players only. The idea is that once you put your fingers on a fret the string is dead between your finger and the nut, thus cancelling out any tone improvements. Thoughts?
     
  2. davidKOS

    davidKOS Obsessed Musician Strat-Talk Supporter

    May 28, 2012
    California
    Other than any possible vibration the nut couples to the peghead/neck area; however in practice this should not be noticeable.

    I agree with your tech - a fretted note will not really have much tone coming from the bypassed nut.

    There is a 3rd reason - snob appeal/"I heard this is the only good nut"

    However if you have a cheap guitar with a hollow plastic molded nut and pre-cut string grooves, you may get a better sound with a solid nut, be it bone, plastic, whatever.
     
  3. Giant

    Giant Senior Stratmaster

    Mar 13, 2009
    Ft. Lauderdale, FL
    I think the nut only matters on open strings as far as how the nut "sounds". A good nut is more important for tuning stability and good intonation.
     
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  5. mw13068

    mw13068 Most Honored Senior Member Strat-Talk Supporter

    Jul 29, 2009
    Ithaca, NY
    Yep. I agree with the tech. I'd only replace a nut if it was giving me tuning problems.
     
  6. Gburst

    Gburst Senior Stratmaster

    Oct 12, 2011
    wyoming,Pa.
    I also agree with the tech. Fretted notes take the nut out of the equation. I know that some folks feel differently about this but that's what I've come to believe. Therefore, I've never felt the need to change the nut on an electric guitar to improve the sound.

    On the other hand, it may be worth considering if you have an acoustic guitar and play a lot of cowboy chords. There does seem to be an improvement in the clarity of tone and sustain with a bone nut on an acoustic when playing open chords. Not anything earth shattering, but a small improvement, I'd say....
     
  7. Stratattack72

    Stratattack72 Strat-O-Master

    Age:
    106
    767
    Nov 4, 2010
    pluton
    leave what you have on their it doesn't make a noticable difference
     
  8. stratman in va

    stratman in va Most Honored Senior Member Strat-Talk Supporter

    Age:
    46
    Jul 27, 2012
    Virginia
    I generally only replace the nut if its giving a problem or broken.

    It could help on the acoustic

    Upgrading the saddle on an acoustic guitar is a good bang for the buck. You can add in a better one, get it sitting nicely in the bridge, and maybe even get it compensated, or buy a compensated one.
     
  9. oldwolf

    oldwolf Strat-O-Master

    Age:
    75
    689
    Jun 6, 2011
    San Antonio, Texas
    You've got a good tech. He would have profited, by talking you into replacing the nut. I would tend to trust this guy in the future, to give me a square deal.

    Smart tech's are scarce enough, to find one that is smart, and honest too, is golden.
    Gene Warner
    retired repairman
     
  10. davidKOS

    davidKOS Obsessed Musician Strat-Talk Supporter

    May 28, 2012
    California
    Listen to the man...Gene has posted lots of valuable tech advice on this forum.
     
  11. pauln

    pauln Senior Stratmaster

    Sep 14, 2011
    Houston
    There is altogether too much concern about nuts, frets, and saddles concerning tone. All three represent nodes when the string is vibrating (nodes are the points where the string is NOT vibrating).

    When nuts, frets, and saddles are doing what they are supposed to be doing, they are doing it at the places where the vibrating string is "do nothing".

    Tone comes overwhelmingly from the hands of the guitarist.
     
  12. Giant

    Giant Senior Stratmaster

    Mar 13, 2009
    Ft. Lauderdale, FL
    I think tone is determined by the amp more than the hands.

    The Strat-Talk App did this...
     
  13. Hugh

    Hugh Most Honored Senior Member Strat-Talk Supporter

    Jul 26, 2009
    Louisville Kentucky
    What about a guitar with brass saddles and bridge, brass nuts, and the fact that most frets are brass ? (with nickel added for color)
     
  14. jtees4

    jtees4 Strat-Talker

    410
    Nov 18, 2011
    NYish
    I agree with your tech also. Although you do need to check the screws holding the pickguard down as those REALLY make a difference in tone...I prefer brass ;-)
     

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