bone, plastic, or anything in-between? which do you prefer?

Discussion in 'Stratocaster Discussion Forum' started by Billie_J, Jul 31, 2021.

  1. Dreamdancer

    Dreamdancer Senior Stratmaster

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    I use aluminum but pretty much anything other than cheap soft plastic works just as good.....all you need is for the material to not get filled easily by the strings....as for tonal differences this is beyond laughable.....just like the notion that metallic nuts make open strings sound like fretted notes....
     
  2. Impulsive guppy

    Impulsive guppy Strat-O-Master Silver Member

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  3. GhostJam47

    GhostJam47 Strat-Talker

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    Bone. I haven't spent much time with tusq, but find every time I replace the plastic with bone, so tone improves noticeably.

    The proverbial "bell-like chime"
     
  4. GhostJam47

    GhostJam47 Strat-Talker

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    An advertisement for "we're doing wayyyyyyy too much coke".
     
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  5. Aqueix

    Aqueix Strat-Talk Member

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    to be completely honest, I've played on all and don't notice a big difference
     
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  6. Chipss36

    Chipss36 Strat-O-Master

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    The problem with the Internet group think of fake plastic tusk good….

    is the one size fits all approach, if a tusk radius fits both top and bottom, great and the whole tab can be cut off…

    If it does not, it does more harm than good, it’s made for lazy people,
    Flat out! and has removed over 1/3 of the gluing contact area of the nut, that little tab, that is a shortcut people think, is the worst issue with tusk.

    A new tusk nut, poorly fit , made a simple under an hour set up last 3 days for me….the radius of the fretboard needs to match both top and bottom.
    One size does not fit all, the most critical part of carving a nut correctly is getting finished string hight to also match fretboard radius with a bias to the treble stings closer and bass further away from the fretboard.

    people who have the top radius wrong never get finished string hight correct. Fender themselves gets this wrong, on very high end guitars.

    all the stupid comments about unicorn horns?

    a tusk nut is $14 and fits poorly.
    A ivory blank is $22.

    Install for me is $100 labor regardless.

    So save $8 for a race to the the bottom of the barrel, using plastics, that fit poorly? Wow. So smart?

    or spend an extra $8 to have ivory a very traditional nut that has worked from pre war days????! And looks stellar?
    $8 bucks????? Really? $8?

    ummmm ok

    density? Ivory has a much more limited variance In density that bone, some ivory can be harder than bone, some have less, saying bone is more dense or harder than ivory is a lie.
    If you used one ivory nut and it wore out, it was not cut from the correct spot that should be used for a nut, like close to the bark, and the tip of the tip of the tusk, not core , and by the head. That is how ivory works on nuts.

    ivory harness varies depending on where in the tusk it was cut from
    bark? Core? Tips? And
    Many other issues.

    Regardless bone variance is actually worse….and that is a fact.

    bone has much more variation in both density and hardness. These are facts the internet group think shown here gets completely wrong.

    be my guest, google it! Read the data , I already have, And stop regurgitation of what others say, and back up what you “think” with data! Very interested in how exactly you have arrived that it does not matter? And you know that as fact.

    even if it does not matter and can in fact be proven by data, one is cheep plastics and ivory is ivory. It looks better. It is classy, it is traditional. Has been used on violins and pre war acoustics and has stood the test of time.

    Poaching is an issue, I get that part.
    And think that is a valid argument,
    But unicorns? Ya …that’s just childish.


    tusk plastics fits poorly on fenders due to the tab…that is a fact. 1/3rd plus of the nut contact area with the neck is gone.
    That tab is the problem.

    cheep plastics work just as good, is an opinion, and at the end of the day you have a cheep plastic nut, and saved yourself 8 bucks?

    enjoy that plastic nut and the $8 you saved….

    let’s keep this real people.

    wow $8 ?
     
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2021
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  7. Willmunny

    Willmunny Senior Stratmaster Gold Supporting Member

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    Tldr but some of the posts were meant to be humorous.
    I was serious about my Tusq recommendation ymmv
     
  8. albala

    albala Most Honored Senior Member

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    I like nuts that roll
     
  9. rockon1

    rockon1 Senior Stratmaster Silver Member

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    Tusq comes flat bottomed as well. Many nut slots are flat as well - not radiused. As only the open notes are affected by the nut emphasis, for me, is on its coefficient of friction, slipperiness- a property the Tusq material seems to excel with.
     
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2021
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  10. RL21980

    RL21980 Senior Stratmaster

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    Whatever works indeed. Only one time did I notice a difference in tone. I had a tusq nut put on my LP replacing to stock one. (the high E kept slipping off the board) The tusq (to my ear anyway) brightened up the guitar a bit. It was an unexpected and welcome change. Especially on a LP which can tend to be darker in tone given the wood combo. That said I have different nut materials on all my guitars. I don't have a horse in that race. Whatever works!
     
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  11. Suppressed

    Suppressed Strat-Talk Member

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    I play daily in the studio and live at night. I tried Graph Tech Tusq XL and wore them out really quickly by pushing the strings down behind the nut and working the tremolo simultaneously. Within 3 months, I had worn down the low 'E' until it was buzzing on the first fret.

    I play really hard so the guitar gets a real workout.

    Here's what the fretboard on my 2019 Schecter Hellraiser C1FR looked like after 3 months of session work.

    Zoom in and note the frets worn flat and fret shavings piled up around the frets

    20210402_080638.jpg

    Bone or fossil ivory is good, but I have the best function and wear resistance with marine brass...

    Now, I have used a 'bone graft' technique on some vintage guitars where the owner absolutely did not want to change out the nut.

    In these cases I've had really good results with little pieces of bone or fossil ivory. Here's some shots of the bone graft being done for practice on my own guitar:

    20210601_062537.jpg

    20210613_133220.jpg

    20210613_134732.jpg

    20210526_184759.jpg

    20210526_170321.jpg
     
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2021
  12. Suppressed

    Suppressed Strat-Talk Member

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    Brass is easy to work with, so I use it often.
    20210616_124848.jpg

    In my 1982 Standard Stratocaster Frankenstein (spray can Rustoleum Sun Yellow) I use vintage tuners with a Gibson long-post on the low 'E' for improved angle through the nut. I cut deep grooves under the strings (behind the nut) so I can push down on the strings while using the tremolo for some odd effects.

    20210629_071342.jpg

    I use deep slots to keep the strings in the nut when backpicking chords violently. String spacing is altered to give straight pull through the nut.

    Slots are cut only .004" above string gauge.

    I can divebomb this 11 semitones (full bar drop to the pickguard) all night long and never worry about being in tune.

    20210629_071447.jpg

    It spends most every night on a stage...

    20210320_195041.jpg

    Or working in the studio for hire.

    received_1005756339965918.jpeg

    In my personal opinion based on experience, I've cut good nuts from Corian, Bone Fossil Ivory, Pearl, Graph Tech Tusq and Brass.

    I prefer brass...
     
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2021
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  13. jtees4

    jtees4 Strat-O-Master

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    Any nut that is cut perfectly is fine with me,...BUT I generally put in bone when I change a nut for any reason.
     
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  14. Gjguitarmn

    Gjguitarmn Strat-Talk Member

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    Wow! Petrified snail slime for a nut! Great idea. How long does it take to petrify one? Can I speed up the process by using a microwave? LOL.
     
  15. jackietreehorn

    jackietreehorn Strat-Talk Member

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    I prefer “well cut”. I honestly could give a crap less about the material. There isn’t a bit material alive that a twist of a knob on the guitar or the amp couldn’t compensate for. If the nut is plastic, and we’ll cut, I don’t bother to change it. I’ve also had bone, corian, brass and tusq, mostly because I buy used and that’s what they come with. If I a nut broke, and I had to get it replaced…. on a guitar with a trem I’d probably go tusq, I think it slides easier. On everything else bone because so much amazing music was recorded with bone nuts.
     
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  16. login

    login Strat-Talk Member

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    The nuts matter in 2 cases: open strings and bends. So, if you bend a lot and it doesn't go out of tune, keep the nut whatever it's made of, it's not worth the hassle of replacing it, time wise. But still, if it's plastic on a Squier, keep in mind that you need a better guitar, and it better come with bone. So get a second Squier and mode it to the max. Just never mode your main beast without a worthy spare.
     
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  17. oliver b

    oliver b New Member!

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  18. ashtone

    ashtone Strat-Talk Member

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    Once you fret a note, that fret is your nut. Whatever it’s made of only matters to an open string. So use whatever you like the look of. I use bone because it looks good and works easily. The most important thing is that the string slots are cut correctly, which is an art in itself.
     
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  19. Tremdaddy

    Tremdaddy Strat-Talk Member

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    Bone every time.
     
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  20. Ronkirn

    Ronkirn Most Honored Senior Member

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    I'd recommend not.. The United Escargot Goo Production Affiliated is a pretty strong Union.. they can make anyone exploiting the Snail's life miserable.. and besides they're nasty little boogers..