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Nut Materials

Discussion in 'Tech-Talk' started by axejock, Jul 13, 2019.

  1. axejock

    axejock Strat-O-Master

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    This has probably been discussed in detail here before, but I can't find any info on it. Anyway, I just took an original MIM Strat to my Luthier to have a new nut installed (the original owner had widened the slots in the original nut for some crazy oversized strings). I didn't even think about it when he said it, but the Luthier told me he would install a "bone" nut....they were the best! Are they? I know there are lots of materials used for the nuts on a guitar, but I have never dealt with anything but the ones that came on the guitar. What other materials are available for this and are there some that are better than others? Kind of a basic question, but it's never too late to learn!
     
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  2. Class A Knob

    Class A Knob Senior Stratmaster

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    I'm a Graph Tech Tusq XL kind of guy myself (especially for vibrato equipped guitar)
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2019
  3. vid1900

    vid1900 Senior Stratmaster

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    Bone is super hard, good stuff, looks like it belongs on a guitar.

    Brass was super trendy for it's **sustain** in the 80s and now seems like it's coming back again.

    Stainless Steel and Titanium come around, probably mostly for their looks.

    Fender makes a LSR Roller Nut that never hangs up, no matter what size strings you put across it. If you use your tremolo bar, you will love it.

    There are tons of slippery plastic nuts, some even come in black, if that's your thing.

    and of course, there is the plain plastic nut that probably costs Fender a penny, lol....
     
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  4. Class A Knob

    Class A Knob Senior Stratmaster

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    I watched this about a week ago and found it pretty informative. And its StewMac, so of course I'll watch it.

     
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  5. Namelyguitar

    Namelyguitar Most Honored Senior Member Strat-Talk Supporter

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    Bone nut- made from that part of a cow. Yes!

    MIM plastic, and then it becomes transformed to natural material.
     
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  6. Silvercrow

    Silvercrow Senior Stratmaster

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    IMO it's hard to beat bone! I prefer 'natural' or 'non-bleached' bone, but that's just an aesthetic thing, as far as I know.

    You could get...ahem...'fossilized bone' I suppose from a mastodon that lived 'millions' of years ago...:rolleyes:, but I think it does little for the tone of the guitar and a LOT for the tone of money in the bank for the sellers of the product! (My opinion, I've never spent the $65-$100 for a fossilized blank...YMMV).

    I've heard lots of good things about the Tusq products and as a believer in StewMac's in-house luthiers, I doubt that they's stand behind anything that wasn't stellar. But I have zero experience with TUSQ nuts.

    Already mentioned 'roller nuts', brass nuts, etc. Again, no personal experience.

    When I bought my Gibson Ltd Ed. Les Paul Classic last year (2017 model), it came with PTP wiring vice the circuit board found on many newer Les Pauls. It also came with a nylon nut. Apparently, this was quite common back in the earlier days and I contacted the luthier I use (excellent reputation, no B.S. guy) thinking nylon wasn't a good material for a guitar nut. He told me he'd be happy to change out the nylon nut and replace it with bone, but added that a properly cut nylon nut was, in his opinion, a very good thing and that I should try it. It's cut very well and after a year of using it, it's not going anywhere.

    Best wishes in whatever you decide. But the "standbys" are standbys for a reason. Other than improperly cut situations, I've never heard anyone say "I can't WAIT to change out this bone nut...!"

    And like so many other things in guitardom, opinions vary, often strongly...:D

    Brian
     
  7. Believer7713

    Believer7713 Most Honored Senior Member Silver Member

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    I have become a big fan of the Tusq XL nuts. I recommend them to anyone whose guitar I end up doing either fret or nut work for.

    Sent from my SM-G975U using Tapatalk
     
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  8. 1strat

    1strat Strat-Talk Member

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    To be honest I think at some point as long as the nut is cut right, this isn't a major difference that people would notice. Sometimes we get stuck into chasing specs. Reminds me of the computer benchmark scores game. At some point it's just like playing numbers game, no real life usage difference. Bone, best or not, is at least a standard. I wouldn't worry too much.
     
  9. nutball73

    nutball73 Senior Stratmaster

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    Ah, you're new. Don't go spouting that sensible stuff around here. People are way to busy chasing tone to listen to anything sensible!

    ;):thumb:
     
  10. RadioFM74

    RadioFM74 Strat-O-Master

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    That’s the same thing my luthier told me. The one nut I had to replace was a badly cut one, and he installed bone by default, cut on the spot. Excellent, and it’s been the "industry standard” for a long, long time.

    Only, when a bone nut is freshly installed you need to put some graphite or some other sort of lubricant in the slots otherwise the strings will catch. A problem especially if it's a strat and you want to use the whammy bar.
     
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  11. Swampash

    Swampash Senior Stratmaster

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    I prefer steel, as in locking.
     
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  12. Chubbles

    Chubbles Strat-Talker

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    My Epiphone developed some buzzing over time. I adjusted the truss rod, the bridge and lubed the nut. Nothing helped. I installed a Tusq XL nut. It was too short so I had to shim it. It was a PIA. I did get rid of the buzzing. There's no magic to it. The most important thing is that it's cut right. Many of the best guitars in the world have a bone nut.

    However (from a previous post) the Tusq nut is loaded with placebo effect. Not only does the guitar sound better, but I actually play better, have more stamina, sleep sounder, and my hair is soft and full of body.
     
  13. 1strat

    1strat Strat-Talk Member

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    I am definitely guilty as well in chasing specs, even though I can't even play that well or notice anything. It's fun to do that, but just want to ease that feeling of over worrying about specs. Sometimes it's fun to do one of those "on paper" type of discussions, but in this case I just don't want OP to over worry is all, hope it didn't come off wrong. :D
     
  14. Red Bread

    Red Bread Strat-Talker

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    Ive been running the Graph tech lately
    I put a set of saddles on a teley and they worked out great so last few nuts i filed i gave them a try
    Not as classy as bone but i hear no tonal difference and there easyer to work with and cheaper if i get little happy with the file
     
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  15. Ronkirn

    Ronkirn Most Honored Senior Member

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    there is no "best" .. and the nut really only significantly contributes to the sound on 6 notes... everything else played will have a fret plus either a finger, a slide, a capo, or, if you're Jimi Hendrix, a tongue, between the vibrations and the nut....

    But since the real sonic contribution during real playing simply does not rise to the threshold of playability, get whatever you prefer... it's just not gonna really matter except in the recesses of your mind..

    rk
     
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  16. AxemanVR

    AxemanVR I appreciate, therefore I am... Strat-Talk Supporter

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    I replaced the cheap looking nylon nut on my 2016 Epiphone “Inspired by 1966” Century with a Tusq nut.

    I can’t say whether it sounds any different or not, but it sure looks a lot better...

    A942D3AE-5DF7-4D71-8512-733818AC776E.jpeg

     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2019 at 2:56 PM
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  17. rocknrollrich

    rocknrollrich Senior Stratmaster

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    Bone is an excellent material.
     
  18. nutball73

    nutball73 Senior Stratmaster

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    It stops your body from going all floppy.
     
  19. rocknrollrich

    rocknrollrich Senior Stratmaster

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    Yes. In most cases.
     
  20. Sarnodude

    Sarnodude Senior Stratmaster

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    sarcasm?
     
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