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What are the benefits (if any) of changing out the stock nut?

Discussion in 'DIY Strat Forum' started by Crazybayman, Nov 28, 2017.

  1. Cryptical11

    Cryptical11 Strat-Talk Member

    Age:
    41
    20
    Mar 26, 2017
    Memphis, TN
    If its a plastic nut, bone nut is a straight upgrade. Unless you have a personal preference for another material.
     

  2. Crazybayman

    Crazybayman Strat-Talk Member

    Age:
    38
    26
    Nov 16, 2017
    Newfoundland
    Right. I noticed that happening again last night - top 2 strings, and also further up the neck. I have it down-tuned to D, drop C and even drop A.

    Could it be the frets?
     

  3. Crazybayman

    Crazybayman Strat-Talk Member

    Age:
    38
    26
    Nov 16, 2017
    Newfoundland
    I do have the DIY bug! So is it hard to change out the nut, if the string grooves are pre-cut, like the one in the below link?

    https://www.reidmusic.com/products/black-tusk-xl-slotted-fender-style-nut
     

  4. Thrup'ny Bit

    Thrup'ny Bit Certified Curmudgeon Strat-Talk Supporter

    Age:
    58
    May 21, 2010
    In my own little world
    It could be the general set up. The nut can't have any effect on a string you're fretting. At least you guitar almost works properly.

    They're fine, if you can install one properly. If you can't then you have a guitar that no longer works at all.
     
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  5. cappei

    cappei Strat-Talker

    Age:
    28
    165
    Jun 24, 2017
    Quillota, Valparaíso, Chile
    I understand that a change on the nut it's for tunning purposes, as a thinner nut will produce less surface to make contact with the string, providing more sustain and less detunning. This happens notoriously with les pauls, famous for their tunning issues, that can be helped (a lil' bit, cus les paul detunning is because the way the are made) with a thinner nut.

    Materials are supposed to be important as for the friction the string produces in the nut, been bone, brass and graph the "soft" materials that help the string move freely. I had a bone nut onces, helped with the lose of tunning, but tunners do make a bigger part in the game.

    Now I got a yamaha pacifica with a loose plastic crappy nut that make the first string jump out of it with aggressive bending, I need to change the nut or just make deeper cuts in the saddles

    In conclusion, problems in tunning, IMHO are the only reason to change a nut, maybe problems with strings. If ain't broke ... you know
     
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  6. Thrup'ny Bit

    Thrup'ny Bit Certified Curmudgeon Strat-Talk Supporter

    Age:
    58
    May 21, 2010
    In my own little world
    Did the brass nut thing nearly 40 years ago when it was "the thing". Meh, went back to bone pretty quick.
     
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  7. Deschain

    Deschain Strat-Talker

    Age:
    52
    122
    Jun 23, 2017
    Denmark
    With those tunings, you probably need heavier strings to avoid frett buzz. And with heavier strings, comes the need for a new setup including having the nut cut to take the heavier strings.
     
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  8. Crazybayman

    Crazybayman Strat-Talk Member

    Age:
    38
    26
    Nov 16, 2017
    Newfoundland
    Yeah, have NYXL .011 - .049.

    New setup?
     

  9. Jimi Lightning

    Jimi Lightning Senior Stratmaster

    Dec 21, 2016
    Ontario, Canada
    Absolutely to each there own as mileage msy vary. In my experience I want go change the whole fleet to brass end nuts as I prefer them over bone, grafite etc....

    Did you soak the brass nut in a pint of guiness for a day before installing in order to get that full bodied flavourful tone?:)
     
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  10. Thrup'ny Bit

    Thrup'ny Bit Certified Curmudgeon Strat-Talk Supporter

    Age:
    58
    May 21, 2010
    In my own little world
    Good grief, that's not what Guinness is for, well, not until it's been properly recycled into nut pickling juice. .(available no doubt, from StewMac in a pretty bottle for a high price)...
     

  11. Dreamdancer

    Dreamdancer Strat-Talker

    239
    May 1, 2014
    Greece
    Not really that hard but you still might need(almost definately to be precise) to file some slots for the setup to be just like u want so...my recommendation to you, is to get a set of nut files....they worth their money without a doubt, cause you ll make many of them(since you have the DIY bug and all) and from several different materials....i wouldnt change my aluminium nuts for anything(maybe brass).....metalic nuts look absolutely stunning and since not even stainless steel jumbo fretwire makes any real difference to the sound dont think even for a minute that a nut ll do ......
     
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2017
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  12. rolandson

    rolandson Senior Stratmaster

    Jul 13, 2015
    Cascadia
    No, not if one has developed the necessary skills. An inexpensive means of doing this is found in a library and youtube, and then by purchasing a cheap neck on Amazon and several nuts to practice on.

    A properly cut nut will only contact the string along the leading edge of the nut.

    Tuning problems and the like are almost always the result of poorly cut nuts. And as @henderman pointed out, most 'off-the-rack' Fenders have poorly cut nuts. Truth is that most all 'off-the-rack' guitars have improperly cut nuts. Which is why new guitars need to be set up...which should include making the nut correct.

    Cutting a nut isn't difficult but it does require the proper tools and skill set. The average shop cost of nut replacement around my location is $80. About the same price as a set of nut files and a few bone blanks...
    The value of having complete control over this sort of thing is, of course, immeasurable.

    But...do the math anyway.
     
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2017

  13. Vinnie1971

    Vinnie1971 Strat-O-Master

    959
    Nov 14, 2015
    U.K.
    If there aren’t issues I’d leave alone. If the action is too high sand off the bottom. But if the action is to low then get a new nut.
    If you have tuning issues and it’s snagging the nuts, I have rubbed the nut slots up and down the strings before and cured it. ( takes a lot of rubbing) or replace with a graphtec self lube nut.
     
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  14. fattboyzz

    fattboyzz Strat-Talker Strat-Talk Supporter

    Age:
    52
    333
    Sep 24, 2017
    Sharpsburg ,Ga.
    If it's doing it's job I'd leave it be.


    Like others have said ,you might create a problem fixing it if it ain't broke :)
     
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  15. Crazybayman

    Crazybayman Strat-Talk Member

    Age:
    38
    26
    Nov 16, 2017
    Newfoundland
    That's what I'm afraid of
     

  16. jaybones

    jaybones Most Honored Senior Member

    I went with black Graph Tech Tusq nuts on a couple guitars, mostly for cosmetic reasons. If I noticed any improvement in stability it was on my partscaster Grace which also had Ghost piezo saddles and roller trees. As close to frictionless as I could get. Also perfectly free floated tremolo with tremsetter.

    Zero tuning issues even with aggressive grabbing of the wiggle stick.

    My all black strat (including FB) had a white plastic nut. Poorly glued in with a lot of overflow that dried white. Really looks terrible. I tried to cover the glue a little with a black Sharpie, ended up bleeding through the piece of paper I used to mask the nut. Should have used painter's tape or cardstock.

    Doesn't look as bad in this pic...
    [​IMG]
     
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  17. Ebidis

    Ebidis Providing the world with flat bends since 1985 Strat-Talk Supporter

    Age:
    51
    Nov 14, 2013
    Alabama
    With some practice (like anything else), installing a new nut is actually pretty easy. I can take a bone blank, carve it to the proper shape (a dremel tool is really helpful), install it, and cut the slots in about 30 minutes.

    The best thing is to have a cheap guitar to practice on. Once you have done it a couple of times, it's really not a big deal, and it gets easier every time.
     
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  18. Deschain

    Deschain Strat-Talker

    Age:
    52
    122
    Jun 23, 2017
    Denmark
    I am sure you mean it the correct way, but just to clarify, if the string only contacts the very leading edge of the nut, it would wear it down in no time.

    It is important that the first point of contact for the string is the leading edge, but the string must sit in the nut slot almost all the way to where it exits on the headstock side.
     
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  19. rolandson

    rolandson Senior Stratmaster

    Jul 13, 2015
    Cascadia
    Absolutely not.

    Ideally a properly cut nut falls away and slightly widens from the leading edge such that the string is free to descend to the turning machines unimpeded. The slot should be no more than 2/3 of the string's width in depth, leaving the remaining 1/3 sitting above the top of the nut. The goal is to minimize or eliminate friction points, save that leading edge.

    Nut wear is going occur regardless of how properly or poorly a nut is cut. The rate at which it takes place is more dependent on the material the nut is made of than the shape of the slot. This is why learning to do this is so beneficial.

    http://www.stewmac.com/How-To/Onlin..._Feeler_Gauges_to_Control_Nut_Slot_Depth.html

     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2017
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  20. stratman in va

    stratman in va Most Honored Senior Member Strat-Talk Supporter

    Age:
    48
    Jul 27, 2012
    Virginia
    The nut is one thing that I don't change on a guitar unless it is damaged or the slots are way too deep.

    Bone, and the synthetics like Micarta and Tusq are good materials. I am not a big fan of Graphtech saddles, but a Graphtech nut might be OK - it probably would not bind up the strings at all.
     
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