Bone nuts

A discussion of techniques, and equipment for guitar. Fretted, bottleneck or slide, acoustic or electric, this is the place.

Bone nuts

Postby leftyguitarman » Wed Feb 07, 2007 7:04 pm

Will getting rid of the plastic nuts on my Agile and my Epi Les Paul and replacing them with bone nuts make a difference in sustain, tone etc?

Just out of curiousity.
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Postby texas blues » Wed Feb 07, 2007 7:46 pm

I have a brass nut on my LP but I don't know if it really sustains any more than a standard nut. I will say though that 2 weeks ago, I took my 70's cheapy Fender MIJ acoustic and had a bone nut and bone compensated bridge put on. I always thought the guitar sounded okay, albeit just okay, with the plastic bridge and nut but with the bone...WOW!! Whereas the tone was rather flat on that guitar, now the sound is richer and even has a bit more volume. If your nut needs replacing, can't see that it would effect your sound negatively.
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Postby zhyla » Wed Feb 07, 2007 8:44 pm

I've looked around for info on this previously and everyone seems to think this or that material will be better for a nut but if you think about it, even if it made an enormous difference the nut doesn't even come into play for anything except open strings.

I could see where that would make an audible difference for slide style or anything else with a lot of open notes but, at least the way I play standard tuned electric guitars, open notes aren't that frequent.
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Postby texas blues » Wed Feb 07, 2007 10:02 pm

zhyla, I tend to agree with you about nuts not making so much difference when say using bar chords. I however, rarely use a full bar chord. When not playing slide and or using standard tuning, one or two fingers get it done for me. I like the sound of suspended chords with open strings and incorporate alot of that into my style of playing. I think for what I do, the bone nut and bridge on my acoustic cheapo greatly enhance the sound. Electrics? I dunno', I just crank it and spank it.
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Postby ricochet » Wed Feb 07, 2007 11:35 pm

I don't think they make any difference tonally, but plastic nuts are bad about binding when larger than original strings are used. Bone is easy to "saw in" bigger strings, after which they slide freely and won't bind.
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Postby susudio » Fri Feb 09, 2007 6:44 pm

I picked up a $29 Austin Strat knock off on Ebay. It looked great but sounded bad. I replaced the strings with 10's, tweaked the neck, adjusted the action, pup height and intonated it. Still sounded bad. The high E and B string sounded like a sitar when played open. The other strings played open just didn't seem to ring well. I replaced the plastic nut with a tusq and that got rid of the problem. The general tone of the guitar improved with that modification.
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Postby ricochet » Fri Feb 09, 2007 7:42 pm

Might've had nut slots that didn't fit the strings right. Common problem. What makes the sitar sound is a "flat" bottom of the slot that slopes slightly toward the front. The string makes contact with it as it vibrates downward and lifts off as it lifts upward. A slot that's wider at the front than the rear will do the same thing with the side-to-side vibration. There's nothing about the material that sounds bad.
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Postby rustyslide » Fri Feb 09, 2007 9:57 pm

Quit dispelling guitarists' superstitions! next you will claim that electrons don't care whether the wires are cloth covered or not!
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Postby susudio » Sat Feb 10, 2007 3:53 pm

Ric, I defer to your expertise...
However, I gotta say it was a hoot workin' on that $29 beater and gettin' it to the point where it really sounds good. I guess it's like a bad auto mechanic, replace enough parts and you might fix the problem in spite of yourself...
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Postby ricochet » Sat Feb 10, 2007 6:03 pm

Isn't that great, making a silk purse out of a sow's ear?

Not always practical, mind.
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Postby leftyguitarman » Sat Feb 10, 2007 6:34 pm

I would love to buy one of those cheapo 30 or 40 buck guitars off ebay and make it play well. Maybe I'll make that a summer project when I get out of school.
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Postby maxx england » Mon Feb 12, 2007 1:50 pm

rustyslide wrote:Quit dispelling guitarists' superstitions! next you will claim that electrons don't care whether the wires are cloth covered or not!


That's disgusting! Wash your mouth out with soap and water immediately! Everyone knows electrons have feelings too.
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Postby 601blues » Mon Feb 12, 2007 2:18 pm

:shock: I like peanuts,and walnuts, never had a Bonenut!! don't sound real good!!! :roll:
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Postby susudio » Mon Feb 12, 2007 2:21 pm

Ric, right, not always practical. In this case it only took the cost of the Tusq nut, a new set of strings and a little elbow grease on the neck and intonation tweaks. The frets & electronics were good so nothin' needed there.
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Postby leftyguitarman » Tue Feb 13, 2007 6:43 am

I thought more about what I said about fixing up a beater guitar. I forgot I have a 1980s Squier Bullet Tele neck in my room. It feels soooo nice IMO. And I have a nice humbucker laying around too. Maybe I should buy a cheapo, put the nice neck on it, and the nice humbucker. Replace the pots and make a nice little mix-match axe.

Like this one.
http://tinyurl.com/22vfd9
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