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Seventies-Fan

Nylon Nut vs Bone Nut

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I've had the opportunity to try three different Nut's on my 1967 Gibson Southern Jumbo, the one that was on the guitar when I bought it a few months ago was Plastic and made for a Left Handed guitar. Clearly the owner had damaged the original Nut at some point, and ended up with a Left Handed donor.

 

Surprisingly, the guitar still sounded great even though the strings obviously weren't in their optimal position sitting on the reversed size slots.

I had the chance to play it for about a month in this condition, but wanted to replace the plastic nut, and so I purchased a 6/6 Nylon Blank and found a good Luthier who shaped and installed it for me.

 

I asked him at the time what he thought of Nylon for a Nut, and he replied that he thought it dampened the strings too much. Undaunted, I proceeded anyway and had the Nut made and installed.

Unfortunately for me, Once I got home and had a chance to sit down with it, I had to agree with the Luthiers statement.

 

While the Guitar still sounded good, it's characteristics were completely different from what I had been experiencing in the previous month of playing.

Much of the chime and sustain had diminished, and there wasn't the same depth and fullness that I had been hearing with the PLASTIC Nut...

 

So back to the drawing board I went (3 days later) and asked him to craft a Bone nut for me, which he did (and he did a beautiful job on it), and BAM, all the good stuff is back!

I am no expert in any of this, and so I won't speculate but I did want to share what I experienced with my guitar just for the record :)

 

My Guitar also has the adjustable Rosewood Saddle, and so perhaps combining that with a Bone Nut is a good combination... It sounds right to me!

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I think you're on the right track. The rosewood saddle gives a somewhat muted/subdued tone. The hard bone saddle can help counter that.

 

On a J-45 I own that had a plastic nut and rosewood adjustable saddle, I brightened it significantly by installing a bone nut, and installing a bone insert into the rosewood adjustable saddle. Big difference in clarity and articulation.

 

I've now completely replaced the adjustable bridge with a repro of the original slot-through bridge and a new bone saddle. This was an even more significant improvement.

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The saddle is certainly a factor in sound. And those rosewood contraptions have to go. But regarding the nut, I am not unconvinced that the improvement folks claim to hear may have less to do with what material the nut is made of as much as having the replacement correct a pre-existing problem. For the life of me though, I cannot figure out why changing the nut would have any effect on fretted notes. Open strings, yeah possibly, but fretted notes?

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Hi S-fan - glad you found a solution. Remember this thread from January.

 

http://forum.gibson...._1#entry1909251

 

 

Well, I just had to recreate a wider spaced nylon nut to get the original sound I wanted for my 1963 J-45.

And was amazed about how much the 4 nut-materials in my experiment - horn, bone, light plast, nylon - differed.

 

Now do yourself the favor to try out various saddle inserts - it's so much fun.

 

And please remember :

1 - More sound doesn't equal better sound

2 - To get every component on max transmission isn't the clue - to adjust them as a team is

3 - Don't stare yourself deaf on the mass-philosophy

4 - Volume can be good, but it's not god

 

My 5 Yen anyway

Enjoy the wonderful SJ and send us a tune

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Well, I just had to recreate a wider spaced nylon nut to get the original sound I wanted for my 1963 J-45.

And was amazed about how much the 4 nut-materials in my experiment - horn, bone, light plast, nylon - differed.

 

Now do yourself the favor to try out various saddle inserts - it's so much fun.

 

 

 

I always roll the nut even on a guitar with a 1 11/16" spacing to try and squeeze as much space between the strings as possible.

 

But again, I have not heard any reasonable answer as to why nut material would make one bit of difference with a fretted note. It is like when the nut is worn and the high strings start to bind and you get that pinging sound. It is there when you hit an open note but disappears when you play a fretted noted.

 

Since you cannot add neck mass to a 1960s Gibson, I still believe the biggest change to tone you can make with any Gibson built from 1961 on is to get rid of the oversized laminate bridge plate Gibson put in there to support the heavy ADJ saddle. They do not flex and gobble up the vibration passing through the saddle. Martin went through this in the late 1960s when they switched from a maple to a rosewood plate.

 

The only ADJ saddle Gibson I have owned was that 1963 B45-12. In that case I left the bridge plate as I figured the stiffer the plate the greater chance of the lightly braced 12 string surviving. In the case of this guitar though I kept two other saddles on hand both a bit higher than the one installed as I did not want to have to raise the saddle under the reasoning that this would cause the vibration to the top to come mainly through those two large screws.

Edited by zombywoof

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Thanks for all the replies, and the list! Even if I can't explain why, I do feel that the bone nut has given me the right combination for this guitar, and it sounds great! So I'm happy now and probably won't change anything else on it. This sweet old thing is just about as clean as clean can be, and I don't have the urge to tinker with it too much :)

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Thanks for all the replies, and the list! Even if I can't explain why, I do feel that the bone nut has given me the right combination for this guitar, and it sounds great! So I'm happy now and probably won't change anything else on it.

Just great - that's what it's all about. I'll try again, , , is there a chance we can hear the sweetie. .

 

 

 

I always roll the nut even on a guitar with a 1 11/16" spacing to try and squeeze as much space between the strings as possible.

 

So do I and it's worth it.

But again, I have not heard any reasonable answer as to why nut material would make one bit of difference with a fretted note.

Neither have I, but you should try the switch-game - it's also worth it. .

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Just great - that's what it's all about. I'll try again, , , is there a chance we can hear the sweetie. .

 

 

 

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So do I and it's worth it.

Neither have I, but you should try the switch-game - it's also worth it. .

 

 

 

Hi Em, I don't know the best way to capture a sound bite or video YET... Once I get time to figure something out, I will post it so you can hear it!

I can't imagine that my cell phone would sound very good, but I do have another option (BOSS BR-864) if I can remember how to use it :)

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Just great - that's what it's all about. I'll try again, , , is there a chance we can hear the sweetie. .

 

 

 

 

 

Hi Em, well after a number of months, a new bone nut and some new recording hardware, I can now let you hear the sweetie :) I'm still novice at using most of this stuff but having fun along the way!

Hope you enjoy the SJ

 

 

-Keith

 

Edited by Seventies-Fan

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Just great - that's what it's all about. I'll try again, , , is there a chance we can hear the sweetie. .

 

 

 

 

Hi Em, well after a number of months, a new bone nut and some new recording hardware, I can now let you hear the sweetie :) I'm still novice at using most of this stuff but having fun along the way!

Hope you enjoy the SJ

 

 

-Keith

 

Thanx a lot - enjoyed that. The guitar sounds just right for your elegant instrumental style (also heard the other video).

Glad to conclude that the beautiful square SJ, which is rated so high here, has found its home'n'hands.

 

 

Checked New Day the Movie in the electric department too. No need for the ha-has in case they don't play a role in the title. Groove on ^

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Just great - that's what it's all about. I'll try again, , , is there a chance we can hear the sweetie. .

 

 

 

 

 

Hi Em, well after a number of months, a new bone nut and some new recording hardware, I can now let you hear the sweetie :) I'm still novice at using most of this stuff but having fun along the way!

Hope you enjoy the SJ

 

 

-Keith

 

 

 

 

Very well played 70F !

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I think the nut material is a very marginal factor once a capo is applied, but certainly makes a difference without.

 

One thing to remember is that the nut is a (small admittedly) resonant component which adds to neck mass and weight, and different materials will ring differently even with a capo on, rather like a minimised version of the effect of switching out machineheads for heavier/lighter units. It all minutely shifts the pitch point of sympathetic structural resonance around. This kind of thing is handy for tuning out dead spots or wolf notes...baby steps but still steps.

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