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bigtim

What string nut material do you prefer?

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I have a project neck I just purchased and even though it is a real nice maple neck with a rosewood fretboard, I want to put a different nut on it. I had an plder les paul with a brass nut on it once and a Japan made St300 with a brass/bone nut half and half thing. So I also have a guitar with a corian(Firebird), a graph tech on a couple and one has a bone nut. Although I know these are kind of standard with some of you fellow players, I have never took a guitar and had a nut changed out to see if there really is a tone difference. So what have some of you experienced with your string nut change?

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I bought a black graphite nut because it was $0.50 cheaper than the white one. And the color fit the guitar well.

 

I don’t much care what it is made of, I tend to use whatever nut is currently on a guitar, and only replace them if they are irreparably broken.

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Good question. I wish I could answer it. Like Angel D I've never replaced a nut. Unless you count the brass to titanium change out to my 2015 LP. That was done because the brass was too soft. I never heard any difference in the sound.

 

Some folk insist on tusq or bone etc. So I suppose they will suggest whatever they prefer. Might prove interesting?!

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The honest answer, whatever is on the guitar. I've never had any issues with any particular kind and I'm fairly certain I would be hard pressed to identify any particular material. I know that's not real helpful but it's never made much difference to me.

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It should only affect the sound of open chords.

My old 25th Anniversary Les Paul and Lucille Deluxe had brass nuts, my current Lucille has a regular old plastic type one. Corian?

It's been years but I don't think there's much difference in the sound.

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The honest answer, whatever is on the guitar. I've never had any issues with any particular kind and I'm fairly certain I would be hard pressed to identify any particular material. I know that's not real helpful but it's never made much difference to me.

 

Same here. My Epi LP has plastic, my Gibby LP has... The name slipped my mind, but you know the one. I suppose the more expensive, harder one should make for a cleaner vibration or whatever. I'm not sure I could tell the difference, and I'm usually very good at telling.

 

Tektoid, that's the material I was thinking of... I like those. I'd go with the same material if I had to replace a nut.

 

I guess I'm enough of a cork sniffer to not get a plastic (vinyl?) nut, given the choice. But one step up is good enough. I'm assuming Tektoid is just some type of plastic with a fancy name, anyway, but it's always worked great for me.

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The only thing I like to add about replacing a (non-metal) nut to a more desirable material is to make sure that whatever goes on this, insure that the "nut action" as I have adopted the term is good for all strings. I have replaced nuts on guitars with the Tusq nut, and the issue I have is all of them are straight across - at least what I have worked with. The fretboard is not straight as there is some sort of radius on it as we know, and the nut action will differ among the strings.

 

All in all, I like to have this done by someone that knows a thing or two about cutting a nut out of some sort of blank. This way, the nut is shaped better and the string heights should be set correctly with regarding the nut action.

 

I get it that someone can simply knock out a nut and stick one of those Tusq nuts back in, but my experience is that it needs some sanding down and fine tuning anyhow. Might as well make a good nut if you're going through all that trouble. To me, these Tusq nuts are more makeshift than a suitable replacement, and again, what's the point... All I know is if the nut action isn't good, you get buzz on the first fret when played open on some string affected, or you get sharp notes where the slots are too high.

 

Overall, there's a reason why a fresh cut nut from a good luthier costs me around $40 give or take a few dollars. Well worth it from my experience to leave the filing and sanding to the pros... I don't have time to play and spend hours of time to fix a guitar. I just need them to work so I can play them given the time I use to play which I go out of my way to make happen.

 

Anyhow, YMMV with this. Good luck with everything!

 

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I have to say I've never had buzz issues with PLEKed Gibsons no matter how I set them up. My 2017 V has a dead straight neck (I generally like a bit of relief, but that guitar just plays better with zero relief) and there's no buzzing anywhere.

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I have to say I've never had buzz issues with PLEKed Gibsons no matter how I set them up. My 2017 V has a dead straight neck (I generally like a bit of relief, but that guitar just plays better with zero relief) and there's no buzzing anywhere.

 

Hi Pinch,

Usually, the neck relief cannot be enough to overcome a string that has low nut action. Not saying that relief doesn't affect this whatsoever, but usually a deep nut slot will buzz no matter what the truss rod does. The bowing affects the "middle" section of the neck more than near the nut. When you get buzzing around the middle of the neck, that's when you might want to check your truss rod. Depending on where someone gets buzz from the strings hitting frets, it means different things are not right. This is my approach to get the guitar in spec, then see what doesn't play nice with me... Then I can assess the root cause typically with ease.

 

Either way, since you have guitars that don't have buzzing going on, that's great. No one likes this to happen to their guitars and I don't wish this on a guitarist, haha! My point is that the truss rod affects the "middle" frets, the nut affects the open strings (and sharpness of notes on the first few frets if too high of a slot), and the action (string height adjusted by bridge/tailpiece) affects the frets above the 12th give or take (frets inside neck pocket vicinity). That's the way I generally look at it and these notes generally help me more than not. Best regards as always!

Edited by NighthawkChris

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The frets on my 335 were tapered so that the high E-string was tending to slide off the fretboard during vibratos. I asked a technician to bring the string spacing a tad closer together. He replaced the stock nut with bone, and I really couldn't tell any difference in sound or playability.

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Thanks for all of the replies. I am probably going to just get the fender tusq style for the project. I know that it is only for open chords and really would only make a difference on that end of the neck.

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Thanks for all of the replies. I am probably going to just get the fender tusq style for the project. I know that it is only for open chords and really would only make a difference on that end of the neck.

 

Well, like I said, the most important thing noticeable with the nut is the height of the slots. The break angle that it makes will affect intonation around the first few frets - think basic shape chords like E, G, C, etc. You don't want open strings to buzz, and you don't want to get sharp notes. The slots should follow the radius of the neck and not be much higher than the first fret. Another item to attribute to a quality job is the actual place where the string makes contact - or rather fulcrumed for lack of better terms I can think of - on the nut. Ideally, you want the string to make a fulcrum with the very end of the nut slot closer to the direction of the body, not the headstock. This makes the 0 fret more true than if the string rested on some spot of the nut inside the slot.

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Graphtech have something called Nubone XB (Extended Bass) but as has been said, if you are not playing open-string chords it makes no difference.

 

And then there is fossilised walrus tusk:

 

https://guitarpartsandmore.com/products.php?Fossil-Walrus-Ivory-Nut-Blanks-34

 

[wink]

Edited by jdgm

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Bone but it's bloody hard getting it off the dog!

 

You mean away from the dog don't you Rob? Ha ha. msp_flapper.gif

I've never changed any nuts on my guitars either. Play them like they come and never had any issues. rolleyes.gif

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The previous owner of my V had put a bone nut on it, I tell everyone it’s coyote bone.

 

I have a brass nut on my Yngwie strat, I can’t tell a difference between the plastic/corian/compressed pigeon droppings on my other strat and the brass.

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Hi Pinch,

Usually, the neck relief cannot be enough to overcome a string that has low nut action. Not saying that relief doesn't affect this whatsoever, but usually a deep nut slot will buzz no matter what the truss rod does. The bowing affects the "middle" section of the neck more than near the nut. When you get buzzing around the middle of the neck, that's when you might want to check your truss rod. Depending on where someone gets buzz from the strings hitting frets, it means different things are not right. This is my approach to get the guitar in spec, then see what doesn't play nice with me... Then I can assess the root cause typically with ease.

 

Either way, since you have guitars that don't have buzzing going on, that's great. No one likes this to happen to their guitars and I don't wish this on a guitarist, haha! My point is that the truss rod affects the "middle" frets, the nut affects the open strings (and sharpness of notes on the first few frets if too high of a slot), and the action (string height adjusted by bridge/tailpiece) affects the frets above the 12th give or take (frets inside neck pocket vicinity). That's the way I generally look at it and these notes generally help me more than not. Best regards as always!

 

I know ;)

 

To sum it up, let me put it this way: no matter what I do with the truss rod, no matter what action, and no matter what string gauge, my Gibsons don't buzz.

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I know ;)

 

To sum it up, let me put it this way: no matter what I do with the truss rod, no matter what action, and no matter what string gauge, my Gibsons don't buzz.

 

No Pinch, let me sum this up here. No matter what I do with the the truss rod, no matter what action, and no matter what string gauge, I get buzzes playing my Gibsons msp_rolleyes.gif... and it ain't the guitars doing the buzzing! Cheers!

 

 

 

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