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J45 bone nut and pickguard removal- which affects tone more?


asmith9509

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Greetings all- first post here. So here's the situation; I got a good deal on a new J45 modern a few weeks ago; love the instrument but wanted to upgrade some of the components. Trying to stick pretty close to the look of a 1944 banner. Yesterday I installed Waverly nickel tuners with the small ivoroid buttons, and made a new bone nut to replace the corian one. I was really amazed at how poorly the factory saddle fit the slot; sloppy to say the least. The new nut is a perfect fit. I also removed the pickguard because it was sloppily installed over the rosette, and I intend to replace it with a new firestripe one (purely for cosmetics).

When I strung it up and played it, I was blown away- it's like a new instrument! So much more sustain and volume; I can feel the back thrumming against my gut when I play. Really balanced too. I'm usually skeptical of how much these small upgrades affect an instrument, but in this case I'm very pleased.

Here's my dilemma- because I did all three at once, I don't know which contributed most to the tone improvement. I assume the Waverly's played a minor role (although their reduced weight is very nice when wearing a strap), so it really comes down to either the new nut, or the absence of a pickguard. I still intend to replace the pickguard but I'm afraid it might dampen the tone.

So, for those of you that have done these upgrades in a staged fashion- which made the most difference, a new nut or removing the pickguard? I suppose I could live without a pickguard as I play mostly with fingers, but I definitely like the looks of it with one.

Thanks in advance for any input.

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DId you replace the nut or the saddle? You started off mentioning the nut, but then went on about the saddle.

I've had the pickguards off and on guitars- never really noticed much difference.

I've also replaced many factory tuners with waverly- I like the look of those as well. But again, I never noticed much difference.

 

If you replaced the saddle with one made of a different material, I would hazard a guess and say that's where the difference is coming from. (The nut won't have as much effect, since you probably fret a string now and then.)

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I also removed the pickguard because it was sloppily installed over the rosette' date=' and I intend to replace it with a new firestripe one (purely for cosmetics).[/quote']

 

How did you go about removing the factory installed pickguard?

 

Thanks,

Guth

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It is definatly the saddle then. When changing out things, string choice and saddle material probably will affect the tone the most. As said earlier, the nut will have some effect but not much as the nut is taken out of the tone equation when fretting your guitar string. Bridge pins reportadly have minimal effect but I found swapping out the plastic pins in my Gibson AJ to bone made a difference to my ears with added sustain and just a creamier treble tone.

 

Pickguards will have little to no effect according to several luthiers I have heard chatting about the topic.

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