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Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups Warmoth.com

Bone nut on an electric

Discussion in 'Tele-Technical' started by Obsessed, Sep 30, 2017.

  1. Obsessed

    Obsessed Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Nov 21, 2012
    Montana
    My high-end acoustics have bone nuts, but none of my electrics do (all mid priced MIM/MIK). I don't have tuning issues, I'm keeping my string gauges at 9.5 to 10's, don't need super low action either, so are there any advantages that I am missing out by not having a bone nut on a tele or any electric for that matter?

    Thanks in advance for any sage wisdom, tone myths or important POV experiences.
     
    matrix and jackinjax like this.

  2. Commodore 64

    Commodore 64 Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

    Age:
    41
    Mar 1, 2010
    Kent, OH
    A node is a node. I like working with bone, though. So if a nut needs replaced, I'll use bone blanks.
     

  3. Dismalhead

    Dismalhead Poster Extraordinaire

    Age:
    54
    Feb 16, 2014
    Auburn, California
    All I care is that it's not a cheap plastic nut that the strings get bound up in. Other than that it can be bone or synthetic; I've even had brass.

    My thinking on the nut though is you can buy a pre-cut and shaped nut for five bucks or less, so you might as well swap it out if you're unsure about your current one. Yeah, it might need a bit of fitting or sanding, but it's a relatively easy mod to make.
     
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  4. Obsessed

    Obsessed Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Nov 21, 2012
    Montana
    So, basically, if I have issues with a nut, that is the time to replace it with bone other
    So, basically, unless I have issues with a nut, just leave it as is?
     
    nojazzhere likes this.

  5. Dismalhead

    Dismalhead Poster Extraordinaire

    Age:
    54
    Feb 16, 2014
    Auburn, California
    That's what I do. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. Others might see it differently.
     

  6. Obsessed

    Obsessed Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Nov 21, 2012
    Montana
    Thanks. That is my thinking, but just wondering if I was missing anything.
     
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  7. kafka

    kafka Tele-Meister

    289
    Oct 18, 2013
    Maryland
    Pretty much. It keeps your strings off the frets. It lets the string slide when tuning. And that's about it. They used to put soft plastic ones on cheap guitars. Those were crap. If you don't look at it and immediately think 'soft', then it's hard enough.
     
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  8. blowtorch

    blowtorch Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    May 2, 2003
    Wisco
    so this is the case of the thread title with the (previously) missing C, I presume...;)
     
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  9. Obsessed

    Obsessed Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Nov 21, 2012
    Montana
    Ouch. Caught me.:oops:
     
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  10. BadMojo

    BadMojo Tele-Meister

    159
    Sep 17, 2017
    Maryland
    Like stated upthread. It's a fairly easy swap. You should give it a try. IMO bone will give you a little more sustain and bite over plastic nuts.
     
    Obsessed likes this.

  11. Zepfan

    Zepfan Friend of Leo's

    Nov 30, 2013
    Horn Lake, MS
    I have 1 guitar with a Tusq nut, 4 with Unbleached Bone, 1 with Corian and 1 with plastic. I prefer the Bone or Tusq and the cost isn't much.
    Brass, Aluminum and even Steel is better than plastic.

    Every part of a guitar plays a role in it's tone, so why use a cheap inferior material part to be part of your guitar? If it really didn't matter, then every company would use all parts made from the cheapest materials to keep cost down.
     
    Mr Green Genes and Crawldaddy like this.

  12. kingvox

    kingvox TDPRI Member

    17
    Mar 23, 2017
    USA
    IMO, the most important thing is string spacing. With a pre-cut nut you can't control this, but if you learn to do it yourself or pay someone to do it properly, it can make a world of difference.

    I'd say it's worth learning how to do simply because it's so critical to a guitar's feel and playability.

    Bone is harder than plastic. It'll last forever, it'll sound better, and it looks better. Even without string spacing improvement, yes, there'll be some improvement.

    But I always tell people that while bone can make a significant tonal difference, the primary benefit will be improved string spacing, which makes for better playability. In my mind the improved string spacing is the #1 important factor, and using bone is secondary.

    Admittedly, cutting a plastic nut, even with improved spacing, would feel like a waste of time to me. So I do think that bone has advantages over plastic that make it worth using regardless.
     
    Obsessed likes this.

  13. Crawldaddy

    Crawldaddy Tele-Meister

    185
    Dec 12, 2006
    Singapore
    Some people just dislike the notion of having a synthetic material for their guitar nut. Personally I’ve got guitars with bone, tusq, and corian nuts. As long as the guitar stays in tune, it don’t bother me at all.
     
    Obsessed likes this.

  14. Obsessed

    Obsessed Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Nov 21, 2012
    Montana
    Well, see, this is what I was eluding to. I'm very convinced about the aspects of using bone over plastic for acoustic, but I just have to wonder if increases of sustain and "bite" would really occur on an electric.
     
    BadMojo likes this.

  15. Obsessed

    Obsessed Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Nov 21, 2012
    Montana
    Hmmm, interesting point about improved string spacing. Maybe I should check my plastic nuts to see if there are any discrepancies. Thanks.
     
    kingvox likes this.

  16. BadMojo

    BadMojo Tele-Meister

    159
    Sep 17, 2017
    Maryland
    It most definitely will in any guitar. The denser the material, the less vibration it absorbs. You want something hard against those strings so they ring longer.
     
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  17. Geo

    Geo Friend of Leo's

    Age:
    68
    Mar 17, 2003
    Hendersonville, TN
    Probably the most notable sound difference is that of unfretted open strings.
    Having some bone and some other the sound from string vibration is somewhat different
    and fine but for me not necessarily better.
     
    Obsessed likes this.

  18. Obsessed

    Obsessed Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Nov 21, 2012
    Montana
    Hmmm, a very interesting comment. Thanks for your input.
     

  19. eallen

    eallen Tele-Meister

    236
    Jul 30, 2013
    Greenwood, Indiana
    I use bone on all my builds because I like working with it. In reality though considering only 6 notes are effected by the nut the change in materials is negligible except on open strings. Are 6 notes worth a change for a debatable difference?
     
    Obsessed likes this.

  20. Obsessed

    Obsessed Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Nov 21, 2012
    Montana
    Hmmm, good point. I never thought about it that way. My cowboy chords are basically played on my acoustics, so even less open string notes on electrics. Thanks for that thoughtful piece to consider.
     
    Geo likes this.

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