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

    KokoTele Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

    Age:
    42
    Mar 17, 2003
    albany, ny [not chicago]
    I'm firmly in the camp that the nut material does affect the overall sound, even of a fretted note. There are so many other things in the signal path of an electric guitar that the effect can be masked, though. Think of it like an ingredient in a recipe; a little bit of the right ingredient can make a noticeable difference.

    I stopped (for the most part) installing synthetic nuts unless the customer *really* wants it. They pay for the part and then labor to install it, which brings the price close to what a bone nut would cost anyway. (I charge a flat rate that includes the cost of material.) Nobody ever raves about the improvement in sound after getting a new tusq or graphtech nut, though they often do rave after getting a bone nut.

    The pre-slotted bone nuts that are available are best thought of as rough drafts that need quite a bit of work to turn into a finished product. The StewMac ones are better than others. The Allparts ones are downright goofy.

    The pre-slotted synthetic nuts are "good enough," but not good. The slots for the high strings are too wide and not always sloped right for the guitar, so I generally wind up filing them almost as much as if I were starting from scratch anyway.
     
    Mr Green Genes, moosie and Obsessed like this.

  2. Zepfan

    Zepfan Friend of Leo's

    Nov 30, 2013
    Horn Lake, MS
    It'll never matter one way or another to You unless You hear the difference. Tests done by other people with their guitars and their equipment really don't matter. Your guitar, your equipment, same settings will matter. It's a cheap mod and takes little time. You'll either notice a difference like I did or you won't. If you don't, you'll at least know that you have a good nut that will last a long time and the spacing will be better as you pointed out.;)
     
    Obsessed likes this.

  3. Wrong-Note Rod

    Wrong-Note Rod Poster Extraordinaire

    Mar 4, 2009
    atlanta
    I've been told straight to my face by repair guys and novice guitarists who know it all, that bone is the only way to go.

    Sod them all.

    My favorite tele guitar has a freaking black graphite nut, it never goes out of tune and sounds great.

    I've got a bone nut on my strat and it doesnt sound any better, or stay in tune any better, than the tele.
     
    Obsessed likes this.

  4. lammie200

    lammie200 Tele-Holic

    945
    Jan 11, 2013
    San Francisco
    I am hoping that this side tracks the thread and creates controversy, but you are missing an advantage by not using a compensated nut like an Earvana nut IMHO. Some major guitar manufacturers have offered them on their guitars so not everyone thinks that they are bunk.
     

  5. Zepfan

    Zepfan Friend of Leo's

    Nov 30, 2013
    Horn Lake, MS
    Graphite is great for a nut, I think just about anything is better than plastic.

    I've seen these before, my question about them is, How do you maintain intonation for the lower frets when changing the distance between them and the nut? I can see adjusting the intonation at the bridge since the distance from the bridge and high frets is so great, it seems to me that also doing adjustment at the nut would be counter productive. Does anyone else get that impression?
     

  6. KokoTele

    KokoTele Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

    Age:
    42
    Mar 17, 2003
    albany, ny [not chicago]
    Zep, though it might seem counterintuitive, the compensated nut works out quite well to even out temperament issues that cause some notes to sound out of tune, especially when comparing open notes to fretted notes.

    For instance, the G# in an E chord is always a little bit sharp. So on that string, the break point is moved towards the 1st fret. When retuned, the G# note is not as far away from the nut as it was before, so it's more in tune.
     
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2017

  7. papa32203

    papa32203 Tele-Holic

    576
    Nov 4, 2011
    Surprise, AZ

    I'm going to have the fingertips on my fretting hand replaced with w/ brass.
     
    Obsessed and BadMojo like this.

  8. lammie200

    lammie200 Tele-Holic

    945
    Jan 11, 2013
    San Francisco
    I think that the physics is similar to the strange fret shapes on true temperament necks except that instead of the weird shaped frets you are altering the string lengths. I have had the best results using them on 25.5" scale lengths. I tried one on an acoustic that was a 24.75" scale length. It still sounding better than a straight cut nut, but not as effective as it does on a 25.5"er.
     

  9. user34603

    user34603 TDPRI Member

    Age:
    67
    94
    Dec 5, 2016
    Richmond VA
    as long as the nut slots are cut correctly and lubricated (no string binding in the slots), plastic is not a big deal. Bone is stable and looks good. But the nut does not make much difference in sound.... pickups and the bridge parts do (like a steel tremolo block).
     
    Obsessed likes this.

  10. Zepfan

    Zepfan Friend of Leo's

    Nov 30, 2013
    Horn Lake, MS
    Thanks guys for that. As long as I've been playing and have become used to how the lower frets sound, this kind of nut may just be too different to what my ears have become used to.
     

  11. Zepfan

    Zepfan Friend of Leo's

    Nov 30, 2013
    Horn Lake, MS
    Why would the bridge make a difference, but the nut not make a difference? They're both points that keep the strings in scale length. If one makes a difference, then logically both would make a difference.
     

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