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Thread: Nuts (heehee I said Nuts)

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    Which materials do you prefer on the nuts of your guitars?

    Graphite ?
    Bone?
    Graph-tek (some alloy not really graphite)

    Just curious. I need to make a new nut for my Heritage Les Paul, as the only cheap part on th eguitar is the stupid piece of palstic they put on near the headstock. I am trying to decide which ones to use. Some people have recomended Bone, other graphite and others self-lubricating graphite. I like them all, I mean I have graphite saddles on my strat, well one of them, and I have a bone nut on my G&L, but what do I do?

    MIKE

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    Cost really isn't an issue. I just want to get the best one.

    MIKE

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    you said bone nut....

    HEE_HAW

    -jhe

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    When I can't make up my mind on something like that. And all options seem good. I go with the cheapest one.

    [This message has been edited by MrLip (edited 04-07-2000).]

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    I like Graphite......

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    What sound do you want, do you fool with tunings or tremelo bars / Floyd Rose etc, and what don't you like about the nut as it presently is?

    Materials will affect the sound and playability; it isn't really a thing about "quality," at least not in the range of instrument that Heritage makes. The nut is likely to be of good quality even if it is plastic.

    Some people like graphite because it is hard and lubricates the string. (There ya go, James HE - run with it!). So, if there is to be a lot of retuning or string stretching, consider a graphite nut. And bone is a classic material because it resembles ivory (tradition, here) and imparts a clear tone to the instrument; the saddle isn't the only resonant focus. But bone (and ivory) can vary in density, leading to string imbalance. (More critical on a saddle). Some prefer Corian, others Micarta. These are plastics that hold up well; I believe Corian is slightly softer. Their advantages are stability and consistency, and as synthetics, they tend to be inexpensive. You find these kinds of materials installed by the manufacturer. Finally, you could pull a 1970's hippy trick and try machined bell brass. (Or not). Looked funky, didn't work particularly well. Lots of highs and some wierdness - kinda like the rest of the '70s... But it was way cool, better than Ray-Bans.

    By the way, there's unlikely to be anything really wrong with what you have. But that's what we're all told, isn't it?!!

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    Well, you're right, normally I would think Plastic from Heritage to be fine, but as it turns out, my G string is buzzing (heheehe) and I need to put filler in there anyway. I just don't really like the plastic idea I guess. I mean, when I can get a new nut hand -made at the shop I work at for about 2$ I figure I will just make a new one. If they only had white graphite...
    I like the idea of graphite, because I re-tune a lot normally, but of course, on my Les Paul I don't that often cause I got 4 other guitars to do that with. Hmmm.
    Basically I need a new nut cause My G string is buzzing and I think the plastic is cracked near it too, I have not checked on that in a while though. Which one sounds more like a Les Paul? Cause that is ultimatly what I want. I have two strats and a 335, so I wanted the LP sound too.

    MIKE

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    Well, this is a good place to experiment, because anything you do is easily reversed. I'd try a chunck of Corian in there; see what you think. The real trick, though, and one which may affect the sound more than the material, is how well or precisely the nut is seated, and how well the string channels are cut. The idea is to have the bass strings slightly higher than the trebles, to account for their longer wavelengths; anti-buzz. It seems simple as falling off a log, but it really is not; there's a subtlety to it that will affect the tone. If you depend on the guitar, you might want a technician to do the work. Otherwise, do a little reading in the area, get the Stewart- Macdonald catalog, cruise the MIMF forum ( www.mimf.com ) and have at it!

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    You also want to stay true to the instrument. If you have a quality acoustic with a bone bridge you might want to match that on the nut side. Bone seems (this is just preference speaking) truer to wood than does metal or graphite. You'll also have the same coeffient of friction on both ends (drop it) of the tuning process.

    No plastic, that's for sure. I loathe hearing a string ping and pop at the nut when tuning a cheap acoustic guitar. It doesn't take long for the string to chew away the plastic and start to bind.

    Stay away from those silly Fender nuts. They put all this technology into a non-binding nut but unless you upgrade the floating bridge it still goes out after the first bend of the tremolo arm. I don't get it.

    Graphite bridges and saddles are great and your string life is lengthened considerably (you end up changing strings because they should like crap, not because they broke).

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    A major guitar player I knew had a custom Strat with a brass nut. He lost the lead guitar job with Boston only because the guy who got it was supposed to have a better voice for the job. His guitar was the coolest guitar I've ever played. I analogized it to liquid honey. But then honey is liquid isn't it?

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