Are you using a different string gauge than stock? NuBone is marketed as a lower cost, high–grade plastic alternative to bone. For our purposes, we will consider three nut materials: plastic, fossilized ivory, and bone. Nuts are made of a variety of materials and they all can influence your tone – for better or worse – so I think this important part of your guitar deserves a little discussion. If you got some wider that neck allows for your fretting fingers to have more space to maneuver., When Ted Nugent started playing through Eddie's gear, a funny thing happened …. There’s a lot of sensationalism surrounding bone nuts, and that’s because they’re great. The material of the nut will affect sustain – either in a good way or a bad way. Steel guitar strings have two main components: the steel core wire and the wire wrap. There are some people that believe a guitar nut if properly slotted has little impact on guitar tone. Fossilized ivory was harder for me to work with compared to bone, especially when dealing with string slots (I was switching to a heavier gauge). The density of the material will affect sustain and resonance — harder, more even densities mean preferable sustain. I think a nut is far more influential on action and intonation than it is on tone. Nuts are typically made out of bone, plastic, brass or graphite. Luthier's Guitar & Bass Technical Discussion. Bone also self–lubricates, meaning it pairs better with that annoying B–string. Hi, The nut's material will only influence the sound of strings played open, so the bridge is even more important. Cheap guitars are a wonderful thing. The nut can have an effect on the sound, like the saddle, and needs to have the same dense, hard properties as the saddle as it is also in direct contact with the … If the nut has no effect on fretted strings, then different tuners or tailpieces would also have no effect. A very small section of the string very close to the saddles and the nut doesn't vibrate. Remember that if you are working with the nut yourself, you’re going want to take some time to think about what material is going to work best for what you want to achieve. Support independent music stores & gear makers. action, or changing string thickness does affect intonation but I'm not so sure in the case of the tailpiece. It might take away some of the sustain. Graph Tech’s TUSQ nuts, for example. (Image credit: Future) A quick glance at any guitar retailer’s website will show cables largely fall into two categories; cables that market themselves as cables, and cables that market themselves as good cables. Are you using a different string gauge than stock? Other people may tell you different though ;). Commodore 64and Doctorx33like this. The strings’ vibrations are transferred to the top which moves the air inside and gives the guitar its tone. In this article, we’re going to discuss the many types of guitar nuts and what makes each nut material so unique in terms of sound properties. This influences how much tension is put on the strings, which will affect overall playability. The nut is a part of the guitar that is often neglected when we talk about tone. Anything that the string comes in contact with will effect the tone. For every basic, run-of-the-mill “3-meter black” cable, you’ll see another promising magical qualities that will give you the most transparent tone you’ve ever heard. Most of the fossilized ivory on the market is either Walrus or Wooly Mammoth. The density of the material will affect sustain and resonance — harder, more even densities mean preferable sustain. Fossilized ivory, on the other hand, is the legal alternative to ivory and is comparable to bone in open–string tonal quality. By clicking Subscribe, I agree to the processing of my data in order to receive emails. But bone does have the clear advantage in the ease–of–use category. To the OP, it is possible that the nut slots on your E and A string are not cut properly. As a bit of an artistic diversion, I “make” a few guitars every now and then, a habit I’ve had since I made my first guitar in Jr. High wood shop at age 15. But improper setup of a nut can result in several issues that can wreak havoc on tone and playability. I've even seen a saddle made out of aluminum. I don’t get it. But on a halfway decent guitar it would be a luthier job with proper nut files. TUSQ nuts boast “permanent lubrication” and definitely deliver in the self–lubrication category, being easy to shape. It is the best sounding (and best looking) guitar I own when compared to my two LPs with rosewood boards. Every guitar is different, though, and tonally, there are times when I prefer TUSQ or fossil ivory. It's elusive until you give up the quest and become all of the tones! Mar 15, 2013#4 Too steep can cause problems. The nut only directly affects the tonal quality of open strings. Nuts that have slots worn too wide or deep will further frustrate as the strings could slip out of the grooves or cause buzz, but if the grooves are too tight they can pinch the strings when you bend notes and prevent them from going back into tune. I have seen nuts made out of brass, steel, ebony, and petrified wood. 8. This is why some players go nuts trying to re-find the tone they dialed in last time they played. Switching String Gauges The friction of the strings can wear down the nuts and frets on your guitar. They often point to locking tremolo systems that do not actually use a nut yet still achieve good tone. The nut is usually made from the same material as the saddle and for the same reasons. We like to hear ourselves talk just as much as we like to hear ourselves play, and no piece of the guitar is safe from scrutiny. Scale length tends to be thought of as the distance from the nut to the bridge saddles – string length. Tremolos are great for vibrato and dive-bombs and other expressive effects, but this all comes at the expense of long sustain. How Nut Material Impacts the Tone of an Acoustic Guitar. Working with a bone nut for angling, string relief, and slotting is decidedly easier than doing so with fossil ivory, in my opinion. So in other words, a guitar’s scale length is determined by the gap between the two main components that seat its strings. How does the wrap tension effect a string's tone? Please check the fields highlighted in red. Anyway, I notice the low E and A strings sound very thumpy, like a bass with flat wounds. Aaaaannnd… Anybody who says it does, DOES have ears like a freakin' bat! As with every aspect of guitar, it matters quite a lot if you care enough to pay attention to subtleties. The higher the action, the more open your instrument sounds. How Frets Affect Tone, Intonation, and Playability. And nut cut makes all the difference in the strings not binding. It’s a double–edged sword, really. The proper way to create the tone you want before you start hitting your pedals and amplifier effects is to open the tone knob up to a 10 and set your volume. Bleached bone, however, is a waste of time and looks lame. They’re probably the best, in fact. The shape and material of the nut can actually affect the entire tone and performance of your guitar, not to mention the impact it has on playability.. Needless to say, its worth having a think about which one is best for you. Graphite materials are soft. Raising or lowering the bridge i.e. It’s equally important to understand that the influence of nut material on tone can be undermined by poor setup. Graph Tech also makes a “TUSQ derivative” they call NuBone. Differences in tone are determined by the material and shape of both. JavaScript is disabled. Electric guitars with Fender-style six-on-a-side headstocks usually have relatively straight string-pull, meaning the strings don’t fan out from the nut. Guitar players debate everything. But these materials are, for the most part, the exceptions to the rule. Your purchases also help protect forests, including trees traditionally used to make instruments. I have heard two pickers, both supporting bone nuts, with one saying that the bone nut gave them a bright tone and the other choosing bone for its darker, warm tone. It is simply not worth it. As a whole, however, fossilized ivory can be harder to come by than more common materials like bone and high–grade plastic. The reason a luthier will shave the bridge rather than shave a saddle is to maintain the tonal quality of the guitar. You must log in or register to reply here. So when you want more sustain, get a second guitar that does not have a tremolo bridge. Without addressing this, you can sort of get to a best compromise, maybe, by reducing neck relief, compensating with bridge height to fix the action, reintonating, and setting the strings tuned a tad flat. The Nut and Frets Are Worn or Damaged. That being said, there are often glaring issues with an instrument that's made prioritizing low costs over quality. The short answer is everything on the entire system — woods, electronics, and hardware — has some effect on a guitar or bass’s tone. So nut widths of the classical guitar can reach around two … A third contributing factor is the guitar’s nut, which plays a slightly less prominent role in the height of the strings. There are other ornamental additives (inlays, bindings, nut & saddle material) on guitars that can affect their overall sound. This is particularly obvious on acoustic guitars. Lately, I’ve been making Tele style guitars, since Nashville guitar … Nut on a 1959 Airline/Valco Town and Country, Graph Tech TUSQ Slotted 1/4" Epiphone Nut, Fossilized Mammoth Ivory Pre-Finished Nut, Everything you need to know about body shapes, styles, and other considerations. I have found that the tone — when compared to bone and synthetic bone — is thinner using TUSQ nuts, even though they market a better bass response. The difference to me, however subtle, was more sustain and a more pronounced tone when using the fossil ivory nut. Ironically, while the setup is important to consider, the material you choose for your nut directly affects your ability to set up the guitar. The scale length of a guitar measures the length between the nut and bridge of a guitar. Zero frets — which are seen less frequently now on acoustic guitars — make contact with the string post–nut prior to the saddle and bridge, removing some aspects of the nut’s importance. ... ‘Scale length’ refers to the distance between a guitar’s nut and its bridge. First used on guitar strings in the 1930s by D’Addario, the 80/20 bronze alloy contains 80 percent copper and 20 p… If it wasn't hampering your tone prior to its discovery, chances are it's not going to make any difference. Additionally, bone allows the guitar to stay in tune by allowing the string to return to the correct pitch after a bend or movement. For a better experience, please enable JavaScript in your browser before proceeding. This ivory is legal to use because it comes from an already extinct animal. You can't have both. My Gibson J-60 Plus has seen both a bone nut and a fossil ivory nut. Fretted notes leave the nut out of the equation so nut material has little if any impact on tone. And, 1 ¾ inches another normal width that is preferred by some fingerstyle players. Yes, a different nut material can change the tone & sustain slightly but it sounds like you are experiencing something that's not typical of PRS guitars. It can only effect the open strings. There is also material called Tusq, supposed to be made out of polymer. However, there are high–quality, dense plastic materials that boast durability and tonal advantage. If it were possible for a cracked nut to have even a tiny effect on your tone, it would only be when that one string is played open. After gauge, the next key factor is construction. So take that as you will. The nut will certainly effect the tone open or fretted. I would have never started playing guitar if these budget–friendly instruments weren’t available. Sustain. So, you may need to replace the nuts or replace the frets if either of these become worn down or damaged.. 9. Fender-style guitars. Again this will be most notable when playing open strings. The most notable effect it will have on tonality is when playing the open strings. Friends suggested that I resurface the fossil ivory with bone, but I ended up deciding to go with a bone nut altogether. The texture and the material’s ability to self–lubricate will affect the strings’ ease of … it is possible that the nut slots on your E and A string are not cut properly. Does the scale length of a guitar affect its playability and tone? High action can often increase sustain and give your notes a nicer resonance than a lower action. A new nut won't change how it sounds fretted. And we care about the subtleties. On electric guitars, none of these means of string-height adjustment are beyond the capabilities of a dedicated do-it-yourselfer who possesses just a … A longer scale length provides more tension and a brighter sound. The steeper the angle that the string ‘breaks’ over the saddle or nut, the more downward pressure it applies to that saddle or nut. Proper angling and string–slot depth are just as integral as nut material when it comes to great sound and playability. If you are experiencing problems that lead you to look at the saddle or the tuners (intonation with the B–string is a common one), you may want to take a look at that nut. However hard to work with, the fossil ivory is the best–looking nut around. I want more zing. In stock and shipping now. The Gear Page is the leading online community and marketplace for guitars, amps, pedals, effects and associated gear. The texture and the material’s ability to self–lubricate will affect the strings’ ease of movement when tuning, bending, or using a capo. After that you are fretting, which then excludes it from effecting tone. Bone has a more even density than fossil ivory, though high–grade plastics are the most even. I have an ES-355 (2014) with Richlite. But how much do these things actually matter? It is my opinion that nut material will affect tone more than fingerboard material. If you want to accommodate some extra string pairs, the neck width on those 12 string instruments is around 1 7/8″. The nut and saddle simply act as conduits for the vibration of the strings to the body of the guitar--so their effect on the tone of the instrument is pretty small. The material of the nut on an acoustic guitar will affect the overall tonality of the guitar. The nut is the area where the strings hit the guitar first, which makes it very important. Martin Luxe offer an increase in volume and sustain without sacrificing the low end, or rich-ness of the guitar's tone. Since the nut is one of the two points that transfers the vibrations of the string to the wood … Spend the time you would use making a new nut playing your guitar … I don't believe any nut affects any tone in any way EXCEPT possibly on open strings on an acoustic instrument. This is gonna be very hard to explain, sorry. In order for a wrapped string to maintain it's energy to vibrate, having a tightly coupled wrap and core string is important. Shaving the saddle does change the tone and most people don't want that. I've changed nuts before and I notice those things much more than a tonal difference. Bone has a good level of consistency, provides great tone, and is easier than fossilized ivory to work with. It’s less expensive than TUSQ and is often less favored for being more brittle and generally harder to work. Preachers of this gospel claim that the inconsistencies in density that are often found in ivory and bone nuts are not an issue for these juiced–up plastic nuts. The pre–war style bracing of that Gibson provides great bass control, so I liked the ivory nut in that it added to the clarity. I actually preferred the fossil ivory to bone in almost every capacity, except when it came to setup. Shaving the saddle is a quick fix for high action but it comes at a price. A replacement nut made of slippery material like graphite can greatly help alleviate binding, but keep in mind that nut material affects tone. The regular width is exactly 1 11/16″so that’s really what many people are mostly used to. However, you rarely hear a guitar player mention scale length, and scale length has a significant impact on both playability and tone. Loose windings will create a loss of sustain, create dead zones, inconsistent gauge thickness, and cause a guitar to make all kinds of fret buzzing noises you do not want. An old guitar may have a nut made of bone, but in newer models they cut costs and switched to plastic. Ivory is illegal to harvest and immoral to use as a means of achieving tone and playability. In my opinion, TUSQ is the way to go if you’re sold on a plastic nut. I have a PRS and the nut looks to be some kind of a graphite material. In particular, a guitar with a fixed bridge (hardtail) will have more sustain than a guitar with a tremolo bridge. Oops, looks like you forgot something. Over the course of 40 years playing I've had situations like this happen before. For acoustic players specifically, the nut is no exception, and players often debate the best materials and setup. When you fret a note, that fret takes over from the nut as the “anchor” for the note, so it’s definitely involved in transmitting vibrational energy. Hence, my -355 is currently in the shop for neck repair and I'm having a bone nut installed. When possible, I suggest finding a trusted luthier to help you make and actualize these decisions. Would a different nut help? Cheap, plastic nuts plague these instruments. Your purchases help youth music programs get the gear they need to make music. Two of the most popular alloys, 80/20 bronze and phosphor bronze, differ in the mixture of metals they contain. Ultimately, the nut setup is far more important than the material—a poorly adjusted nut will make a guitar difficult to play, hard to keep in tune, and impossible to intonate—and that will be far more noticeable than any little tone difference I can imagine! The “action” of your guitar — meaning the height of the strings off the fretboard — definitely affects your guitar tone. They’re brittle and hard to work with, leading to weak open string sounds and setup issues that normally demand an entirely new nut to rectify. May this article serve as a subjective guide or at least something to pick apart piece by piece with your buds at the guitar store. The nut only directly affects the tonal quality of open strings. As pointed out, a good percentage of your playing will be with fretted notes, maybe some unfretted notes mixed in and those have to line up tuning wise. Persimmon brings out much more detail from the guitar's tonal pallet and harmonic voice than either ebony or plastic, plus high harmonics are promoted with astonishing clarity.

does guitar nut affect tone

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