View Full Version : What kind of nut?
01-26-2010, 08:17 AM
I know this is probably a very basic 101 question, but I am having my first custom neck made for me by USACG, and searching for "nut" on here doesn't really work...
Im having a rosewood board strat neck made for my ash bodied 50th anniversary strat...what is the best nut to get?
I am ordering a bunch of stuff from here, so I would like to choose from this site if possible: http://guitarpartsresource.com/guitar_index.htm
What is the advantage of Bone or Graph Tech? What about flat bottom vs curved bottom?
01-26-2010, 09:34 AM
are you making the nut yourself? if so you'd want to pick up a set of files and extra nut blanks as you'll probably not get it quite right on the first go
can't go wrong with bone as that's my preferred material. curved vs flat doesn't make too large of a difference in my experience but it all depends on how you ordered your neck from usacg? if you got a curved nut slot you need a curved nut blank. vintage necks had curved nut bottoms.
those pre-cut nuts can get you in the ballpark but don't expect a great playing neck if you don't go the extra mile and have it fit special to the neck. read tommy's little tidbit about nuts:
"***Why we won't sell or install pre slotted nuts.***
Nut fabrication and installation should be one of the last things done in the assembly process. We feel that to attempt to do this at this early stage would be doing the instrument a disservice. Since we don't offer hardware, this also prohibits us from providing the nut blank material as well. There are lots of guitar shop supply companies who sell nut blanks, and trained guitar techs/luthiers who can cut and install a nut that will be a perfect fit based on your preferences (desired string height, string spacing, etc.) We may even be able to recommend a tech in your area - ask us when you place your order."
01-26-2010, 10:21 AM
Don't buy the nut from USACG. Get it and the install from a luthier in your town.
01-26-2010, 11:21 AM
The materials - Bone, Graph Tech, Graphite... Bone is a good nut and transfers tone well, I can't speak for the other two. Nuts made out of metals similar to the frets are also good.
Straight blank vs curved - On Fender guitars the bottoms of the slots that the nuts go in are curved to the fretboard radius. So the cuved ones are supposed to be time savers, However most of the curved Fender style blanks I've seen have a 7.25" radius. Its a time saver if you can find a blank with the proper radius. Oh, The tops of radiused blanks are radiused too so it may be a bit harder to cut the slots for the strings.
Also, There's one more thing - The slots for the strings. If the slots are round they hold the string better but if the slots are square-ish they're supposed to be better for guitars with a vibrato. I haven't had problems with round slots as long as I cut them slightly oversize.
01-26-2010, 11:25 AM
Terry McInturff installed a self-lubricating graphite nut in my '76 Les Paul Custom about 6-7 years ago.....no problems whatsoever.
(of course, Terry's a great luthier!!)
01-26-2010, 01:08 PM
I prefer Tusq for tone, easier to file, doesn't bind as easily as bone. Get a flat bottom as that is how they cut the slot unless you specify.
01-26-2010, 01:45 PM
I've had weird inconsistencies with the man made stuff when filing. Seems to cut faster some times than others, even on the same nut.
Bone works best for me and I prefer to do my own slotting and shaping.
01-26-2010, 02:49 PM
I dove in head first last week and bought a bone nut blank and cracked open my copy of The Guitar Player's Repair Guide. I used my Dremel to get it down to size and used feeler gauges and some files to cut the slots. Its not a pro job but it worked and my Strat plays great. I would consider it a good job for a firs timer.
The only reason I did it myself though was because I'm broke and I wasn't trying to dish out $30+ on a nut job. My total cost ended up being $11 plus elbow grease (given I already owned a Dremel). Also I've been tinkering with guitars since I started playing so I knew I could get it done at least well enough for it to function; plus I had Dan Erlewine as my guide.
Total it took me about 2 hours to complete.
01-26-2010, 03:39 PM
There's an excellent thread over at MLP. This guy gave his guitar a complete tune-up. The title of the thread itself is very suggestive:
Complete Setup - Fretboard Scrape, Fret level, Bone Nut Carve, Intonation
Check it out:
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