bone nut eroding...?!

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by captcrunch55, May 1, 2005.


  1. captcrunch55

    captcrunch55 Member

    Messages:
    130
    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2002
    Location:
    Singapore
    i play a thineline tele with a bone nut installed.

    as i remember correctly when i had it first cut by a guitar tech, it was at a pretty decent height.

    now it is 8 months down the line and i feel that the grooves are being eroded down such that i am having buzz on open strings.
    it may be that i mainly use 11s.

    i have a feeling that bone erodes faster over a period of time especially when you use heavier strings and are constantly changing strings week on week.

    a luthier friend of mine said that is why most of the boutique strat makers prefer tusq as the nut tends to stay and doesnt erode like how bone does due to the brittleness of the material.

    oipnions?
     
  2. mc5nrg

    mc5nrg Supporting Member

    Messages:
    7,999
    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2004
    Location:
    DC, Philly, Asquared, Upper Michigan
    If you notice this on several strings I think its more likely you have a backbow in the neck.
     
  3. daddyo

    daddyo Guest

    Messages:
    11,808
    Joined:
    May 19, 2003
    I doubt if it is the nut slots wearing down. I just recently refiled the bone saddle on my classical guitar and I file for a good 10 minutes (stopping to check of course) to take of about a small 1/16". I was using a new single cut mill file. A nut is twice as thick as a saddle. There is just no way guitar strings will do that. I'm going with the back bow. Tighten your truss rod 1/8 turn a day till it is good.
     
  4. dazco

    dazco Member

    Messages:
    10,678
    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2003
    Yea, i agree with the backbow theory. I've used bone for years and i've never had any of them wear out. And i use strats which due to the trem would be more likely to cause that due to the back and fourth action of the strings in the slot as you wahammy. It would take many years for what you describe to happen.
     
  5. Clorenzo

    Clorenzo Member

    Messages:
    1,940
    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2004
    Location:
    Munich / Madrid
    That should read *loosen* your truss rod, i.e. turn the nut counter-clockwise.
     
    scr@tchy likes this.
  6. aeolian

    aeolian Member

    Messages:
    6,083
    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2004
    Location:
    Santa Cruz, CA.
    Yeah, bone does errode with age. :D
     
    scr@tchy likes this.
  7. empty71

    empty71 Member

    Messages:
    1,296
    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2004
    Location:
    Singapore
    Alright guys, just so you have a clearer picture of what's happening here.

    captcrunch55's tele has an almost .025" relief, the strings are barely clearing the 1st fret when depressed at the 2nd fret. His neck is definitely not back bowed unless he'd twead the truss rod after I'd taken a look at the guitar some weeks ago.

    About the bone nut, it's not so much corroding than wearing out at the slot. I've replaced countless bone nuts and find that they wear out faster than synthetic nuts. Everytime you change strings on a bone nut, you'll notice bone particles and that's from the wound strings grinding in the nut slot. Depending on how dense the bone is and how high or low the nut slot was files, it will eventually wear out given it will take a few years.

    Bone is actually quite porous and the density varies quite a bit. I prefer synthetic material for nut especially for trem equipped electric guitars. Corian is another material that I find wears out pretty fast too.

    My guess is the tech had slotted the nut a tad too low for comfort when he'd replaced the nut.

    daddyo, the tele nut is almost the same width as your classical saddle. Even if the nut's twice as thick as the saddle, the strings contact point on the nut is about less than half the nut thickness.

    BTW, I'm the luthier friend captcruch55's talking about:D I wasn't the one who'd replaced the bone nut.
     
  8. dazco

    dazco Member

    Messages:
    10,678
    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2003
    Hmmm.......i found that odd since i've used bone for a long time and never had one wear out, yet i cut my slots VERY low ! i cut them so that the clearance over the 1st fret is the same as the clearance over the 2nd when fretted at the first. In other words, just as it would be woith a zero fret. So if anyone should be seeing thier bone nut wearing too low it would be me because the slightest wear would be too much, and i use a ulra low action so it would buzz badly.

    However, i always keep the slots lubed with graphite ! I gotta think thats why. These are strats i'm talking about, so they need to be lubed for tuning stability, but it looks like theres more reason than that to do it !
     
  9. empty71

    empty71 Member

    Messages:
    1,296
    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2004
    Location:
    Singapore
    dazco, your nut slots are quite high for the "clearance over the 1st fret is the same as the clearance over the 2nd when fretted at the first".

    captcrunch55 guitar's barely clearing the 1st fret when the strings are depressed at the 2nd fret and that's way too low IMHO.

    From my experience, bone and corian wears out faster then synthetic materials.
     

Share This Page