Oh, nuts!!! --- ZerO Glide Nut vs Roller Nut vs Bone Nut

BluesHarp

Member
Messages
8,574
Im looking at the ZerO Glide nuts they sell in the Stew Mac catalog ( uses an actual fret and a guide right behind it ) and a friend of mine just ordered a roller nut ( has 6 little rollers that the strings rest on ) so I got to thinking... I like the idea of having a nut that never grabs your strings when using a Strats tremolo bar but I dont want to loose any tone by removing the bone nut I now have. The bone nut I have is well built but grabs a little occasionally with heavy use even though I use nut sauce in the slots. Really... its not like I cant fix it but I like the idea of using a roller nut or the zerO nut but I dont want to compromise on tone.

Can anyone who has tried these out comment on this?
 

Brian N

Member
Messages
1,714
I am always hesitant to change anything significant on a guitar when I'm happy with the tone. Changing from bone to metal will at least change the tone when you play open strings. I've never switched to one though, so I cant comment on what else it does. But before you switch, have you at least made sure your current nut is cut perfectly and added lubricant to it? If not, that could solve your issue just as well as the fancy nuts.
 

Tone_Terrific

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
32,981
Want to hear your nut?
Slide something metal (a bit of a bass string or nail) under the strings, up tight against the nut, lifting them above the current slot.
Instant nut conversion.
Have a listen.
I doubt that you will hear much difference, if at all.
 

swiveltung

Member
Messages
14,496
Love my LSR roller nut. It's n my #1 Strat. Remember, the nut only effects anything when playing cowboy chords. Frankly, I hear no difference in a bone nut or plastic one anyway.
 

RayBarbeeMusic

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
3,910
I bought some PTFE infused Delrin from McMaster-Carr and it is by far the slipperiest material I've ever found. It makes graphtech look like sandpaper. 0 problems with tuning stability even with heavy whammy use (given the guitar also has locking tuners). A little harder to work but well worth it; it's so far beyond any of the commercially available "guitar nut" materials out there.

It's brown and ends up looking like a wood nut after polishing. Matches rosewood nicely.
 

mbetter

Member
Messages
769
Im looking at the ZerO Glide nuts they sell in the Stew Mac catalog ( uses an actual fret and a guide right behind it ) and a friend of mine just ordered a roller nut ( has 6 little rollers that the strings rest on ) so I got to thinking... I like the idea of having a nut that never grabs your strings when using a Strats tremolo bar but I dont want to loose any tone by removing the bone nut I now have. The bone nut I have is well built but grabs a little occasionally with heavy use even though I use nut sauce in the slots. Really... its not like I cant fix it but I like the idea of using a roller nut or the zerO nut but I dont want to compromise on tone.

Can anyone who has tried these out comment on this?
Supposing that a bone nut produced the most awesome of tone and everything else is completely inferior, as soon as you fret a note you lose that awesome toneage.
 

Spuddy

Member
Messages
130
I found no difference in using the lsr nut on my strat combine it with a tremsetter and locking tuners and tuning stays stable even with heavy trem use. I done the above and very rarely tune my strat at all.
 

willyboy

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,241
Supposing that a bone nut produced the most awesome of tone and everything else is completely inferior, as soon as you fret a note you lose that awesome toneage.
Just playing devil's advocate here as this is a really common response to questions about nut material. IDK about you, but as a guitar player open strings are an important characteristic of the instrument and get used all the time, at least by me for various chord voicings and single note stuff, in which case the nut is still an important part of the the tone of the instrument.
 

909one

Member
Messages
2,197
I installed a Zero Glide on my Gretsch. I wanted to try it because it has a Bigsby (to increase tuning stability), some Gretches traditionally have Zero-Frets, and because I was curious.
When i first installed it I thought I heard a subtle difference. In theory I think it makes more sense to have a zero fret because there really shouldn't be a tonal difference between the nut and the fret anyway. Honestly though I kind of forgot about it and it still doesn't stay in tune as well as my Jazzmaster with a standard nut. So, is it worth it? If you can't cut a nut very well, which I have trouble with still, then yes. But really don't expect any night and day changes. Its not going to make anything worse, because its hard to mess up the install.
 

RayBarbeeMusic

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
3,910
Rather expensive to use for a single nut, though.
Well yeah, but since I'm a repair shop it made sense. I ordered a 1/8" sheet for F type guitars, and a 1/4" thick sheet for G style and imports.

Even with the expense, I think you can order fairly small pieces of it. More expensive than a std nut blank if you're only doing one, but it just whips the living snot out of any other material. If you have a trem and want the nut not to be an issue for tuning, nothing beats it.
 

Gevalt

Member
Messages
1,969
If you can hear tailpieces and their studs, maybe you can hear a nut, too. Not sure, myself.
 

Whiskeyrebel

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
30,299
I installed a Zero Glide on my Gretsch. I wanted to try it because it has a Bigsby (to increase tuning stability), some Gretches traditionally have Zero-Frets, and because I was curious.
When i first installed it I thought I heard a subtle difference. In theory I think it makes more sense to have a zero fret because there really shouldn't be a tonal difference between the nut and the fret anyway. Honestly though I kind of forgot about it and it still doesn't stay in tune as well as my Jazzmaster with a standard nut. So, is it worth it? If you can't cut a nut very well, which I have trouble with still, then yes. But really don't expect any night and day changes. Its not going to make anything worse, because its hard to mess up the install.
Could this be due to straight string path on the JM? Or the bridge on the Gretsch? Is it a floating bridge?

I am interested in the ease of installation that you mention. "Hard to mess up" does sound appealing. Could you elaborate?
 

HipKitty

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
2,656
This topic is always an interesting read...no doubt. I typically just let the threads ride on by when the topic of nut material having (or not) an affect on tone. This time, I will throw out the thought concept of how sustain is effected and (in turn) it's affect on tone, whether notes are fretted or open. IMHO, there is an affect, just as much as overwrapping the strings and/or adjusting the heighth of the stop tailpiece. Or the metalurgy of said stop tailpiece....thoughts to ponder.
 

Buelligan

Member
Messages
920
IDK about you, but as a guitar player open strings are an important characteristic of the instrument and get used all the time, at least by me for various chord voicings and single note stuff, in which case the nut is still an important part of the the tone of the instrument.
I have no opinions to offer on nuts (never changed one on any guitar I've had) but if I had a playing "style" it would be incorporating open strings where ever I can.
 

BluesHarp

Member
Messages
8,574
Great comments. My main thing is to have something that is very slippery and or allows the strings to easliy move without grabbing.
I want use to my temolo like crazy without having to think about pushing it one way or the other to bring the strings back in tune.
Tone isnt really the deal.. but I dont want to loose tone to where its a complaint or noticeably different than bone.
I havent perfected my bone cutting techniques, but if there is a video you think I should watch.. please post it. I have put much time into trying to get them perfect.. but even after years, I dont have this elusive technique down and its pretty important. Its almost an art form and I cant help but to think there is something out there that is a "better idea" and designed to by right without much set up.
 
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stratter

Member
Messages
1,422
the whole bone nut thing is horse pucky anyway unless you're playing a $10000 martin or something.

I love the zerO glide nut on my strat. The string kept going out of tune and binding even with a graphite GraphTech. It's perfect now.
 

BluesHarp

Member
Messages
8,574
Great to hear a positive opinion on the zero.. but why would you say a bone nut is "horse pucky"???
Bone is an excellent material for use a guitar nut or bridge.. but really anything that has the same density should be just as good.
I really dont give a damn about the whole BONE material argument.. im not here to hype it at all or argue its merits. :confused:
Just trying to compare it to something else since it just so happens to be whats on the guitar right now for comparisons.
 

VaughnC

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
17,836
Bone brings up some potential health issues, especially if you're cutting, sanding, or polishing it yourself. If, for instance, the bone came from a diseased animal (no way to know for sure)...what effect would that have on someone breathing in the dust or fumes, or coming in contact with or ingesting filings from working a piece of bone to fit? I don't think we have an definitive answer for that...just something to consider though.

Personally, I like brass nuts. The one's I've installed seem to wear well and produce tone closer to a fretted note than typical material.
 
Messages
598
I found no difference in using the lsr nut on my strat combine it with a tremsetter and locking tuners and tuning stays stable even with heavy trem use. I done the above and very rarely tune my strat at all.
this mirrors my experience exactly. i'll be looking to do something similar to my ibanez, and possibly the LP too.
 




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