preslotted nut...bone or tusk

Discussion in 'Luthier's Guitar & Bass Technical Discussion' started by semi-hollowbody, Dec 6, 2017.


  1. semi-hollowbody

    semi-hollowbody Member

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    Looking at changing the worn nuts on 2 epiphones

    I can get bone or graph tech tusk nuts preslotted...all I need to do is final fit

    so tonally is there much difference??
    I know the bone will handle wear better
     
  2. Ayrton

    Ayrton Member

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    Tusq is superior in every way. I still use bone sometimes mainly for nostalgic reasons (and I still have blanks), but Tusq is consistent, easy to work, and self-lubricating.

    You could crash NASA with the amount of debate on this issue, so plenty to help you decide.
     
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  3. whoismarykelly

    whoismarykelly Oh look! This is a thing I can change! Supporting Member

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    If your preslotted bone nut is coming from Stew Mac I think the product you get from them is much nicer than what comes in the blister pack from Graphtech.
     
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  4. sidehatch

    sidehatch Member

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    I hate tusk and would never use it on my instruments.

    Bone all the way.
     
  5. walterw

    walterw Gold Supporting Member

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    i've gone to the pre-slotted bone from allparts as well, i like it better than tusq while it's just as quick to finish up. the unbleached stuff especially is nice.

    it's also like 1/3 the price.
     
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  6. Ayrton

    Ayrton Member

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    It is only cheaper until you hit the soft spot :D

    I do love the look of polished unbleached bone, but again Tusq is more consistent and slippery.

    All that aside, to the OP you will still have set the final slot height, and the slotted nuts may not work for your style/strings/nut width. Keep that in mind unless you have the tools and experience. Sometimes it is cheaper in the long to run to have a pro do a level/crown/new nut.
     
  7. walterw

    walterw Gold Supporting Member

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    y'know, i've installed lots and lots and lots of bone nuts, i literally cannot recall ever having an actual problem with that.
    +1

    tusq or CNC'd bone, you still need to sand, file and fit just like you were making it from a square blank. the pre-made aspect just speeds up the process.

    IOW @semi-hollowbody you still need that full set of nut files and the skill in the use of them...
     
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  8. Ayrton

    Ayrton Member

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    Well to be fair, the only issue I personally have had with it is a slot that "failed" and wore too quickly. When I ordered my current supply of Tusq, there were not the now plentiful options for unbleached blanks. You can't argue that bone looks a bit nicer and certainly is cheaper, but there is no downside to Tusq.

    I don't even bother with the pre-slotted stuff, but having the basic shape already there is nice.
     
  9. Able Grip

    Able Grip Member

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    If you have a trem on the guitar it is best to use bone. I am switching all my guitar nuts to bone. Pre-slotted All-Parts bone nuts are $5 each.
     
  10. semi-hollowbody

    semi-hollowbody Member

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    non trem guitar
    buddy at work had one extra...brought it in for me yesterday ($10)
    I put it in last night...had to sand a bit of the thickness
    had to file bottom to get right height (fret third fret low e and high e with feeler gauges)
    had to sand ends just a tad ...corners were already rounded

    after that was perfect...didn't have to touch the slots...apparently they work for 10's...11's might require slot widening
     
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  11. boyce89976

    boyce89976 Supporting Member

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    I have a pre slotted Tone Ninja nut coming today from Stratosphere. Supposed to be very similar to Tusq, but 1/2 the price. I have the same nut blank (for the same guitar) from Graphtech, so I'll be able to compare, at least on the surface how close they are.
     
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  12. boyce89976

    boyce89976 Supporting Member

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    Got the Tone Ninja nut in, and there is definitely a difference between it and the Tusq nut. It feels similar, and has the mold dimples in the bottom like the Tusq, but dropping it on a hard surface you can hear a definite difference. The Tusq nut sounds like a piece of ceramic when dropped, ringing out with a clear, high-pitched, clang, while the Tone Ninja, when dropped, gives off a dull thud. I'm not even bothering with the Tone Ninja nut, and started shaping the Tusq blank today. ;)
     
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  13. VaughnC

    VaughnC Supporting Member

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    Why does putting a piece of a dead animal on my guitar bother me? Don't know, just feels wrong to me.

    However, for nuts, I like to use something similar to what the frets are made out of...so I typically use brass. I polish the slots and they never need lubricated. I even made a stainless steel nut one time but it killed my nut files, so I stuck with brass. Wonder how guitar nuts ended up not being metal? Maybe a cost cutting factor? People put stainless steel frets in their guitars these days...but why not metal nuts?

    Here's one of my polished brass nuts on one of my Strats, with EVO fret wire:
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2017
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  14. LReese

    LReese Member

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    Voting for bone.

    But I see why not to the above. I'd think a bronze alloy might be great.
     
  15. KGWagner

    KGWagner Member

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    Unbleached bone matches cream binding. Otherwise, no advantage to it. No downside either, outside price.
     
  16. semi-hollowbody

    semi-hollowbody Member

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    I thought bronze wore out quicker
     
  17. rosssurf

    rosssurf Member

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    I use unbleached bald eagle bones ( If harp seal isn't available) ...but hey, that's just me ;)
     
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  18. semi-hollowbody

    semi-hollowbody Member

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    I use human bone
    problem is I took it from my fretting hand
    should have planned ahead a bit better
    ;)
     
  19. Mike9

    Mike9 Supporting Member

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    Bingo - it's happened to me more than once. For tremolo guitars I'll take Tusq any day, for acoustics and Gibsons I'd buy bone from Stew Mac and not the interweb.
     
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  20. Terry McInturff

    Terry McInturff 40th Anniversary of guitar building! Gold Supporting Member

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    My 2 cents? Avoid pre-slotted.
     
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