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What are your guys thoughts on "bone" nuts?

dazco

Member
Messages
15,429
Interesting stuff. So what material is Paul Reed Smith using these days? He doesn't specify.
I dunno what he uses and i'm not sure if it's the same for the SE line. But they're both some black man made material so i assume they're likely the same. But i can tell you this, i made a bone nut for my SE and it was a improvement tonally. Less so that some of my best experiences replacing with bone, but enough that it was worth it.
 

theruley

Member
Messages
2,171
YES, unbleached bone nuts are the real deal. They are difficult to make, and so allot of luthiers or repair-men will offer pre-made materials and just "tweak" them to save time when making a "new" nut....

Getting a guitar setup with a brand new unbleached bone nut is the best thing you can do for an instrument that's already at the top of its game.
Agree 100%

I am fortunate enough to have a very good luthier not too far away from me. He put a bone nut on my #1 les paul, and oh man does it ever sing now! Stays in tune forever, so it's my go to for stage use.
 

Polyester

Member
Messages
950
I make 'em myself from scratch. It's really relaxing.
Slightly troubling.
Well jeez, not from scratch from scratch. From blanks or hunks of bone. Breeding and raising the cows takes too damn long. :p

Just kidding about that last part, but it's a very peaceful almost Zen sort of thing to sculpt a random chunk of bone into a perfect nut. I switched from power tools to hand tools for just that reason. (Okay, also because the smell of hot bone when you use a Dremel on it is pretty nasty.)
 

dazco

Member
Messages
15,429
I'm glad to see a lot of replies here from people who found a well made bone nut DID affect thier guitar's tone in a positive way and not just on open strings. Seems thats something thats finally changing here, as before if i even mentioned the possibility it does i'd be lambasted as tho i just made a joke about thier mother. Good to see it's finally catching on because i gotta tell you, it may seem like a subtle thing but over time you will realize that it is truly one of those things that seperates inexpensive guitar tone for those magical custom shop numbers. I remember john phillips (who was driven away for defending beliefs like this one) saying how bone does indeed improve tone overall and not just open strings. Even i didn't believe him at the time, but i kept a open mind and decided to see for myself by putting bone on every guitar i owned that didn't have it from that point on. And while it's true it doesn't always make a noticeable difference, when it does it can actually improve a guitar quite a bit. It just depends on how well it's fitted, how well the old one was fitted, how good the bone is, (there ARE bad pieces just like wood) how bad the original material is, and combinations of all those things will determine the results. But regardless of whether it's improved or not, i'm always glad i put bone on any guitar i like enough that i feel it's a keeper.
 

David Garner

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
7,096
I vastly prefer them, even though I only have them on 2 of my 5 guitars. I just haven't had the need to change the others. My Taylor acoustic was sort of dull and lifeless until I put a bone nut and saddle on it. Now it is glorious. And my Strat came with a bone nut, and it stays in tune better than my PRS with the synthetic nut, though both stay in tune very well. The next guitar to get one will be the Les Paul, and then the PRS, and I'll probably do the Tele last since it's always stayed in tune wonderfully. Eventually, all of them will have one, though. Great investment.
 

fjblair

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
14,614
I have them(and saddles and pins) on all of my acoustic guitars. I'm sure some of my electrics have bone but I'm not sure which ones without looking.
 
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RRfireblade

Member
Messages
4,095
I use ivory a lot, mostly just because its pretty when polished, and has a very nice white translucent effect without any bleaching needed, otherwise the same charactistic as any other bone. Bone adds a tad of brightness but its not significant so I don't find 'tone' much of a motivation. Tuning wise is good but honestly not dramatically better than most other materials if properly cut. I've made nuts out of most everything from brass and other metals to teflon, delrin and graphite. They all work fine if done right, there's not much mystery in the materials. IMO.
 

fjblair

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
14,614
Would bone be good for my Les Paul?
If you think it will help then it will help ;)

Like the guy above says it is much more important to have a well fitting properly cut nut. I don't think the material makes much difference on electric. Others of course will disagree, so just do what feels right!!
 

mesa/kramer

Member
Messages
3,056
Here's a Real TGP type of question?

"Which animal's "Bone" material produces the best tone?"

Elephant?
Buffalo?
Cow?
Whale?
Hippo?

:dunno
 

texstrat

Member
Messages
809
Where's the best place to buy a bone nut? What maker? I'm about to enter the assembly process for my partscaster build, and was about to order a tusq nut. Now I'm considering bone...
 

dazco

Member
Messages
15,429
Where's the best place to buy a bone nut? What maker? I'm about to enter the assembly process for my partscaster build, and was about to order a tusq nut. Now I'm considering bone...
This is where i get my fender blanks. Unbleached bone blanks are $7. But i've had good luck with them and thats actually a couple bucks cheaper than stewmac. Also, thats for a vintage style neck with a 7.25" radius on the bottom of the blank. If yours has a straight cut it's only $3.25. Good idea to buy a couple in case you screw one up. http://www.guitarpartsandmore.com/?nav=products&cat=1&sub=7
 

Polyester

Member
Messages
950
I get bone blanks in bulk on eBay. Even if two or three are no good you still get a whole bunch that are more than good enough for way cheaper than just buying a few good ones.
 

texstrat

Member
Messages
809
This is where i get my fender blanks. Unbleached bone blanks are $7. But i've had good luck with them and thats actually a couple bucks cheaper than stewmac. Also, thats for a vintage style neck with a 7.25" radius on the bottom of the blank. If yours has a straight cut it's only $3.25. Good idea to buy a couple in case you screw one up. http://www.guitarpartsandmore.com/?nav=products&cat=1&sub=7
Thanks man. I'll order 3 or so. My necks flat at 9.25.
 




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