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Aluminium nut?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by T-34, Jan 10, 2006.


  1. T-34

    T-34

    Aug 11, 2005
    France, Paris region
    Anyone using aluminium as nut material? It is easy to find and really cheap but I am afraid it is too soft, what do you think?
     
  2. Frank Martin

    Frank Martin Bitten by the luthiery bug...

    Oct 8, 2001
    Budapest, Hungary, EU
    Never heard about it.
    How's about brass?
     
  3. brass is softer than aluminum, but brass is common for nuts. At least it used to be. I just don't think aluminum would be a good choice...is it possibly not good resonance-wise?
     
  4. Showdown

    Showdown Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2002
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    Danelectro uses aluminum nuts. I have one and it works real well.
     
  5. I stand corrected. Thanks for the info!
     
  6. Ron, I've been carving them for years now. They work great! I use 6061 T-6 aircraft aluminum for the hardness but it still shapes easily. Also, the harder aluminum polishes up very bright.
     
  7. T-34

    T-34

    Aug 11, 2005
    France, Paris region
    Here, where I am, aluminium stock is much more easy to find...
     
  8. nice! I imagine they take a long while to wear? Do they have an inherently brighter / subdued tone when compared to a fretted note? I'm really curious.
     
  9. Phil Mastro

    Phil Mastro

    Nov 18, 2004
    Montréal
    6061 T6, a classic... seriously. Does it heat up when you shape it? Cuz if it does, the T6 treatment will be canceled out. Not that it really needs the T6 treatment in the first place...
     
  10. I'll cut a semi-sized little blank and then shape it with files. Then I sometimes use a Dremel with a sanding drum to give it some arch under the nut. I'm sure that I'm not working fast enough to generate heat! :D

    I originally made them because that's what I had - aluminum. But later, I read a statement by Trev Wilkinson saying that he liked aluminum for his bridges because they passed certain frequencies better than steel or white metal. I don't know what those frequencies are but the explanation was enough to justify using the aluminum in a nut.
     
  11. Well Looks like I'll be putting an aluminium nut on my project, I've got a store full of the stuff!!
     
  12. T-34

    T-34

    Aug 11, 2005
    France, Paris region
    I will try too, bBut the regular one, not T6 (I am pretty sure my local hobby store doesn't carry anything of "aircraft" grade :)
     
  13. arcobigj

    arcobigj

    Sep 14, 2004
    Easley, SC
    I like the idea of using aluminum, but has anyone tried using a zero fret instead of a traditional nut? If so how did it work out?

    abj
     
  14. Do you mean like a removable blank to put IN the nut slot, that has a rounded crown like a fret? I had thought of that before, but didn't know if it would intonate correctly...(since the contact point is a 1/16" of an inch back or so....not a BIG deal but still....
     
  15. T-34

    T-34

    Aug 11, 2005
    France, Paris region
    1/16 IS a big deal for intonation...
     
  16. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    US-NY-NYC
    I don't like the idea of aluminum for a nut due to the fact it doesn't wear well. While the heat treated varieties are harder, they still don't fare well for wear. But maybe it's good enough for the application.

    "Brass is softer than aluminum"?? Not most brass, compared to most aluminum. Heck, brass is used for bearings because it wears well. And I've got half a dozen guys in a metal shop on the other side of my wall that will tell you that aluminum is a lot easier to machine than brass.
     
  17. Showdown

    Showdown Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2002
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    The aluminum nut on my Danelectro is wearing just fine. Danelectro has been using aluminum for 50 years, and as far as I know the nuts on older models have done well.
     
  18. arcobigj

    arcobigj

    Sep 14, 2004
    Easley, SC
    No it's not a removable blank, but it is a fret placed at the precise contact point instead of a nut. Some form of string holder is placed behind it to keep the proper string spacing. Think of it as if you put a capo on a guitar. I have seen them used on Danelectro and Gretsch guitars but never on a bass. I am just curious if a zero fret would be a viable solution for a bass.

    abj
     
  19. Showdown

    Showdown Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2002
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    MTD Kingstons have a zero fret.
     
  20. Zero frets have been used for years in basses.