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Brass or Buffallo Bone?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by The_D, Nov 26, 2005.


  1. The_D

    The_D Well, thats like your opinion. Man...

    Mar 20, 2004
    Fife, Scotland
    Some dude is selling these buffallo bone nut's on ebay.uk.

    [​IMG]


    Could someone tell me if they are any good. I have found posts from prople talking about setting them up so I wouldnt have a problem with that but would I be just as well waiting till my next paycheck and buying a brass one?
    My westone has a brass nut and I have never had any problems with it.
    The new one would be for a Washburn which was fine when it arrived but since re-stringing it I just cant get the action very good on it. I intend to do a bit of work here, replace pups with some barts maybe and possibly a new bridge. The nut is plastic as standard so will definately get replaced so I ask again, Brass or Bone nut? Any difference in tone? Life expectancy?


    oh the bone ones are here:

    http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/BUFFALO-BONE-...369390208QQcategoryZ33040QQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem
     
  2. I've used both brass and bone on guitars. In my opinion, there was only a very slight improvement over the plastic nut, so I question whether you would really observe much of a difference on a bass.

    For the bone, I bought a bleached cow bone from a pet store and cut my own blank out of it, not very difficult. (Cow and buffalo are almost the same critter) On an acoustic guitar, I think it made a subtle difference at the bridge, but on the nut, maybe not that much of change...

    So, it's a cool modification, but IMHO don't expect a miraculous difference regardless of whether you go brass or bone.

    P.S. That particular acoustic now has over 20 years of playing on the bone nut, so life expectancy is not a problem. And I've got an electric with a brass nut that's 25 years old, again no problem with life.
     
  3. The_D

    The_D Well, thats like your opinion. Man...

    Mar 20, 2004
    Fife, Scotland
    Thanks for the quick reply.

    Basically I just think the idea of plastic being used as an integral part of an instrument sounds cheap but heh you get what you pay for I suppose.
    I was just wondering if there was a big difference in quality between the two cause there seems to be a big difference in price.

    Bone it is then.
    Thanks again.
     
  4. On the other side of the coin: plastic may sound cheap for a nut, but many well-known instruments have successfully used plastic nuts for decades.... :D
     
  5. The_D

    The_D Well, thats like your opinion. Man...

    Mar 20, 2004
    Fife, Scotland
    Good call.
    :confused:
    Decisions decisions.
     
  6. pkr2

    pkr2

    Apr 28, 2000
    coastal N.C.
    Since the nut, for the most part, is out of the equation except on open notes, I don't see that it would make a lot of difference.

    I don't like plastic as well as bone or brass but not because of tone. I have seen lots of instruments with plastic nuts that the tuning is "jumpy". Every one that I've changed from plastic to bone tuned smoother. I use a lead pencil to lube the nut and when I change strings on plastic the black is mostly gone. With bone, the graphite is not only still there, it has taken on a polished look.

    I wouldn't change expecting to see a huge improvement though.
     
  7. The_D

    The_D Well, thats like your opinion. Man...

    Mar 20, 2004
    Fife, Scotland
    I think I am gonna just get a bit of bone and machine it to match the plastic one for size. Dont see any reason to spend money on it as nashvillebill says shouldnt be too hard.
    Should I dry the bone out? My mate goes hunting so would I be able to use deer or something? Buffallow/Cow is obviously tried and tested but shooting a buffallow in Scotland isnt very likely!
    I could just go to the butchers but I thought it would be a nice touch using one of my mates medal deer. Maybe not.

    Cheers for the input guys. Thats why I always come back here T'Bers Rock!!!! :hyper:
     
  8. Sure, go for a deer bone! Just dry it out for a long time and bleach it to disinfect it. That'd be unique!!
     
  9. Bassic83

    Bassic83

    Jul 26, 2004
    Texas, USSA
    I think something even more unique might be called for- like antelope bone, or elk antler.

    I've been thinking of a different metal for the nut on my bass, perhaps stainless steel...
     
  10. pkr2

    pkr2

    Apr 28, 2000
    coastal N.C.
    I'm not sure that a deer has any bones that are thick walled enough for a nut blank.

    I've never tried it but I've heard of using a material called Corian for a nut.

    Corian is a manmade sub for stone that is used for countertops. You could probably get a sample that would be big enough for several nuts just for the asking. It comes in a wide range of colors and works easily with hand tools.

    Just a nut that is not white would be pretty indvidualistic.

    Anyone else heard of or used this material for a nut?
     
  11. Bassic83

    Bassic83

    Jul 26, 2004
    Texas, USSA
    All the time! I've actually been entertaining the thought of a marble or granite nut as well. Corian seems to be fairly well thought of...
     
  12. Bass

    Bass

    Nov 10, 2003
    Canada
    I was making a nut out of deer antler (I didn't finish it). But I thought it looked nice due to the color variation in the antler. I didn't like working with the antler, though, because it stinks when it heats up.
     
  13. Bassic83

    Bassic83

    Jul 26, 2004
    Texas, USSA
    Kind of a burning hair smell...I know what you mean. If you don't mind using a file in water, sinking the whole mess in a bucket of water, it totally controls the stench. Don't try this with a Dremel, though. It doesn't work so good, shockingly. :eek: ;)
     
  14. Sippy

    Sippy

    Aug 1, 2005
    Stuart,Florida
    shockingly!!! HAHA! .. I can't be the only one to have found that funny!!... aren't the Old Fender nuts made of bone? If so What kind? and did my '73 P-bass originally come with a bone nut?
     
  15. Trevorus

    Trevorus

    Oct 18, 2002
    Urbana, IL
    Bone and metal are good stuff. What I tend to notice is that plastic, as it ages, forms around the wrappings of the strings. This makes the strings stick in the nut. Bone tends not to compress, and neither does metal.
     
  16. pkr2

    pkr2

    Apr 28, 2000
    coastal N.C.
    I haven't researched it but I've heard that the shin bone from the front leg of a cow is usually used. I have noticed that where there's a lot of bass and guitar players there are a lot of three legged cows.

    Tap it with the back of a knife blade. If it makes a sharp click, it's probably bone. If it has a dull thuddy sound it's probably plastic.