Psst... Ready to join TalkBass and start posting, make new friends, sell your gear, and more?  Register your free account in 30 seconds.

grain orientation for a wood nut?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by paintandsk8, Dec 30, 2004.


  1. paintandsk8

    paintandsk8 Pushin' my soul through the wire...

    May 12, 2003
    West Lafayette, IN
    Does the orientation of the grain affect the strength and sound of a wood nut? If so, how should it be oriented? If it matters, I am using brazilian rosewood.
     
  2. The wood nuts I've made have had the grain run across the fretboard. That way the material under the slots is all long, uninterrupted fibers and therefore stronger IMO.

    Sure it affects the sound. Broken nuts don't sound good at all. :D
     
  3. Suburban

    Suburban

    Jan 15, 2001
    lower mid Sweden
    I did it the other way: 'standing fibres', i.e. strings pressing on the end grain. This means a harder nut surface, for the string to work on.

    However, my strings go straight over the nut. If they were to be angled out, like on Gibson guitars, i would not do it that way. OTOH, I would not really consider wood nuts at all, due to the risk of inter-fibre cracking.

    If the string only presses downward on the nut, the risk of cracks is microscopic.
     
  4. Suburban's all wet, my way's the best!


    :D
     
  5. paintandsk8

    paintandsk8 Pushin' my soul through the wire...

    May 12, 2003
    West Lafayette, IN
    well i took hambones method, and so far so good!
     
  6. Suburban

    Suburban

    Jan 15, 2001
    lower mid Sweden
    Perhaps I should add that there are no slots in the nuts I've made.
    No need for it.
    Works sweet!

    Go figure! :D
     
  7. What happened? Did the strings just press themselves down in the fibers? That would be cool - no more slot cutting.
     
  8. Suburban

    Suburban

    Jan 15, 2001
    lower mid Sweden
    No, no, no. It's perhaps more like a 'wooden zero fret'. I.e. the strings are anchored right behind the nut, which does the 'side control'. Then they go over the nut, which controls the hight over the fingerboard.

    But you're right, no more slotting :D
     
  9. Suburban

    Suburban

    Jan 15, 2001
    lower mid Sweden
    It so happened the other day, that I pulled out my old classic guitar from its box. For the first time in years...
    It has a wooden nut, rosewood, with grain going across the neck. I have never hit the neck into anything, but still, a piece of the nut has chipped off - I have done some intense strumming on that instrument... :eek:
    The chip came off the treble E slot, at the fingerboard side. Luckily, this is a quality guitar, so it can still be played with great intonation. It has a zero fret... :D

    Conclusion: you can't tell how wood will chip, but you can plan and build the instrument so, that it doesn't matter too much.
     
  10. Have you got a pic of this? I think I picture the front half but I'm foggy on the string anchor side.
     
  11. Suburban

    Suburban

    Jan 15, 2001
    lower mid Sweden