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Nut placement - different sonic character?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Rodent, Feb 28, 2006.


  1. Rodent

    Rodent Supporting Member Commercial User

    Dec 20, 2004
    Upper Left Corner (Seattle)
    Player-Builder-Founder: Regenerate Guitar Works
    I've been working on my prototype neck - which is progressing along nicely - and got to rethinking my nut location choice. Up until Sun evening I was set on installing the nut slot partially into the fingerboard, similar to what Fender, Sadowsky, etc ... does vs at the end of the fingerboard where it sits directly on the neck base wood. Note that I am not talking about anything to do with scale length

    This got me thinking about the subtle sonic qualities of these two installation locations ... which got me wondering why each of us chose the location used on our home built necks.

    * Did you choose your nut location due to its sonic properties, for its ease of installation, for aesthetics, some combination of these, or some reason completely different?

    * Have you noticed a sonic difference with either installation location?


    I'll have an image up in a couple of days that shows how I've chosen to install mine. Let's say it's a cross polination of the two methods. Since my fretted necks will utilize a zero fret, I realize that the exact location is minimalized even more. But for a fretless, this would have a greater impact.

    I'd be most interested in learning your thoughts on why you chose the location you did.

    All the best,

    R
     
  2. Phil Mastro

    Phil Mastro

    Nov 18, 2004
    Montréal
    I install them at the end of the fretboard, basically so I don't have to cut out a nut slot in the fingerboard. Yup, laziness is the word here.
     
  3. mahrous

    mahrous

    Aug 13, 2005
    Egypt
    slotted in the fingerboard. it saves nut material. Yup, miser here!
     
  4. Scott French

    Scott French Dude Supporting Member

    May 12, 2004
    Grass Valley, CA
    I've never liked the looks of the standard nut area. I played around with some zero fret and pearl guide a la klein but settled on this in the end:
    [​IMG]

    I'm sure its sonically different from other methods, but the electronics of this bass were very different from the ones I had done before so its hard to tell. When I get some more finished it might be clear, but I'll be playing with different materials and electronics setups so I might never truly know an A to B difference between this and my old way.
     
  5. that's awesome!! did you make them or is it something you had to buy?
     
  6. Scott French

    Scott French Dude Supporting Member

    May 12, 2004
    Grass Valley, CA
    I bought the delrin rod stock, about 6 feet long in the sizes I needed for the nuts and the bridge.
    [​IMG]

    Then I cut them to fit, shaped and polished them. I don't think I'll use delrin again. It's too mushy/stringy to deal with in that tiny nut size.
     
  7. thanks!! seeing that bass made me consider making a bridge for my 6 string... better start working on a way to make an ajustable one :p
     
  8. Suburban

    Suburban

    Jan 15, 2001
    lower mid Sweden
    If you make a neck with a zero fret or no frets at all, the optimal nut is just slots in the fingerboard.
    There is no abrasion to bother with if the string is linked off by a zero fret, hence no need for a loose/replaceable nut.
    Fretless sounds best with a wood nut, which is flush to the board. However, there may be some abrasion form the strings on softer material. Hence, the best solution is to cut slots and harden the surfaces somehow, e.g. CA or epoxi, which are easily renewable.

    IME and IMO, of course, but it really is MHO!;)
     
  9. Rodent

    Rodent Supporting Member Commercial User

    Dec 20, 2004
    Upper Left Corner (Seattle)
    Player-Builder-Founder: Regenerate Guitar Works
    I managed to find a little time to snap and shop this image last night.

    [​IMG]

    My current workflow is to glue on the fingerboard, cut the nut slot, then radius the transition, and then thin down the headstock at a bandsaw. An advantage to this is that I can easily raise the cutting depth and leave fingerboard wood in the slot should a customer prefer to have it that way.

    I know I'll streamline this workflow as I build a few more. I also need to tweak the location of a couple tuner holes ... let's just say that the original headstock design had all of the holes equally spaced from the edge, and I did a little tweaking to the overall shape long after the holes were drilled through. hey - it's a prototype neck after all, so it's OK to do things like this on this one

    All the best,

    R