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Nut width/thickness?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Phil Mastro, May 13, 2005.

  1. Phil Mastro

    Phil Mastro

    Nov 18, 2004
    I've been looking at my basses, and I've noticed that not one of their nuts is the same thickness. I don't mean thickness in the same direction as the fretboard, but as in the length of the string that is pressing against the nut. Then I saw this pic of a roscoe:
    What's up widdat?
    Anyone have any preference in nut thickness? Does it affect tone or sustain, or 'in-tune'ness? Or does it do nothing at all?
  2. Basschair

    Basschair .............. Supporting Member

    Feb 5, 2004
    Stockton, Ca

    My Warwick is about 1/4", the Pedulla bone nut is a tad thinner. I just got three nuts in the mail and they all seem about the same: 1/4".

    Oh crap, did I just say I got "three nuts in the mail?" Isn't that a Dahmer quote? :D
  3. Geoff St. Germaine

    Geoff St. Germaine Commercial User

    A properly cut nut shouldn't affect how in tune an instrument is as long is the front of the nut is in the correct location. The only considerations for nut thickness I can see are:

    1)You can spread the pressure of the string being pulled down onto the nut by using a thicker nut. I suppose if the nut were thin enough you could have some issues with strings breaking. You could also have the nut slot depth be a curve so that the string direction change is more gradual. The thicker the nut the more gradual you could make it.

    2)You wouldn't want the nut so thick that it starts affecting the layout of the headstock. That's sort of a silly consideration. Who would make a nut that is several inches thick? Also though, a nut that is really thick might make it more difficult for the tuners to move if the slot is tight and the friction became large.

    I can't see too much of a difference between using different thicknesses of nuts between say 1/8" and 3/8" or so. To me the Roscoe nut looks really nice and just might be a way of making the nut look more fancy. For any kind of structural reason, I would think that you'd want to have the high strings with the thicker area since there is higher tension on the string and the string is thinner (=more pressure on string at nut). (I'm not saying anything is wrong with the Roscoe, I think that is being done for a different reason)
  4. Le Basseur

    Le Basseur

    Mar 26, 2002
    I was ready to post a similar question,but the issue/question is the same,so I'll post it here.
    A while ago,I bought a Washburn Taurus T24 just for having a "working horse" bass.Amongst the ugrades I had to make to this bass,the nut issue was the most obvious.As it came from the factory,the bass had a truly awful,soft-plastic nut,filled inequally,like my half-blind grandma did it :eyebrow: .
    I ripped it off and I made another nut from an aero-grade aluminium piece I had on hand,but I'm not sure it's OK that I left it too chunky.
    The bass' tone improved alot after all the upgrades (BadAss bridge,fret levelling,excellent strings,lowered action,active 2-way onboard preamp) but,as long as I did all these without testing/listening after each phase,I'm not so sure if I'd have to thin further the Al nut.Ya know,kinda "...well,I sense that the actual sound isn't the best this baby can offer" sensation.
    What should I do?
    I had a really hard time working on that aluminium (it's some kind of an alloy,very hard to file),but I'd continue thinning it if you folks are saying that I'd benefit some more of that.
    Here are some comparative pics of the nuts of all my 5 basses.
    Note that,except my "masterwork" on the Washburn,all the others are the stock ones.
  5. Le Basseur

    Le Basseur

    Mar 26, 2002
  6. Le Basseur

    Le Basseur

    Mar 26, 2002

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