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What differences do you guys see in different nuts.

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by FiveStringsNme, Jun 11, 2003.

  1. I plan on getting a new nut on one of basses, but I have not a clue which one to get. It'll all a mind blower. I can choose from Bone, Graphite or Brass and I always hear different opinions and its very misleading.

    What do you guys know about specific nuts and just in general, which is your favorite?
  2. JimS

    JimS Supporting Member

    (oh boy: temptation to be such a wiseass here.....restrain, restrain....!!!) :)

    But to add a constructive commment: I don't care what it's made of. It's more important how well it's constructed. ....IMHO
  3. BoiNtC


    Nov 25, 2002
    NYC, USA
    I have a brass nut on my P Bass, on the Jaco it came with a standard Fender nut, I think its bone? Not a clue what the KSD came with, its like black an rubbery/plasticy feel to it, I like em all because they all had the grooves filed in well I think thats the most important
  4. JP Basses

    JP Basses

    Mar 22, 2002
    Paris FRANCE
    I'll second this opinion :D

    Peace, JP
  5. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    The may issue of German mag Gitarre & Bass had an article about saddles.



    "Uncooked" bone is the best material for a saddle. Cooked bone is dry, uncooked bone feels oily. It has bone marrow, which "oils" the bone and reduces friction for the strings (helps tuning). It's more expensive though.


    Plastic is the worst. Plastic can sound ok, but the strings eat into the plastic, which can lead to buzzing when the grooves become too deep. It also causes tuning problems.
    New materials like Micarta look very promising though: Good sound and lubrication properties, durable.


    Metal has the advantage that the open string sounds like a fretted note, or pretty close, depending on the material used. Disadvantage: High friction, can be reduced with roller saddles, at possible cost of sound and/or sustain.


    Worse than its reputation. The graphite is "pressed" so densely that it looses its lubrication properties, especially compared to graphite powder.
    Ebonol is even worse, since the the percentage of graphite is quite low, often too low to have the desired lubrication effect.

    Both sound average.
  6. I will agree with the above statements.

    I will add that my personal preferance is that stuff that Fender uses that is a synthetic bone material.

    Is it Tusq???
  7. JP Basses

    JP Basses

    Mar 22, 2002
    Paris FRANCE
    Wood is missing!!!

    I found that ebony or pink ivory works great for nuts!!!

    Peace, JP
  8. I was misslead by the thread title :ninja:
  9. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    JP, you're right!!!

    The author didn't mention wood, maybe because he only talks about electric guitars - and I guess you hardly ever see a wood nut on a conventional electric guitar.
  10. NV43345


    Apr 1, 2003
    I have never noticed a difference in any of them.
    My 85 gibson Explorer has a brass nut, my Fenders have the factory plastic, and my Modulus has the
    Graphite. However, on my 78 P-Bass the nut broke
    a few years back during a string change it just fell apart, it was probably broken for years, but I never new it, I was having Intonation problems on the "A" string and thought it was the strings.
    But it must have been the nut moving around, you could not even see that is was broke, til the strings came off. The shop was out of the replacement Fender Nuts, so my repairman built one right in front of me, out of a sample piece of white Corian, It was a 4x4 by 1/2 thick, A sample of counter top material he had picked up at Home Depo. He glued the old one back together to make the measurements, and cut it on a band saw
    and round filed the string holes.It has been on
    since 1996 and works great. so the next time I was at a Home Depo I snagged one of those little
    white sample blocks and put it with my spare strings in case I ever needed to do that again.:)
  11. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    I hade a bone put on my custom partially for the old skool vibe to grace my zero fret.

    As others have noted, I'll take a well cut piece of a Frisbee over a poorly cut piece of bone or ivory.......well, maybe.

    If all the aspects are equally well executed, I'll take the bone or ivory. It's extremly dense, durable, and for those reasons, allows for very precise nut filing.

    Tusq is a man-made ivory material that is used by some fine makes like Taylor Guitars and is said to transfer string energy very well.

    Graphite became popular when guitarists started going nuts (pun intended) with their whammy bars in the 1980's hair bands because it allows strings to slip through the grooves without grabbing the strings and, thereby, throwing the guitar out of tune easily.

    Molded plastic is what junk nuts are made of.....hello Rogue.
  12. Atshen


    Mar 13, 2003
    Grim Cold Québec
    Err, ivory is not wood... :)

    Edit: Pardon my ignorance people...:bag:
  13. bassmonkeee


    Sep 13, 2000
    Decatur, GA
    No, but Pink Ivory is.

    I've got corian on my Curbows, plastic on my Fender, graphite on my 6 string ABG, and ebony on my upright.

    I've had no problems with any of them, really. The only nut that I've broken was a brass nut that just seemed to crack in the g string slot. My guess is that it was too thin after it was cut.
  14. Cyclovac

    That's what the fender nuts are made of..
  15. Tim Barber

    Tim Barber Commercial User

    Apr 28, 2003
    Serenity Valley
    Owner: Barber Music
    JP - have you ever tried lignum vitae?
  16. geezer316


    Jan 26, 2003
    i have/had many basses with a couple different types of nuts( :D )ranging from plastic(pvc)to brass and graphite,the only one i can say maybe was a bit better was the graphite and it probably had to do with the fact the bass itself was a higher quality than the ones with the other types of nuts, except for the brass which it also now that i mention it seemed to ring a little longer,but then again it could of been the bass.the only negitive thing i can say about the platic type ones it seems that they are always used on lower end basses and seem to wear down a bit quicker. i would'nt worry all that much unless you are in the position that the neck is being taken apart or in the process of being built than you could justify addidng a quality nut seeing how one is needed to complete the project,but i would'nt go and change it just for the sake of "up-grading" it.HOPE THIS HELPED:D
  17. Davehenning


    Aug 9, 2001
    Los Angeles
    One trick I have done for years is to put graphite in the nut slots. It acts as a lubricant. Just take a #2 pencil and "draw" the graphite into the slots. Make sure you put enough in.

    It seems to work fine for me on all of my basses which all have different nuts. bone, brass, synth, etc.

    My preference is towards the synth stuff that fender use, but I will use anything as long as it is reliable. I have had a few nuts crack on me over the years. (only the bone or plastic ones)
  18. I had the plastic nut on my $400 Yamaha BBN5II replaced with a bone nut a year ago, and this was one year after I'd bought the bass. I noticed a difference in sound, though not huge. This bass had a crazy amount of growl from birth (mostly from the pickups I'd guess) but, after the bone nut was put on, I noticed right away that the bass lost about 20% of it's excessive growl, but, it gained sustain and a better string to string balance overall. It also became noticeably easier to tune, and it also stays in tune much longer.

    I also had both volume pots replaced at the same time, and I don't know if this would affect the sound that much. The original pots were absolute garbage (the tech said they were the worst he'd ever seen on a bass) and had almost no sweep.

    I also had a brass nut put on my Ovation Magnum bass about 23 years ago, and this immediately gave that bass more sustain. I don't remember what the original material was.

    To notice any difference between a cheap nut, and a really good one, I think you have to play a particular instrument until you're very familiar with its tone, and then do the swap.

  19. NV43345


    Apr 1, 2003
    Got any pic's of your 6 string ABG ?
  20. bikeplate

    bikeplate Supporting Member

    Jun 7, 2001
    Upstate NY

    I was having a Roscoe custom made a while back and Keith himself talked my out of the nut upgrade. It's much more important that the nut is properly cut.