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What is the use for Just-A-Nut?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by sleepyhead_KH, Jan 23, 2012.

  1. Hey guys, I'm wondering, what exactly is Just-A-Nut. Also, what is it used for? I am a recent warwick owner, and I have no idea what's the use for this piece of hardware. :confused:
  2. testing1two

    testing1two Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 25, 2009
    Southern California
    The nut on a guitar or bass refers to the slotted retainer just below the first fret that cradles the strings. Most nuts are made of bone or synthetics like plastic or teflon and the string slots are cut with special files until they are the proper height. Warwick's Just A Nut is a synthetic nut that is adjustable by means of two tiny set screws. If your bass is set up properly you won't have to worry or think about the nut, but it's a neat design nonetheless.

  3. Turnaround

    Turnaround Commercial User

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Independent Instrument Technician, and Contractor to Club Bass and Guitar - Toronto
    There's really only one nut height that is right - that's the one where the strings sit in the slots allowing just the same amount of clearance over the first fret as the string has over the second fret when fretted at F1. Any less and you will get excessive buzz on an open string. Any more only causes the string to a little harder to fret at F1 and will cause it to intonate a bit sharp at the 1st.

    So it's a valid question to ask - why have an adjustable nut at all? You might say it makes it easier to compensate when the nut wears, but the frets wear faster than any decent nut, so there's no particular advantage when it comes to keeping your instrument optimally playable.

    It's my opinion. Warwick seems to have another. I'm interested in the opinions of other techs - what say you?
  4. grendle


    Mar 4, 2011
    Central FL
    It's useful in optimizing the setup and compensating for fret wear.
  5. frianbisher


    Dec 28, 2007
    Milwaukee WI
    I think it's a really cool idea...The thing I don't like is I have had a corvette in my shop with the nut missing for whatever reason and it literally took six months to get the new parts in because of supply chain problems....Who knows how many bone nuts I could have cut in that timeframe.

    And there are lots of tweaks you can do to a bone nut if string height needs adjustment so I don't see a huge advantage in adjustable nuts.
  6. Turnaround

    Turnaround Commercial User

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Independent Instrument Technician, and Contractor to Club Bass and Guitar - Toronto
    You missed the point. There is only one optimal setting. You can cut any nut to the optimal setting. Once it's there you will never need to adjust it, except if the frets get worn down, at which point they will need to be dressed. Small effort to cut the nut down a bit then.

    On the other hand, with an adjustable nut you don't get the same level of coupling between the strings and the neck. So where's the advantage?
  7. 96tbird

    96tbird PLEASE STAND BY Supporting Member

  8. mmbongo

    mmbongo Dilly Dilly! Supporting Member

    Aug 5, 2009
    It comes in quite handy when changing tunings. Tune down a step? Jack up the nut a little to prevent buzz.
  9. 96tbird

    96tbird PLEASE STAND BY Supporting Member

    Well you can't do it in the middle of a show, you'd need two basses. So have two bases set up for the tuning used. The perfect excuse to the lady of the house.
    Is rather have two basses.
  10. pnchad


    Nov 3, 2005

    if I missed it sorry - seems obvious
  11. steelin4u

    steelin4u Supporting Member

    You might think gauge change is a reason to have one, but no matter how thick or thin the string is from the core to the outer wrap, it is only the bottom of the string that comes in contact with the nut surface, creating the same clearance to F1 no matter what the gauge.

    Unless someone starts manufacturing strings with exposed core over the nut (thusly requiring nut height adjustment when changing gauges), I can see only one reason for an adjustable nut: to save you the nut replacement cost as you get your frets dressed, you heavy l.h. technique people out there. :)
  12. It lets you tweak setup for lowest possible action. Between relief, saddle height and nut setting you can always find a solution. I do relief using a feeler gauge on #6 and a steel 18" ruler running along the A string. Ruler should not rock and the feeler should be trapped. Then saddle height for action desired. If I get any Fret#1 buzz, I tweak the nut. If I don't, I lower it til I get a teeny bit of buzz and back off a half turn. Then intonation.
  13. testing1two

    testing1two Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 25, 2009
    Southern California
    It's important to remember how and why this design evolved. Warwick was using, and continues to use bell-brass frets which are notably softer than nickel silver. So they anticipated from day one that fret and nut work would be needed more often. At the same time, brass nuts were in fashion on high end basses despite being more expensive and arguably harder to shape than bone or plastic (if you have the right tools it's not very difficult but that's another story).

    The original Just A Nut was in fact brass and a fairly ingenious alternative to reworking and/or replacing a brass nut several times over the life of the instrument. The same logic applies to the latest synthetic version. After all I would much rather turn a couple of set screws than file & polish. It's less work and there's no risk of ruining the nut by filing too deep or wide.

    That said, the purist curmudgeon in me can't stand the thought of a nut made of hollow synthetic plastic instead of solid brass or bone...but then again, I don't play Warwicks anymore because I like my necks like I like my women: quartersawn...I mean low maintenance and lightweight. :smug:

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