wooden nut for fretless?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by The Mock Turtle Regulator, May 6, 2004.

  1. do any luthiers use wood as the nut material on fretless basses?
    - the reasoning being balancing the open string/ stopped note tones.

    I've seen Vigier and Status using a "zero fretless" approach using a zero fret idea, but using an inlaid fretline as the zero fret where the open string contacts the fingerboard.

    also wood is often used as a bridge saddle material eg. Leduc.

    I've just replaced the standard plastic nut on my Yamaha RBX270F with one I made from a tree branch (apple or peach- it's from the garden, and well dried-out- like maple, possibly a bit softer).

    so far it's working well- the open strings sound a bit mellower than before, sustain seems the same (also I spaced the strings out a bit to cover the fingerboard better).
  2. JP Basses

    JP Basses

    Mar 22, 2002
    Paris FRANCE
    I like to use acrylicized woods for nuts on both fretted and fretless basses.

    Hard woods work great too. But acrylicized ones will last longer and I fin them to be more slippery if well polished.

  3. Ebony may make a great choice. super dense stuff.
  4. is this like Curbow's Rockwood material ie. resin-impregnated birch?
  5. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    The one JP refers to is resin-impregnated solid wood, such as can be gotten from Gallery Hardwoods; Rockwood is similar, except that its resin-impregnated laminated wood (plywood).
  6. Tim Barber

    Tim Barber Commercial User

    Apr 28, 2003
    Serenity Valley
    Owner: Barber Music
    I have used both ebony and lignum vitae with good results.
  7. JP Basses

    JP Basses

    Mar 22, 2002
    Paris FRANCE
    exaclty, thanks Peter.

  8. thanks for the replies.

    I'll try and find the bassist review of the Status Groove fretless- it had a closeup of the zero fretline arangement.
  9. JPJ


    Apr 21, 2001
    Chicago, IL
    I have basses built by Mike Browne and Mark Eshenbaugh that both have wood nuts. The Browne Gnome has an ebony nut and the Eshenbaugh Brado 5 has a cocobolo nut.
  10. i personally prefer to use wood for the nut. generally i stick to ebony or cocobolo, but there are some other options out there too.
  11. Suburban


    Jan 15, 2001
    lower mid Sweden
    Oak or hornbeam/avenbok is good enough. Especially if one tries some "self-acrylizing" :D Such as finishing it with superglue (hows that for a DIY?)
  12. I like the way you think Subman!

    In fact, I've just completed a little experiment down here and actually made my own stabilized wood product!!

    I'll post another thread to avoid hijacking thisun.
  13. here's the pic of Status' "zero fretline" arrangement on their fretless basses- I think Vigier do the same thing on theirs-