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Nuts, bone or Plastic/Synthetic

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As title guys, just modding my Jazz and as the nut is white, if that really matters, just exploring the merits of either, went for plastic/synthetic on my P.  Any advantages to Bone over the other.

Cheers

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There is also brass, which will add better sustain.

Bone is more solid than plastic, so will last better. If you change strings regularly this is beneficial. If you don't than plastic works just fine.

 

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"Plastic/synthetic" is a bit broad as there is crappy plastic vs TUSQ.  I've occasionally had crappy plastic nuts break, but never had a problem with TUSQ.

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Sorry, I use tusq too, just interested in the value in each over the other, fancy trying a bone but won't if its not as good.

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Bone is very good, camel bone is super hard.

Synthetic bone / Micarta is very good.

Plastic can be truly awful, through adequate to excellent (melamine and Tusq).

Synthetic bone is the safe option...

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11 hours ago, Mutley said:

As title guys, just modding my Jazz and as the nut is white, if that really matters, just exploring the merits of either, went for plastic/synthetic on my P.  Any advantages to Bone over the other.

Cheers

Bone is biodegradable, if that is important to ya!

I think the cut of the nut matters more than the material, as long as it's not an extremely soft plastic (or wood) that wears out very quickly, and the open notes don't sound too weird vs. the fretted (or fingerboarded) notes it's fine. If it sounds good, and strings aren't popping out or binding leading to tuning issues, it's good!

If you have the choice a sufficiently dense material that is self lubricating is probably best. I know Tusq work grand, but there are a bunch of options that will work. Just beware of the hazards - some woods and plastics will act funny if filed or sanded and may easily melt or burn with powertools. The dust may also be dodgy to be around.

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Question - I see "Stainless Steel" (grade is not usually stated ?)  often as an option for fret metal. But I can't recall seeing a Stainless Steel Nut offered / suggested ? 

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14 minutes ago, rmorris said:

Question - I see "Stainless Steel" (grade is not usually stated ?)  often as an option for fret metal. But I can't recall seeing a Stainless Steel Nut offered / suggested ? 

Good luck trying to file down stainless steel. 🤣

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1 minute ago, hooky_lowdown said:

Good luck trying to file down stainless steel. 🤣

Ceramic abrasives work on an SS penknife... but it's fairly slow.

Diamonds would be the way, given how cheap little sharpeners can be. I think some tile cutting blades for hacksaws etc. might even be an appropriate size and allow fairly good progress. Just expect to sweat with SS.  It's generally super hard.  Go with brass or fret alloy or something else a lot more workable if you can!

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just to throw another option into the mix - my danelectro longhorn has an aluminium nut and instead of being glued it is held in with a screw.

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On 24/02/2021 at 00:56, rmorris said:

Question - I can't recall seeing a Stainless Steel Nut offered / suggested ? 

SS is a bit like dough to work. Some steels are OK but may rust because of the sweat. Brass is nice, aluminium pretty easy, too.

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I've made nuts before with one of those bones you can buy for the dog for £1. Took about an hour and very satisfying. (assumes you have files and stuff)

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20 hours ago, yorks5stringer said:

I've made nuts before with one of those bones you can buy for the dog for £1. Took about an hour and very satisfying. (assumes you have files and stuff)

Was always fabricating stuff for my Motorbikes over the years of riding them, happy to lighten that a bit nowadays, went with a bone nut, in the perfect world I would go with Carbon Fibre one but that wouldn't last five minutes, perfect for a scratchplate though, albeit an expensive one. Cheers for all the input.

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