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What material do you prefer for a nut (or saddle in some cases)

  • bone

    Votes: 10 52.6%
  • nylon

    Votes: 2 10.5%
  • tusq

    Votes: 5 26.3%
  • other (brass etc)

    Votes: 2 10.5%
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Is there really a ton of difference between these materials as far as tone and sustain goes?
I've always thought that nylon was the material of choice for cheap guitars (Like on my old Harmony) but I see that some builders are still using it. I don't know much about plastics, but if I didn't know better, I'd assume that working with nylon would be more difficult than bone or tusq? I recall it being tough and sinewy and hard to cut without it having a "furry" edge. (My only working experience has been with industrial nylon and UHMW)

What's your nut/saddle preference and why?
 

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I'm pretty fussy about having bone on acoustic guitars and mandolins but care much less about electric instruments. Tusq is okay for me on electrics, but if I'm changing them I'll still choose bone. I've used a slightly softer horn (black) on nylon strung guitars and ukuleles in the past but not currently.

There can be exceptions, but generally bone is what I gravitate towards.
 

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I'm a huge fan of Graphtech, and have their nuts on all of my electric guitars - mainly for the lubrication properties. I used to have their saddles on about 90% of my guitars, but a couple of years ago, switched back to each respective stock saddle (along with some graphite lube that I made). My reasoning behind this was more aesthetics than anything, as Graphtech stuff can look out of place on certain guitars. I'd say that the only reason why you should switch to Graphtech or Tusq is if you break a lot of strings. Other than that, there's no huge audible difference.

With that said...In my experience, the difference is audible on an acoustic guitar. On an acoustic, I just noticed more sparkle when I switched from Tusq to bone. My wife's not a guitar player and even she noticed the differences. The first time I made that switch, I was instantly sold on bone, and all of my acoustics since have been outfitted with nuts and saddles that Bob Colosi have made for me. Well, worth the investment.
 

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I prefer bone on my acoustics for the nut and saddle. I can hear the difference (or at least I think I can) and bone has a more pleasant tone to my ears. On electrics, I don't really care all that much. If I were replacing the stock nut, I'd likely go with Tusq on an electric.
 

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I always thought the nut should be made from the same material as the frets so they both sound/resonate the same whether a string is fretted or open. I guess that might be the idea behind the zero fret? Once again tradition is just blindly followed.
 

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I have Tusq, bone, nylon and brass/bone nuts on my guitars & basses--I'd have to say over all it is between bone & Tusq.
They don't wear as much--and metal can get nicks or burrs that slice into strings.
 

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I'm off the belief that it really doesn't make a ton of difference, as long as it's fairly dense and cut properly.

However a guitar tech buddy of mine swears that it makes a big difference and uses bone for everything.
He's been doing guitar tech work for a lot longer than I have.

I like the preslotted tusc ones, I've got a brass one that I've been meaning to put on a guitar just to try it.

The aluminum one on my dano looks cool.

Nathan
 

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A friend of mine made a nut for a Les Paul out of Vanadium--he bought a screwdriver with a square shaft, and ruined some files trying to make it--but he did it.
He loves it--but I don't think he'll ever make a second one.
 
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I like Tusq, I've done a couple and plan more. I did one bone nut that took me 2 blanks to complete, but iirc they're pretty cost effective.
 

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I would consider a properly sized stainless steel (or harder) zero fret with a PTFE impregnated nut (TUSQ XL for example) to be the perfect nut system for my tastes (electric or acoustic).

The jury is still out for me on an ideal acoustic saddle.
 

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I have no idea how a bone nut sounds, but I noticed a difference when replacing my shitty OEM nut and going to the tusq brand
 
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