Including the frets and bridge the Nut is the trinity of tone…
The guitar nut type can drastically impact your guitar tone! Being one of the smallest components on your guitar, this is usually underestimated!
Both material and fitting technique can affect the tone, sustain and performance (things like dead frets) of your guitar.
Guitar nut types? There are several guitar types each vary in design and material which include:
- Traditional Nut
- Lockin Nut
- Roller Nut
- Compensated Nut
- Bone Nut
- Fossil Ivory
In this article, I will discuss ALL the pros and cons of each with some recommendations… Let’s get started!
What Is the Guitar Nut?
The nut rests at the end of your fretboard and is the last component that the strings come in contact with before reaching the headstock.
In short, it ensures the strings are at the right height above the fretboard (they help control the action at the top of the fretboard) and ensure the strings are evenly spaced.
Why is the Nut Essential?
The nut will impact the tone of your instruments open strings.
Both the density and cut will influence how well your guitar sustains and resonates of your open strings (the above video explains this in detail…).
1. “Bone” Material Type
I have spoken with many guitar luthiers and they all choose bone as their favourite material for a guitar nut. However, there are many considerations when choosing this particular material.
- 100% as picture show,the quality is better than bone meal
- Material:Cattle bone
- size: 43 X 6 X 8.5mm(1.692 X 0.236 X 0.334 inch),The item middle height is 8.5mm,height arrange(7.75-8.6mm)
- Flat Bottom
2. Fossil Ivory Material Type
Fossil ivory is a material that comes from elephants tusks. This is banned in many countries as this material is collected by poaches that hunt elephants.
Because of this reason, I do not recommend using this material. However, because it is used I will still discuss it properties.
3. Plastic Material Type
Different plastic materials including Corian and Micarta can be used to craft guitar nuts.
4. Metal Material Type
Brass and steel are two types of nut material that can be used for a guitar nut.
- Measurement: Length: Approx. 43mm (1.69”); Height: 8mm – 8.7mm (0.31” – 0.34”); E string to E string: 35 mm (1.38”).
- Material: solid titanium alloy, durable and compact.
- Help keep your guitar in tune better and reduce the friction of the strings in the nut.
- Pre-slotted to make for a quick and easy install.
- Compatibles with 6-string Les Paul (LP), Gibson EPI, SG style electric guitar and most similar instruments.
Metal is an average sounding material in terms of the tonal properties. It is rated better than plastic but not as a good as bone or ivory.
5. Graphite Material Type
Graphite is another material that is commonly used for nut construction.
6. Ebony Material Type
Ebony is another material that is commonly used for guitar construction.
The nut plays a vital role in producing the sound your guitar makes.
The difference in tone between bone, ivory and plastic is more evident on acoustic guitars, but can still be noticeable on electric guitar especially in the studio.
In addition, solid body electric guitars that are going to be used with heavy fuzz and distortion may also the subtle difference between the different types of nuts. Nevertheless, playing clean, or layering guitar these subtleties will stand out.
Bone is most preferred, this includes Tusq. Or “fossilized” walrus ivory or old recycled ivory. However, you can find inconsistent sounds in the bone material.
Furthermore, Using ivory from poached elephants is illegal due to its immorality. Unless, the animal died of natural causes such as “fossilized” walrus ivory.
Bone is relatively easy to cut and work on though. I do not hear too much of a tone difference between bone and graphite, I just know the graphite is easier and never grabs strings like a bone one can.
Overall, while bone is generally most preferable don’t be afraid to experiment with the other options. But, remember to avoid ivory as it comes from poached elephants.