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I Need Some Nut Advice Please.


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The neck I have for my guitar project has a nut-slot cut that's suitable for an LSR Roller-Nut or an Earvana OEM nut. I could use some advice on which one to choose please.

I like the idea of the LSR but how do they sound? I'd like the guitar to ba as stable as possible as far as the tuning goes and I'm assuming the LSR would go a long way towards helping with that. The thing I'm slightly unsure of is whether a metal nut will provide enough sustain and resonance.

I also like the idea of the Earvana nut but I've heard some people say that it's not made out of the best material. Nobody seems to be quite sure what it is but it's supposed to be similar to the stuff they make the 'Tusq' nuts out of.

If anybody has any experience of either of these types of nut it would be great to hear what you think of them. Any other advice would be greatly appreciated too.

Many Thanks...........................JTM45.

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The neck I have for my guitar project has a nut-slot cut that's suitable for an LSR Roller-Nut or an Earvana OEM nut. I could use some advice on which one to choose please.

I like the idea of the LSR but how do they sound? I'd like the guitar to ba as stable as possible as far as the tuning goes and I'm assuming the LSR would go a long way towards helping with that. The thing I'm slightly unsure of is whether a metal nut will provide enough sustain and resonance.

I also like the idea of the Earvana nut but I've heard some people say that it's not made out of the best material. Nobody seems to be quite sure what it is but it's supposed to be similar to the stuff they make the 'Tusq' nuts out of.

If anybody has any experience of either of these types of nut it would be great to hear what you think of them. Any other advice would be greatly appreciated too.

      Many Thanks...........................JTM45.

I believe earvana's are made out of TUSQ as you mentioned, which is a perfectly fine material. Bone snobs might not like it.. but it's just a nut.. as soon as you fret the string it ceases to contribute to your tone. For electrics i think TUSQ is just fine. For acoustics, it's nice to have a bone nut and saddle combination, it's more crucial there.. but for electrics i don't think you can go wrong with it.

The LSR I really have no history with. Are you using a trem? the lsr is more in mind for a non locking trem to stop the string from binding in the nut.

Earvanas get good marks, the material is fine, it's not no mechanical aspect to malfunction. If it were me, i'd try the earvana.

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I have no experience with the earvanna but I have an LSR on my strat and love it. though if you don't have a trem I don't see the point in a LSR

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Thanks for the input guys!

For some reason the 'Zero-Fret' thing scares me. I think it's because i played a few nasty guitars when I was a kid that had a zero-fret and it seemed like they were there to save them having to put a tidy nut on the guitar (i don't know if there's any truth in that though,lol).

The guitar won't have a tremolo but I still find that a lot of fixed bridge guitars give you tuning problems because of the strings (usually the top three) binding in the nut after you do anything but the slightest string bend. Even Gibsons seem to suffer badly from that problem but that could be a lot to do with the angle of the headstock. Maybe the problem won't be there as much with a Tele-style neck (hopefully).

As the LSR fixes into the slot with two small screws I suppose I could always try the LSR first and if I'm not impressed I could remove it and go for the Earvana option.

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Fender originally used a zero fret, I believe, for just that very reason-- it's a lot of work and craftsmanship to make a proper nut. However, I see that as a benefit. :D Also, there are reputable craftsmen who swear by the zero fret simply because it is an ideal way to get proper intonation. Even Buzz Feitin has stated that his system is unecessary for guitars that use a zero fret.

The only reasons I can think of to NOT use a zero fret are threefold:

1. For open chords, there IS a different sound when the open notes are 'fretted' by that bone or Tusq nut.

2. A zero fret will eventually need replacing. Sometimes nuts need replacing too, but it's not as much of a hassle as a zero fret.

3. Your fretboard is warped or has a bad fretting job that hasn't been fixed. The nut is cut to compensate for fretboard errors. Note: this usually means that the string is higher than it 'should' be, which results in crap intonation. A specially-cut nut is just a band-aid solution for a bigger problem.

I wouldn't rule it out just because a true nut has more 'craftsmanship elite' appeal. :D I'd personally rather have a guitar that plays properly and can be intonated correctly. Any sort of compensated nut is "compensating" for one thing only, which is its "raison d'etre"--> the fact that a nut, unless crafted absolutely painstakingly, will throw your intonation off.

Greg

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GregP - In a recent thread I mentioned my guitar project (which I may not do myself). Anyhow, I may use a tremelo on this guitar, or not. The thing is, I wouldn't use it in MY music at all, only to play songs that require it. I tend to never use it, but don't wanna feel helpless to reproduce something with it. Anyhow, my point is, if I do not put one in, I would have to use a zero fret as poor intonation is enacceptable to me as a musician.

So, let's say I am having a custom neck made - what are the alterations for this zero fret?I forget since I have not seen it in a while, but does the "zero fret" sit where the nut normally is, and the new nut sit further back?

Thanks!

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Thanks for the info Greg.

As this neck is already complete (apart from finishing and installing the nut) it wouldn't be an option for me this time but it's good to get that sort of information as I think it's all extra knowledge that can only be an advantage in any further projects.

All the Best! JTM45.

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A zero fret just sits where the nut would be, and the nut is a guide for the strings. You can use them in conjunction with Tremolos, but the friction will mean more frequent changing of the zero fret. (ie. every 7 years. :D )

JTM45-- Almost everyone here uses nuts rather than zero frets, so you're in great company!

Also, since it wasn't made clear in this thread and I don't expect everyone to know me from other threads-- I'm by no means any sort of builder, not even an amateur one yet. I haven't even finished my first project, and when it's time to do the fretting I'm getting a local luthier to do it.

However, I AM a teacher by trade, so it's hard for me to not share information that I've discovered while researching my own guitar. Point being: anything I've said here or in any other threads is just knowledge that I've gained and passed along, so it's not the gospel of guitar building or anything. :D

Greg

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GregP et al.

So you're saying I CAN use a zero fret with a tremelo? What about a double locking tremelo. I could just move that back? Hmm.......... this is news to me and now opens up possibilities, Hmmm!

I must have a zero fret - there's no way I am building an instrument that is out of tune, that to me is 100% pointless time wasted!

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Well, technically speaking, all fretted instruments and things like piano's are out of tune.

The only instruments that can truly play in tune are fretless instruments. Technically speaking, An A# and Bb should not sound the same, the A# should be a hair sharper and the Bb a hair flatter. Can't really do that on a piano or guitar now can ya? Gotta love music theory classes, eh? :D

I vote the Earvana nut. I don't care for more metal on a guitar. I've tried both and vastly prefer the Earvana nut. I've got the OEM nut on two guitars and the original nut on another.

And no disrespect MasterMinds, but I doubt you can hear that much of a difference unless you've been playing for quite some time or have a long history of musical training. :D

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I disagree. Some people have a good ear for such things and even never having played an instrument in their life will recognize an out of tune guitar.

Yes, you can use a zero fret with a tremolo. In the sample plan that Martin Koch provides with his book, that's exactly what he's done. A zero fret along with a Wilkinson trem. And that's a guitar he built, not just drew up plans for.

With a locking nut, I've never heard of anyone doing it but I don't see why not. It'd be trickier to rig it up, though, I would think, as it's made to be installed a certain way. You'd have to sink it down a bit compared to normal installation so that there's a bit of an angle up toward the zero fret in order to create downward pressure (so that the zero fret is actually being "fretted"!).

Greg

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disagree. Some people have a good ear for such things and even never having played an instrument in their life will recognize an out of tune guitar.

I agree, and to those people all guitars are going to sound out of tune as is a piano. :D A guitar features tempered tuning which is a compromise to get notes close to in tune, not exactly in tune. Do you see my point? (I know we are splitting hairs here, but I think its a good discussion)

see the following for details:

The Well-Tempered Guitar

Here's an excerpt to whet your whistle:

Why your guitar doesn't always sound like it's in tune even though it is.

Equal Distance   Every note on the guitar or piano is an equal distance from the next note. Each note represents a set musical distance. But it didn't used to be that way. People used to divide the spaces within an octave a little differently than the way we do today.

Just-Tuning   Early classical instruments were 'just-tuned.' This means that they were designed to play in tune in only one key - the key of C. You can find period music that is recorded in just-tuning. The intervals sound different, better in some ways because close intervals play perfectly in tune.

Edited by javacody
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I agree that people will be able to spot out-of-tune guitars, and that all guitars are by nature impossible to tune perfectly.

I only disagreed that some people won't be able to hear it.

So... I think we agree in general, I was just pointing out that MasterMinds' level of playing has nothing to do with whether or not he will be able to hear a difference. :D

Greg

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