Why a bone nut & saddle improves your tone

Author: Ian-Bush  Date Posted:28 October 2011 

So today we answer another one of the common questions in our recent survey

Tell me more about the materials on your guitars - what makes them different, and how can I set up my guitar to play better?

One of the key factors that make our solid top guitars sound so good is the bone nut and saddle. For any guitar, you want the hardest material possible to be used for a nut and saddle, and one of the hardest materials that are easily available and easy to shape is bone. A bone nut will give you a nice stable point on the guitar for the string to make contact with, and it also allows for maximum transfer of sound energy to the neck and to the top of the guitar, increasing resonance and providing the truest tone.

So how do I make a bone nut sound or play better?

A bone nut needs a little period of time to settle in. It also really benefits from having a simple graphite pencil rubbed in the slot. The graphite will lubricate the string and stop it from gripping the nut slot as you tune it. Did you ever hear your strings creak, creak, creak as you tighten them when tuning? This will help prevent that, and as a result, increase your tuning stability.

If you want to get your action height to the absolute lowest you should also get a trained luthier to re-cut your nut slots. This will bring your action height down a little bit further than what can be achieved by lowering the saddle height. This is a job best left to professionals, as it requires specific nut-slot files and very precise work.

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