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There are many different parts that make up a guitar! And each one plays an important role in the overall sound of the instrument. One such part is the nut, which is located at the top of the neck and helps to determine how well the strings vibrate. They are made of many materials, but there are two that are rivals to each other, plastic vs bone nuts.
Plastic nuts are a softer material. They can dampen the vibrations of the strings, causing a loss of sustain and brightness. Bone, on the other hand, is harder and denser and is a better choice for tone and tuning stability on a guitar.
In this article, we will explore the two materials and see which one is better when it comes to plastic and bone nut.
Plastic vs Bone Nuts
When it comes to guitar nuts, there are two major types, bone, and plastic. Bone nuts are generally considered to be superior to plastic, for a few reasons.
- Bone is a denser material than plastic. It provides more mass and helps to better transfer string vibrations.
- It’s also a more durable material than plastic, meaning it’s less likely to chip or break over time.
- The harder material also prevents the strings from binding in the nut grooves. Extending the length of time it can vibrate and improve tuning stability. Intonation accuracy is also that much better.
- The sound produced by a bone nut is brighter and fuller. One made from plastic might sound dull. This is very evident on an acoustic guitar.
All of these factors make bone an ideal material for guitar nuts. While plastic nuts may be cheaper and easier to find, they simply don’t offer the same level of quality as bone.
Should You Replace a Plastic Nut on Your Guitar?
Any experienced player will tell you that the nut is one of the most important parts of the instrument! It helps to define the spacing between the strings. But also plays a role in determining the action of the guitar.
It also makes the guitar sound different. This is done by allowing the strings to ring out longer, which produces a brighter, more balanced tone.
Bone is also a dense material, and it provides a smoother surface for the strings to glide over. As a result, bone nuts can help to improve the tuning stability of a guitar. This can be crucial when bending strings on an electric guitar.
For these reasons, many guitarists choose to replace their factory-installed plastic nuts with bone.
In addition, bone nuts are more durable than plastic and are less likely to crumble or break over time. Of course, bone nuts do come with a higher price tag. So, If you’re on a budget, you may want to stick with a plastic nut. But if you’re looking for optimal performance, a bone nut is worth the investment.
How Can You Tell if Your Guitar has a Plastic or Bone Nut?
At this point, you may be wondering how can you tell which one your guitar has. Here are a few simple tips:
- If your guitar has a bone nut, it will usually be a slightly off-white color. Plastic nuts, on the other hand, are usually either black, brown, or white and have a uniform color.
- Another way to tell the difference is by looking at the edges of the nut. A bone nut will usually have smoother, more rounded edges. While a plastic one will have sharper edges.
- You can try tapping on the nut with your finger. A bone nut will make a dull, muted sound, while a plastic one will be sharper and brighter.
- Find out if the manufacturer puts plastic or bone nuts on the guitar when it is made. Normally you can find this information on their website.
With these simple tips, you should be able to tell whether your guitar has a bone or plastic nut.
Is a Bone Nut More Expensive Than Plastic?
Bone nuts are more expensive than their plastic equivalents. But the price difference is usually not very significant. A bone nut will usually cost between $10 to $30. While a plastic one will cost between $5 and $15.
The price difference is due to the fact that bone nuts are made from higher-quality materials. As a result, they offer better performance. Manufacturers get plastic nuts for far cheaper than a player can. And so they use them on more of their entry-level guitars.
Are you looking for the best possible sound and tuning stability? A bone nut is worth the investment and a great upgrade.
So, which one is better?
When it comes to plastic vs bone nuts, it’s quite clear who the winner is. Bone is a denser material that transfers string vibrations better and produces a brighter tone. It’s also more durable and less likely to break over time.
So, if you’re looking to upgrade your guitar, replacing the nut with a bone one is a great place to start. The added sustain alone will be worth it!
Is a bone nut worth it?
Yes, bone nuts are definitely worth it. They improve the sound quality of your guitar and provide better tuning stability. Two very important factors should not be overlooked.
What are bone nuts made of?
They are usually made from cow or buffalo bone. However, you may also find them made from other types of bone, such as elephant or camel. So yes, they are in fact made from real bone.
How do I install a bone nut?
Installing a bone nut is not a difficult task. But it’s definitely something that should be left to a professional. They will have the tools and experience to do the job correctly. And they will also be able to file down the nut to get the perfect fit. There is more to it than just gluing the new nut in place.
Are plastic nuts good on guitar?
Plastic nuts are used because they are not terrible and are cheap enough to work well on guitars made for beginners at low prices. They are fine for a short period, but are nowhere near as good as bone nuts.