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PostPosted: Thu Oct 15, 2020 8:51 pm 
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Walnut
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Location: Unionville TN
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Recently ordered a new Luna Steel Magnolia Guitar and for just over eight HUNDRED dollars, you get a black PLASTIC nut. Forgive, I misspoke... the nut is "polymer."

So my first order of business will be to replace the plastic with bone, BUT the plastic is black and it looks good.

Has anyone tried, with good results, to dye bone black?

Does anyone know of a source for truly black bone nut material?

Thanks in advance for your suggestions, experiences.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 15, 2020 8:58 pm 
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Buffalo horn is sometimes black, but I haven't found any sources for the real thing in decades. There's always ebony - the choice of the violin family instruments for 500 years. I've used it on guitars.

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These users thanked the author Chris Pile for the post: TeleShield (Thu Oct 15, 2020 9:11 pm)
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 15, 2020 9:01 pm 
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And a bone nut will be better than a plastic (polymer) nut because . . .


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 15, 2020 9:10 pm 
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Walnut
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Hans Mattes wrote:
And a bone nut will be better than a plastic (polymer) nut because . . .


I've had a couple of guitars saw down through plastic in about 10 or so months of daily playing. Bone is much more durable, in my experience.

More than that, however, I love working bone for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that it will polish up like no plastic ever could.

And finally, you just can't deny that bone implies a certain panache.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 15, 2020 9:13 pm 
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Walnut
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Chris Pile wrote:
Buffalo horn is sometimes black, but I haven't found any sources for the real thing in decades. There's always ebony - the choice of the violin family instruments for 500 years. I've used it on guitars.


Thanks for responding. Not sure how ebony would sound on a steel resonator. Have you any experience like that?


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 15, 2020 9:26 pm 
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I recently did a bone nut for a bass that had an original black (ahem) "polymer" nut. I finished the nut, painted it with a black sharpie, then shot a couple of coats of clear over it. Of course I didn't think to take a pic of the nut. Here is a crop from the whole thing.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 15, 2020 11:14 pm 
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Looks acceptable, Al.

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 16, 2020 12:27 am 
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Walnut
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fumblefinger wrote:
I recently did a bone nut for a bass that had an original black (ahem) "polymer" nut. I finished the nut, painted it with a black sharpie, then shot a couple of coats of clear over it. Of course I didn't think to take a pic of the nut. Here is a crop from the whole thing.


Thank you for sharing that idea. I've got plenty of cutoffs, both bleached and unbleached. I'll give it a shot. Clear poly could be buffed, perhaps, to emulate that bone luster.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 16, 2020 10:52 am 
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Koa
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Some people use india ink to stain fretboards black, it might work on bone also. There are synthetics made specifically for guitar nuts that are black - Graft Tech makes some of their Tusq nuts in black. And apparently this is going on a resonator - frequently maple or ebony is used for saddles on reso, I see no reason why it wouldn't work on the other end of the string.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 16, 2020 10:59 am 
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Brazilian Rosewood
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Seems like I remember seeing one of the regular suppliers that has water buffalo horn which is black.

Edit: LMII has it.

https://www.lmii.com/nuts-saddles/1517-nut-black-horn-2-1564-x-2764-x-1964.html



These users thanked the author Barry Daniels for the post: TeleShield (Fri Oct 16, 2020 3:28 pm)
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 16, 2020 12:31 pm 
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Mahogany
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Corian solid color counter top material (I ordered a sample from the MFG). LMI has black horn. And as mentioned StuMac sells black Tusq. I haven't used the Corian yet but know folks that do and highly recommend it for nuts.

As alternatives to dying bone.

Some times a black nut just works well for an instrument aesthetically. I built a walnut 6 string banjo (gitjo/banjitar), with ebony FB and head veneer that had to have a black nut that put me looking for options. I ordered a custom black satin banjo head from Remo to go with the theme. Cool looking instrument.

Peg head included a night scene with silver big dipper and northern lights in dyed curly maple. Fun build.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 16, 2020 3:27 pm 
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Walnut
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rbuddy wrote:
Corian solid color counter top material (I ordered a sample from the MFG). LMI has black horn. And as mentioned StuMac sells black Tusq. I haven't used the Corian yet but know folks that do and highly recommend it for nuts.

As alternatives to dying bone.

Some times a black nut just works well for an instrument aesthetically. I built a walnut 6 string banjo (gitjo/banjitar), with ebony FB and head veneer that had to have a black nut that put me looking for options. I ordered a custom black satin banjo head from Remo to go with the theme. Cool looking instrument.

Peg head included a night scene with silver big dipper and northern lights in dyed curly maple. Fun build.


That sounds like a very neat looking banjo. I just rehab'd a Pitt brand, basket case, banjolele for a guy. It was my first time to install a skin head.

I've used black TUSQ on several electric guitars - know what you mean about the theme and keeping that intact.

Thanks for your input.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 16, 2020 3:30 pm 
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Walnut
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Location: Unionville TN
First name: Bruce
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Barry Daniels wrote:
Seems like I remember seeing one of the regular suppliers that has water buffalo horn which is black.

Edit: LMII has it.

https://www.lmii.com/nuts-saddles/1517-nut-black-horn-2-1564-x-2764-x-1964.html


Barry, thanks a million for going to the trouble to provide the link. I've gotta order more thinner this evening so it'll be a perfect hitchhiker on the order.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 16, 2020 3:41 pm 
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Walnut
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Freeman wrote:
Some people use India ink to stain fretboards black, it might work on bone also. There are synthetics made specifically for guitar nuts that are black - Graft Tech makes some of their Tusq nuts in black. And apparently this is going on a resonator - frequently maple or ebony is used for saddles on reso, I see no reason why it wouldn't work on the other end of the string.


Thanks for chiming in here. I've used the TUSQ nuts on other instruments, both white and black.

After Chris Pile suggested ebony last night, I got to thinking, "Hey, I have 44 ebony keys from an Henri Pape' piano that was built in Paris in 1846."

I'll bet those keys are genuine ebony because I was able to determine that the other keys are actual ivory.

I did not know that they've used ebony on reso's before so I'll give it a shot. If it don't work, what're they gonna do? Slap my hands and send me to 'Nam?

The guitar won't be here until January, as I mentioned earlier, but I'll most likely make one each of black bone and ivory. I'll keep y'all posted as to the results.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 16, 2020 3:45 pm 
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Walnut
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Chris Pile wrote:
Buffalo horn is sometimes black, but I haven't found any sources for the real thing in decades. There's always ebony - the choice of the violin family instruments for 500 years. I've used it on guitars.


Chris, you got me to thinking last night...

Here's how I responded to "Freeman" a few minutes ago:

"Thanks for chiming in here. I've used the TUSQ nuts on other instruments, both white and black.

After Chris Pile suggested ebony last night, I got to thinking, "Hey, I have 44 ebony keys from an Henri Pape' piano that was built in Paris in 1846."

I'll bet those keys are genuine ebony because I was able to determine that the other keys are actual ivory."

Thanks again for offering some help.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 16, 2020 4:28 pm 
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Piano parts are great resources. I still have a big box of piano keys from stuff I disassembled back in the late 70's for some churches. Sold all the ivory veneers to a pal for inlays.... The ebony I have makes great nuts for guitars, basses, violins, violas, and cellos. Good luck, and have fun. Post pix when you're done.

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These users thanked the author Chris Pile for the post: TeleShield (Fri Oct 16, 2020 5:08 pm)
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 16, 2020 4:39 pm 
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Koa
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Tele, for what it is worth, I own three resonators, including a 1932 Dobro 27, a 1980 Duolian (a biscuit like your Luna) and a tricone that I built. All of those guitars are running a plain old cow bone nut and the Dobro and Tricone have maple saddles in their respective bridges.

Biscuit bridge guitars usually have a maple biscuit and the saddle is built into a slot in the biscuit. I happen to be using a NRP cone in the Duolian but when I put it in I also installed a Paul Norman carbon fiber biscuit with either a maple or ebony insert (I really don't know, its black...). I've also built two weissenborn style guitars which have bone nuts and saddles (original weissies had a piece of fret wire for saddle).

I'm one of those people who feels that the nut doesn't have a whole lot of effect on the sound of a guitar and I would say even less on a resonator. Since you don't even have yours yet it seems a little premature to be planning to change the nut already, unless of course you know there will be something wrong with yours (on a reso that might be height and/or curvature).

The last thing to remember about nuts is that once you have fretted a note it is out of the equation. That is slightly less true when you are playing slide - depending on how you damp the after piece of string might be slightly in the picture.

Have fun with your new reso, if you have any questions about setup or neck angle or anything let me know.



These users thanked the author Freeman for the post: TeleShield (Fri Oct 16, 2020 4:58 pm)
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 16, 2020 4:48 pm 
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Koa
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TeleShield wrote:
.... for just over eight HUNDRED dollars, you get a black PLASTIC nut. Forgive, I misspoke... the nut is "polymer."....



I am going to add one more comment before I crawl back into my hole. If you look at almost any modern mass produced guitar from almost any of the major manufacturers in almost any price range they will have a nut made out of some sort of man made material - lets call them all plastics. Martin, Taylor, yadda yadda yadda have micarta or melamine or "tusq" or graft tech or ..... You know why? One they work pretty well and two they can be molded into shape for pennies.

I just made a bone nut for a nice young woman with a nice medium priced classical guitar. It came with a "melamine" nut and saddle, she wanted bone. I made them but I also recorded the guitar before and after and I ran Alain Lambert's spectrum analysis software on waveforms of notes taken before and after the change. Guess what, she can hear a difference (after all she just wrote me a check), I can't and the software doesn't show it. Your mileage will vary


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 16, 2020 5:06 pm 
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Walnut
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Freeman wrote:
TeleShield wrote:
.... for just over eight HUNDRED dollars, you get a black PLASTIC nut. Forgive, I misspoke... the nut is "polymer."....



I am going to add one more comment before I crawl back into my hole. If you look at almost any modern mass produced guitar from almost any of the major manufacturers in almost any price range they will have a nut made out of some sort of man made material - lets call them all plastics. Martin, Taylor, yadda yadda yadda have micarta or melamine or "tusq" or graft tech or ..... You know why? One they work pretty well and two they can be molded into shape for pennies.

I just made a bone nut for a nice young woman with a nice medium priced classical guitar. It came with a "melamine" nut and saddle, she wanted bone. I made them but I also recorded the guitar before and after and I ran Alain Lambert's spectrum analysis software on waveforms of notes taken before and after the change. Guess what, she can hear a difference (after all she just wrote me a check), I can't and the software doesn't show it. Your mileage will vary


Hahaha, I totally get it. As mentioned to a previous poster, for me it's the principle of panache. I can't hear a difference either but I do have experience with premature wear of wrapped strings cutting their way down to the frets in less than a year of daily play. PLUS... as many people have been observing/commenting this year, whereas you used to get a TKL hard case with a $600+ Martin, today you get a gig bag, if that. My new Luna sold for $840 and no case of any kind nor a strap, pick, or TootsieRoll sucker. I bought two Martin DRS-1s three years ago and they came with TKL cases (Martin badged) and a few other little happy's. Not today. So...since I have the ability and the means I'm gonna add a little panache of my own to an otherwise lovely instrument.

Thanks again for sharing the great comments. Much appreciated.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 16, 2020 5:22 pm 
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Koa
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Well, one more perspective on that. My Duolian was a thousand dollar guitar in 1980. It came with a nice fitted hard shell case that has a recess for the cone and cover plate, a cut out for the tail piece and nicely cushions the guitar. In other words it is a properly fitted quality case included with the price of purchase.

When I built my tricone I had to have a custom case made for it - a bit north of three hundred ten years ago. Again, it has a recess for the cover plate and tailpiece, shaped to fit the head, its just a really nice case,

Attachment:
IMG_6081-1.jpg


All of the guitars that I build get a nice properly fitted case. I usually pay a bit over $100 for a TKL or equivalent, odd shapes might be more. I have also learned to build to fit available cases whenever I can. Here are their current offerings for resonator cases

https://www.tkl.com/products?categories ... tor-guitar


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 16, 2020 8:53 pm 
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Freeman wrote:
I just made a bone nut for a nice young woman with a nice medium priced classical guitar. It came with a "melamine" nut and saddle, she wanted bone. I made them but I also recorded the guitar before and after and I ran Alain Lambert's spectrum analysis software on waveforms of notes taken before and after the change. Guess what, she can hear a difference (after all she just wrote me a check), I can't and the software doesn't show it. Your mileage will vary

Dang it man! Don't be confusing us with science and facts!


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 16, 2020 9:05 pm 
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Koa
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fumblefinger wrote:
Dang it man! Don't be confusing us with science and facts!


Alain's software is really quite interesting and is helping me understand a lot that I have been doing. We've seen all this before but here is the little classical

Attachment:
IMG_6599-1.jpg


Attachment:
IMG_6604-1.jpg


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 17, 2020 1:37 am 
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I used African Blackwood on a steel string and it worked fine. Seemed harder than ebony. Long-term wear TBD

Pat

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 17, 2020 8:24 am 
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That is a good idea, too. But I would need to obtain some blackwood....

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 18, 2020 2:08 am 
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Here's the African blackwoodImage

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