Would a Brass Nut be worth it?

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Would a Brass Nut be worth it?

Postby tapestry » Mon Jan 31, 2011 7:21 pm

Just asking for opinions. I have a wartmoth garcia custom and was thinking that the brass nut might make the slightest difference in playability and warmth. Any opinions?
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Re: Would a Brass Nut be worth it?

Postby williamsaut » Mon Jan 31, 2011 8:48 pm

I don't know about 'warmth'. What the brass nut will do is make the open strings sound more like fretted notes balancing out the sound. Ever seen a jazz box with a 'Zero' fret right in front of the nut? Same deal. It will give your first position chords more chime and sustain. I'd say,

worth it.
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Re: Would a Brass Nut be worth it?

Postby Jon S. » Tue Feb 01, 2011 7:40 am

I think so. :smile:
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Re: Would a Brass Nut be worth it?

Postby JonnyBoy » Tue Feb 01, 2011 7:47 am

as put above, the only "sound" it will affect is open chords or notes, but those are important indeed. I actually have tried them all, and considering other performance factors like, string friction when tuning, strings busting when bending, wear and tear, the graphite nut has served best for my guitars. I sat last night after reading this and tested it out. I notice very little, if none at all, difference between a metal fretted note and an open off the graphite in terms of brightness/tone. think they look the coolest though (brass) :smile:
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Re: Would a Brass Nut be worth it?

Postby Jon S. » Tue Feb 01, 2011 8:05 am

JonnyBoy wrote:as put above, the only "sound" it will affect is open chords or notes, but those are important indeed. I actually have tried them all, and considering other performance factors like, string friction when tuning, strings busting when bending, wear and tear, the graphite nut has served best for my guitars. I sat last night after reading this and tested it out. I notice very little, if none at all, difference between a metal fretted note and an open off the graphite in terms of brightness/tone. think they look the coolest though (brass) :smile:

FWIW, I agree with JohnnyBoy. The tone difference is probably not something you're going to hear on stage, especially with overdrive. But it sure looks damn cool! 8)
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Re: Would a Brass Nut be worth it?

Postby hogan » Tue Feb 01, 2011 9:08 am

Open strings on a guitar w/ a brass nut sound different than the same guitar w/ non brass nut thru the same rig. The difference is more than subtle. Hit an open low E and you can hear the difference instantly. It sounds heavier.
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Re: Would a Brass Nut be worth it?

Postby waldo041 » Tue Feb 01, 2011 9:22 am

hogan wrote:Open strings on a guitar w/ a brass nut sound different than the same guitar w/ non brass nut thru the same rig. The difference is more than subtle. Hit an open low E and you can hear the difference instantly. It sounds heavier.


+1

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Re: Would a Brass Nut be worth it?

Postby Jon S. » Tue Feb 01, 2011 9:38 am

It's all in how you define "not subtle." "Not subtle" is not, to me, the same as "instantly noticeable in most practical settings."

As always, others' mileage may vary.

This being said, I really do dig my brass nut.
"For me, I think the only danger is being too much in love with guitar playing. The music is the most important thing, and the guitar is only the instrument." Jerry Garcia
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Re: Would a Brass Nut be worth it?

Postby Rusty the Scoob » Tue Feb 01, 2011 10:10 am

Based on my experience swapping in graphite nuts on basses - I'd say it's not "easily identifiable" - you wouldn't hear one out of the blue and say "wow, that sure sounds like a brass nut!".

But if you could easily A/B a brass vs. plastic or bone nut on the same guitar you wouldn't have any trouble noticing in all but the mushiest band mixes that the open strings on the brass nut sound fatter and more clearly defined.
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Re: Would a Brass Nut be worth it?

Postby mijknahs » Tue Feb 01, 2011 11:13 am

Go and get a brass nut. They're not that expensive.

At least you won't be kicking yourself wondering if your tone might be slightly improved by the addition of a brass nut. So in that sense "it's worth it".

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Re: Would a Brass Nut be worth it?

Postby keirweir » Tue Feb 01, 2011 11:16 am

waldo041 wrote:
hogan wrote:Open strings on a guitar w/ a brass nut sound different than the same guitar w/ non brass nut thru the same rig. The difference is more than subtle. Hit an open low E and you can hear the difference instantly. It sounds heavier.


+1

peace,
waldo





+2
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Re: Would a Brass Nut be worth it?

Postby Jon S. » Tue Feb 01, 2011 12:32 pm

If you follow the tone threads here and elsewhere over time, you may find, as I have, a common issue is whether X versus Y changes your tone enough to be-1- noticeable; -2- worth it. It could be, as here, the nut material. It could be the fretboard wood; or the body top wood; or whether the bridge is brass, steel, aluminum, titanium. Or this versus this tube. Or you name it. And so forth.

Much of the time people will say, "Yes, I can clearly hear the difference." Sometimes, those people include you and me! But it's almost never based on blindly and simultaneously A-Bing the different components in any kind of scientific or controlled way. And it's very rarely based, when it comes to parts like nuts, on immediate-in-time comparisons where a person is likely to accurately remember what the prior tones were.

If you took two identical guitars, one with a brass nut and one with a plastic or bone one, got handed the guitars serially with a blindfold on in an ensemble setting, and heard a *significant* difference in tone, please describe further your experience. And also if you didn't test the two guitars blindfolded but you used some sort of *objective* measuring device like a frequency analyzer or an oscilliscope.

I beg everyone's pardon here for coming off (as I know I am) like such a killjoy but, for better or worse, I've become increasingly skeptical, over the years, on many of these "significant tone difference" arguments.

Now, after all this, what I, personally, hear, in a non-scientific way, with my own brass nut Tiger, is that open position chords seem to take on more of an acoustical-almost quality (that I'd never even think of describing as "heavier") relative to what I hear in my other guitars. But I couldn't prove that's due to the nut because I don't have another of the same guitar to compare the current one to, controlling for all other potentially relevant factors.

My last remark will seemingly contradict the prior but what the heck. Still ... everything affects everything! :smile:
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Re: Would a Brass Nut be worth it?

Postby mijknahs » Tue Feb 01, 2011 1:13 pm

Each little thing might not be all that significant but as you say "everything affects everything" and they all add up to something greater than the parts. It also depends how discerning your ear is (subjective).

Bottm line: Brass nut is worth giving a try even you can't hear the difference - it looks cool (especially scalloped).
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Re: Would a Brass Nut be worth it?

Postby hogan » Tue Feb 01, 2011 2:03 pm

Jon S. wrote:
Now, after all this, what I, personally, hear, in a non-scientific way, with my own brass nut Tiger, is that open position chords seem to take on more of an acoustical-almost quality (that I'd never even think of describing as "heavier") relative to what I hear in my other guitars. .[/i]

My last remark will seemingly contradict the prior but what the heck. Still ... everything affects everything! :smile:


Now that it has been described as "heavier" I bet next time you play your guitar you'll get what I'm saying. A brass/metal nut adds a lot of character, girth, body to open strings. Hence the term "heavier" Play the opening lick of Althea in the first position on your guitar. That belching low you get is helped a lot by the nut being brass.
I once put a brass nut on a 335 and the difference was night and day. It took the "mellow" right out of the E,A,&D strings. They were way more present and focused sounding. Perhaps not everybody's cup of tea on a 335 but there was no denying the large sonic difference
I will go so far as to say that in a room w/ several guitars, some with, some without brass nuts I could ace the pepsi challenge. I'd bet most of us would/could tell the difference.
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Re: Would a Brass Nut be worth it?

Postby Jon S. » Tue Feb 01, 2011 3:01 pm

I've already played the guitar again (I'll go back now and have some fun with Althea, too). I still would not describe the tone as "heavier" but perhaps Frank Zappa was onto something when he said talking about music is like dancing about architecture.
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