Could any of you fine luthiers out there possibly post a guide to the frequency response parameters of the following four nut materials.........Tusq, bone, brass & aluminium, (if there is such information available).

I am aware of the "drop" test but was hoping I might find something a little more scientific and a little bit more specific to the actual range of frequencies, cut off points etc., that each material possesses.

I have searched online, but the only information seems to relate to the old ("Tusq v Bone" which is best)? debate. 


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Hesh , my old dog Milo also loved bone nuts , in the end he was blind and deaf but he could smell real well . He would steal and eat any bone nut that hit the floor , and loved scissors because I only used them to cut banjo skins , he just loved skin offcuts and if he heard the scissors he would come to my side with tail wagging . I must admit that I stole some of his bones too , when I didn't have the right size blank ,I miss him , dogs are so dumb but so smart .

I must have a really bad sense of smell, bone don't bother me at all. Black buffalo horn is another matter, very smelly stuff indeed. I read somewhere that psychopaths have a bad sense of smell, I hope I'm not one of them...

I'm with Roger on this one.... the smell of bone seems to be (oddly enough) somewhat pleasant, but the buffalo horn is downright offensive!  I guess it's all an individual thing. 

I'm a bass player and have installed brass nuts on occasion, but they don't seem to give that much effect, one way or the other.  Perhaps my ears are as undiscerning as my nose!

I too like working with bone, except that it reminds me that I 'm overdue for a visit to the dentist.

all i can contribute here is one anecdote (the plural of which is not "data", i know):

for laughs i tried making an impromptu les paul nut out of the "worst" material i could think of, a big hunk of pink rubber eraser.

on fretted notes i heard no noticeable change in sustain or "tone" compared to the regular nut.

as for brass, i have it on my own electrics and i quite like it! it seems to add a pinch of "zing" to the open notes, and as long as i keep a tiny bit of lube in the slots it stays in tune very nicely, especially on my gibsons (including a flying V)  where there's extreme angles coming off the nut that cause softer materials to grab those middle strings. it's also lasted me a very long time on those guitars, easily a decade plus without wearing down (and i run decently low action with very low nut slot clearance over the first fret.)

it would never occur to me to suggest brass for acoustics or basses, and it's not my go-to recommendation in general (bone is) but what am i missing? why is it "bad"? could it just be because of the association with all the other bad brass stuff from the late '70s early '80s?

On an acoustic guitar that "zing" is no good. For me anyway.


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