The nut

  • The nut has the following functions:
    • Keeping space between the strings and holding them in place
    • The nut is the last contact point before the freely vibrating strings begin
  • It is important, that the strings have a good pressure on the nut, to not slip out and not make any snaring sound. This can be a problem, especially when the head is not angled but is a straight extension of the neck. If you are having issues here, inverted nuts can be a solution.
  • The height of the nut is very critical for the playing comfort! Make sure it’s just high enough to not touch the first fret on the fretboard while playing. A good distance from the strings to the first fret is lower than one millimetre.

Classical nut

This is by far the most common concept. Hard wood, bones, aluminium or other metal – as long as the material is hard, it will do its job.

  • Long-time proofed concept
  • Accurate working required

Nut with 0 fret

The advantage of using a 0 fret, is that you don’t need to worry about the depth, when you saw the gaps for the strings. That’s because the (free swinging) strings will basically start from the 0 fret and not from the nut any more.

  • Easier to build, because the 0 fret takes the responsibility for the right distance between fretboard & strings
  • Maybe less sexy
Alt Inverse nut on a five string guitar with a 0 fret.

Inverted nut

Imagine making a nut, but then glue it upside down… Sounds weird, but the reason is simple: when you make neck and head straight, there might be the problem, that the strings will not be pulled down enough to the nut. So the nut takes this responsibility itself and pulls the strings down to the 0 fret.

  • Holds strings down, even if the head is not bent
  • Strings can not escape (useful for foldable travel guitars)
  • Playing comfort can be reduced, because the nut is a bit bigger
  • It can be a little more fiddly to put on new strings, as they need to pass this nut.

Welcome to the BETA version

This page is still in development. You might face some bugs, missing features and content.

I’m very happy for every bug report, new concepts and ideas, and generally everything that helps to create a wonderful collection of alternative instrument building.

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