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Changing to a bone nut on my Taylor - making it sound too bright?

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  • Changing to a bone nut on my Taylor - making it sound too bright?

    Hi Guys (and Gals)!

    So last week I ended up paying a visit to local guitar shop to get some work done on my Taylor dreadnaught guitar. It needed some fret dressing and some rod adjustment. So since I was doing that, I wondered if I should replace the nut & saddle given they looked really old (I bought the guitar used). I ended up choosing a regular saddle and bone nut.

    Now, I feel like hte guitar has opened up a bit more but sounds a bit too jangly/bright when I do hard strumming. When I pick individual notes, they sound just beautiful and clearly I see a higher sustain (probably from the bone nut). But I am not liking the sound when I am flatstrumming (agressively). I am going to visit the shop again but have any of you experienced it? Is it just a matter of time and I will adjust to the new sound and should wait?

     

    Thoughts? If it matters its a 710 dreadnaught with rosewwod and adirondack spruce top.


  • #2

    Loosen the strings a bit and slip your old saddle back into place. Then, tune it back up and I think you'll hear the sound you're used to hearing. Sometimes a new saddle isn't as good as the original that the guitar came with.

    I've had a couple of instances when  a new bone saddle made the guitar sound worse than the plastic one it came with.

     

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    • racoustic
      racoustic commented
      Editing a comment

      Thanks Opa. You are correct that I replaced both nut and saddle but only the nut is Bone. The saddle is new but is graph tech.


  • #3
    What is the new bridge saddle made of?

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    • #4

      The bone nut will only impact open notes. Are you hearing the brightness on fretted notes as well?

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      • guitarcapo
        guitarcapo commented
        Editing a comment

        lz4005 wrote:

        The bone nut will only impact open notes. Are you hearing the brightness on fretted notes as well?


        Not even then.

         

        I could get into the physics of why but basically the nut acts like a "nodal point" and contributes nothing to sound. The saddle material is an entirely different matter....and is where you should concentrate your efforts. While it might not be as influential as the alloy of the strings you use, different material saddles will have a subtle influence on tone.

        Vibrations are transmitted THROUGH the saddle to the soundboard and so they influence tone. The nut agruably transmits vibrations to the neck but you really don't hear the neck vibrating and it doesn't vibrate much compared to the soundboard.

        Any further debate might want to address why a note played at the first fret (steel) has pretty much the same quality of tone as an openly played string (nut) and why open played strings don't stand out as different sounding than fretted strings when chording at the first position (open chords)

        This phenomenon also explains why slides of different materials (steel, brass, glass, ceramics etc...) sound relatively the same on a given guitar, assuming they all have enough mass and hardness to become a solid nodal point to the string's vibrations. (I throw that last bit in there for the wise guy asking about a rubber slide)

        Some people will go so far as to claim that they can hear a difference in tonal quality between a fretted note and open note desperately clinging to their beliefs that there's tone in that nut. Ask them why guitars don't all have a "zero fret" for the best uniformity of tone between the fretted notes and open notes. Or better yet just walk away.

         

         

        Getting back to the OP: Try some phosphour bronze strings next time on that guitar before you mess with anything. They are less bright sounding. Taylors can be voiced a bit bright, so it might be a better match.


    • #5

      I'd say what you're probably hearing are new strings. The shop probably replaced the old strings after they did the work and they may not be the same brand/composition as what were on it before. The impact of a bone nut should be minimal and the new "graph tech" saddle is the same stuff as the original (assuming it had the original nut and saddle).

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      • FretFiend.
        FretFiend. commented
        Editing a comment

        DeepEnd wrote:

        I'd say what you're probably hearing are new strings. The shop probably replaced the old strings after they did the work and they may not be the same brand/composition as what were on it before. The impact of a bone nut should be minimal and the new "graph tech" saddle is the same stuff as the original (assuming it had the original nut and saddle).


        Yep. Unless you have setup or intonation issues, changing the saddle/nut will be unnoticeable.


    • #6
      The string tension increase may be caused by either the nut or the saddle. Almost all of the guitars that I work on have a nut that's too high and action that's really stiff.

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