Synthetic Bone vs. Bone Nut

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It is no secret that most guitars come with plastic nuts.

Most guitar players wonder whether it would make much difference if they were to replace the synthetic bone nuts with their bone counterparts.

That’s where a detailed discussion on the synthetic bone vs. bone nut comes to make it easier for the guitarists to make that decision.

It turns out that the sound bone nuts produced is better than synthetic bone nuts.

Besides, the former holds tune longer than the latter.

So, if you ever choose, you will know the best bone nuts for your guitar.

About Synthetic Bone Nuts

Synthetic bone nuts usually have a striking resemblance to typical bone nuts.

That’s because of the high-quality plastic used to manufacture them.

They are a favorite option for environmentally conscious guitar players since one doesn’t use real bones to make them.

Their manufacturing standards are great enough to give guitarists the tonal consistency they seek.

It is also worth noting that synthetic bone nuts also have bone powder, besides being made of hard and high-quality plastic.

You will be surprised to learn that most guitars come with these nuts.

Whereas bone nuts sound better than synthetic bone nuts, it is advisable not to replace the one in your guitar unless it neither holds the tune nor feels ok.

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Unfortunately, such nuts have issues since they are precut and not customized for your guitar.

One common problem from this practice is the failure to hold tuning for long.

Other issues include short sustain and dull sounds.

What Are the Advantages of Synthetic Bone Nuts?

The advantages of using synthetic bone nuts include the following

  • Synthetic bone nuts are relatively ethically sourced
  • The material of these nuts is usually high-quality plastic
  • Its design is more consistent than that of its standard bone counterpart

What Are the Disadvantages of Synthetic Bone Nuts

On the other hand, synthetic bone nuts have their disadvantages, including the following;

  • If you are careless, you might buy extremely low-quality synthetic bone nuts.
  • Equally important, these nuts cost more than their plastic counterparts

About Bone Nuts

Unlike synthetic bone nuts, bone nuts usually produce a relatively fuller tone.

Therefore, a guitarist using this kind of nuts produces clear and sharp highs, whereas the lows are also loud.

Expect the sound to play long after plucking your guitar string since the sustain of bone nuts is also great.

Since it doesn’t absorb vibrations by design, bone nuts offer a great tone.

That’s expected, given their great transfer of sound vibrations, thanks to its denser and harder material.

Such can’t be said about its regular plastic counterparts.

What about a look at the advantages and disadvantages of using bone nuts?

What Are the Advantages of Bone Nuts?

Bone nuts have their advantages, including the following;

  • The material offers solid intonation due to its density which allows it to transfer sound vibrations and ensures your lows and highs are clear
  • Its sustain and tone are incredible thanks to the hardness and lack of hollowness, and under such circumstances, sound vibrations absorption is rare, if not impossible.
  • It is hard to come across a material that sounds as excellent as the bone
  • Its customization during cutting and shaping to fit a specific guitar ensures that its strings stay in place, not forgetting to stay in tune for long
  • You may not need to replace your nuts often, regardless of how intense friction gets, since bone is a tough material that doesn’t wear out easily
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What Are the Disadvantages of Bone Nuts?

It is also worth noting the following disadvantages of bone nuts;

  • Cutting and shaping a bone to make excellent nuts for your guitar is tiresome and time-consuming, which explains why they are relatively expensive
  • Inconsistency filling due to the nature of a bone hence instances of hollowness, thus leading to inconsistent sound
  • You need to lubricate the bone nuts as often as you ply your guitar since they can’t self-lubricate
  • Whereas they produce great sound, it doesn’t come easy since they are hard to work with, unlike plastic

Is Synthetic Bone Nut Plastic?

Despite using the word bone, it would be wrong to think its material is bone.

On the contrary, the material is plastic, but one must admit it is hard enough to convince you otherwise.

A synthetic bone nut is plastic, so manufacturers usually choose the super hard one.

What Is a Guitar Nut?

A nut is part of a guitar that you will find on top of its neck.

This material has several small grooves designed for every guitar string with several roles.

First, the guitar nut ensures its strings don’t touch each other.

Other roles include increasing resonance and maintaining the guitar’s tuning stability.

Synthetic Bone vs Bone Nuts; Which One Is Better?

Whereas bone nuts are believed to have a better sound than their synthetic counterparts, other reasons persuade guitar players to settle for the latter.

First, the plastic is hard enough to handle a lot, not forgetting how solid it is; hence perfect for someone looking for durability.

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The guitar strings can move across the surface seamlessly thanks to the self-lubricating property of the synthetic bone nuts.

The material isn’t badly off regarding intonation and stability.

On the other hand, bone nuts are hard to work with since they are fragile.

The tone isn’t consistent due to the nature of the bone, which means that getting a great one solely depends on chance.

For instance, if you get a hollow bone, the sound will be pathetic regardless of the material.

Over time, the bone nuts will also wear out, and the worst part is how uneven it is, leading to inconsistent tone and sound.

Which Bones Are Commonly Used for Guitar Nuts?

Guitar nut manufacturers seek dense bones and settle for relatively large animals.

The commonly used ones are camels, cows and buffalos.

Can You Tell If Your Guitar Has Synthetic Bone or Bone Nuts?

Usually, the manufacturers are fair enough to share that information on their websites.

However, if that’s not the case, you can tell by looking at the nuts.

Synthetic bone nuts are usually white o black, and the color is often uniform, unlike their bone counterparts.

References

https://guitarspace.org/guitar-accessories/tusq-vs-bone-nuts/

https://producerhive.com/guitar-tech/bone-nut-vs-plastic-vs-graphite/

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