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Jul 5, 2020 - 6:23:07 PM

Tweelo

USA

164 posts since 4/14/2014

I've been seeing scalloped nuts here-and-there and I've been thinking about making a couple only because I like the look. Can anyone tell me the thought behind scalloping the nut? Is it purely cosmetic?

Jul 5, 2020 - 7:54:08 PM
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Alex Z

USA

3878 posts since 12/7/2006

Dan Lashbrook -- the guitar guy, kind of a hot-rodder for set ups and maybe the initiator of the modern scalloped nut concept -- explains on his website.  Look under "Nut."

https://www.danlashbrook.com/guitar-info.htm

Edited by - Alex Z on 07/05/2020 19:54:26

Jul 5, 2020 - 7:55:04 PM
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rcc56

USA

2975 posts since 2/20/2016

Scalloped nuts have been around for 3 or 4 hundred years- we sometimes see them on renaissance guitars from the 17th century. Until recently, they have been considered to be merely ornamental.

About 20 years ago, a few people started hot-rodding flat top guitars and the occasional mandolin by removing material from the innards [often unwisely] and also taking material out of nuts and bridge saddles.   Sometimes they even filed fingerboard extensions down to nearly nothing and did odd things to the tuning machines.  The claim was that the lower mass produced more sound.

I don't necessarily agree with that premise, but a scalloped nut won't hurt anything as long as the work is done well. If you make one, leave ample material near the slot so the nut won't chip if you change a string or bend a note on the second fret.

Edited by - rcc56 on 07/05/2020 19:57:12

Jul 5, 2020 - 7:56:53 PM
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7728 posts since 1/7/2005
Online Now

Purely cosmetic. And be aware that trimming away part of the nut could make it more delicate. I've seen quite a few fancy nuts with bits broken off. On the other hand, if you like the look, go for it. Nothing else will be damaged, and new nuts are easy to make.

DD

Jul 5, 2020 - 8:21:26 PM

Tweelo

USA

164 posts since 4/14/2014

Thanks, all. I'll follow-up on the link and cut a couple.

Jul 6, 2020 - 4:18:40 AM

2672 posts since 12/4/2009

Hello,

Thank you for the link. Per Dan’s site, he doesn’t scallop nuts anymore. It was a nice thought but physics won again.

Jul 6, 2020 - 5:54:38 AM
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Players Union Member

DC5

USA

12273 posts since 6/30/2015

surprise That sounds like a really painful disease.

Jul 6, 2020 - 6:27:59 AM

Tweelo

USA

164 posts since 4/14/2014

quote:
Originally posted by Alex Z

Dan Lashbrook -- the guitar guy, kind of a hot-rodder for set ups and maybe the initiator of the modern scalloped nut concept -- explains on his website.  Look under "Nut."

https://www.danlashbrook.com/guitar-info.htm


 

Having read his notes, I find it interesting to learn that the string slots would expand. I wonder if this would larger be an issue with guitars, with their considerably larger gauge. Classical guitars may not have this problem. 

Honestly, I imagine that the scalloped nut is almost entirely aesthetic. It may alter the sound but, like many other oft argued things, its probably such a minor factor as to not matter all that much. I've made brass and pearl nuts in the past. I can't really hear a difference and I no longer have an oscilloscope... 

But hell, the look of it has me intrigued and I may as well satisfy that. 

Jul 6, 2020 - 10:12:44 AM

62 posts since 11/29/2014

Ask Chuck Lee. he's used them for years...

Jul 6, 2020 - 12:27:57 PM

1005 posts since 5/19/2018

Physics always wins...

Jul 7, 2020 - 6:14:11 PM

129 posts since 3/25/2016

Won't argue the physics--I'm a geologist!--but Dan Lashbrook worked on two of my guitars decades ago (1980s?).  The improvement to an already excellent small Gurian steel string was so striking that Dad and I had him do similar work (neither with any internal changes) to a very fine Goya Flamenco guitar.  We were firmly convinced that clarity and balance across the strings were improved.  Repairman stole the modified Goya bridge during repair work, but my Gurian retains Dan's compensated bridge and scalloped nut and sounds wonderful!

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