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Thread: US Nut vs SE Nut

  1. #1
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    US Nut vs SE Nut

    First timer, go easy!

    I just put a US nut (Wide Thin/Wide Fat) on my SE Tim Mahoney. Looking at the 2 nuts, they are obviously different materials, the SE nut feels cheap compared to the US nut. They are the same general shape, same width, but I noticed the string spacing is slightly different. The outside E slots are wider on the US nuts. Is this just to compensate for .010 strings, vs the .009's on the SE? To clarify, the slots are not just wider, but in a different spot, the US being wider. So I know I didnt get a Regular nut, since they wider spaced...is this normal? Will I have a problem with this nut? It looks normal spaced on the guitar. Ive got 2 US models, this is my first SE model. Thanks for any info!

  2. #2
    Junior Member chet's Avatar
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    I was told by a local Luthier the SE nuts are metric and hollow. I put a US nut on my Tremonti SE. Didn't notice much of a difference. The strings did seem to fit better in the slots with little to no modification.

  3. #3
    Narrowfield Pickup Fan HANGAR18's Avatar
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    That is an interesting observation. There is a similar difference between Epiphone and Gibson nuts on their Les Paul models. I always assumed that the more narrow string spacing on the import models was to accommodate younger, smaller hands. ie. SE = Student Edition.
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    Senior Member AP515's Avatar
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    The SE W/F is close to the McCarty W/F neck width. I dropped a McCarty nut on my SE singlecut and it was very close to perfect. It was a good mod.
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    Does the American nut give any benefit to the tone?
    PRS SE Tremonti '03

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    Senior Member vchizzle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OperatorAce View Post
    Does the American nut give any benefit to the tone?
    Take a US nut and SE nut and drop them on a table. Listen to the difference in the sound difference. The US nut is resonant sounding and the SE is not so much. Any point of contact with the string, material is important. Tuner posts, nut, bridge saddles...none of those things should take away from the string ringing and sustaining.

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    Senior Member vchizzle's Avatar
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    Shawn replied and told me the SE nuts and US nuts are slightly different but both will work fine. The US nut is very hard and has a bell like quality when you drop it on a hard surface. The SE nut is clearly hollow and feels like plastic. The slots on the US nut look much more precisely cut.

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    Not that I don't believe you vchizzle about the US nut, but that video doesn't really demonstrate why it's better in a proper way. I feel that PRS quite often takes a salesman approach to describing tonewoods, finishes, glues and hardware without actually showing any sound comparisons. I'm sure there are materials that would really ring, but wouldn't necessarily make great guitar nuts.
    PRS SE Tremonti '03

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    I believe its Paul's theory of tone, that materials that ring or have some sort of musical quality would be better for tone than materials that are dead sounding. Can it be proven without a doubt? No, but the PRS guitars I've played and own tell me he may be on to something.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bomonganni View Post
    I believe its Paul's theory of tone, that materials that ring or have some sort of musical quality would be better for tone than materials that are dead sounding. Can it be proven without a doubt? No, but the PRS guitars I've played and own tell me he may be on to something.
    Without a doubt I agree, PRS guitars are amazing. I can't help but feel that quite a bit of it is a giant sales pitch.
    PRS SE Tremonti '03

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    Quote Originally Posted by OperatorAce View Post
    Without a doubt I agree, PRS guitars are amazing. I can't help but feel that quite a bit of it is a giant sales pitch.
    I think I can understand why you may feel that way, but in watching this video (and the others in the series) I don't personally get that impression at all. What I see is a guy who is passionate about what he is talking about. He doesn't come across as being too hyperbolic to me, at least not in a 'salesy" sense. He always seems very transparent and honest to me, and really committed to taking a systemic approach to the construction of the guitars - only as strong as the weakest link type of thing.

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    My problem in particular with what he's saying mostly revolved around two things:

    1. That everything that sounds good when knocked or dropped against a table will contribute to good tone. I don't buy that necessarily. Who says the various parts will always sound good together, based off of that? Do they compensate for that? I feel the descriptions and reasons given are so skin deep that their only use is for the purpose of convincing people easily susceptible to buzzwords of the "magic" of these instruments. Again, I want to clarify - I love these guitars. They know what they are doing, I simply think the way they sell them is gimmicky.

    2. That all the secrets are written in a book, and that book is the authority on good tone. However, it will never see the light of day. No reasons behind it other than "we've tried everything and this is how it is." I seriously do not care what the book Paul wrote says - I care about what Paul and his other master luthiers say in detail about why certain materials work better. I'd love to see more comparisons. To me, actual comparison videos would easily disprove any haters that share the same opinions I have, but perhaps because of it refuse to even try these glorious guitars.

    Quote Originally Posted by gball View Post
    really committed to taking a systemic approach to the construction of the guitars - only as strong as the weakest link type of thing.
    100% agreed. It's clear in his enthusiasm now, and the enthusiasm he's had for his craft for the decade or more I've been playing/owned PRS intruments that this is true.
    PRS SE Tremonti '03

  14. #14
    Senior Member AP515's Avatar
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    I don't think there is any question that Paul believes every word he is saying. He has said it for so long in "Meet and greet" sales pitches, that it comes out sounding like a sales job. But it really does have physics at the heart of all he does and says. There may always be a debate about whether nut material makes a difference, but there is no debate in Paul's mind or they wouldn't be on his guitars. To me he comes across as completely genuine and also trying to sell a guitar. Both are good things.
    1988 CE24, 1995 CE22, 2000 SC, 2003 Standard 22, 2003 Cu24 AP, 2006 Cu24 AP, 2006 SC AP, 2007 CuRo22, 2010 Starla Stoptail, 2010 Mira
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    Oh I know for a fact nut material makes a difference - I suppose at hear I really just want to know if the PRS US nut is the end all be all, or are there better 3rd party nuts, and why?
    PRS SE Tremonti '03

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by OperatorAce View Post
    Not that I don't believe you vchizzle about the US nut, but that video doesn't really demonstrate why it's better in a proper way. I feel that PRS quite often takes a salesman approach to describing tonewoods, finishes, glues and hardware without actually showing any sound comparisons. I'm sure there are materials that would really ring, but wouldn't necessarily make great guitar nuts.
    I don't think Paul's trying to demonstrate that it's better; simply that the materials sound different. He's not selling guitar nuts, he's selling his vision of, and ideas about, guitars.

    So the guitars are the proof, not some video.

    The guitars themselves should be ample demonstration that the man knows what he's doing, and speak for themselves.

    Quote Originally Posted by OperatorAce View Post
    Oh I know for a fact nut material makes a difference - I suppose at hear I really just want to know if the PRS US nut is the end all be all, or are there better 3rd party nuts, and why?
    For that you have to ask a 3rd party nut maker, not PRS, right?

    Or you have to try a few for yourself. My thinking is that if you like the tone on your PRS, there isn't much point in monkeying around with different nuts, but everyone's different. Have at it and report back!
    I saw ten thousand talkers whose tongues were all broken...

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    Yeah I need to just order a few, considering I have a SG that also could use a new nut. Seems no one I ask has any opinion on the differences between the tusqs and the US made PRS nuts!
    PRS SE Tremonti '03

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    I couldn't give you an opinion on the difference between the two, simply because I havent tried both. I like the US PRS guitars just the way they are, nuts, pickups, etc...I wouldnt change them, because I am completely satisfied with the guitars as they are. As far as my SE, I decided on the US nut, because for me, it works so well on the US models, I dont really feel a need for improvement over that. Maybe there is a better nut, but Im quite satisfied with what PRS offers.

  19. #19
    Senior Member swede71's Avatar
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    Im not convinced about the nut affecting the sound that much really but im absolutely convinced harder material will work better.PRS US nuts works great.I cant speak of PRS se nuts but i Believe they are plastic as my Epiphone and plastic is too soft.Strings will bind in nutslots more easily.

  20. #20
    Narrowfield Pickup Fan HANGAR18's Avatar
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    I think maybe some have missed the point about nut material. Energy transfer from the vibrating string, throught he nut material and through the guitar is incredibly important and the demonstration shows the ability of the different types of nut material to vibrate (ie the different pitches you hear when dropped on a table) which is equal to the ability of the nut to transfer energy through it. That's also why he said a nut made of rubber or whatever would be terrible. Enegry applied to one end of a rubber nut would be absorbed and not pass through.

    As for the book of tone, I don't think PRSh wrote it, as he has stated many times all that info was already out there and used by those who came before him. I think perhaps he may have actually compiled all of this learning into one place, perhaps an actual printed book, and then put all that learning into practice when his guitars are built. I think that is what all that book of tone stuff is all about.
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