SE Standard's nut material is?

ChunkyB

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Man, you're comparing the sound between a strat and a PRS, and you can tell the difference that the nut makes? If you listed the differences between the 2 guitars that have an effect on tone, I would think the nut would be near the bottom of the list.
 

NostraHistoria

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Just curious if you did the Paul's Drop Test, Nostra?

No, I do not know what it even is.

When I played my strat for a few days and then went to my PRS, I could definitely hear plastic tones coming from the nut when I played open notes. They were similar to the tones I got from my stratus old plastic nut. Adios to this cheap thing. I need quality.
 

xjbebop

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The latest / newest SE I bought just a few months ago has the worst nut of any SE I've had (about a dozen...)
I'm very surprised as anal as Prs is about quality with every part of their guitars that this is still a problem..
 

Mikegarveyblues

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The SE nuts are ok as far as material quality goes. They are not as good as the U.S. Nuts or Graphtech but they are perfectly useable. If cut right then I don't see much merit in ripping them out. An exception might be guitars with trems.

That said, I've owned three SE's over the years and all have had issues with the nuts. The issue has always been with the cutting of the slots. Sometimes this is easily remedied by widening the slots if you get binding but if they're cut to low or the spacing is off then you may as well replace it. On my Bernie I had binding which I could have remedied easily but I wanted the spacing widening. I had my tech cut a fresh nut from Graphtec Tusq. Very happy with it. On my long gone SE C24 the slots where cut too low so again it had to be replaced.

This is the original nut off my Bernie...

SAM_0712 by MikeGBlues, on Flickr

Very rough looking!

And a fresh Tusq nut...

Bernie Tusq Nut 2 by MikeGBlues, on Flickr

So, personally I'd leave the stock SE nut alone unless there was good reason to swap it. If you do need to replace it then it's not an expensive job even if you need a tech to do it. He SE's are incredible guitars for the money but this can be a weak spot.

Can't say I've ever played a guitar and heard a 'plastic sounding nut' though!
 

shinksma

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Between my 4 SEs and my 4 Core PRSi, I honestly don't hear the difference between the nut materials. I hear the differences in the rest of the guitar caused by all the other things that make them different, like trem vs stoptail; pickups; baritone, 7-string, or "normal"; semi-hollow, hollow, or solid; maple bolt-on neck vs glued-in maple vs glued-in hog; blah blah blah. And even then, I don't say to myself, "yep, this Akerfeldt sure sounds like an SE and the Core CU24 sure sounds like a vintage core model, I can tell from the pickups and the cheap ebony used on the Akerfeldt!". I just tend to say "hey, that tone sounds good, let's rock!" no matter what guitar.

I guess I'm just not discerning enough...
 

NostraHistoria

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Someone from PRS answered my question. He said, "Our SE nuts use a lubricated material based on the nuts used on our core U.S guitars."

I ordered the graphite tusq nut. I will try to install it myself.
 

drdoom8793

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This thread is nuts.

I'm not quite ready to throw the BS flag, but I have it half way out of my pocket.
I'll happily pull it the rest of the way out. There's not a thing wrong with the material that SE nuts are made of. As long as they're cut right for the string gauge you're using, you won't have a problem with the stock nut on an SE. "Plastic tones" my @$$..
 

xjbebop

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I agree as far as not having a problem with the material, although it does feel a bit soft when working it. My complaint is the universally sticky string slots and sharp corners & edges....
 

Watersilk

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Someone from PRS answered my question. He said, "Our SE nuts use a lubricated material based on the nuts used on our core U.S guitars."

I ordered the graphite tusq nut. I will try to install it myself.

I like my nuts lubricated with a good quality cream containing lanolin...... oh, wrong forum....

Guitars.... think guitars....

I'm feeling a bit inadequate because I couldn't hear any plastic kind of sound from my SE, however, the original nut did feel a bit soft and well, like a cheap piece of plastic. I ordered a PRS USA nut (as you would expect with... erm nuts, they come in pairs) Once the original nut was off the guitar I was able to compare it to the USA one. I did the drop test, the SE nut sounded a bit like... plastic, and the USA one had a distinct ring. I changed the bridge and the nut together.... my luthier lives a long way from me, about 6 thousand miles.... so it was more economical to do both at the same time (the price of the air tickets, arguing with the ground staff to let me take my guitar in the cabin...) Strumming the guitar, open strings, unplugged, it is much louder than it was.... handy if there is a power cut.... and this is where it gets a bit nerdy, if I put my ear to the nut (don't try this at home) I can hear it working.... the sound from the bridge of course much louder. So, in my opinion, the USA nut is more resonant, better at transferring vibrations, and vibrations are why we are all here.... I mean on this forum..... not the other one... well perhaps the other one too.....

There is most probably no real valid reason to go to these lengths, as someone said, the SE's are incredibly good guitars as they are, including the original nut. However, having said that, a guitar is the sum of 'all' it's parts, and only as good as it's weakest link!

Incidentally, my luthier was intrigued by the PRS USA nut, it has little sparkly bits in it..... I wonder what that is made from, does anyone know?
 
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Mikegarveyblues

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Look, all these nuts are made of 'plastic'. But it's what's impregnated into them and/or the formulation that makes a difference.

The SE nuts are made of a Delrin / Ryton formulation (AFAIK). Not sure what the U.S. Nuts formula is but I suspect some kind of graphite and / or Teflon impregnation.

Graphtech do Tusq and Tusq XL. It was the XL that I put in my SE C24. That is impregnated with PTFE, otherwise known as Teflon by DuPont.

The U.S. Nuts are likely similar in nature. But with PRS's formula.

I own a series of nuts. Got a Tusq, Tusq XL, the nuts from my SE's, Strat (Corian) and some real cheap nasty ones from cheap nasty guitars. I can tell you the SE nuts sound very similar to the Tusq ones when dropped onto a hard surface. The cheap, nasty ones sound as you'd expect.

The nut off my now gone SE C24 sounds slightly closer to the Tusq nut than the nut off my Bernie.

The nut is vitally important to playability and to a certain degree tone (when playing open strings) but I have a hard job believing you can tell the quality of the nut just by picking up and playing different guitars. I call BS on that. Indeed, as a I stated, the SE nuts sound like the Tusq nuts more than the cheap plastic ones I have. They needed to be off the guitar to tell that!
 

dogrocketp

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My luthier, Philtone Music, believes the nut is the single most important part that needs to be precise. He did work for PRS when he first returned to Maryland and drank the kool aid on a daily basis. He believes the little bits in them is brass powder of some kind. I personally think it`s dust from the wings of a 2,000 year old bat. Regardless, 5 SE`s and one core later, all the nuts have been changed. nd they all kick.
 

dogrocketp

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]My luthier, Philtone Music, believes the nut is the single most important part that needs to be precise. He did work for PRS when he first returned to Maryland and drank the kool aid on a daily basis. He believes the little bits in them is brass powder of some kind. I personally think it`s dust from the wings of a 2,000 year old bat. Regardless, 5 SE`s and one core later, all the nuts have been changed. and they all kick.
 

NostraHistoria

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I installed the TUSQ nut. It is a lot clearer and nicer sounding. I made a video comparison. It sounds better even up and down the fretboard.

 
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Rockula

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I put a TUSQ XL nut on my SE Santana, mostly because of tuning stability issues. I did the drop test with both the original and the new one, and took video of that with my phone. The TUSQ nut was very obviously "ringier," but it's hard to say how much that influences the amplified tone. The original one is pretty much hollow on the inside.

It was not a difficult project. Just needed a couple different grades of sandpaper, some feeler gauges, and patience. Completely eliminated the tuning stability issues. In fact, it's now the most stable trem guitar I've ever played. And that's saying something.
 
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