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dartvader

i have a strange question related to guitars... that i believe involves scienece :) (i think)

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...Except naming it "the nut", that makes no sense. The nut sounds like it should get tightened. String guide, prime fret, "the comb", these I could understand. The nut?!

 

I thought you might bring this up and it turns out it's derived from German. English is a mongrel language as this clearly illustrates. :)

 

From Wiki:

 

Etymology

 

The word may have come from the German Nut (pronounced "noot"), meaning groove or slot. (The nut, however, is called Sattel in German, which means saddle, whereas the part of a guitar known as saddle in English is called Stegeinlage in German.)

 

What English speakers call "the saddle" is the equivalent white part at the other end, which in the vast majority of cases is not slotted. It's nice and logical isn't it?! :)

 

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Edited by StringJunky

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guys, i just met a player from a band that uses chap stick too.

however i asked why and he laughed at me...

he said it was an old secret and that i shouldn't worry about it myself not being in a band.

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guys, i just met a player from a band that uses chap stick too.

however i asked why and he laughed at me...

he said it was an old secret and that i shouldn't worry about it myself not being in a band.

It's a piss-take used on naive guitarists in a band. A scenario might be;

 

Guitarist: " Hey Man, how do you get that sound?".

 

Secretive Guitarist : "Well, I put a bit of chapstick all over my strings"

 

It seems there are a number of concocted false tales told using chapstick.

 

The only practical use for it is to ease frictional surfaces in some part of the guitar or possibly rubbing it into your finger tips to reduce string squeak. It could also be used to soften callouses on your finger tips but bear in mind you'll potentially shorten the life of the strings for reasons I mentioned before if it's not absorbed fully first.. Might be a useful quick fix in a gigging situation where sore finger tips or sliding fingers squeaking the strings are problem that need addressing there and then.

Edited by StringJunky

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It's a piss-take used on naive guitarists in a band. A scenario might be;

 

Guitarist: " Hey Man, how do you get that sound?".

 

Secretive Guitarist : "Well, I put a bit of chapstick all over my strings"

 

It seems there are a number of concocted false tales told using chapstick.

 

The only practical use for it is to ease frictional surfaces in some part of the guitar or possibly rubbing it into your finger tips to reduce string squeak. It could also be used to soften callouses on your finger tips but bear in mind you'll potentially shorten the life of the strings for reasons I mentioned before if it's not absorbed fully first.. Might be a useful quick fix in a gigging situation where sore finger tips or sliding fingers squeaking the strings are problem that need addressing there and then.

the reason i find it useful is when i pluck the string (btw its a ibanez locking nut guitar) i feel like the chapstick acts as a heat obsorber of some kind cause i hit the string pretty hard and makes it go out of tune.. really does seem too help :)

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Playing steel string acoustic there are no whammy bars or the like to worry about, but here's what I do:

 

1) use soft lead pencil graphite in the grooves on both the nut and saddle: that really helps with tuning, and also with wear (that's where they break, nine times in ten). The abrasion wear affects not only lifespan, but tone and intonation.

 

2) stretch new strings when putting them on - not with the tuning pegs, but by pulling them up hard by hand after bringing them to pitch, and then bringing them to pitch again. A thorough stretch initially eliminates tuning problems from that cause later.

 

3) fill the wound strings' windings uniformly with soap, using a clean dry bar of unscented Ivory or some such "pure soap" brand. This is to imitate the good effects of the buildup of skin and oil and debris that is imho the main ingredient in the "breaking in" or "playing in" of new strings that most acoustic players have noticed is necessary (new strings are invariably wild and wrangly and noisy when first installed), while preventing the uneven buildup and chemical stew of that process accomplished through playing. (On my new guitar, received this year, I have been skipping that; the builder recommended coated strings for this instrument because it resonates squeaks and the soundholes are aimed at the player, for which soap would be ineffective, and I am trying them - so far, I think I'm going back to bronze wound and soap)

 

4) in the past immersed new strings in liquid nitrogen before installing - while straight, of course, not coiled, and not coated strings. The idea is to relax microscopic kinks in the metal structure left over from manufacture. This does seem to improve ring quality and intonation, a little, but is too much trouble for a guitar at my amateur level - the benefit was slight enough that it may have been from the nitrogen bath cleaning the strings, although I think otherwise.

 

5) oil the fretboard periodically - in the old days with linseed oil using a pad of triple aught steel wool to remove the gunk and polish the frets a bit, nowdays with some fancy stuff from the local guitar dealer and the steel wool. The fancy stuff works fine, and improves everything including intonation, but so did the linseed oil - when this bottle runs out, I'll go back.

 

6) find that waxing or oiling the last fret would be futile - the string almost never touches it. Is the OP referring to what I would call the first fret - in a guitar in which a fret serves as the nut serves in a standard acoustic? In that case the gain in slip would explain the benefit - heat absorption seems less likely, although surprisingly high temps seem to be generated in hard playing (I believe I burned a fingertip sliding on a wound string once - not a good move), because the string involved would be the least affected and quickest to shed heat on its own, and chapstick is not a good heat conductor or disperser.

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