My Son, The Nut.....

January 22, 2020, 10:24 PM · The strings keep cutting further into my nut as time goes on- it's ebony I guess and that appears traditional?


Is bone any better for this? I see also rosewood available. Is this harder than ebony?

I'm sorry if this is rehash, but what are some thoughts on The Nut and material for it?

If you wonder about the title- it's because I'm working on Hungarian Goulosh - You probably know the tune as something else. My family got this record when I was 6 or 7- Alan Sherman's "My Son The Nut" so that's what its' always bean to me.

Replies (10)

January 22, 2020, 10:37 PM · Should not happen with ebony. It could be something dyed black and posing as ebony--they do that with rosewood on some fingerboards.
January 22, 2020, 10:46 PM · Echoing Scott, That shouldn't happen with ebony. I replaced the nut on my 100+ year old violin a few years ago. It had never been done before.
January 23, 2020, 12:15 AM · I third the comments above, either your strings are made of adamantium or the nut is not ebony, I'd say get it to a luthier and get a new full ebony kit, it's slightly expensive but worth it and will last a lifetime.
Edited: January 23, 2020, 2:01 AM · The nut and fingerboard are almost certainly a cheaper wood dyed to look like ebony, which is extremely common in factory violins under about $300. (All of OP's violins are under $200, IIRC, so getting a luthier to replace the nut and fingerboard may cost more than the value of the instrument.) Often the telltale sign is the underside of the fingerboard not being black, because they didn't bother to dye where most people don't look.

I had the nut replaced on my 1954 violin in 2004. The nut on my 1979 viola is original. No ebony nut should be wearing down like that on an instrument in its first 20-30 years.

January 23, 2020, 7:33 AM · Check to make sure the strings are frayed. They act like little saws when tuning if they are. Additionally, the nut can be lubricated with graphite on a regular basis.
Edited: January 23, 2020, 12:12 PM · Actual ebony upper nuts, properly shaped and lubricated, will typically go for at least several years of playing several hours per day, without needing any "professional luthier" attention.
January 24, 2020, 6:39 PM · Probably do it myself.
January 24, 2020, 7:56 PM · Well, is it an ebony board or not....?
January 24, 2020, 8:30 PM · I don't think a nut replacement is within the realm of kitchen-table violin repairs.
Edited: January 25, 2020, 12:06 PM · The fingerboard is rosewood with flower inlay from Vietnam I put on myself 3 or four years ago- THAT I don't recommend- it was hard to get the original off. I don't recall if I had the nut off then, but probably.

Otherwise I've replaced a good half dozen or more nuts on guitars.

My kitchen table is currently crowded with my steel clarsach harp and a bunch of car junk. But I did get the 91 Festiva started again yesterday after two years- faulty main relay that powers the fuel pump and injectors. Solution: $2 generic relay from ebay spliced in. Shirt sleeve weather but had to have a nap after. Probably clear off the table now. Usually do the violin stuff on the bed or the floor.

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