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View Full Version : pinned nut on Boat Paddle Ukuleles



strumsilly
01-05-2011, 03:53 AM
"The pinned nut makes possible string changes of different guages possible without buzzing, and enables smooth precise tuning."

Excuse my ignorance, what is a pinned nut?

Tor
01-05-2011, 04:11 AM
I haven't seen one in real life, but as I understand it the nut doesn't have grooves, instead there are 4 pins sticking up. The string pegs are angled in such a way that the string rests (is pressed) against a pin. When there are no grooves you don't have to worry about having the exact right width of the groove for the string diameter. With a traditional grooved nut the width of the groove should match the string, not too narrow (makes tuning difficult - the string would "stick" and jump), not too wide (creates buzzing). So if you want to use a different gauge you may have to change the nut. By using those "pinned nuts" you avoid all of those problems.

I'm not sure what happens if you try to bend the string in the direction away from the pin though.. maybe there's a detail to that which I'm not aware of.

All of the above is only what I could figure out without actually having held one of those ukes in my hand, so take it with a pinch of salt please.

Plainsong
01-05-2011, 11:27 AM
I held a tenor kyak model for a brief strum and liked the pin nut idea very much. That thing sustained and sustained and sustained... those Boat Paddles are pretty awesome.

EDW
01-05-2011, 01:36 PM
http://www.boatpaddleukuleles.com/images/necks_nut2.jpg

harpdog
01-05-2011, 04:47 PM
It works - it works great. Boat Paddle ukes are wonderful.

Nuprin
01-05-2011, 05:24 PM
It works - it works great. Boat Paddle ukes are wonderful.

Quoted for truth.

Tor
01-05-2011, 11:50 PM
I wonder though why I haven't seen any ukuleles with a zero fret. A zero fret would sort out all of those issues the pin nut fixes, plus that you could bend the string every which way too (and not only in one direction). But this latter point is maybe not much of an issue on ukulele, unlike guitar.
In any case I would love to have a zero-fretted ukulele. No problems with getting a sharp-edged nut (bad for nylgut strings) after having to file down the groove, for example.

The headstock on one of Harvey Leach' excellent guitars (notice the zero fret):
http://www.doreggie.com/leach_cart/includes/templates/theme273/images/Products/Cremona%20CU/cremona_cd_headstock_ss.jpg

On this page (Fylde guitars) there's a link to a 'why zero fret' explanation page: http://www.fyldeguitars.com/d_features.html

Uncle Leroy
01-05-2011, 11:57 PM
Flukes and Fleas have a zero fret.

Tor
01-06-2011, 12:30 AM
Thanks Uncle Leroy. I haven't yet had the opportunity to see any of those.

Gmoney
01-06-2011, 04:37 AM
I wonder though why I haven't seen any ukuleles with a zero fret. A zero fret would sort out all of those issues the pin nut fixes, plus that you could bend the string every which way too (and not only in one direction). But this latter point is maybe not much of an issue on ukulele, unlike guitar.

I've wondered the same thing - the old plastic fretboard Harmony's had a Zero fret as do the Fluke & Flea's - other than that post you linked above, I've not seen a builder sound off on the why or why not of the feature. That would be an interesting discussion. Though I also want more clarity around why the pinned nut isn't more popular as it does seem to conquer many of the inherent issues w/different gauge strings & nut slots.

Tor
01-06-2011, 04:55 AM
I remembered Harvey Leach (builds high-end guitars) mentioned why he use zero frets in a post on rmmga some years ago.. I managed to find a link to an archive: http://newsgroups.derkeiler.com/Archive/Rec/rec.music.makers.guitar.acoustic/2005-08/msg00378.html

Jnobianchi
01-06-2011, 07:07 AM
I never understood zero frets. Does the string ever even touch them? And if not, what's the point, exactly?

harpdog
01-06-2011, 07:16 AM
I never understood zero frets. Does the string ever even touch them? And if not, what's the point, exactly?

The string rests on the zero fret. 2 advantages:
-Open strings sound the same as fretted notes ( more noticeable on a steel string guitar)
-Action can be controlled to be much lower - witness how easy your guitar (probably) frets when it's capo'd.


Thanks Uncle Leroy. I haven't yet had the opportunity to see any of those.

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_3K1w9KtJMv8/TK70T8p2eMI/AAAAAAAAAQ8/kd6kj3oSepQ/s320/DSC_5600.JPGhttp://www.elderly.com/vintage/items/images/180U/180U-1239_headstock-front.jpg

Ingrate
01-07-2011, 07:17 AM
-Action can be controlled to be much lower - witness how easy your guitar (probably) frets when it's capo'd.

If this is so on your no-zero-fret instrument, you need to file the nut slots deeper (if you're unhappy with the current setup). There's no reason the action cannot be just as low as that of an instrument with a zero fret.

harpdog
01-07-2011, 08:29 AM
If this is so on your no-zero-fret instrument, you need to file the nut slots deeper (if you're unhappy with the current setup). There's no reason the action cannot be just as low as that of an instrument with a zero fret.

Yep, you are correct. Let me amend the statement to say it is easier get low action in the manufacturing process with a zero fret.