Part 4: Cracking Thor’s Nut
OK, So… Your frets are metal. Your tuning machines are metal. Your bridge is metal. And your nut is… eh… plastic? Bone? Or some kind of synthetic material resembling bone?
The nut we use for Thor is made of laser-cut stainless steel, buffed to perfection. It matches the sonic and mechanical properties of Thor’s stainless-steel frets.
We start as usual with a CAD design.
Trivia: Did you know that nut notches are not equally spaced? Interestingly, when the strings are equally spaced, they do not feel equally spaced. The thicker bass strings appear to be crammed together. We take that into account. Here’s our CAD design:
We send the design over for laser-cutting. We use type 316 stainless steel:
We fine-shape the nut and incorporate a slight downward slope into the slots. Before buffing, we sand the nut with progressively finer grit sand paper.
Trivia: These nuts were created ten years ago while working on the Alpha prototype. Along with it, there are some blunders, such as these laser-cutting failures:
Hi Joel, I always look forward to your exciting posts.
I will introduce technologies that may fit the Thor’s concept.
There are two.
Fujigen – Circle Fretting System (C.F.S) : The nut and frets are concentric and curved relative to the radial strings, and the pitches of the different strings are aligned by intersecting at right angles to the frets.
These should contribute to improved tuning, resonance, and (in a broad) balance.
Check it out if you’re interested. I hope I can help you a little. Please keep up the great work! Thank you.
Those are amazing ideas, T. Morimura. Thank you for sharing!
Thank you for the reply, Joel.
Actually, there is another one. It is an “optical guitar pickup” that Kickstarter and YouTube are each developing. I find it very cool to imagine them being mounted in a that blank position on the Thor (I’d be glad if you agreed).
I wasn’t sure if I should tell you these things, but I couldn’t resist the urge to share them as one of your ardent fans. Please forgive me if I’m rude. Your posts is my pleasure. Thanks so much.
P.S. Another good pickup to mount in the blank position may be the “Splitz Sound Inc. Biax True Stereo Pickups” (a great legacy).
With all due respect to the Thor project and our predecessors.
I already have multichannel pickups (the Nu Multi). I don’t think I have a need for stereo pickups because multichannel pickups can also be mixed to stereo.
I’ve experimented with optical guitar pickups before. In my experience, the problem with optical is excessive hiss at high gains due to the sensors and the fact that it senses reflectivity and position instead of magnetic mass and velocity. Magnetic pickups on the other hand detects velocity which favors higher frequencies and balances out because the thicker strings have higher output. Optical should be OK for non high-gain applications where hiss is not an issue.
Certainly, optical pickups are used more on electric-acoustic guitars and basses than on electric guitars.
SSI’s Biax H series has a unique feature not found in the Nu multi in that it distinguishes the up and down of the picking and outputs it in stereo, but it was not a good proposition because there is already a circuit under the blank position.
Either way, the Nu Multi is the best multichannel pickup ever.
Wow! That is interesting! How did it do that?
Here is the patent information. SSI Biax H series picks up sound with two pole pieces for one string.
By the way, it seems that it was installed on a guitar owned by Steve Vai 😉