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Nut

Nut A small piece of bone or ivory (or these days some plastic substitute such as ivoroid which is similar to 'Mother of Toilet Seat' which is a substitute for mother of pearl inlay).

The nut sits in the position of Fret zero and is the first place the string makes contact after the bridge on a fretted instrument. Cheap Instruments do not have a nut and really do have a fret zero. It has small grooves or depressions filed into it for the strings to sit. Great care should be taken with the profile and depth of the notch to obtain a good sound without buzzing. The same advice pertains for the Bridge.