What is a music nib? That is a question I have wondered for years. I know generally what they are all about: A wider than normal nib suited well for writing musical scores. But how does it work, and most importantly, how will it work for me? Thanks to my friends at Goldspot Pens, I was able to get a Sailor 1911 Standard with Music Nib on loan to see what it is all about.
When you have a non-standard nib like a music nib, it becomes the singular reason you are buying the pen. The barrel feel and design are obviously important in the grand scheme, but they are secondary considerations to how the nib performs. As is the norm with all of Sailor's nibs, the music nib performed wonderfully.
From a design perspective, the majority of music nibs are designed with two slits and three tines. This is to allow for big ink flow, which is a staple of music nibs. Sailors music nib is more traditional in that it has a single slit and two tines, but the tip of the nib is designed in such a way as to keep that same big ink flow. That was clear once I started writing with it using Sailor's Shigure ink. There were no issues putting this beautiful purple ink down on the page.
As I learned while researching this nib, music nibs are designed to hit the page more vertically than standard nibs, and at approximately a 90 degree angle. Picture your normal fountain pen writing grip where the nib hits the page at around a 45 degree angle. Rotate the pen in your hand counterclockwise (if you are a righty) until the nib hits the page at a 90 degree angle. Then move the barrel into a more vertical position instead of laid back as you would normally. Now become Mozart!
Once I realized this, well after my handwritten review mind you, all I could think of is isn't this what an architect grind is supposed to accomplish, without all of the angle adjustments? Wide horizontal strokes, thinner vertical strokes. Seems like it would do the trick. The thing is, no one uses a music nib for its named use these days anyway.
What the modern age of music nibs brings to the table is a thick, luscious line, perfect for large, sweeping writing. Big block lettering, cursive flourishes, and fancy styling. That's what this music nib is good at. Think of it as a chisel tip marker in a fountain pen nib. Go big or go home.
As I worked my way through this review my early prediction came true. It really is all about the nib. Sailor's 1911 barrel is excellent in its own right, with black, rounded ends set off by strongly colored resin barrels. I'm not a gold furniture guy but it's hard to argue how sharp these pens look.
Your writing style and planned use is the determining factor in purchasing a pen with a music nib. I've seen some amazing work with nibs like the one found in this Sailor. It's not a daily writer for me, but if I want to put some ink down on the page this is the way to go.
My thanks to Goldspot Pens for loaning me this pen for review. It will be heading back to its rightful home later this week, and I wish it safe travels!