Exploring Sailor Specialty Nibs - Music, Zoom, and Naginata Togi

The fountain pen is not a one-size-fits-all tool. There's a reason why brands make pens of all shapes, sizes, materials, and nib sizes. And, it's this - each one of us has unique needs for our handwriting.

While many pen manufacturers offer a paltry 2 or 3 nib sizes for their fountain pens, Sailor has 5 standard round nib sizes - EF, F, M-F, M, and B. In addition, Sailor produces specialty nibs that provide the writer with special abilities that you won't find anywhere else.

In this post, we explore these exquisite nibs, show you how they work, and explain how they can best fit your writing needs.

Before you dip into the nib comparison, take a quick moment to enter for a chance to win a Sailor 1911S "Pen of the Year - 2021" Sparkling Cranberry by using the Gleam giveaway form on this page. Deadline for entries is March 10th, 2021 at 11:59pm Eastern US Time.

Sailor's Medium Nib


To establish a basis for comparison, I inked up this Sailor Pro Gear Regular Kure Azur in medium point.

As you may have heard, the sizing of a Sailor Japanese medium is equivalent to the line width of a European fine point, which is to say it's on the thinner side. The ink flow is ample with a slight hint of pencil-like feedback that Sailor pens are known to have.

The medium point size is the second-largest of the standard, round nibs, laying down a line width of 0.45mm no matter how you hold the nib or which direction you are writing.

Sailor's Music Nib

Sailor's Music nib isn't the triple-tined "Music" nib that most pen enthusiasts equate with the term. Most writers don't even use a music nib to write music. Friends who write music tell me that a pencil is actually the preferred writing implement for composing music, not a fountain pen.

Anyways, the Sailor Music nib what most other brands would call a "stub nib." The nib's iridium tipping has a rectangular shape that's rounded on the corners.

You can find the Music nib option on most 1911S or Pro Gear Slim fountain pens in 14kt gold. The 21kt gold music nib is offered on most Sailor 1911L or Pro Gear Regular pens.

The Music nib provides line variation by virtue of its delicately-crafted shape. The thicker downstroke lays a 1.0mm line width writes with a wetness ideal for inks that shade and sheen like Sailor Grenade. The thinner horizontal line is a quarter of the thickness of a full downstroke.

Flipping the nib upside down for reverse writing, the Music nib provides a thinner, drier line at 0.65mm for the downstroke and 0.20mm for the horizontal.

The music nib can instantly add flair to everyday handwriting whether you write in cursive, italic, or print lettering. The rich downstroke will display inks beautifully on paper. The versatility of reverse writing allows a quick change of line weight without having to swap nibs or change pens.

Sailor's Zoom Nib

The Sailor Zoom nib varies in line thickness depending on the angle of the nib to paper. You can find this nib option on most Sailor 1911S or Pro Gear Slim pens in 14kt gold or on the Sailor 1911L or Pro Gear Regular in 21kt gold.

At a 90 degree angle of the nib to the writing surface, the Zoom nib writes a drier 0.45mm line. Lowering the nib angle more acutely results in a thicker, smoother line. At 70 degrees, it produces a 0.65mm line, and at 45 degrees, it writes a 0.75mm line. Flip the nib upside down for whispy, dry reverse writing.

Unlike the Music nib, the Zoom does not provide any line variation, no matter how you angle the nib.

Sailor's Naginata Togi Nib

Available for the first time at Goldspot Pens, we introduce you to the 1911 large in a special Naginata Togi nib. This nib is only available in 21kt gold with a natural yellow gold finish or rhodium finish. The unique shape is handcrafted to perform with exact precision.

For our pen friends familiar with the "architect grind," the Naginata Togi creates a similar line. It's the opposite of a stub nib in that the horizontal strokes it produces are proportionally thicker than the vertical lines.

The Naginata Togi also draws similarities to the Zoom nib we showed you earlier. At a perpendicular angle to the page, the nib lays down a thin line with significant feedback. The more acutely you hold the nib to the paper surface, the wider the line weight becomes. Starting at 90 degrees, the vertical stroke measures 0.25mm in width. At 70 degrees - 0.35mm. At 45 degrees - 0.5mm. The broader, horizontal stroke also gets thicker, starting at a 0.3mm line at 90 degrees and expanding to a wet 0.65mm line at 45 degrees.

Nib Angle Vertical Stroke Horizontal Stroke

90˚

0.25mm

0.30mm

70˚

0.35mm

0.45mm

60˚

0.38mm

0.55mm

45˚

0.50mm

0.65mm

Naginata Togi's Varying Line Widths

I recorded the various line widths and nib angles using a digital caliper and protractor - for science! Here is a chart to show the line width capability of the Naginata Togi (medium nib) using Rhodia 80gsm paper and Sailor Manyo Ume ink.

The nib's sweet spot, where the feedback is the least and the ink flow is the smoothest, is between about 65 degrees and 45 degrees.

What's it used for?

The Naginata Togi excels at providing the Japanese or Chinese writer with a nib that can accentuate characters in their respective languages.

For English writers, this line variation gives your writing a unique flair just like a stub nib. If you print, it will make your writing appear like comic book lettering. The ability to change your line width by altering the nib angle can be useful for writing notes in your planner or bullet journal.

Exploring Sailor Specialty Nibs - Music, Zoom, and Naginata Togi

Now, we know there are plenty of other Sailor bespoke nibs like the Cross Point, Sai-bi Togi, Nagahara King Eagle, and King Cobra, etc. These nibs are almost as rare as unicorns and not regularly available with most Sailor pen retailers. Once Goldspot Pens is able to offer these nibs to our customers, we will produce a follow-up video with the most exotic of the exotic nibs.

For now, the Naginata-Togi is available at Goldspot Pens in a handsome, 1911 Large black with gold trim or black with silver trim. There are three grades to the Naginata-Togi: medium-fine, medium, and broad. For purposes of this demonstration, I wrote with the medium point. If you love the effect this nib has but want a finer line, go with the medium-fine. If you want a bolder line, go with the broad.

You can find the Music and Zoom nibs on most new designs like the Sailor 1911 Pen of the Year in Sparkling Cranberry. This North American exclusive design has a deep wine red resin with effervescent silver sparkles, matched with rhodium silver hardware. The cap band commemorates this new special edition with the words "Sailor 1911 Japan 2021."

Ultimately, no matter which nib you choose, you can expect a top-notch writing experience courtesy of Sailor's nib masters.