Larrivee Guitar Forum

Main Forums => Technical Discussion => Topic started by: oldblackdogs on December 24, 2016, 02:45:24 PM



Title: switching between light and medium strings
Post by: oldblackdogs on December 24, 2016, 02:45:24 PM
I need some opinions from the luthiers and experienced players here.

My preference for string gauges is subject to changing from time to time.  Does anyone have strong opinions on the following:

Is it better to set your nut up for medium gauge, and sometimes switch over to light strings, or vice-versa?

Advantages and drawbacks of either approach are... ?

Thanks everyone. 

Whatever it is you celebrate this time of year, have a happy one!


Title: Re: switching between light and medium strings
Post by: Barefoot Rob on December 24, 2016, 04:29:18 PM
Switching between them shouldn't have much of an effect as we're talking about a 100 thousand of an inch.A minor truss rod adjustment may be needed but not always.


Title: Re: switching between light and medium strings
Post by: oldblackdogs on December 25, 2016, 01:47:22 AM
Switching between them shouldn't have much of an effect as we're talking about a 100 thousand of an inch.A minor truss rod adjustment may be needed but not always.

Thanks.  I agree and actually never adjust the trussrod, as I don't really mind the small (but usually noticable) change in action.

What I was really thinking about, though, was how the strings sat in the nut.  My setup guy usually asks me what gauge strings I'm going to play.  Is it typical to cut a nut slot wide enough to accomodate different sizes, or are tolerances supposed to be set so tight such that the string might bind if I go to a heavier gauge?  I guess a similar question could be asked about the depth of the slots.

It's probably a trivial point.  I guess I'm just more curious than concerned.


Title: Re: switching between light and medium strings
Post by: Barefoot Rob on December 25, 2016, 04:41:10 AM
My nut file's aren't guaged they do allow for a wider slot then most use.My only concern is depth as long as you don't go too low.I like about a credit card distance between the top of the first fret and the bottom of the string.I've used the same set for 40 years now with no complaints.


Title: Re: switching between light and medium strings
Post by: jpmist on December 25, 2016, 03:31:38 PM
Is it typical to cut a nut slot wide enough to accomodate different sizes, or are tolerances supposed to be set so tight such that the string might bind if I go to a heavier gauge?  I guess a similar question could be asked about the depth of the slots.

My favorite site on guitar stuff. He shows some interesting pictures of good and oh-my-god bad nuts and explains the difference:  http://www.frets.com/FretsPages/Musician/GenSetup/Nuts/nuts1.html

I think your luthier was just being thorough when he asked what gauges you use on the guitar. It's a good sign that he asked.

That said I would hope that his string slots aren't so precise that you couldn't go from light's to mediums, I doubt there's a technical reason for them to be that tight.

 :donut2 :coffee :donut


Title: Re: switching between light and medium strings
Post by: Barefoot Rob on December 25, 2016, 03:53:10 PM
You don't want your nut slots tight.


Title: Re: switching between light and medium strings
Post by: L07 Shooting Star on December 27, 2016, 05:01:42 AM
Like Rob says.

Have them filed to accommodate the fattest strings you envision using.  Then, going to a lighter gauge shouldn't be a problem unless the slots are so low that they are on the verge of buzzing on the first fret with the heavier strings.  If you file them to the thickness of the skinniest strings you plan to use, and you install fatter ones, they may bind at the nut which is not desirable at all.

I use gauged nut-slotting files, and I make the slots as wide or very slightly wider than the heaviest gauge the client plans to use.  Depending on the guitar, I file the slots so the bass E string sit about 20 to 22 thousands of an inch above the fist fret, and gradually reduce their height by about 2 thousands with each string going toward the treble side.  Eg. on a typical acoustic, my slots would be .022, .020, .018, .016, .014, .012 from the Bass E to the treble e.  These are approximate and you never get them exact.

Hope this helps.


Title: Re: switching between light and medium strings
Post by: Danny on December 27, 2016, 06:55:20 AM
 Make them round and wide enough for medium. They should only have half of the string (wound ) above the nut.  Then if you switch to lite strings it won't be a problem.  It takes some practice to make a good angled nut that only touches the string at the inner area of the slot.

    Just my way of saying what's been said already.


      If you don't understand  angled slot just ask.


Title: Re: switching between light and medium strings
Post by: L07 Shooting Star on December 28, 2016, 06:07:14 AM
Make them round and wide enough for medium. They should only have half of the string (wound ) above the nut.  Then if you switch to lite strings it won't be a problem.  It takes some practice to make a good angled nut that only touches the string at the inner area of the slot.

    Just my way of saying what's been said already.


      If you don't understand  angled slot just ask.

 :+1:  Yes, the highest point of the nut slot should be right at the front edge of the nut or the scale length will be wrong and the guitar won't intonate accurately.


Title: Re: switching between light and medium strings
Post by: oldblackdogs on December 31, 2016, 08:19:25 PM
Thanks everybody.  This is exactly the information I was looking for.  Happy new year to all!  :thumbsup