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Author Topic: Your advice on replacing guitar nut  (Read 2376 times)
lw216316
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« on: February 19, 2009, 03:29:52 PM »

Is this so easy even I could do it....or could it become a train wreck ?

My friend has an old, inexpensive nylon string guitar.
The nut has a piece missing that is causing the high E string not to work well.

Is this as simple as ordering a nut from stew-mac, taking out the old nut and replacing the broken one ?

What is involved, how risky is it ?

- thanks
Larry
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jeremy3220
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« Reply #1 on: February 19, 2009, 03:38:36 PM »

What's involved is... Fitting the nut into the slot just like you would the saddle; Determining the spacing and notching out the string slots; Making the cut for each slot at the appropriate depth and angle.

Obviously that isn't enough instruction to install your own nut but it gives you an idea. The nut is more difficult to install than a saddle however if you mess it up the only consequence should be having to start with a new nut blank. You also need to consider if it is worth your time and money. Nut files are expensive so it may make more sense just to have your repairperson install it.
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lw216316
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« Reply #2 on: February 19, 2009, 04:03:42 PM »

Thanks Jeremy...was hoping you might reply.

So,..is the nut held in place by friction or is glue used ...etc ?
Is removing or inserting just a matter of a mallot / hammer type of action done carefully ?

- Larry
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jeremy3220
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« Reply #3 on: February 19, 2009, 04:32:38 PM »

Generally the headplate and the end of the fretboard form a channel/slot that the nut sits in. This is enough to hold it in place. Many people place a couple dabs of super glue on the end of the fretboard just to hold it in during strings changes and such. There shouldn't be any need for a mallot to insert it because you don't want it to fit so tight you get tearout on the headplate when you try to remove it(don't ask how I know). To remove it you should just give it a little tap with a hammer.

Frets has a tutorial on how to replace a nut. http://frets.com/FRETSPages/Luthier/Technique/Setup/NewNut/newnut1.html
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lw216316
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« Reply #4 on: February 19, 2009, 04:49:14 PM »

thanks Jeremy........



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drathbun
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« Reply #5 on: February 19, 2009, 07:16:35 PM »

If you are using a pre-slotted nut and not a blank, there are two important considerations; 1) care in taking the old nut out, 2) lowering the action at the new nut correctly.

1. If the old nut has lacquer over it on the headstock side, you must break that seal before removing the nut or you'll take part of the headstock veneer with it. Score the line between the nut and the headstock veneer with an exacto knife or a razorblade first. Also score around the sides of the nut where the neck lacquer might have covered it as well or you'll risk taking chunks of that finish too. Then you can tap it with a hardwood block against the fingerboard side of the nut.

2. As long as the nut slot is clean and free from old glue and/or finish, you can slide the new nut in and string it up to pitch. The strings will hold it in. Then you need to check the action at the nut. I will certainly be too tall with a new nut. Press down on the low E string at the third fret and measure the distance between the first fret and the bottom of the string. It should just clear with a hair's width clearance. Tap on the top of the string at the first fret, you should hear the ping of the string hitting the top of the fret. Lower the nut by rubbing the bottom of it on some 150 grit sandpaper on a solid flat surface (I use a marble cutting board). Just a few strokes. Then put it back in the slot and return the strings to the slots. I just pull the strings from the slots and move them aside (slightly detuned).. this saves lots of time. Keep sanding it down little by little until you can just see a hair clearance at the first fret.

If the nut slots are correct for your string gauges, you shouldn't need to adjust them individually. If you need individual nut slot attention, you'll need nut files and that is a whole different ballgame.
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« Reply #6 on: February 19, 2009, 07:33:08 PM »

Replacing guitar nut? Hey! Don't give her any ideas! 
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lw216316
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« Reply #7 on: February 19, 2009, 07:36:19 PM »

thank you, drathbun for the additonal information.

I've decided not to take this on as a project.

My friend's guitar is an old factory yamaha classical...
probably a 60s or 70s model - just an 'average' guitar - nothing special and its showing its age.

A couple of months ago I replaced the tuners for him.
It was easy - ordered from stew-mac and dropped them in.

He is about 80 years old and going blind and has other physical problems (as well as being poor).
I was hoping the nut replacement would be as simple as the tuners and I could do it for him.

I see now that it is beyond my abilities and it would probably be cheaper to replace the guitar.
He has some sentimental attachment to the guitar so I'm not sure how this will play out.

- peace
Larry




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drathbun
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« Reply #8 on: February 20, 2009, 08:26:53 AM »

You could purchase a bone nut and take the instrument to a guitar tech and have it installed and setup. Shouldn't be too expensive!
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2016 Martin 000-28vs 12 fret

2014 Taylor 814ce

2014 Godin Multiac Classical

2012 Gibson "The Golden Age 1930's" SJ200

2012 Squier Vintage Modified 70's Jazz Bass

2010 Gretsch Electromatic G5122DC

2009 Taylor GA3-12e

2004 Fender American Deluxe Stratocaster

1981 Rickenbacker 320JG

1968 Yamaha FG150 Red La
lw216316
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« Reply #9 on: February 20, 2009, 01:10:35 PM »

Thanks,...
The professional who does the set up on my guitars is also a repairman.
I'll ask him for an estimate.
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PLAY SONG , LIVE LONG !

Larrivee OOO-60 - Lady Rose
Pavan TP-30 classical - nylon
Takamine 132s classical -nylon
former Larrivees  L-03R  SD-50
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