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Author Topic: What to do about this Taylor string spacing?  (Read 1349 times)
rockstar_not
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« on: January 30, 2017, 12:57:24 AM »

I won the Taylor in my signature in 2015 in a drawing. I've had the Larry since 2000. On the Taylor, the high e is just so close to the edge of the fretboard I often slip it off the side unintentionally.

First two photos show my Larry and as I fret an open G chord, and then the Taylor in similar shots. Does that look right to you Taylor owners
Untitled by Lakes_of_Colorado, on Flickr
Untitled by Lakes_of_Colorado, on Flickr
Untitled by Lakes_of_Colorado, on Flickr
Untitled by Lakes_of_Colorado, on Flickr
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ducktrapper
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« Reply #1 on: January 30, 2017, 01:21:35 AM »

New nut?
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rockstar_not
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« Reply #2 on: January 30, 2017, 02:10:22 AM »

New nut?

I guess that is the solution.  It makes the guitar quite unsettling to play - I pull that high e off the side of the fretboard way too often.

And taking these close up shots reveals that I need some fretwork done on the Larry!
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ducktrapper
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« Reply #3 on: January 30, 2017, 02:17:21 AM »

I guess that is the solution.  It makes the guitar quite unsettling to play - I pull that high e off the side of the fretboard way too often.

And taking these close up shots reveals that I need some fretwork done on the Larry!

I had a 1965 Fender Jazzmaster that used to have the same problem. I actually learned to play in such a way that it didn't happen. That's probably not the best solution though.
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Mikeymac
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« Reply #4 on: January 30, 2017, 04:14:25 AM »

Another possible solution that I've used on an Ovation I have - I'm using a thicker E string that doesn't slip off the fingerboard so easily. Since I don't bend strings on acoustic that much, I'm following in unclrob's footsteps and using a 14 for the high E on some of my guitars. This also solves another issue - it provides a thicker tone - less plink and twang, more meat and fundamental.

If I'm using light gauges on my acoustics (most of the long scale ones these days) I'm still using a 17 and a 13 for the B and E strings - again, meatier tone.

 
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« Reply #5 on: January 30, 2017, 05:58:57 AM »

My Larrivee Parlor does the same,  likes to slide off at around the 3rd or 4th fret.

On the Taylor, you could replace the nut, or possibly just fill and reslot it.  Probably a TUSQ nut, so replacing would be easier.
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« Reply #6 on: January 30, 2017, 06:59:19 AM »

New nut?

Yes, that is the best solution.

From your pics of the Taylor, the string spacing between the B and the e string looks almost too wide compared to the other strings.  In a real professional setup, the skinnier strings are progressively and ever so slightly closer together than the fatter ones.  Going by your excellent pictures, I would say there is room to move that treble e inboard a little bit at the nut.  A little goes a long way.  You can do it as AZLiberty suggests, by refilling the existing slot and filing a new one.  This may upset the relationship with the other strings, however.  The alternative is to get a new nut or have one made.  You need to take some accurate measurements before you can decide.  In your last picture, there seems to be more than enough space between the Bass E and the edge of the neck while your treble e is very close to the edge.  These distances should be fairly even.  Is it possible the neck itself is slightly askew?  Even if it is, a new nut properly spaced can fix it.

All that said, have you checked to see if the nut is actually positioned correctly?  Maybe a teensy bump towards the bass side will fix everything.
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jpmist
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« Reply #7 on: January 30, 2017, 01:21:32 PM »

New nut?

That and see if the nut is loose enough to knock it sideways a millimeter or so. Not an elegant fix but you'll get a preview of what a new nut will fix.
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rockstar_not
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« Reply #8 on: January 31, 2017, 03:55:48 AM »

Yes, that is the best solution.

From your pics of the Taylor, the string spacing between the B and the e string looks almost too wide compared to the other strings.  In a real professional setup, the skinnier strings are progressively and ever so slightly closer together than the fatter ones.  Going by your excellent pictures, I would say there is room to move that treble e inboard a little bit at the nut.  A little goes a long way.  You can do it as AZLiberty suggests, by refilling the existing slot and filing a new one.  This may upset the relationship with the other strings, however.  The alternative is to get a new nut or have one made.  You need to take some accurate measurements before you can decide.  In your last picture, there seems to be more than enough space between the Bass E and the edge of the neck while your treble e is very close to the edge.  These distances should be fairly even.  Is it possible the neck itself is slightly askew?  Even if it is, a new nut properly spaced can fix it.

All that said, have you checked to see if the nut is actually positioned correctly?  Maybe a teensy bump towards the bass side will fix everything.

Am I to understand that the position BETWEEN outer diameters of adjacent strings should be the same, not the distance between the centers of adjacent strings?  If this is the case, then yes the center to center spacing would get smaller as you go from E to e.



OK, here's some photos of the Larry and Taylor.  Will a respected luthier be able to follow these directions:  Make the Taylor spacing like the Larry spacing?

I really like the plugged in sound of the Taylor; better plug-n-chug tone than my Larry into our PA system, though I think I've corrected that with some judicious EQ on my Zoom G5 for the Larry.

Untitled by Lakes_of_Colorado, on Flickr

Untitled by Lakes_of_Colorado, on Flickr

It does look to me like I could move the nut slightly to the bass side of things.  I'm not here to bag-on Taylor, but does this closeup shot of the Taylor look like they didn't cut or position the nut correctly?  I wonder if this might be why the guitar was being given away in a drawing, if that is the case.

What should I expect to pay to have a qualified person:

1. move it ever so slightly bass-ways?
2. Cut a new nut (I'm totally o.k. with Tusq or even black Graphtec nut).

There's a couple of shops and techs here in Colorado Springs that have good reputations, I just want to know what to expect to take care of this.





I have no skills with guitar tech except that I can set up electrics nicely for intonation.  I've never removed, moved, or replaced a nut, have no nut files, etc.
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« Reply #9 on: January 31, 2017, 04:29:21 AM »


OK, here's some photos of the Larry and Taylor.  Will a respected luthier be able to follow these directions:  Make the Taylor spacing like the Larry spacing?

It does look to me like I could move the nut slightly to the bass side of things.  I'm not here to bag-on Taylor, but does this closeup shot of the Taylor look like they didn't cut or position the nut correctly?



I can't imagine a pro guitar tech wouldn't be able to make a new nut for the Taylor with the exact string spacing as your Larrivee. If he couldn't I wouldn't go to him, it's not brain surgery. Take the Larrivee with you and nicely insist he copy it's spacing.

Hard to say how locked in the nut is, some are, some aren't. But it wouldn't take 2 minutes to loosen the strings and take a plastic screwdriver handle and give the side of the nut a few taps just to see. It'll either loosen or it won't.

From the Taylors I've had, the nuts were usually pre-made Tusq nuts, sorta one size fits all so I doubt there's anything evil in offering the guitar as a prize. The fret ends on your Taylor are beveled a lot more that your Larrivee so that may account for the E string slipping on you.

I've never priced it out in person, but quotes I've seen online might make it $40 or so. Done correctly it's well worth it considering the cost of nut and slot files and the learning curve in fitting the nut to the neck and cutting the slots the right depth.
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Mikeymac
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« Reply #10 on: January 31, 2017, 04:30:01 AM »


Untitled by Lakes_of_Colorado, on Flickr

It does look to me like I could move the nut slightly to the bass side of things.  I'm not here to bag-on Taylor, but does this closeup shot of the Taylor look like they didn't cut or position the nut correctly?  I wonder if this might be why the guitar was being given away in a drawing, if that is the case.


Based on that picture of the string spacing at the nut, I'd suggest replacing the nut and getting the string spacing right. There's not enough room on the bass E string side to tap the nut over; you'll have the same problem with the low E that you're currently having with the high E string.

Somehow this got past Taylor's QC dept. There's definitely not enough space outside that high E string. And with the beveling on the edge of Taylor's frets, it's gonna slip off, no matter how good your technique is.

A new bone nut installed/cut probably usually runs anywhere from $30-75. That's a wide range, but different tech's charge different rates. You can get a bone nut blank from someplace like Stew Mac for under $10. It's the labor that will cost you, and you want it done right - it would be a good idea to see a couple examples of the tech's work on other nuts.
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« Reply #11 on: January 31, 2017, 07:12:53 AM »

Am I to understand that the position BETWEEN outer diameters of adjacent strings should be the same, not the distance between the centers of adjacent strings?  If this is the case, then yes the center to center spacing would get smaller as you go from E to e.
What should I expect to pay to have a qualified person: .........................

.............1. move it ever so slightly bass-ways?
.............2. Cut a new nut (I'm totally o.k. with Tusq or even black Graphtec nut).


I didn't explain very well.  The distance between the centers of each string should be ever-so-slightly less as you progress from the Bass E to the treble e.  When making a new nut and cutting new slots in it, I put the shaped, unslotted nut on the guitar in it's final position, install the two outer strings and tighten them enough them to hold it there firmly.  Then I place those two E strings on the nut exactly where I want them to be (usually about 3/32" inboard) making sure the nut is still in the correct position.  I mark each side of those two strings with a very sharp pencil.  Then I remove the nut and make two more pencil marks that dissect the two marks already made on either side of the string.  This marks the center of those two strings and thus the center of their nut slots.  I then take a fine razor saw and make a slight cut directly on top of those last pencil marks and perpendicular to the front of the nut (important).  To get my proportional spacing for that particular E to e spacing, I use the StewMac string-spacing ruler which automatically indicates the correct progressive spacing for any given outer string spacing.  There are other ways to do it, but this is by far the easiest.  Using the spacing ruler, I pencil in the locations of the other 4 strings.  Then I nick the nut with the razor saw at those locations.  Finally, I file the slots with gauged nut slot files using the saw nicks as my starting point.

For making you a new nut from a bone blank, I would charge you about $45.00 (CAD).
Based on that picture of the string spacing at the nut, I'd suggest replacing the nut and getting the string spacing right. There's not enough room on the bass E string side to tap the nut over; you'll have the same problem with the low E that you're currently having with the high E string.

Somehow this got past Taylor's QC dept. There's definitely not enough space outside that high E string. And with the beveling on the edge of Taylor's frets, it's gonna slip off, no matter how good your technique is.

A new bone nut installed/cut probably usually runs anywhere from $30-75. That's a wide range, but different tech's charge different rates. You can get a bone nut blank from someplace like Stew Mac for under $10. It's the labor that will cost you, and you want it done right - it would be a good idea to see a couple examples of the tech's work on other nuts.

I agree 100%.  The total spread of the strings is too great for that nut width and there's no room to move the nut to the bass side, and the treble e is definitely too close the edge.  Like jpmist said, any competent tech should be able to make you a nut with the exact same spacing as your Larrivee.  All this assumes the neck width at the nut is the same on both guitars.  If they aren't, then the tech should be able to make a nut that is exactly correct for the Taylor's nut width.  If you get this work done by someone else, make sure the tech knows about and uses the progressive string spacing I mentioned.  It is a subtle but important feature of a perfectly crafted nut.
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« Reply #12 on: January 31, 2017, 04:31:05 PM »

Replace the nut on the Taylor recalibrating the string spacing.  If the frets are quite worn you may want to have a fret dressing done at the same time.
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« Reply #13 on: January 31, 2017, 05:16:18 PM »

Thanks everyone. This Taylor has maybe 10 hours of playing time on it total because of the slip of the e. It's a gorgeous guitar with very similar sound to my Larry but with cutaway access to the higher frets.

I am going to get a new nut cut now that I know what to expect to pay.

I thought it was just possibly bad technique on my part but feel somewhat relieved that others see my suspicion confirmed that the e will slip.

I will report back in here once the work is done
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« Reply #14 on: January 31, 2017, 08:13:00 PM »



I will report back in here once the work is done


I predict you will be a very happy camper! 
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« Reply #15 on: February 01, 2017, 01:34:28 AM »

When making a new nut and cutting new slots in it, I put the shaped, unslotted nut on the guitar in it's final position, install the two outer strings and tighten them enough them to hold it there firmly.  Then I place those two E strings on the nut exactly where I want them to be (usually about 3/32" inboard) making sure the nut is still in the correct position.  I mark each side of those two strings with a very sharp pencil.  Then I remove the nut and make two more pencil marks that dissect the two marks already made on either side of the string.  This marks the center of those two strings and thus the center of their nut slots.  I then take a fine razor saw and make a slight cut directly on top of those last pencil marks and perpendicular to the front of the nut (important).  To get my proportional spacing for that particular E to e spacing, I use the StewMac string-spacing ruler which automatically indicates the correct progressive spacing for any given outer string spacing.  There are other ways to do it, but this is by far the easiest.  Using the spacing ruler, I pencil in the locations of the other 4 strings.  Then I nick the nut with the razor saw at those locations.  Finally, I file the slots with gauged nut slot files using the saw nicks as my starting point.

Excellent! Saving that, thought that was worth repeating.

And not to beat the subject to death, if anyone is curious, here's a link to a handy progressively spaced ruler for you to print out at 72 dpi.

http://i.imgur.com/pHxU2af.jpg
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