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Author Topic: Pre-slotted nuts, your recommendations  (Read 1966 times)
rockstar_not
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« on: May 01, 2017, 04:31:27 PM »

1.  I do not have nut slot cutting saws and I do not intend to buy any
2.  I want to replace the nut on the Taylor 414 in my signature, the high e slot is currently cut way too close to the edge of the fretboard and I slip the high e string off the sides of the frets way too easily.
3. Considering DIY with a pre slotted nut from Stew Mac. It looks like the only offering they have that is pre made for Taylor guitars is one that incorporates a zero fret.  I'm not opposed to using a zero fret as that concept has always intrigued me.

An alternative is for me to order some one blanks and figure out if I can CNC cut them on a ShopBot CNC machine with a very fine ball end mill. I just don't know if I have the patience for that!
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« Reply #1 on: May 01, 2017, 05:38:32 PM »

You can order a replacement nut from Taylor... 

https://www.taylorguitars.com/taylorware/category/for-your-guitar/parts/nuts

I just did a google search for pre-slotted nut, and came up with a bunch of places.  I'm sure that you could get someone like Bob Colosi to make one for you and have them move the slots to your specs.

Ed
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jpmist
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« Reply #2 on: May 01, 2017, 05:45:01 PM »

I've used Graphtech on my two Strats and they worked fine with no adjustment. I once made my own bone nut for my OO-05 so I sympathize with you not wanting to get into all that. My guess is that Taylor is uses the Graphtech Tusq on their acoustics.

http://www.graphtech.com/products/brands/tusq

Just thinking out loud here, so . . .

But it might not work cause your slots probably wasn't mis-cut, the slots are actually preshaped into the plastic - you're likely to get the exact same spacing you have now with a newer one. The fault for your string sliding is actually due to the fret - Taylor tapers the fret ends a lot more than Larrivee does theirs. At least that's how my Taylor 322 looks versus the Larrivee's

A fix might be to order a slightly longer nut and place the high E slot where you want it and file the excess end down with some sandpaper. You could do the same fix with the nut you have, just tap it over a bit.

I sympathize with your preference to not buy tools, it's a lot cheaper just to have a tech make a custom one, which is ultimately my recommendation. Good luck with it!
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rockstar_not
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« Reply #3 on: May 01, 2017, 06:23:32 PM »

I have some photos posted in a prior thread which shows the slot on the taylor much closer to the edge than the Larry. I need to just measure it. I have an email into Graphtech right now on the topic.
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rockstar_not
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« Reply #4 on: May 02, 2017, 02:38:36 AM »

Here are the measurements from the two guitars:

Larry:
Nut width: 1.69"
Thickness: .185"
String Spacing: 1.45"
Height: 0.3"
Distance of high e to edge of nut: 0.115"

Taylor:
Nut Width: 1.75"
Thickness: 0.2"
String Spacing: 1.5"
Height: 0.3"
Distance of high e to edge of nut: 0.08"  <-- that is the problem right there.  If you do the math, and this is confirmed by measurement, that the center of the high e string slot to the edge, at 0.08", is considerably closer to the edge of the nut than: 1.75"-1.5"spacing - 0.08" = 0.17" for the low E string center to the other edge of the nut.  I'm wondering if I just simply removed the nut and nudged it ever so slightly towards the low E side of the fretboard and re-glued it if my problems would be solved?

Anyone else have a 1.75" width nut on a Taylor and a set of digital calipers to measure theirs?

The
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B0WIE
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« Reply #5 on: May 02, 2017, 06:24:07 AM »

Just my opinion, with all the effort you put just into researching this thus far, you probably should have just had a tech do it or bought the nut filles and done it yourself. They have high resale value on eBay.   
I've found very few guitars where I thought the factory nut slots were ideal so even a factory pre-slot is unlikely going to be great.
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« Reply #6 on: May 02, 2017, 01:03:40 PM »

Just my opinion, with all the effort you put just into researching this thus far, you probably should have just had a tech do it or bought the nut filles and done it yourself. They have high resale value on eBay.   
I've found very few guitars where I thought the factory nut slots were ideal so even a factory pre-slot is unlikely going to be great.

You are probably right.  My experiences of "having a tech do it" on my guitars don't exist. I have never had to have anything of the sort done on my L-03. The only post purchase work done on my Larry was me putting in a K+K mini pure western pickup and truss rod adjustments. Other than that, nothing.

 Part of my research and data collection is to document what I don't like about the Taylor so that when and if I have a tech do something, what results makes it a more playable guitar. It's only my third acoustic guitar I've ever owned in a 50 year lifetime. Never had a playability issue with the other two, so I move cautiously here.

The string spacing on the pre slotted zero glide nuts cut specifically for Taylor guitars is 1/10" more narrow at 1.4" E to e, so I might do that first as a trial before having a tech cut a nut.
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« Reply #7 on: May 03, 2017, 12:02:03 AM »

I don't have a caliper, but I do have a Stew-Mac ruler so I thought I'd offer some photos of my Larrivee OO-05 and my Taylor 322 for the OP to compare. One thing the pic shows is that the  tapering is more aggressive on the Taylor, but there is actually more fret length under the E string with the Taylor than the Larrivee, so I was wrong about that.

Below is the Taylor at the first fret looking down from the headstock. The ruler is resting on the side of the string and there's 7/64" to the edge of the fretboard and a tad more than 4/64" worth of fret before it tapers off.



The Larrivee has 6/32" to the edge of the fretboard and slightly less thatn 4/64" worth of fret before the fret tapers.
The width of both necks at the first fret are identical so the string spacing of the Larrivee is a tad wider.



Seeing a guitar tech for a fix can be easier said than done. My experiences with the 4 I've used was mixed at best. The first simply miscut the nut and the string spacing was very tight on the treble strings, the second one I suspect split the back of a Taylor 412 I took for a minor warranty repair when I declined the partial refret he offered. The third overcharged me for the partial refret and made me feel like the money wasn't worth spending on my mesely Taylor 412 along with the Collins and high end Martins in the shop. The 4th halariously came down with a severe case of "low-talker" - I honestly couldn't make out half of what he said at 4 feet. Maybe it's me, I dunno . . .

I think knocking your existing Taylor nut over to give your E string more fret space would be a good test of concept to see if a new nut would work. I've done the reverse of that to a 1 13/16" neck to make it play like a 1 3/4" and after a while I don't notice the gap. Good luck, hope it's not a defective Taylor, keep us posted!
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rockstar_not
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« Reply #8 on: May 03, 2017, 04:48:57 PM »

Jpmist thank you for confirming to me that the high e on my Taylor is way to close to the edge of the fretboard. I think what I have is a defective nut from Taylor. I have an email back from graphtec that suggests I try a nut designed for Gibson acoustics with a 1.4" string spacing, not unlike my Larry nut. I am probably going to order that from them.
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« Reply #9 on: May 03, 2017, 09:59:44 PM »


I have never regretted buying a Japanese saw file ($35). It is so precise, with a razor like edge on a file. I also have a nut file set that was real inexpensive. It came with a string spacing ruler. It was shipped from China and took a long time to get here, plus the six nut file surfaces aren't of the highest quality. But I use the Japanese saw file to start all the slots, then use the sweet middle of the nut files.
     It really works well for me and all I need to do is buy blank bone nuts and saddles.
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« Reply #10 on: May 04, 2017, 02:31:29 AM »

For what it's worth, here is a photo of the Taylor
Untitled by Lakes_of_Colorado, on Flickr

and here is the Larry:
Untitled by Lakes_of_Colorado, on Flickr

Perhaps that makes it more clear why I'm having difficulty playing the Taylor without slipping the high e off the fretboard.  You have to be VERY precise, no vibrato, etc.  Or else, ptwang and it's off the side of the fretboard.
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« Reply #11 on: May 04, 2017, 02:40:59 AM »

Yikes, see what you mean! No room for error there at all.

I'm kind of shocked, since most Taylors I've seen are built to extremely close tolerances. But the the nut is probably fitted by hand and that must have been a Monday morning after a long holiday weekend job. Guy just placed it too far to the right. If memory serves you're out of warranty? But for sure if you knock that nut sideways about 1/16 it'll be playable again. That is if you can get the nut loose, sometimes they don't budge.
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« Reply #12 on: May 04, 2017, 03:26:56 AM »

I always have trouble with angles in photos, but that fret marker between the D and G string looks closer to the D string to me.  It *might* be worth holding a straightedge along each side of the neck to see if the neck is angled properly left/right.  It might just be someone adjusted the neck and didn't get the shims in just right.

Ed
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rockstar_not
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« Reply #13 on: May 04, 2017, 03:36:01 AM »

I tried moving the nut over tonight.  I moved it 1/64", which is about all the room I have before the low E will start to have the same issue.

It still is way too easy to slip the high e string off at like the 3rd fret; which I use ALL the time with the 320033 open G chord shape.

Now that I've actually messed with it some, I'm more comfortable ordering up the nut that the Graphtech guy recommended which is this one:

http://graphtech.com/products/product-detail/pq-6400-00-tusq-nut-slotted-gibson-acoustic

Slightly more narrow string spacing, pretty close to the Larry actually.  Just a bit taller which I will take care of with sandpaper.
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« Reply #14 on: May 04, 2017, 03:44:30 AM »

I always have trouble with angles in photos, but that fret marker between the D and G string looks closer to the D string to me.  It *might* be worth holding a straightedge along each side of the neck to see if the neck is angled properly left/right.  It might just be someone adjusted the neck and didn't get the shims in just right.

Ed

The angle of the photo and the issue of the iPhone not really having a macro function is problematic.  The potential for this guitar to be set up funny is also there.  I won this guitar in a drawing; provided by Guitar Center, but presented by a Taylor regional sales manager and Guitar Center.  It's a gorgeous guitar.  At first I didn't like the greenish bands in the Ovangkol, but in some lighting it is a striking appearance.

If I get really bold, I will go for this nut:  https://goldtonemusicgroup.com/zeroglide/products/zs-5

It's interesting to me that they use a 1 13/32 string spacing, when Taylor ships with 1 1/2.  That's a pretty significant difference. 
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« Reply #15 on: May 04, 2017, 12:37:37 PM »

Followed that Graphtech link and it looks good to me. I measure the Taylor E to E as 1 29/64" so pretty close. . .

Interesting that the site stated: Note: All Graph Tech nuts and saddles are slightly long and wide to ensure extra room to achieve a perfect fit for your guitar. This extra material can easily be removed with fine grit sandpaper.

It could be that Monday morning hungover Taylor guy just set the bass end flush and saved time by only sanding down the treble side - which put the nut off center. I imagine you could experiment with the nut in place before finishing down the ends to stop that E sliding off. 

One tip I saw online for nut slot files is to get a set of automotive feeler gauges with the same widths as your precut slots. With a diamond dremel disc you can cut teeth into the gauge you'll use for each slot. I wouldn't want to cut a blank nut with this, but it's great for a small adjustment if they need to be just a bit deeper. I tried the acetylene torch type files but they aren't sharp enough to be of much use.

The zeroglide looks interesting, I would imagine a brighter tone with the string coming off metal rather than bone, but I'd worry about it's spec for string gauges. I use custom lights and would worry about the strings being higher at the nut giving a different feel.   
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« Reply #16 on: May 04, 2017, 02:22:25 PM »


One tip I saw online for nut slot files is to get a set of automotive feeler gauges with the same widths as your precut slots. With a diamond dremel disc you can cut teeth into the gauge you'll use for each slot. I wouldn't want to cut a blank nut with this, but it's great for a small adjustment if they need to be just a bit deeper. I tried the acetylene torch type files but they aren't sharp enough to be of much use.


My files are a set of the feeler gauges I bought from someone on eBay.  They were relatively cheap.  Like you say, I wouldn't want to start from scratch (or run a shop with them), but they are great for tweaking. 

I had a set of the torch files which were good for polishing slots, but not much else.

Ed
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« Reply #17 on: May 05, 2017, 01:33:51 PM »

FWIW -

I bought some cheap nut files off Amazon,
they weren't any better than needle files you can buy anywhere.
Nuts are cheap, bone from Taylor, preshaped and unslotted, is only $18.  
Buy a couple, eyeball where you want the cuts using your old nut,
make the cuts with some cheap files and then finish them off to the actual string size
by pulling old strings back and forth in the cut.  
You might make a really good nut, or not.  
I've made a bunch with mixed results.
It's fun if you like that kind of thing and cost less than going out to dinner.

 bigrin
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jpmist
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« Reply #18 on: May 05, 2017, 03:38:57 PM »

Sorry to beat this thread to death, but just a personal PSA warning on bone dust.

It's not good to be inhaling this stuff as it can harm the lungs. I was shaping a nut with a cut-off wheel without a mask and I could feel extra fluid in my lungs for several months. . .
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« Reply #19 on: May 09, 2017, 03:08:39 AM »

I just ordered the model recommended by the Graphtech tech support - looks like it will be a decent fit, might have to take just a hair off the height. 
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