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Author Topic: Nut slotting techniques  (Read 835 times)
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« Reply #20 on: October 19, 2017, 05:57:41 AM »

Thanks Kurt, I use the same first fret height criteria that you do.  What do you polish the nut slots with?

Hi George.  Once I file the slots with nut-slotting files, I next smooth them with folded 3M wet/dry super fine paper starting at about 800 and going through the grits to 2500.  A few strokes with each grit is all it takes.  As my final step, I run a piece of cotton or nylon string through a block of polishing/honing compound to saturate it with compound.  Then I run the string back and forth in the slot to polish it to a very smooth state.  Works great for me.

Something I should have mentioned before is that you don't want the nut slots to be too deep in relation to the top of the nut.  Once you get all the string heights set, you should sand down the top of the nut so that there is only about half a string diameter sitting in the slot on the bass E and no more than a string diameter on the unwound strings.
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« Reply #21 on: October 19, 2017, 01:11:29 PM »

Hi George.  Once I file the slots with nut-slotting files, I next smooth them with folded 3M wet/dry super fine paper starting at about 800 and going through the grits to 2500.  A few strokes with each grit is all it takes.  As my final step, I run a piece of cotton or nylon string through a block of polishing/honing compound to saturate it with compound.  Then I run the string back and forth in the slot to polish it to a very smooth state.  Works great for me.

Something I should have mentioned before is that you don't want the nut slots to be too deep in relation to the top of the nut.  Once you get all the string heights set, you should sand down the top of the nut so that there is only about half a string diameter sitting in the slot on the bass E and no more than a string diameter on the unwound strings.

Thanks Kurt, I appreciate that advice.  I had read about taking down the top of the nut in articles, but as long as they are wider than the string going up above it, does it really make that much difference?
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« Reply #22 on: October 20, 2017, 05:13:39 AM »

Thanks Kurt, I appreciate that advice.  I had read about taking down the top of the nut in articles, but as long as they are wider than the string going up above it, does it really make that much difference?

My feeling is it might not matter if you made the slots wider than the string from immediately above it upwards till it meets the top of the nut.  But then again it might introduce some unwanted noises or buzzes from the string rattling around in the slot.  It is just as easy or easier to file down the entire nut top and polish it, than trying to finesse each slot just so it can be left deeper.  Then, any risk of introducing unwanted noise is minimized.  Plus less chance of the string binding where it changes angle at the back of the nut on its way to the tuner.  I suppose one could shape each (left deeper) slot perfectly to eliminate these problems, but why bother?

As one who does a lot of setups for paying customers, I think it looks better, and is more professional, if each string only projects above the slot the generally accepted amount.
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Became a Shooting Star when I got my 1st guitar.
Back in '66, I was 13 and that was my fix.
Still shooting for stardom after all this time.
If I never make it, I'll still be fine.


 
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« Reply #23 on: October 20, 2017, 12:41:56 PM »

My feeling is it might not matter if you made the slots wider than the string from immediately above it upwards till it meets the top of the nut.  But then again it might introduce some unwanted noises or buzzes from the string rattling around in the slot.  It is just as easy or easier to file down the entire nut top and polish it, than trying to finesse each slot just so it can be left deeper.  Then, any risk of introducing unwanted noise is minimized.  Plus less chance of the string binding where it changes angle at the back of the nut on its way to the tuner.  I suppose one could shape each (left deeper) slot perfectly to eliminate these problems, but why bother?

As one who does a lot of setups for paying customers, I think it looks better, and is more professional, if each string only projects above the slot the generally accepted amount.

Thanks Kurt, I value you opinion.
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George
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« Reply #24 on: October 20, 2017, 03:48:50 PM »

 Kurt is spot on, and he is very good at writing detailed instructions. I know these things, but to put them out there like Kurt is not a talent of mine.
It's the same reason I don't teach air conditioning at local colleges. Just not a classroom teacher.
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« Reply #25 on: October 20, 2017, 06:26:12 PM »

I totally agree Danny, Kurt's ability to explain things in writing is superb.  This thread has been very helpful for me and I have learned a great deal that I did not know.  Everyone has been very helpful and all of the articles and links added to the success of the thread.  When I find the time I plan on creating a synopsis of the most crucial things to look for and how to correct them.  Meanwhile, here is an article that I found on my own that maybe some others might find interesting as well....   http://www.lutherie.net/nuts.html
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« Reply #26 on: October 21, 2017, 01:30:22 AM »

George, this book covers many of the issues we face with acoustics and electrics. Dan Erlewine is a name you may know, one of the best guitar techs out there.
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« Reply #27 on: October 21, 2017, 04:40:22 AM »

And if you're going to be working on the nuts, saddles or wiring of your guitars on a regular basis, get one of these to help you see what you're doing...even if you wear glasses, these help you really dial in your work.

Also, the graphite is great for eliminating pings...but if you don't want that messy black stuff on your nut (!), use a piece of waxed dental floss, running it back and forth through the nut slots a few times before you string up.
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« Reply #28 on: October 21, 2017, 04:47:52 AM »

George, this book covers many of the issues we face with acoustics and electrics. Dan Erlewine is a name you may know, one of the best guitar techs out there.

That book is my go-to reference.  Most of my "skills" began with using Erlewine's instructions and techniques about10 years ago.
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"Badges?  We don't need no stinkin' badges."

Became a Shooting Star when I got my 1st guitar.
Back in '66, I was 13 and that was my fix.
Still shooting for stardom after all this time.
If I never make it, I'll still be fine.


 
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« Reply #29 on: October 21, 2017, 04:54:01 AM »

Kurt is spot on, and he is very good at writing detailed instructions. I know these things, but to put them out there like Kurt is not a talent of mine.
It's the same reason I don't teach air conditioning at local colleges. Just not a classroom teacher.

I totally agree Danny, Kurt's ability to explain things in writing is superb.  This thread has been very helpful for me and I have learned a great deal that I did not know.  Everyone has been very helpful and all of the articles and links added to the success of the thread.  When I find the time I plan on creating a synopsis of the most crucial things to look for and how to correct them.  Meanwhile, here is an article that I found on my own that maybe some others might find interesting as well....   http://www.lutherie.net/nuts.html


A shucks you guys.  Thanks for your compliments.  It gives me confidence and encouragement.  Much appreciated.

Now, where is the "swollen head" emoticon?
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"Badges?  We don't need no stinkin' badges."

Became a Shooting Star when I got my 1st guitar.
Back in '66, I was 13 and that was my fix.
Still shooting for stardom after all this time.
If I never make it, I'll still be fine.


 
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« Reply #30 on: October 21, 2017, 06:25:22 AM »

George, I just checked out your link.  Great article and the graphics really illustrate the principles well.  Thanks.
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"Badges?  We don't need no stinkin' badges."

Became a Shooting Star when I got my 1st guitar.
Back in '66, I was 13 and that was my fix.
Still shooting for stardom after all this time.
If I never make it, I'll still be fine.


 
George
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« Reply #31 on: October 23, 2017, 05:57:01 PM »

I kept reading about filling a nut slot that was too low with bone dust and superglue.  For the life of me I could not visualize how you could do it in a .011 nut slot.  Then, a light bulb went off in my old brain and I figured it was less complicated than I was imagining.  A tiny diamond file will automatically fill the slot with bone dust just by taking down a minute portion of the top of the nut, then just add a drop of super glue.  Voila!  You can't even tell I filed on the nut now and the high E string has been reslotted to the perfect height...  Live and learn...
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George
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« Reply #32 on: October 23, 2017, 07:51:24 PM »

I kept reading about filling a nut slot that was too low with bone dust and superglue.  For the life of me I could not visualize how you could do it in a .011 nut slot.  Then, a light bulb went off in my old brain and I figured it was less complicated than I was imagining.  A tiny diamond file will automatically fill the slot with bone dust just by taking down a minute portion of the top of the nut, then just add a drop of super glue.  Voila!  You can't even tell I filed on the nut now and the high E string has been reslotted to the perfect height...  Live and learn...

The hardest part of this (for me) was to learn to wait.  The first couple times I tried it, I figured...  it's superglue, it'll be ready in minutes.  Nope.

Ed
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George
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« Reply #33 on: October 23, 2017, 10:57:53 PM »

And if you're going to be working on the nuts, saddles or wiring of your guitars on a regular basis, get one of these to help you see what you're doing...even if you wear glasses, these help you really dial in your work.

Also, the graphite is great for eliminating pings...but if you don't want that messy black stuff on your nut (!), use a piece of waxed dental floss, running it back and forth through the nut slots a few times before you string up.

I found a pair of lighted reading glasses on Amazon that worked a lot better than my specs...  Thanks for the tips.
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George
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« Reply #34 on: October 23, 2017, 11:10:50 PM »

I found a pair of lighted reading glasses on Amazon that worked a lot better than my specs...  Thanks for the tips.
If you have time, can you post the Amazon link to those?
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