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eded
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« on: November 30, 2017, 05:14:47 PM »

I didn't know whether this should go here or in the Other Makers forum, but...


I have a neighbor who plays.  Whenever he gets a new guitar, I end up with it for a few days for a setup.  I don't mind at all...  in fact it keeps me on my game (and makes me remember where my setup tools are), lol!  A week ago or so, he came home with a new (still had plastic on the pickups and thin polywhatever under the bridge) Ibanez hollow body electric.  It played and sounded ok other than some minor string binding.  I gave it a once over glance (while he poured a shot of bourbon for me (well, maybe 2)).  I didn't go too deep into looking at it because I knew I'd have it before long.

He brought it over last night for me to look at...  it needed the usual, nut slot tweaks, (very minor) relief adjustment, and the D string intonation was off.  I started in and when I loosened the strings, I found the nut slots were V shaped on the headstock side!  They were round on the fretboard side.  I always liked Ibanez electrics.  Even the low end models were decent made guitars.  None I have ever fooled with have had V shaped nut slots.  It was a real shock.  I know the shop where he got it, a local MusicGoRound where the guys are at least competent...  they would not have done this.  The only thing I can figure is that it came from the factory this way. 

A few swipes with my nut files, and a swipe in each slot with a chisel shaped pencil lead, and the binding was taken care of.  A 3/16 turn of the truss rod, and a tweak of the D saddle and the thing plays pretty nice.  I'm still bugged by those nut slots, though.

Ed
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George
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« Reply #1 on: November 30, 2017, 06:01:15 PM »

Ed, during my recent quest to learn about nut slotting, I ran across a Bourgeois nut that had some extreme V shapes and side angles, but was perfectly formed, polished and sounded excellent with no issues.  So I contact Dana Bourgeois to praise his work and find out how and why they do it this way.  Below is his response to my email...  maybe you will find it useful...

========================================================

Hi George,

Thank you for your very kind letter, and thank you for your appreciation of our guitars.

We are proud of the quality of our bone nuts, which are individually made by hand, usually by Mike Onofrio, our setup and repair specialist.

Precut bone slabs are quickly roughed out to achieve a tight fit in the nut opening. The string slots are cut on a jig using a thin handsaw. These cuts are for location only, and the cuts are not quite to final depth. The top of the nut is then rounded and sanded, then the entire nut is polished on a small buffing wheel.
The slots are widened with a small triangular file and deepened to nearly final depth by cutting until the file makes contact with a plastic shim placed in front of the nut. The guitar is then strung, the truss rod and saddle are adjusted, and the nut slots are individually lowered to predetermined heights using a Stewart MacDonald string height gauge. The nut is removed during fret dressing and polishing then permanently glued in place.
The polished nut is glued into place using one drop of thick superglue.

There you have it. The whole process takes about 20 minutes. V-shaped nut slots made by a triangular file allow for the use of different string gauges and also prevent strings from pinching against the side of the nut slot, which can inhibit free vibration of the string. This is a feature of early Gibson mandolins that I have always liked and I have used it for years on my guitars.

Thanks again for your appreciation of our guitars.

Dana
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George
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« Reply #2 on: November 30, 2017, 10:03:06 PM »

Ed, during my recent quest to learn about nut slotting, I ran across a Bourgeois nut that had some extreme V shapes and side angles, but was perfectly formed, polished and sounded excellent with no issues.  So I contact Dana Bourgeois to praise his work and find out how and why they do it this way.  Below is his response to my email...  maybe you will find it useful...

========================================================

Hi George,

Thank you for your very kind letter, and thank you for your appreciation of our guitars.

We are proud of the quality of our bone nuts, which are individually made by hand, usually by Mike Onofrio, our setup and repair specialist.

Precut bone slabs are quickly roughed out to achieve a tight fit in the nut opening. The string slots are cut on a jig using a thin handsaw. These cuts are for location only, and the cuts are not quite to final depth. The top of the nut is then rounded and sanded, then the entire nut is polished on a small buffing wheel.
The slots are widened with a small triangular file and deepened to nearly final depth by cutting until the file makes contact with a plastic shim placed in front of the nut. The guitar is then strung, the truss rod and saddle are adjusted, and the nut slots are individually lowered to predetermined heights using a Stewart MacDonald string height gauge. The nut is removed during fret dressing and polishing then permanently glued in place.
The polished nut is glued into place using one drop of thick superglue.

There you have it. The whole process takes about 20 minutes. V-shaped nut slots made by a triangular file allow for the use of different string gauges and also prevent strings from pinching against the side of the nut slot, which can inhibit free vibration of the string. This is a feature of early Gibson mandolins that I have always liked and I have used it for years on my guitars.

Thanks again for your appreciation of our guitars.

Dana


Interesting...  thanks George. 

I've never had good results with V shaped slots...  additional binding if anything.  And the binding (and related "ping" when tuning) went away when I rounded the slot bottoms.  It'd be silly to question someone like Bourgeois, though.

Ed
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George
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« Reply #3 on: November 30, 2017, 10:22:02 PM »

Everything I have read about shaping the slots like a Bell go right along with what Bourgeois is doing.  The slots are not just a V, the backs are Belled on the sides too.  I am going to try to duplicate this on a Gibson Custom I am having serious nut problems with that I cannot get to go away by using repair techniques I learned...  I am also going to try one of the Zero fret units...
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George
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