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  #1  
Old 01-04-2017, 03:24 AM
theoctavist theoctavist is offline
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Default A first for me, making a new nut from a blank! help?

ive got everything else sorted , shaping, etc..

but what i am unsure of is.. how to go about determining the correct slot positions ?? the guitar in question was stolen, and was recovered by police later sans nut-bridge(and tuners)- odd, i know.

so I dont have the old nut as a template. help? I play about 70/30 fingerstyle/flatpick, heavy gauge strings. (14-18-27-39-49-59)

thank yall so much!
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  #2  
Old 01-04-2017, 03:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theoctavist View Post
was recovered by police later sans nut-bridge(and tuners)
Welcome to the forum.

When you say "sans bridge", I assume you actually mean sans saddle?
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Old 01-04-2017, 03:38 AM
LSemmens LSemmens is offline
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make and model of guitar might give the experts a bit of help.
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Old 01-04-2017, 05:18 AM
Brucebubs Brucebubs is online now
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I have one of these kits I found on ebay.



http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Guitar-Ca...oAAOSwXeJXefZ2

The kit contains 3 double sided nut files.
-String winder with removable cup with electric screwdriver fitting.
-Light blue colored string height gauge.
-Small steel ruler with string spacing for various nut widths, you can see it quite clearly in the picture.

Now the nut files are VERY basic and you need to carefully read the string number stamped on the file - not the number on the colored plastic handle, they don't always match! - I found that out!
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Last edited by Brucebubs; 01-04-2017 at 05:24 AM.
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  #5  
Old 01-04-2017, 08:05 AM
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Ned Milburn Ned Milburn is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theoctavist View Post
ive got everything else sorted , shaping, etc..

but what i am unsure of is.. how to go about determining the correct slot positions ?? the guitar in question was stolen, and was recovered by police later sans nut-bridge(and tuners)- odd, i know.

so I dont have the old nut as a template. help? I play about 70/30 fingerstyle/flatpick, heavy gauge strings. (14-18-27-39-49-59)

thank yall so much!
First, determine the nut (neck) width. This is a good start. Then, mark the E-string positions by going in about 2 to 3 mm from the edge of the fretting area (consider most frets are bevelled). Then measure your total spacing, split it by 5, and mark the other string positions.

Then cut.

There are many subtleties to consider, and many opportunities to foul up. I usually recommend people get nuts cut by pros, but trying it oneself is fine, too. Just it is a bigger job to do well than people usually think.
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Old 01-04-2017, 08:56 AM
Sperry Sperry is offline
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Slot position is personal. I've bought 1 11/16" preslotted nuts with a range of E-to-E distance, from 34.7mm to 36.8mm.

My last nut is a 3/16" Epiphone nut, and it is 34.9mm. So I think I'm a 35mm guy. The 36.8mm, she was too far for me. Yes, I could get used to it, but maybe I become lazy, and want strings close together.

I would do two things. 1] Order another couple blanks. 2] Visit your favorite guitar shop with a small accurate ruler. Find a few guitars with the same neck width, play them, and decide which spacing you like best.

Having hundredths, 128ths, and mms all on the same ruler, you can probably find one unit of measure which gives you an exact E-to-E measurement which is easily dividable by five.

Keep in mind, I'm a completely untrained amateur, so like my ex-wife, who learned to add and divide some arse backwards way her grandmother taught her, most anything I do is from a self-taught perspective.

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Old 01-04-2017, 10:45 AM
charles Tauber charles Tauber is offline
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There are two primary approaches to string spacing. One is to make the centers of the strings equidistant. The other is to make the edges (outside diameters) equidistant. I have always used equal distance between centers on my own instruments, instruments I have made for others and on repairs. (Equal distance between strings, rather than centers, makes no sense to me, since one plays the centers, not the spaces between the strings.) Others seem to prefer equal distance between strings. It is up to you.

Beyond that, it is exactly as Ned described.

If you want the kind of (unnecessary) accuracy that involves measuring in 128ths of an inch, make life simple and buy a $20 digital calliper.

A $10 X-Acto knife handle with saw blade will allow you to rough in the slots. Final sizing and depth of the slots can be using a $10 set of needle files: you don't need to buy gauged sets of files. The saw kerf is sufficient for at least the first string and, depending on string diameter, the second, as well.

30 years ago, I was taught a simple method for accurate (equal center) layout. I tried to interest Stew Mac in the idea, but they made it abruptly clear that they had zero interest in it, without even inquiring what the idea was. Probably, within a year, a knock-off of it would have been available for $2 from China, including shipping.
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Old 01-04-2017, 11:20 AM
redir redir is offline
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The Stew Mac ruler measures the distance between strings taking into consideration the thickness of strings. I think this is the other method that Charles is talking about versus the method of equal center lines.

I personally like the Stew Mac ruler. With thick acoustic strings, and in particular bass strings, you might be able to tell, I can, that the bass strings appear to be closer together then the treble ones even though their center lines are all equidistant.

It's really a toss up between methods. I used to do equal distance but now use the Ste Mac ruler if for any reason the thing makes layout a snap.
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  #9  
Old 01-04-2017, 11:25 AM
surveyor surveyor is offline
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Default string sapacing at nut

Here's a chart if you don't want to spend money on a special ruler

http://www.edgeguitarservices.co.uk/nut_space.htm
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Old 01-04-2017, 12:00 PM
charles Tauber charles Tauber is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by surveyor View Post
Here's a chart if you don't want to spend money on a special ruler

http://www.edgeguitarservices.co.uk/nut_space.htm
This is very similar to the method that I use, based on the Theorem of Thales. It can also be adapted to fret position layout for single-scale and multi-scale instruments. If you dig for it, you'll find the method repeated for single-scale fret layout in one of Somogyi's books.
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Old 01-04-2017, 12:46 PM
Frank Ford Frank Ford is offline
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Here's an ancient article on nut making, written by an ancient guitar fixer:

http://www.frets.com/FretsPages/Luth...t/newnut1.html
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Old 01-04-2017, 04:34 PM
Sperry Sperry is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank Ford View Post
Here's an ancient article on nut making, written by an ancient guitar fixer:

http://www.frets.com/FretsPages/Luth...t/newnut1.html
Great article you dug up there, Mr. Ford!
That guy will probably be famous one day, I'd bet.
I'm gonna copy this marble clippy thing ASAP!




BTW, I meant 64ths ruler, not 128th ruler ... Regardless, I usually measure to the half millimeter.
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Old 01-05-2017, 02:59 AM
theoctavist theoctavist is offline
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thank yall so very much!

such a wealth of information here!

The Guitar is a Gould D-10 btw. my favorite guitar ever... I play it much more than my Santa Cruz and Collings
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Old 01-05-2017, 06:28 PM
Slight Return Slight Return is offline
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(A - B) / 5 = Equal spacing between guitar strings

"A" is the distance between your two outside strings.

"B" is the sum diameter of the inner strings.

In your case, with your strings, take the inner four:

18-27-39-49

And you get .133"

So you simply take your space between the outside strings, subtract the sum diameter of the inner strings you're using, then divide by 5. And there you go.

Once you get your spacing number, set your calipers to that number, lock them, and use them to double check your spacing. I like using 3" round leg dividers as they're a little easier to handle, but calipers will work fine.

My preference is to do the string spacing by eye, making very shallow set marks, and then double-checking it with the calipers. But I always go by eye for the final say.

As for "A," set the outside strings by eye, and then check with a machinist ruler or calipers. Start with set marks much narrower than what your final slots will be, and adjust accordingly. Once you have them set, simply measure the distance between the strings with a set of calipers.

The key here is the fret bevels. Too close and you risk slipping off the edge. Too far and the spacing will feel cramped. This a good example of cramped spacing vs. spacing that makes full use of the fingerboard width, and is a nut I cut using the simple formula I mentioned here:

(I actually found that formula on here, I think, from someone else who mentioned it, and it has helped me a lot ever since)



I use an Xacto razor saw for the B and E strings, and the Stewmac nut files for the rest. The razor saw is good for making set marks for all the strings while you're still figuring the spacing out.

The tricky part is even though the math is easy, cutting your marks exactly on point isn't so easy. I always stop frequently and check my spacing.

I usually use a capo behind the nut to hold the strings down. This helps a lot especially on angled pegheads to hold the strings in place while I move them around to dial in the spacing.

Remember on the thicker strings to start small, and work your way up with the files. This is especially true on bass. If you just go right in with the full size file, it will be much harder to have it stay centered than if you started with a razor saw, then used a .016" nut file, then a .028", then a .042", for example.

On bass, for example, I usually use a .016" or .020" nut file for the set mark on the .105" E string, and if it's a little too far left or right, I gradually correct it as I work up to a .050" file, then a .065", an .085" and then finally the .105, at which point it's exactly where I want it.

Working your way up from smaller files will ensure that your final slot is as centered as your original set mark.

On the high E string of course, you don't have this luxury, so go slow, make VERY shallow set marks (just enough to hold the string in place with a little tension on it), and keep checking your distance from the fret bevel before you make a deeper cut.

I *always* end up using the calipers/dividers set to the spacing number from the formula as a guide, not the absolute final say.

There are people who just mark and cut the slots without even having the nut on the guitar and get decent results. My personal preference is to do all the spacing with the strings on, and I always use my eyes as the final say.

So to sum up:

Set your outside strings. Go slow, check your work, and once you've got your outside strings the distance you want from the bevel, cut them close to depth.

Measure between them for "A", and now you're set to do your formula. Set your calipers to that number, put a capo on behind the nut, start spacing your strings by eye, and make some shallow set marks.

One more note: When I have the strings lined up, I use a mechanical pencil to mark either side of the string. Then use a razor saw as close to the center of those marks as I can, put the strings back on, and then take it from there.
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  #15  
Old 01-08-2017, 11:59 AM
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murrmac123 murrmac123 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by charles Tauber View Post

30 years ago, I was taught a simple method for accurate (equal center) layout. I tried to interest Stew Mac in the idea, but they made it abruptly clear that they had zero interest in it, without even inquiring what the idea was.
My guess is that they were aware that all major manufacturers like Martin, Gibson and Taylor, use equidistant spaces, and the reason they use it is because that is what the overwhelming majority of players are happy with.

The majority of smaller manufacturers, like Bourgeois and Santa Cruz, also use equidistant spaces , the notable exception being Huss and Dalton, who stubbornly adhere to equidistant centers. I have owned two Huss and Dalton guitars, and in both cases I had to fit a new nut to give equidistant spaces. I just find these crowded bass strings intolerable, from both a visual and tactile perspective.

I am aware that a (very) few players do express a preference for equidistant centers, and am also aware that many players don't know and don't care whether the spaces or the centers are equidistant on their guitars.
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