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  #1  
Old 12-04-2007, 01:14 PM
GreatCanadian GreatCanadian is offline
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Default Nut adjustment

Hello folks. I've read so much about action adjustment, and what I do know is this: the action is too high (personal preference I know), and my neck is straight.

Should I determine if the nut is low enough before tackling the saddle height. If I put a capo on the first or second fret, the guitar is MUCH easier to play. Perhaps I have it wrong, but this seems to indicate to me that the strings are too high at the nut. Am I correct? And if so, should I have a luthier lower the string slots before putting in my new Colosi saddle (I want to fit the saddle myself).

I have read about fretting at the 2nd or 3rd fret and checking string height and such, but if a cap make it easier it seems to me the nut is too high. (Remember, the neck is straight.) Perhaps I'm way off base here.

By the way the guitar I'm referring to is a Larrivee OM-03R.
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Old 12-04-2007, 01:52 PM
Seagull Lover Seagull Lover is offline
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I like the nut on my guitar setup so that the first fret feels like it has about the same amount of tension as the 2nd fret. It makes a huge difference in playability IMO.
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Old 12-04-2007, 02:18 PM
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Bryan Kimsey has set up my two Martins - I follow his advice when I do my own

E = .022", A = .020", D = .018", G = .018", B = .018", E = .016"

The quick check is a hair of clearance at one when capoed at two. It will be very slightly affected by the rest of the setup, but usually it is the first thing I set (providing relief and action are pretty close).

Fwiw - I also follow Bryan's advice on relief - generally 6 to 8 thou on my fingerpickers - he has a three page analysis of relief vs action (and the effects on buzzing at different places)

http://www.bryankimsey.com/setup/index.htm
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Old 12-04-2007, 03:16 PM
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taylorcc taylorcc is offline
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Sounds like your strings are too high at the nut. Bring it to a good repair person. They will be able to tell you (by using the 2nd fret method) if the nut grooves need to be lowered.

Ed
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  #5  
Old 12-05-2007, 12:18 PM
GreatCanadian GreatCanadian is offline
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Default Thanks

Thanks for the responses fellas. Seems like a nut adjustment is in order.
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  #6  
Old 12-06-2007, 09:51 AM
scotchtape scotchtape is offline
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Is your guitar expensive?

I don't know why I ask that... I did my own adjustment on my guitars, I'm not afraid to touch any of them anymore.

I found a decent set of nut filing thingies on ebay - was only $50 or something. Norman Guitar Nut Filing System.

He doesn't have any right now:
http://search.ebay.com/_W0QQsassZnorman_1957
He has the guitar + bass ones, but it's about $20 more than just the guitar ones.

Also get a feeler guage and then you're set.

Go slow and make sure you keep checking the strings, even a hair makes a HUGE difference when you get close to the mark. I've ruined more than one nut this way. It's not hard, just be careful and check often. A good thing is to mark how low you want it to go, that way you don't overshoot. Also stop a ways short of where you think you want it for breathing room - if it's close enough don't go further. Mistakes take A LOT of effort to fix (making/buying a new nut).

I've also read that Kimsey site, it's hard to tell the difference between .022 and .018, I just set them all around the same height, close to 0.022, or something like that. It's lower than where it started anyways.

Cheers and good luck if you do it yourself.
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Old 12-06-2007, 11:51 AM
TommyK TommyK is offline
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If the height of uncapoed guit tar strings are too high for you, then take down the nut. bringing down the saddle height, while technically, does bring down the strings, it'll bring it down a bunch at the hole end but barely noticable at the nut end.

It's simiple geometry. Sit in a chair and stretch your leg out, knee straight with your heel on another chair. The chair your heel is on is the saddle. The one you are sitting on is the nut. Now drop your heel to the floor. You've dropped the 'saddle', but your 'nut' hasn't moved. I dare say your ankle has moved a whole bunch more than a spot a few inches below your knee.

If capoing makes it more comfortable to play, then bring the string height down at the nut. Guit tar manufacturers are notorious for sending out guit tars with somewhat high action. It's easier and cheaper to bring a nut down than to bring it up to satisfy the personal preference of individual customers. Bringing it up requires a new nut. Bringing it down requires but a few swipes of a nut file.
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Old 12-06-2007, 01:13 PM
GreatCanadian GreatCanadian is offline
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Default me nut

Yes, I was considering doing it myself. May just do that yet. It's not a real expensive guitar, but it's around the 1K mark.

Tommy, that's kinda what i was figgering too. If it feels good capoed, but not good uncapoed then the nut must be too high. Thanks for the advice fellas.
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Old 12-06-2007, 08:22 PM
Freeman Freeman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GreatCanadian View Post
Yes, I was considering doing it myself. May just do that yet. It's not a real expensive guitar, but it's around the 1K mark.

Tommy, that's kinda what i was figgering too. If it feels good capoed, but not good uncapoed then the nut must be too high. Thanks for the advice fellas.
Measure first with feeler gauges - stack the leaves and compare to the number I gave you before.

To do it right you will need a set of nut files - $80 to 100 at a luthier supply shop like StewMac or LMI. There is a trick of getting "torch cleaning files" at a welders supply - they come in different sizes and are much cheaper. Knocking the nut out and sanding off the bottom doesn't work real well - you need to measure each string gap and bring it down accordingly. Not hard to do if you have the right tools.

I always do the nut first reasonably close, then the relief, then the saddle, come back to the nut, fine tune the saddle and then check the intonation. This assumes that frets are level and the git is properly humidified
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  #10  
Old 12-14-2007, 03:32 PM
Jeff M Jeff M is offline
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Here is a link to Frets.com, a great site for guitar lovers. Run by Frank Ford, luthier, repair expert, owner of Gryphon STringed Instruments (one of the best shops around) and moderator over at the AG Mazine Forums "Luthiers Corner".
Deals with action adjustment, saddles, nuts, etc.
http://www.frets.com/FRETSPages/Musi...raction01.html
http://www.frets.com/FRETSPages/Musi...nutaction.html
http://www.frets.com/FRETSPages/Luth...ut/setnut.html
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Old 12-14-2007, 05:09 PM
daysailer daysailer is offline
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I picked up a set of the welders torch tip cleaners at a local welding supply, <$5. They worked fine for adjusting the nuts on a couple of Ukes purchased for Christmas gifts. Just remember to put some kind of protection on the headstock for possible scratching if you make too long of a stroke. The smaller ones are a bit bendy, but will do the job, just go slow. Also found a drop of rubbing compound on the tip cleaners helped them cut the bone nut slots on my Larriveés.

ymmv
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  #12  
Old 12-08-2008, 10:25 PM
willisk willisk is offline
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Wow this thread was so much help. I bought a nut filing kit on ebay for 25 dollars. Pretty decent quality, it gets the job done that's for sure.

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...m=110323826104


Well worth it IMO, way cheaper than those 80 dollar ones. I didn't have to go out to buy them, and it came with a set of very helpful instructions. My Taylor 610 plays so well now, and it's not sharp on the low e anymore.
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Old 12-08-2008, 11:18 PM
Carbonius Carbonius is offline
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I popped off the entire nut and sanded the bottom a little bit at a time. . This lowered all the slots at the same time. I found that the radius was fine, it was just too high. Now sure, With nut files I could get individual accuracy done to .001 but, I didn't want to buy nut files at this time. My high E needs to come down a hair...but my intonation did improve as did playability.

Just my 2 cents...take it for what it's worth.............uhhhhhh...about 2 cents worth.
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Old 04-16-2011, 12:51 AM
graystar graystar is offline
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I also just popped off the whole nut and sanded it done quite a bit as the height at the nut was WAY too high and I did not want to fool with each individual string plus have no files...and it is a 12 string - nothing worse than a 12 with excessive height. Just paid 80 bucks for it...so not too worried...BMI from the 70's Japan...great tone now and much better player.
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Old 04-16-2011, 01:32 AM
Jeff M Jeff M is offline
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Boy. This is an old thread.
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