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-   -   Questions on cutting string slots on the nut. (https://www.acousticguitarforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=569187)

Peepaw 01-13-2020 04:57 PM

Questions on cutting string slots on the nut.
 
I'm getting ready to do my first lowering of the strings at the nut.
My old guitar tech passed away a few year ago.

I've been reading and watching videos but they all seem to leave me with the same questions. They may both be silly questions but here we go.:)

#1
When filing down the nut slot I have been reading about the string breaking over the nut right at the fretboard side. Also about ramping down the peg side so it is parallel to the peg board.

My question is, how wide should I leave this break point before it starts to ramp down?

#2
When filing the ramp part, do I leave it to where the string lies on this ramp or should there be some clearance?

Thanks in advance for any advice.

Scott

Mr. Jelly 01-13-2020 06:35 PM

Don't take my advice as I am no expert. Look at the peg head angle. File at that angle. This will make the highest point on the fret board side. File once, one swipe, and reevaluate. It may file down super fast. At least in my experience it did. The break point is an edge not a ledge. Good luck.

Bass.swimmer 01-13-2020 06:39 PM

For my nuts, I usually tilt the file to be parallel with the face of the peghead, and just file down the slot until it's low enough. Then maybe a couple swipes parallel with the fretboard to round the slots over so the string have a gentle curve from the peghead to the fretboard.

There's a video I watched from Robbie O'Brien on the subject, I suggest you look it up. I think it's something about guitar set up, or maybe intonation. (No affiliation/interest)

HodgdonExtreme 01-13-2020 10:46 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Bass.swimmer (Post 6264378)
For my nuts, I usually tilt the file to be parallel with the face of the peghead, and just file down the slot until it's low enough. Then maybe a couple swipes parallel with the fretboard to round the slots over so the string have a gentle curve from the peghead to the fretboard.

Also not an expert, but I've done it same way as above on several guitars and it's always worked for me. I use Hiroshima files.

Take it easy because some nut materials cut away fast. You'll get the feel for it, not that hard. But definitely measure OFTEN.

Frank Ford 01-14-2020 12:04 AM

Here's a trio of articles I posted when I first started FRETS.COM around 22 years ago - they may give you some guidance:

How to Check Nut Action

A Closer Look at Nuts

Setting Nut Action

Those were early days of digital photography (for me, at least), so please excuse the comparatively low-res images. . .

Talldad 01-14-2020 06:59 AM

However you choose to file your slots you will leave a rough surface in the slot, this will snag your strings, especially the G.

If you can get a hold of a tiny drill set like this then you can smooth off the slots.

This will make tuning your new setup a delight.

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/SMALL-TIN...MAAOSw4RZa~u0w

Peepaw 01-14-2020 07:03 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Frank Ford (Post 6264602)
Here's a trio of articles I posted when I first started FRETS.COM around 22 years ago - they may give you some guidance:

How to Check Nut Action

A Closer Look at Nuts

Setting Nut Action

Those were early days of digital photography (for me, at least), so please excuse the comparatively low-res images. . .

Thanks a ton for those articles Frank, they answered my questions.

The 3/16 number was the main thing I was looking for. I watched numerous videos and read numerous articles on filing slots. None of them gave any number for how wide that area should be.
I figured it needed to be as narrow as possible without being so narrow as to wear down way too quickly.

Looking at your pictures I take it that the ramped part of the nut should slope or fall away from the string.
Am I correct in that assumption?

jonfields45 01-14-2020 08:29 AM

I think for us amateurs, a sacrificial cheap set of feeler gauges (placed on the fretboard up against the nut to set the height of the slot) is a good idea.

MC5C 01-14-2020 09:02 AM

I happen to use Frank Fords method just about exactly, although I developed it on my own just through making a few nuts. I happen to find nut making to be one of the hardest things to do on a new guitar, from finessing the string spacing to shaping the nut to getting the slots correct. I don't rush it, and I'm happy to start over with a new blank if I get the spacing wrong. I split the angle between fretboard and headstock (my headstocks are typically 12 degrees) and I like to have a fairly thick nut, around 1/4 inch.

HodgdonExtreme 01-14-2020 10:52 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Talldad (Post 6264689)
However you choose to file your slots you will leave a rough surface in the slot, this will snag your strings, especially the G.

If you can get a hold of a tiny drill set like this then you can smooth off the slots.

This will make tuning your new setup a delight.

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/SMALL-TIN...MAAOSw4RZa~u0w

I've had this very thing happen to me on the G string, after filing slots.

How do you use the drill bit to correct this? Do you lay the correct size drill bit into the slot and spin it with your fingers while slightly forcing the side of the drill into the slot? Or, do you just rub the side of the drill against the bottom of the nut slot? Both?

My G string hiroshima file is 0.027", and my G string is usually either 0.026"or 0.024"... What size drill works best for a slot cut with a 0.027" file?

MC5C 01-14-2020 12:34 PM

If you use wound strings, simply pull the appropriate string through the slot a few times - that will burnish the finish and help with the roundness of the fit.

Howard Klepper 01-14-2020 12:52 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr. Jelly (Post 6264372)
Don't take my advice as I am no expert. Look at the peg head angle. File at that angle. This will make the highest point on the fret board side. File once, one swipe, and reevaluate. It may file down super fast. At least in my experience it did. The break point is an edge not a ledge. Good luck.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Bass.swimmer (Post 6264378)
For my nuts, I usually tilt the file to be parallel with the face of the peghead, and just file down the slot until it's low enough. Then maybe a couple swipes parallel with the fretboard to round the slots over so the string have a gentle curve from the peghead to the fretboard.


This advice is not right. A nut slot cut straight and parallel to the headstock will have a binding and wear point at both ends of the slot, and inadequate pressure in the middle. This will not be cured by a final swipe parallel to the fretboard--that leaves a the binding and wear points, and may cause fuzzy contact at the fretboard side, and as described above it will make the slot too low (doing it after the slot is low enough). The slot actually should be more of a ledge than an edge at the fretboard side--a ledge with a very gentle slope down from the fretboard side of the nut-- and then rounded down more to an exit at the headstock side that is more angled than the headstock, so the nut loses contact with the string at its headstock side.

You will find good advice here, from the late Paul Hostetter. I differ from Paul in that I aim the slots as seen from above from the fretboard edge of the nut to the tuner post; I think that makes a neater looking slot.
www.lutherie.net/nuts.html

redir 01-14-2020 03:41 PM

^ I love the graphics on that site. I like to point the slots to the tuner posts too. If anything it looks cool. The horn shaped slot is a good idea in either case. I just might have to start doing that now.

Peepaw 01-14-2020 05:11 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MC5C (Post 6264994)
If you use wound strings, simply pull the appropriate string through the slot a few times - that will burnish the finish and help with the roundness of the fit.

I had that idea the other night when I re strung my guitar.
Saved the old set just for that purpose.

Peepaw 01-14-2020 05:13 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Howard Klepper (Post 6265005)
This advice is not right. A nut slot cut straight and parallel to the headstock will have a binding and wear point at both ends of the slot, and inadequate pressure in the middle. This will not be cured by a final swipe parallel to the fretboard--that leaves a the binding and wear points, and may cause fuzzy contact at the fretboard side, and as described above it will make the slot too low (doing it after the slot is low enough). The slot actually should be more of a ledge than an edge at the fretboard side--a ledge with a very gentle slope down from the fretboard side of the nut-- and then rounded down more to an exit at the headstock side that is more angled than the headstock, so the nut loses contact with the string at its headstock side.

You will find good advice here, from the late Paul Hostetter. I differ from Paul in that I aim the slots as seen from above from the fretboard edge of the nut to the tuner post; I think that makes a neater looking slot.
www.lutherie.net/nuts.html

Thanks for that article. I've gone over it once and plan on reading it again.


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