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  #16  
Old 01-14-2020, 08:38 PM
hess hess is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Talldad View Post
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
Thank you for this clever tip! I had a couple treble B and E strings pinging but was hesitant to clean them up with the nut files for fear of making them deeper. I already had a few of these mini bits and was able to clean up the problem B and E nut slots without making them any deeper using a #76 for E and #72 for B. Just pulled them thru lightly and then worked in a little tri-flow lub with them. Problem solved!
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  #17  
Old 01-14-2020, 09:25 PM
HeyMikey HeyMikey is offline
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The $10 technofret nut rocker works like a charm for easily setting a good slot height. Iíve used it on all my guitars and the improvement is noticeable.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/172866841055
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1979 Guild F112 SB, 1996 Guild A50, 2011 Guild F30CE, 2012 Guild F30R, 2015 Epiphone ES339 Pro.
--- Sold but not forgotten ---
2012 Guild F-30, 2015 Alvarez MFA-70, 2015 Martin OM-28 VTS, 2016 Alvarez AF-60, 1990 Gibson ES-347, 1974 Ibanez Les Paul, 1970 Epiphone 5102
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  #18  
Old 01-15-2020, 10:17 AM
murrmac123 murrmac123 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HeyMikey View Post
The $10 technofret nut rocker works like a charm for easily setting a good slot height. Iíve used it on all my guitars and the improvement is noticeable.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/172866841055
Thanks for the endorsement, Mike, it is indeed a very useful and foolproof tool, and supersedes all the "hold down the string at the second fret and peer at the gap" stuff.

I can't believe that that is still being advocated as a method of assessing the nut height , but there you go...

Unfortunately the Technofret nut rocker is no longer available .... I ceased production of all the tools some time ago, and have turned my attention to projects which are actually profitable.
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  #19  
Old 01-15-2020, 01:51 PM
charles Tauber charles Tauber is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Howard Klepper View Post
You will find good advice here, from the late Paul Hostetter....
www.lutherie.net/nuts.html
I laughed when I saw the "horn's bell" shape of the nut slots he prefers:



For the first two-plus decades, I used a "tear drop" shaped needle file for shaping of slots. If one angles the slots towards the tuning machines, as one should, the shape of the needle file naturally cuts a wider shape the deeper it cuts. Used for nut slot shaping, it naturally produced the "horn's bell" shape without having to do anything special. That was true regardless of the slots being perpendicular to the nut or individually angled towards the tuning machines.

These days, with straight, gauged nut files, you just get a straight slot. I haven't found any practical, functional difference between straight slots and a horn's bell shape.
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  #20  
Old 01-15-2020, 02:24 PM
redir redir is offline
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Some of the most experienced builders and repair persons out there today still use the string as a straight edge and by eye adjust the nut height at the saddle by fretting the 2nd fret. So it's really not that unusual. I'm not saying that I am in the same league as my esteemed collegues but I've been doing it like that for almost 30 years now.

Only last year I got myself an actual set of nut files and honestly every time I use them I wonder why I don't go back to my needle files. They snag, get stuck and on a few occasions blew out the edge of the low E string.

I don't know about using wound strings to burnish the slot. It's hard enough sometimes to get good cutting action with a file and I would think that rounding off would occur using some sort of abrasive string.
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  #21  
Old 01-15-2020, 03:48 PM
Peepaw Peepaw is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by charles Tauber View Post
I laughed when I saw the "horn's bell" shape of the nut slots he prefers:



For the first two-plus decades, I used a "tear drop" shaped needle file for shaping of slots. If one angles the slots towards the tuning machines, as one should, the shape of the needle file naturally cuts a wider shape the deeper it cuts. Used for nut slot shaping, it naturally produced the "horn's bell" shape without having to do anything special. That was true regardless of the slots being perpendicular to the nut or individually angled towards the tuning machines.

These days, with straight, gauged nut files, you just get a straight slot. I haven't found any practical, functional difference between straight slots and a horn's bell shape.
Charles what would you suggest for a beginner (me), needle files or gauged nut files? I don't have anything yet as I am trying to school myself first before buying anything.
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  #22  
Old 01-15-2020, 07:55 PM
charles Tauber charles Tauber is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peepaw View Post
Charles what would you suggest for a beginner (me), needle files or gauged nut files? I don't have anything yet as I am trying to school myself first before buying anything.
There is no one choice that is right: there are many different methods and tools that can be used to produce a good result. Factors involved in choosing include how often you do this sort of work, how much you want to spend or invest in tools and whether or not you prefer one method over others.

I'll tell you what I currently use, which was adopted over several decades of trying things. What I use is a combination of three tool sets: saws, gauged files and needle files. Which of those I use, depends, in part, on the job in front of me and what I think is best suited to that task. Any one of those tool sets is adequate for the job: I like to have the option to chose between them depending upon the specifics of the job.

For roughing-in all nut slots, I use an X-Acto saw in an X-Acto knife handle, widely available for about $10. I've used the same single blade for decades. It cuts quickly and I find it easier to control than files, allowing me to more easily get the slots in the right place and keep the slots vertical - so they don't "wander" as you cut to full depth. I also use it for making the final slots for first and second strings - I see no need to buy .010 or similar files. I have found no practical difference between flat-bottomed slots and round bottom ones: they don't seem to wear faster or sound different.

About 5 years ago, or so, Stew Mac started selling gauged saws for cutting nut slots. They are available in five sizes: I don't own the .010". I use those for any string diameters for which they are suitable. They cut very fast, which I like. The downside to saws is that they really only produce one slot size equal to their kerf. Unlike files, they can't really be rocked while used to make a range of slot sizes larger than the file.

For the remaining strings, I usually use Stew Mac nut files. (The Japanese Hiroshima files are likely a little less expensive and possible better: http://www.japarts.ca/Uo-Chikyu/Uo-C...s-Featured.asp). I have four or five sizes, adequate for most string diameters. For large diameter bass strings (e.g. 7-string and 10-string guitars) I use my trusty needle files.

I like to use a set of inexpensive feeler gauges. I measure the fret height by placing a short ruler spanning the first and second frets and then stack appropriate thicknesses of feeler gauges. I then use that stack of gauges, usually with an extra few thousandths of an inch placed against the nut parallel to the frets. It acts as a hard stop for filing or sawing nut slots. There is immediate tactile and audible feedback when the file or saw just touches the gauges, telling me that I've reached the desired slot depth. I have found it to be reliable and to eliminate guess work and trial and error. Measure accurately, add to the measurement accordingly, or not, file until I hear and feel the stop: slot done.

The needle file that I use for nut slotting is a tear drop shape, technically the shape is called a "pippin". It doesn't seem to be one of the more common shapes included in a set of needle files, but the $10 set I bought decades ago included two of them, of slightly different shapes.

Tool suppliers have a tool for everything and they want you to buy one of each. Most of the stuff they sell isn't really necessary, and some of it is available at local hardware or automobile parts stores at much lower prices. Specialty items, like gauged saws and nut files aren't as readily available elsewhere. One of the few gimmicky things that Stew Mac sells that I did buy is their string jack allowing tensioned strings to lifted out of the nut slots. I find it helpful in some instances, saving my fingers.

Last edited by charles Tauber; 01-15-2020 at 08:06 PM.
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  #23  
Old 01-15-2020, 08:19 PM
HeyMikey HeyMikey is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by murrmac123 View Post
.... Unfortunately the Technofret nut rocker is no longer available .... I ceased production of all the tools some time ago, and have turned my attention to projects which are actually profitable.
Well that is indeed disappointing to hear. Such a brilliantly simple and valuable tool. Iím even more thankful now to have mine. Hopefully someday we will see it reincarnated.
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1979 Guild F112 SB, 1996 Guild A50, 2011 Guild F30CE, 2012 Guild F30R, 2015 Epiphone ES339 Pro.
--- Sold but not forgotten ---
2012 Guild F-30, 2015 Alvarez MFA-70, 2015 Martin OM-28 VTS, 2016 Alvarez AF-60, 1990 Gibson ES-347, 1974 Ibanez Les Paul, 1970 Epiphone 5102
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  #24  
Old 01-16-2020, 11:38 AM
Peepaw Peepaw is offline
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Well I dug out what was left of my needle file set.
Got these back in the late 70's. They were a 10 piece set, they are now a 6 piece set. Guess I lost a few in over 40 years.

Got them out and then placed an order with StewMac.
Good thing I checked my e-mail first as SM had sent me an e-mail for 15% off.
I took that as a sign that it was time to place my order.

Just to be clear, I'm doing a setup on two of my guitars, no new nut from scratch. Not yet anyways.

I'm a tool nerd anyway so I don't mind investing in proper tools.

So I've got a set of gauged nut files on the way along with stuff I needed for another project (my first bridge re-glue).

I'm sure I will most likely have more questions.
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