The Acoustic Guitar Forum

Go Back   The Acoustic Guitar Forum > General Acoustic Guitar and Amplification Discussion > Build and Repair

Reply
 
Thread Tools
  #46  
Old 07-22-2014, 06:23 PM
Scallywag Scallywag is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: Hell's Kitchen, NYC
Posts: 336
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by NEGuy View Post

If anyone has any recommendation for needle files, I’d appreciate any suggestion.
FWIW, I just used different feeler gauges of varying thickness with some sandpaper folded over them (220 then 400 grit) to deepen the slots on a bone nut instead of using files. Unprofessional, perhaps, but it worked perfectly fine for my instruments. The sandpaper seemed to remove bone less aggressively than a file. Made it easier to dial in the right depth and lessened the chance of me going too far. Just another option to consider.
Reply With Quote
  #47  
Old 07-22-2014, 06:54 PM
NEGuy NEGuy is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Roseville, CA --> Zellwood, FL
Posts: 328
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Todd Yates View Post
I'm not John, but no extra clearance is needed. Do you have extra clearance when you fret a string? No, it is at fret height by definition. There is no reason the nut can't be the same.
Makes sense, Todd -- thanks.
.
Reply With Quote
  #48  
Old 07-22-2014, 06:58 PM
NEGuy NEGuy is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Roseville, CA --> Zellwood, FL
Posts: 328
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scallywag View Post
FWIW, I just used different feeler gauges of varying thickness with some sandpaper folded over them (220 then 400 grit) to deepen the slots on a bone nut instead of using files. Unprofessional, perhaps, but it worked perfectly fine for my instruments. The sandpaper seemed to remove bone less aggressively than a file. Made it easier to dial in the right depth and lessened the chance of me going too far. Just another option to consider.
Perfect.

I have tons of sandpaper of all different grits as well as two nice feeler gauges, so I guess I'm all set.

(And, yes, I can see how sandpaper of 220 or 400 grit would remove bone less aggressively than most files -- just what I'm looking for.)

Thanks.
.
Reply With Quote
  #49  
Old 07-22-2014, 07:06 PM
LouieAtienza LouieAtienza is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 4,622
Default

Zero frets work the same way as fretting notes. It does make things easier for the builder. The nut simply spacea the strings out. Fret leveling removes any inconsistencies in fret height, installation error, or fretboard variation. If you want to be truly accurate, you can put your straightedge on top of the frets on each string line, slide it toward the nut, THEN measure the gap between the fretboard edgr and straightedge. You can even compare it to the first fret height if you want, but it`s not necessary. Just take the measurements at each string, then stack the appropriate feeler gages for each string. You can add .002-.004" to allow for wear if you want.

To echo others, I do it by eye and feel. If I can get the action a little higher without the strings feeling stiff then I set it higher. Some guitars just play easier despite slightly higher action, and some guitars play stiff no matter how low the strings are.

Really, however, if you sent the guitar to the builder (which I`d recommend) you could have had it back by now, done!
Reply With Quote
  #50  
Old 07-22-2014, 10:01 PM
NEGuy NEGuy is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Roseville, CA --> Zellwood, FL
Posts: 328
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by LouieAtienza View Post
Zero frets work the same way as fretting notes. It does make things easier for the builder. The nut simply spaces the strings out. Fret leveling removes any inconsistencies in fret height, installation error, or fretboard variation. If you want to be truly accurate, you can put your straightedge on top of the frets on each string line, slide it toward the nut, THEN measure the gap between the fretboard edgr and straightedge. You can even compare it to the first fret height if you want, but it`s not necessary. Just take the measurements at each string, then stack the appropriate feeler gages for each string. You can add .002-.004" to allow for wear if you want.
Thanks. (I have checked the frets, and they’re level.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by LouieAtienza View Post
Some guitars just play easier despite slightly higher action, and some guitars play stiff no matter how low the strings are.
I’ve definitely experienced this myself.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LouieAtienza View Post
Really, however, if you sent the guitar to the builder (which I`d recommend) you could have had it back by now, done!
I appreciate your trying to suggest a path that would doubtless be a bit smother and more hassle-free, but, alas (as I have mentioned in a prior post), I don’t think I really learn anything until my back is against the wall (so to speak), and I have a *pressing* practical problem to solve.

I could read about nuts, nut slots, fret leveling, bridge height – the whole shebang. It would be in one ear and out the other unless it were immersed in a sort of “glue” of practical relevance and hands-on doing.

So this is a great opportunity for me.

Also, the builder (a very good one – the guitar is great) is reasonably close to my current location in northern CA (~ 3 hrs away), and this was one reason I commissioned the guitar from him (i.e., I could meet him, play some his guitars, etc).

But I am moving to FL on Aug. 1 (semi-retirement – finally!), so I want to be able to do these basic set-up type procedures myself so I don’t have to ship the guitar across the country or try to find someone on the east coast with whom I might have another bad experience. (I have no doubt that the two local luthiers have done fine work over the years on other guitars – but this was not the case with their work on my guitar.)

Also, like many, I desire to know enough about an area of interest to handle the basics, and one has to start somewhere.

I’ve appreciated the shared wisdom in this thread of luthiers who are doubtless world class.

Hopefully others will benefit from the posts down the line.

Thanks again to all.
.
Reply With Quote
  #51  
Old 07-22-2014, 11:30 PM
Scallywag Scallywag is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: Hell's Kitchen, NYC
Posts: 336
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by NEGuy View Post
Perfect.

I have tons of sandpaper of all different grits as well as two nice feeler gauges, so I guess I'm all set.

(And, yes, I can see how sandpaper of 220 or 400 grit would remove bone less aggressively than most files -- just what I'm looking for.)

Thanks.
.
Make sure you tilt your file/feeler-sander back towards the tuning keys as you go. Don't lean it forward towards the soundhole or the intonation will be a mess. Looking at the neck from the side, the horizontal point where the nut meets the fingerboard should remain the highest point in each slot. Hope that makes sense.
Reply With Quote
  #52  
Old 07-23-2014, 10:06 AM
NEGuy NEGuy is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Roseville, CA --> Zellwood, FL
Posts: 328
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scallywag View Post
Hope that makes sense.
It does -- thanks.
.
Reply With Quote
  #53  
Old 07-25-2014, 01:35 AM
murrmac123's Avatar
murrmac123 murrmac123 is offline
AGF Sponsor
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Edinburgh, bonny Scotland
Posts: 5,145
Default

Quote:

Fingerboards are too often unevenly sanded with a bit of fall-off right where they contact the nut, so about the LAST thing I would consider is actually measuring string height at that position.
Quote:
That is my take on it, as well.
The only time I would even consider it is when I personally have leveled the fingerboard
If this is indeed a commonly encountered problem, (and it's not one that I ever remember encountering) the way round it is simple ... lay a straight edge between the first and second frets (I use the long arris of a 3" Johansson slip gauge) and measure the fret heights, either with feeler gauges or preferably with a pin gauge.

Then measure the distance between the straight edge and the fretboard at the nut. If it is the same , then there is no problem, and you can use a nut file in conjunction with feeler gauges or (preferably) a pin gauge, to rapidly file the slots to the desired depth. If there is in fact a difference, then just measure what the distance actually is and use the appropriate set of feeler gauges, or pin gauge, to use as a depth stop for the file.

In the absence of a dedicated set of pin gauges, a set of number drills make an admirably economic substitute ... 99% of the time, the drills corresponding to the fret height will be between #57 and #63.
Reply With Quote
  #54  
Old 07-25-2014, 06:54 AM
redir redir is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Mountains of Virginia
Posts: 4,591
Default

FWIW here is the method I use and have been doing so for over 20 years. I have a half pencil, a pencil planed into a semi-circle for it's whole length cutting it right in half so that a pointed end protrudes out dead flat. The pencil is now a straight edge with a point. I install the nut and then mark a line with the pencil by sliding the pencil across the frets as it marks the nut face.

So in theory the very bottom of the graphite pencil line is the same height of the top of the frets they were marked from. In practice this is not the case but it's close enough to rough out the slot depths very quickly. After that I use the method Frank Ford outlined and just do it by eye. I like to taper the heights from the Low-E to the High-E such that there is clearance at the low end and on down to the treble strings which just graze the first fret when holding the string down. I do this because it seems to me that a lot of players like to pound on an open E chord for example and it gives a bit more room. Plus back buzz can be a problem on a less than ideal fretboard.

I've tried using feeler gauges (Yes I am a Yankee and have always used a 'U' but maybe that's because I'm a NEw England Yankee close on up there to Canada ) but for some reason I lack the ability to use them. Or at least I just don't trust myself measuring with them as they seem to me to be too sensitive and reveal different results every time.
Reply With Quote
  #55  
Old 07-25-2014, 07:20 AM
charles Tauber charles Tauber is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 6,193
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by murrmac123 View Post
in conjunction with feeler gauges or (preferably) a pin gauge...
I purchased a set of pin gauges a few years ago. I prefer feeler gauges for two reasons. First, being round in cross-section, the full diameter of the pin gauge isn't against the face of the nut: the full diameter is offset from the face of then nut by the radius of the gauge. It isn't much, but it does result in the slot being cut slightly deeper that the diameter of the gauge. I found that I needed to add a thousandths or two to the size of the gauge used to measure the fret height. That isn't necessary with a stack of flat feeler gauges.

Second, pin gauges are pretty rigid. Feeler gauges flex easily to follow the contour of a radiused fingerboard. Pin gauges, not so much. The adjacent strings interfere with them.

I know others use pin gauges and like them, but my preference is feeler gauges, even though selecting the appropriate combination and physically stacking them is a downside.

Quote:
Originally Posted by redir View Post
FWIW here is the method I use and have been doing so for over 20 years. I have a half pencil...
I used that when I first started. It works fine, obviously.



In this thread, we've seen a number of methods described for setting the height of the strings at the nut/first fret. Proponents of each method believe that their method is the best and have stated their reasons for believing so - and reasons for not doing it by the other methods. All of the methods described will produce satisfactory results.

So which method should one use? Some are quicker than others, some are easier than others, depending upon who is doing it. Like many things, there are multiple ways to accomplish a task. Which one to use often comes down to personal preference.
Reply With Quote
  #56  
Old 07-25-2014, 11:06 AM
arie arie is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 2,724
Default

coming from the machining world, it bothers me that the woodworking crowd doesn't often stray to far from the fence. in shops we have all kinds of easy solutions for these common problems.

pin gauges, granite plates, endmills, small hole gauges, gauge blocks, pin vises, drop indicators, dial indicators, milling machines, ball endmills, etc, etc, etc, ...

i know some of this has been incorporated by progressive builders, but i think some more out of the box thinking needs to happen one of these days. there is a whole different realm of possibilities available.
Reply With Quote
  #57  
Old 07-25-2014, 12:21 PM
murrmac123's Avatar
murrmac123 murrmac123 is offline
AGF Sponsor
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Edinburgh, bonny Scotland
Posts: 5,145
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by charles Tauber View Post
So which method should one use? Some are quicker than others, some are easier than others, depending upon who is doing it. Like many things, there are multiple ways to accomplish a task. Which one to use often comes down to personal preference.
So very true.

IMO however, whatever method you use, the final nut slot adjustments are, and should be, done by feel, not by measurement... one file stroke at a time until it is perfect.

All the methods outlined so far work, and they serve to get into the (very accurately delineated) ballpark ... but they don't take you to the final level ...leastways not for me they don't.

If I can just comment on redir's pencil ... I used to do this too, and I still do it (for a new nut) but with a difference ... there is no need to plane (or sand) the entire length of the pencil, and it actually works better if you only plane (or sand ) the first 3.5" or so from the point, at an angle to the axis of the pencil.

That way, the flattened portion only contacts the first two frets (which is what you want) and the "cranked" pencil makes it easier to use for this purpose. Also, and it may be superfluous to say this, but the minimum pencil hardness should be 4H.

The quickest, easiest, and most accurate way by far to get the flattened portion of the pencil dead flat is by using a disk sander.
Reply With Quote
  #58  
Old 07-25-2014, 03:01 PM
Frank Ford's Avatar
Frank Ford Frank Ford is offline
AGF Sponsor
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Palo Alto, CA
Posts: 545
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by arie View Post
coming from the machining world, it bothers me that the woodworking crowd doesn't often stray to far from the fence. in shops we have all kinds of easy solutions for these common problems.

pin gauges, granite plates, endmills, small hole gauges, gauge blocks, pin vises, drop indicators, dial indicators, milling machines, ball endmills, etc, etc, etc, ...

i know some of this has been incorporated by progressive builders, but i think some more out of the box thinking needs to happen one of these days. there is a whole different realm of possibilities available.
That's an interesting teaser.

Do you see a problem here that needs a solution?

Do you have something to offer?
Reply With Quote
  #59  
Old 07-25-2014, 04:28 PM
LouieAtienza LouieAtienza is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 4,622
Default

I think there are many builders out there using tools from the metalworking world. Different indicators are used to measure thickness and deflection. Endmills are popular, especially those in sizes smaller than 1/16" are used for inlay work, kerfing, bracing, and even fret slot cutting. I believe Charles Fox had advocated the use of granite surface plates for years. And many including myself have moved into the use of CNC routers and mills, and even CNC lasers. Ball endmills are used on duplicarvers, and I had used them on a manual fretboad radius jig, neck carving jig and archtop carving jig.

I had to convince a fellow builder that a simple straight flute bit is more efficient at roughing a neck than a ball endmill. He didn`t want ti do the bit change, but even with the tool change the job ran over 30% faster.

There are many tools that can be used in the name of ultimate precision, though I try to draw the line when intuition and experience work faster and just as well. In other words, it`s too easy to overthink a.problem and solution.
Reply With Quote
  #60  
Old 07-27-2014, 10:53 AM
NEGuy NEGuy is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Roseville, CA --> Zellwood, FL
Posts: 328
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank Ford View Post
That's an interesting teaser.

Do you see a problem here that needs a solution?

Do you have something to offer?
+1

(It's difficult -- for me, anyway -- to imagine any problem posed in this thread having a more efficient solution than one already suggested by the world class luthiers that have responded!)
.
Reply With Quote
Reply

  The Acoustic Guitar Forum > General Acoustic Guitar and Amplification Discussion > Build and Repair

Thread Tools



All times are GMT -6. The time now is 12:59 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, The Acoustic Guitar Forum
vB Ad Management by =RedTyger=