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  #46  
Old 11-05-2014, 07:53 PM
gpj1136 gpj1136 is offline
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Originally Posted by LouieAtienza View Post
lmi sells bone shims you ca glue to the bpttom then aand to height.. just another option.
Thanks Louie I haven't noticed those before
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  #47  
Old 11-05-2014, 07:58 PM
redir redir is offline
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Yup, every once in a while I'll get a guitar in where the strings at the nut are perfectly level with respect to the arch of the fretboard and with each other but as a set are too high. In that case you can sand off the bottom of the nut to adjust the action but that's rare and even in that case it's best to just sand off whats obvious and then get each slot individually.
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  #48  
Old 11-05-2014, 08:04 PM
gpj1136 gpj1136 is offline
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I agree Frank that would seem the better method when it does in fact need to be lowered.
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  #49  
Old 11-05-2014, 09:00 PM
John Arnold John Arnold is offline
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. Would you REALLY cut an original ivory Martin nut in half rather than relieve the tiny amount behind it necessary to tap it out without damage?
No, but I have seldom felt the need to saw a kerf behind the nut either. That permanently alters the guitar. Sawing through the nut is only used when I am replacing it.
The angled bottom of the nut on older Martins causes it to release easier than a flat-bottom nut that is captured by the peghead veneer.
If chipping the corner of an original ivory nut is a concern, then I suggest heating the nut. It works very well.....especially with the sloppy hide glue joint that is often found under the nut of a vintage Martin.
Maybe it's just me, but I prefer repairing a chipped corner of the nut, rather than dealing with a too-wide slot by putting wood filler in it.
There are few things I have seen you illustrate where I disagree with your approach, but this is definitely one of them.
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  #50  
Old 11-06-2014, 12:08 AM
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Frank Ford Frank Ford is offline
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Weil sir, I have no problem agreeing to disagree on that small point!

I have tried heating Martin nuts and found the process relatively unworkable as a routine for me, so I will continue with that .010 cut behind the nut. I'd much rather have that small gap rather than suffer or try to repair the diagonal crack in the back corner of the nut.
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  #51  
Old 11-08-2014, 03:41 PM
John Arnold John Arnold is offline
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I don't think the problem with a 'growing' nut slot has been resolved. When I make a new nut, I want it to fit the slot snugly. I don't want any gap, particularly on the older Martin nuts with the angled bottom. While it is possible to glue the nut in before stringing the guitar (Martin does it routinely), I prefer to put some hot hide glue in the slot, place the nut, then string the guitar to hold it in place while the glue sets. That way, the nut can be 'dialed in' before it is glued, since it has already been done.
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  #52  
Old 11-08-2014, 04:04 PM
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I don't think the problem with a 'growing' nut slot has been resolved.
Nor has it been identified, I'd say. "Growing" nut slot? What exactly is a growing nut slot?
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  #53  
Old 11-08-2014, 04:19 PM
Ned Milburn Ned Milburn is offline
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Originally Posted by Frank Ford View Post
Nor has it been identified, I'd say. "Growing" nut slot? What exactly is a growing nut slot?
Frank, come on.... I think it is quite clear what the "growing nut slot" John is referring to.

Thinking a bit more after the last few posts, something doesn't add up...

1) Why would the nut need to come out other than the requirement for alteration - specifically shimming its bottom to make it taller to accommodate newer higher frets? Let me know if there is something I am missing.

2) If the nut needs to be altered, ivory or otherwise, I think most if not all of my clients would choose to have a new well-made bone nut installed rather than have the original nut altered AND some original wood cut away AND have some wood fill inserted to fill in the "growing nut slot".

3) I consider nut and saddle to be replaceable items, just like frets, strings, and tuners - to be replaced when necessary.

Hence, I still cannot think that on a vintage Martin the best way to deal with a stubborn nut is to cut away some wood, however, little, and fill in the gap with wood fill.

Rather, I'd prefer to get some LEGAL ivory (legal ivory does exist, does it not?) for those connoisseurs of ivory who wish to pay more for it, or just replace with a good quality bone blank.
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  #54  
Old 11-08-2014, 05:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ned Milburn View Post

Frank, come on.... I think it is quite clear what the "growing nut slot" John is referring to.

1) Why would the nut need to come out other than the requirement for alteration - specifically shimming its bottom to make it taller to accommodate newer higher frets? Let me know if there is something I am missing.

2) If the nut needs to be altered, ivory or otherwise, I think most if not all of my clients would choose to have a new well-made bone nut installed rather than have the original nut altered AND some original wood cut away AND have some wood fill inserted to fill in the "growing nut slot".

3) I consider nut and saddle to be replaceable items, just like frets, strings, and tuners - to be replaced when necessary.

Hence, I still cannot think that on a vintage Martin the best way to deal with a stubborn nut is to cut away some wood, however, little, and fill in the gap with wood fill.

Rather, I'd prefer to get some LEGAL ivory (legal ivory does exist, does it not?) for those connoisseurs of ivory who wish to pay more for it, or just replace with a good quality bone blank.

First, despite the fact that I repeatedly state that my TEN THOUSANDTHS wide cut is a ONE TIME ONLY event to remove an original embedded nut to avoid breaking same, there seems to be an insistence that it has to be redone at every nut removal. I have NEVER, repeat NEVER cut so much that wood fill behind the nut is required. I don't fill that space most of the time because it is so small as to be unnoticed.

So, NO I don't see a growing nut slot since, once again THERE'S NO CIRCUMSTANCE under which I would need to recut behind that nut OR ANY REPLACEMENT that wasn't potted in place. SO THERE'S NO GROWTH in the slot for that reason.

Now I have seen nut slots where the bottom has been chewed to bits from repeated gluing and removal, but that's a different issue. I believe most of us agree that gluing the nut to the end of the board is sufficient.


To answer -

#1: It is my preference to spend a bit of time to level and prep a fingerboard before refretting, and to accommodate doing the best possible job, removal of the nut is standard procedure. New frets may require shimming the nut higher, but not always. Now, you may think that the only reason for refretting is to replace frets because of wear. You would be wrong.

The main reason for much of our fret work is to correct minor problems with the neck's straightness, relief, etc. It's sometimes known (at Martin, for example) as "straightening the fingerboard."

#2 Seems like complete nonsense. Of course there's no point in relieving behind the nut to avoid cracking the back corner if the object is to replace it. Thus, no reason to discuss filling with wood, or whatever. If I do the relief cut and later replace the nut, The new nut fills the space neatly, needs no filler, and looks exactly the same size and shape as an original. That is, unless you think people can or do judge the difference between .230 and .240 by eye.

#3 I hope we all agree that nuts and saddles are replaceable.



While we're still flagellating this deceased equine, please take a little detour over to this page on Gryphon's inventory, where in photo #19 you can see a very nice closeup of the small kerf behind the nut - no filler, and it hasn't grown yet so far as I've noticed:

http://www.gryphonstrings.com/instpix/43877/index.php

Is it really all that objectionable?
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  #55  
Old 11-08-2014, 05:33 PM
John Arnold John Arnold is offline
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If I do the relief cut and later replace the nut, The new nut fills the space neatly, needs no filler, and looks exactly the same size and shape as an original.
If the slot is 0.010" wider and the new nut fills it, it is not exactly the same size as the original. It is 0.010" wider. It cannot look the same, at least not to someone who looks at vintage Martins every day.
I will not accept a nut that fits that loosely, for the following reasons.
When the strings are tightened prior to gluing the nut, either one of two things happens:
1) The nut slides away from the end of the fingerboard, leaving a gap.
2) The nut tilts, and is no longer flat against the end of the fingerboard.
Quote:
THERE'S NO CIRCUMSTANCE under which I would need to recut behind that nut OR ANY REPLACEMENT that wasn't potted in place. SO THERE'S NO GROWTH in the slot for that reason.
What if a replacement nut is 'potted' in place? It does happen.
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  #56  
Old 11-08-2014, 05:44 PM
murrmac123 murrmac123 is offline
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Originally Posted by John Arnold View Post
If the slot is 0.010" wider and the new nut fills it, it is not exactly the same size as the original. It is 0.010" wider. It cannot look the same, at least not to someone who looks at vintage Martins every day.
Are all nuts, on all vintage Martins, exactly identical in width and profile, accurate to less than .010" ?

Maybe they are ... just asking ...
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  #57  
Old 11-08-2014, 06:11 PM
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Frank Ford Frank Ford is offline
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Originally Posted by murrmac123 View Post
Are all nuts, on all vintage Martins, exactly identical in width and profile, accurate to less than .010" ?
On Internet forums they are. Absolutes abound here.
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  #58  
Old 11-08-2014, 07:44 PM
Ned Milburn Ned Milburn is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank Ford View Post

http://www.gryphonstrings.com/instpix/43877/index.php

Is it really all that objectionable?
The photos aren't great, but to me, in the 2nd one with the headstock/nut close-up, it appears that there is a gap. For me, this is objectionable, yes. You asked. I try to get my nuts to fit as flush as darn well possible, and if I ever thin a nut 1/4mm too thin (10thou), then I chuck it and make another. That's just me, and that's my standard.

1/4mm gap that was not pre-existing is an extra 1/4 gap that has been added. Period. It seems clear that Mr. Arnold and myself find this is unacceptable, but you find it is completely acceptable. That is fine to have different standards.

Frankly, it seems to me that you aren't happy with the fact that Mr. Arnold and I find the 1/4mm gap unfavourable. If you really like the gap, and it doesn't bother you, keep it. But you needn't get emotional about the fact that we have different sentiments on the issue.

As I have often stated, one of my favorite quotes from Ralph Towner in answer to my question about composition rules:

"If it works, use it. If it doesn't, don't."

Frank, it is obvious that you do good solid repair work, and that you are quite capable and a top tier repairman. Many people benefit from the information you share through this forum and your website. All of us, however, can always find room to improve. Alan Carruth points this out in another thread (regarding his point that we will all continue to make mistakes). I, as participant on this forum, benefit from the wisdom and experience of others, and am very thankful that these discussions exist.

Let's continue to have these discussions, and let's continue to disagree at times. It would be a boring world if we were all the exact same. But I hope we can continue to disagree kindly, respectfully, without feeling the need to make snide remarks.
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  #59  
Old 11-08-2014, 08:39 PM
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Frank Ford Frank Ford is offline
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Originally Posted by Ned Milburn View Post

Frankly, it seems to me that you aren't happy with the fact that Mr. Arnold and I find the 1/4mm gap unfavourable.
No, it's that bit about it "growing," implying a continuing degradation of the work and the instrument.

And, I reckon I do object to extreme rigidity of opinion about technique when there are so many mitigating factors about repair/restoration work. My world isn't black-and-white, it's full of shades, and decisions get made along the way based on a variety of factors to be sure.

Originality is one factor, but it isn't the only one nor necessarily the primary one in all circumstances.

Of course I don't see the little gap as favorable or desirable. I just find it unnoticeable and appropriate some of the time to allow it.

I, too, fit nuts closely when making new ones - I hope that goes without saying. . .
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  #60  
Old 11-09-2014, 08:51 AM
LouieAtienza LouieAtienza is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank Ford View Post
While we're still flagellating this deceased equine...
This has to be the quote of the year so far! I'm just glad the feces had not struck the rotary device!

Honestly, I can't believe there's this much controversy about this. I would assume using this technique the replace nut is glued in place prior to tuning to pitch, eliminating slip or tilt.

Sometimes however with a problem nut, I have had success partially filling the slot with a mastic made of thinned epoxy and bone dust. On one particular repair I actually ground down the top of the nut and glued a thin piece on top. The real truth to all here is that there are many ways to skin the proverbial cat, and one must use their knowledge, experience as well as assess the situation at hand to find the best solution, that also works best to the particular repairman. If someone pulls the nut off a vintage guitar, it's not original any more anyway.
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