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  #1  
Old 01-13-2020, 03:57 PM
Peepaw Peepaw is offline
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Default 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
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  #2  
Old 01-13-2020, 05:35 PM
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Mr. Jelly Mr. Jelly is offline
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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.
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  #3  
Old 01-13-2020, 05:39 PM
Bass.swimmer Bass.swimmer is offline
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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)
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Old 01-13-2020, 09:46 PM
HodgdonExtreme HodgdonExtreme is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bass.swimmer View Post
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.
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  #5  
Old 01-13-2020, 11:04 PM
Frank Ford Frank Ford is offline
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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. . .
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Old 01-14-2020, 05:59 AM
Talldad Talldad is offline
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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
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  #7  
Old 01-14-2020, 06:03 AM
Peepaw Peepaw is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank Ford View Post
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?
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  #8  
Old 01-14-2020, 07:29 AM
jonfields45 jonfields45 is offline
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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.
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Old 01-14-2020, 08:02 AM
MC5C MC5C is offline
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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.
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Old 01-14-2020, 09:52 AM
HodgdonExtreme HodgdonExtreme is online now
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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
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?
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Old 01-14-2020, 11:34 AM
MC5C MC5C is offline
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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.
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Old 01-14-2020, 11:52 AM
Howard Klepper Howard Klepper is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Jelly View Post
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 View Post
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
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Last edited by Howard Klepper; 01-14-2020 at 03:09 PM.
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  #13  
Old 01-14-2020, 02:41 PM
redir redir is offline
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^ 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.
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  #14  
Old 01-14-2020, 04:11 PM
Peepaw Peepaw is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MC5C View Post
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.
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  #15  
Old 01-14-2020, 04:13 PM
Peepaw Peepaw is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Howard Klepper View Post
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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