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Filing Nut Slots

#1 User is offline   ThemisSal 

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Posted 11 January 2018 - 05:57 AM

Morning gents and ladies,

I recently had my guys (Russo's) make a new nut for my J45, and do a setup where the action is just how I like it.

Mission accomplished... almost.

The nut slots for the A and G strings are barely perceptible. I actually out new strings on, and was running into a problem where those strings were fickle about staying in their nut slot. There is also an unpleasant ping or resonance that makes itself known. The easy answer is for me to drive back to Russo's and have them fix it, which is the prudent course.

The less-prudent course - perhaps - is to buy a set of files and carefully adjust the nut slots myself.

My question(s):

What files would you get if you were to do it yourselves? Stew Mac files are EXPENSIVE. There are cheaper sets? Where?

Any insight on how to adjust these almost-non-existing-slots?


I have been strapped for time lately, and driving down an hour plus each way to Russo's and having them fix it - even for free - is not without cost in money, tolls, gas, and time.
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#2 User is offline   BluesKing777 

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Posted 11 January 2018 - 06:08 AM

I had a new nut with wider spacing put on my 93 Lowden LSE1, kept the old nut, to see if it is better for fat fingers instead of the 1 11/16”.

Works great! Except I have the same problem as you.

I was thinking a bit of sandpaper would probably get the burrs out......or I would need the full StewMac nut slot kit and I don’t intend doing it again. My luthier is minutes away, but is incredibly busy - took ages to get the new nut! I know I also should take it back, he would probably go..zoosh, zoosh, zoosh with the correct files and home I would come...in theory.

Let me know what you decide....


BluesKing777.
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#3 User is offline   blindboygrunt 

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Posted 11 January 2018 - 06:08 AM

No answer from me Sal
But , wouldn’t filing the slots make the string lower and therefore screw up the setup ??
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#4 User is offline   ThemisSal 

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Posted 11 January 2018 - 06:14 AM

If I were to do it Grunt, I would not go deep - these strings are almost sitting on top of the nut; barely a groove currently on those two strings. I could buy the files for $80 bucks, and then in theory have use for them again. Or I could drive down which would cost me about $60 bucks plus three hours of my time...
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#5 User is offline   blindboygrunt 

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Posted 11 January 2018 - 06:19 AM

Well you’re worth more than $6.66 an hour I would guess
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#6 User is offline   j45nick 

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Posted 11 January 2018 - 06:38 AM

View PostThemisSal, on 11 January 2018 - 05:57 AM, said:

My question(s):

What files would you get if you were to do it yourselves? Stew Mac files are EXPENSIVE. There are cheaper sets? Where?



Suck it up, Sal, and spring for the Stewmac files. There's a reason they are expensive. The edge radius is just the right shape for string slots They're the right tools for the job, and if you screw it up by using the wrong tools, what's it going to cost you?
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#7 User is offline   blindboygrunt 

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Posted 11 January 2018 - 06:41 AM

View Postj45nick, on 11 January 2018 - 06:38 AM, said:

Suck it up, Sal, and spring for the Stewmac files. There's a reason they are expensive. The edge radius is just the right shape for string slots They're the right tools for the job, and if you screw it up by using the wrong tools, what's it going to cost you?


Plus we’re all gonna laugh at you
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#8 User is offline   Murph 

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Posted 11 January 2018 - 07:04 AM

The strings will cut their own slots.

Takes a while, though..............
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#9 User is offline   ChristopherJ 

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Posted 11 January 2018 - 08:50 AM

https://www.amazon.c...2/dp/B000UVR0NO
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#10 User is offline   blindboygrunt 

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Posted 11 January 2018 - 08:55 AM

View PostChristopherJ, on 11 January 2018 - 08:50 AM, said:




No , don’t buy those ...
I bought some , they’re alright for cleaning a slot , but certainly won’t be very accurate for actually ‘filing’ one
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#11 User is offline   rct 

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Posted 11 January 2018 - 09:04 AM

My Mrs is a jeweler type, I just use hers. When we were young I used the edge of any decent fine file, and believe it or not a good steak knife and a careful hand will do just fine. It doesn't take much and it is far less dramatic than it is made out to be.

Half the depth of the diameter of the string.

And like Murph, I let the strings wear in the slot. My 17 year old Les Paul still pops the D out of the nut on certain songs, right up into the A slot. You'd think, after a while...

rct
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#12 User is offline   kidblast 

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Posted 11 January 2018 - 09:13 AM

It's a hard call Sal the nut files are expensive for just a touch up, the little cheapo set would actually work.

I have two sets of these, and in a pinch, they are OKAY,, but be very careful ... they are not nearly as good as a real, properly sized, nut file.

it's almost worth it to buy the real deal,, ------ almost --------------

a drive to the place may make more sense.

you can lube the slots but it will never really solve it.

have you tried taking a small fold of sand paper to these slots? maybe that can do the trick.. sounds like it just needs a little more room for each string.
/Ray
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#13 User is offline   fsharp 

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Posted 11 January 2018 - 09:43 AM

First of all I wouldn't be surprised if it took almost the same 3 hours doing it yourself as it takes to drive down there and back. Its probably a 20 minute job if you've done it before and have the confidence, but it would take me 3 hours to do a little and try it and do a little more and try it again because I would be afraid of screwing it up.
Second - if you do it yourself and go too deep and wind up with buzzing strings then Russo's isn't going to fix that for free. They will charge you for another new nut and you will be making a trip down there again anyway. I never messed with a nut but I did buy a new saddle and pins one time and it took me hours to sand them till they fit because I was afraid of taking off too much.
Steve
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#14 User is offline   ChristopherJ 

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Posted 11 January 2018 - 10:01 AM

View Postblindboygrunt, on 11 January 2018 - 08:55 AM, said:

No , don’t buy those ...
I bought some , they’re alright for cleaning a slot , but certainly won’t be very accurate for actually ‘filing’ one


I've made many a nut with them. I have legit nut files now, but for only one or two slots they are expensive.
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#15 User is offline   Dave F 

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Posted 11 January 2018 - 10:48 AM

It’s a good thing to know how to do if you go through a lot of guitars. I’ve made my own nut saw that works great then bought a Stewmac indicator and base to measure the string height over the frets. I use it at the 1st fret when working on the slots and the twelfth when working on the saddle. If I take a slot to deep a little paste of superglue and bone dust will fix it.
If you want to give it try, PM me and I’ll loan them to you.
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#16 User is offline   ThemisSal 

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Posted 11 January 2018 - 10:54 AM

Guys thanks for weighing in. I am springing for the files.
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#17 User is offline   blindboygrunt 

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Posted 11 January 2018 - 10:59 AM

View PostThemisSal, on 11 January 2018 - 10:54 AM, said:

Guys thanks for weighing in. I am springing for the files.


Keep us in the loop
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#18 User is offline   mz-s 

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Posted 11 January 2018 - 11:36 AM

I've used acetylene torch tip cleaning files from Home Depot for deepening already cut slots. They're $3 a pack I believe and work well for this use.

The files have a very gentle cut, so it would take forever to cut a new slot with them. In that case I would spring for the StewMac files, or maybe carefully use a 10-thousandths kerf razor saw. You can roll the saw back and forth while cutting to widen and round out the slot.
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#19 User is offline   scriv58 

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Posted 11 January 2018 - 11:42 AM

How about using an old string (in your case A and G) and carefully working it back and forth in the slot?
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#20 User is offline   Tarrr 

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Posted 11 January 2018 - 12:38 PM

This is the way nut slots should look. String gently bends down & towards the winding side of the tuning post. My Collings CJ:

Posted Image
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