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Nut question


dwolf

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Hello everyone,

Glad to see the forum is still up and running after the big fiasco. I have a couple questions. I just bought a limited edition 20th Anniversary SJ-200 Montana Gold from Sweetwater. Got the guitar in, and tweaked it a bit—changed the light gauge PB strings to my usual 80/20, and tweaked the trussrod to remove a bit of relief. I noticed at the outset that the high E string sounded a bit weak. After I’d made the adjustments I discovered a bit of fret buzz at the first fret, leading me to believe the nut may be slotted too deeply and may need to be replaced. Not certain though I’ve never encountered this problem and have owned a fair number of guitars. My questions are this:

1. If the nut needs to be replaced: The lacquer finish is over the edge of the nut, and, from what I’ve read, must be scored to remove the nut to prevent lacquer chipping (I’m not planning to do this work myself). Anyone have any experience or know how difficult this is to get a new nut back in and have a good cosmetic result? It’s such a beautiful guitar—If it needs to be replaced, then it needs to be replaced, but just wondering if anyone on the forum has had this done, and how it came out?

2. The luthier I use for all my work is no longer a Gibson dealer, but he’s the person I most trust to work on my guitars. I read that the Gibson warranty may be voided by having someone do work who isn’t an authorized service person. Is that true? Something I should worry about? Or should I just have the person I most trust do the work? It’s quite possible that it just may need a set-up, and I’m tempted to bring it to my guy and bypass the whole warranty deal on this issue. For the cost I’m expecting this to be, I don’t think it’s worth it to me to take it to someone I don’t know. But I don’t want to void the warranty either. Thoughts?

3. If the nut does indeed need to be replaced, I’m thinking I might do something different with it as well as the saddle and endpins (Colosi). Should I go back with a bone nut or something like fossilized whale ivory? Match the nut and saddle? I’m ruling out elephant ivory and the other west African hard ivory (don’t want to get into a discussion on that). I realize that there are a lot of opinions on this, but what do you think? The guitar sounds great as it is, but more a question of curiosity. The saddle and pins could be easily swapped, but the nut’s obviously more of a commitment. The pins are plastic with abalone inlay and a bit tight fitting at that, so something nicer might be worth considering. I’m pretty sure the saddle’s bone. I’ve never changed a stock nut or saddle, but this seems to be a common thing for folks on the forum, so just wanted some input.

Thanks,

Dwight

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Hello everyone' date='

Glad to see the forum is still up and running after the big fiasco. I have a couple questions. I just bought a limited edition 20th Anniversary SJ-200 Montana Gold from Sweetwater. Got the guitar in, and tweaked it a bit—changed the light gauge PB strings to my usual 80/20, and tweaked the trussrod to remove a bit of relief. I noticed at the outset that the high E string sounded a bit weak. After I’d made the adjustments I discovered a bit of fret buzz at the first fret, leading me to believe the nut may be slotted too deeply and may need to be replaced. Not certain though I’ve never encountered this problem and have owned a fair number of guitars. My questions are this:

1. If the nut needs to be replaced: The lacquer finish is over the edge of the nut, and, from what I’ve read, must be scored to remove the nut to prevent lacquer chipping (I’m not planning to do this work myself). Anyone have any experience or know how difficult this is to get a new nut back in and have a good cosmetic result? It’s such a beautiful guitar—If it needs to be replaced, then it needs to be replaced, but just wondering if anyone on the forum has had this done, and how it came out?

2. The luthier I use for all my work is no longer a Gibson dealer, but he’s the person I most trust to work on my guitars. I read that the Gibson warranty may be voided by having someone do work who isn’t an authorized service person. Is that true? Something I should worry about? Or should I just have the person I most trust do the work? It’s quite possible that it just may need a set-up, and I’m tempted to bring it to my guy and bypass the whole warranty deal on this issue. For the cost I’m expecting this to be, I don’t think it’s worth it to me to take it to someone I don’t know. But I don’t want to void the warranty either. Thoughts?

3. If the nut does indeed need to be replaced, I’m thinking I might do something different with it as well as the saddle and endpins (Colosi). Should I go back with a bone nut or something like fossilized whale ivory? Match the nut and saddle? I’m ruling out elephant ivory and the other west African hard ivory (don’t want to get into a discussion on that). I realize that there are a lot of opinions on this, but what do you think? The guitar sounds great as it is, but more a question of curiosity. The saddle and pins could be easily swapped, but the nut’s obviously more of a commitment. The pins are plastic with abalone inlay and a bit tight fitting at that, so something nicer might be worth considering. I’m pretty sure the saddle’s bone. I’ve never changed a stock nut or saddle, but this seems to be a common thing for folks on the forum, so just wanted some input.

Thanks,

Dwight

[/quote']

 

1. The new nut can be replaced and the lacquer touched up so it is unnoticeable.

 

2. I don't believe a setup (which includes saddles and nuts) is included in what they consider work that would violate the warranty. I'd be very surprised if this is the case.

 

3. I'm one of those that thinks the nut has less of an impact on the sound quality (as long as it is a hard material). The difference between Tusq and bone is negligible. I prefer the look of polished bone.

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If the problem is only one string, I have heard of some luthiers building up the offending slot then re-cutting the nut in situ.

 

I beleive it involves making a past of cyanoacrylate glue and nut dust from a donor nut. Then using the preparation to fill in the slot partially. Then, after it dries, cutting the slot in the usual manner.

 

This might pass muster for warranty purposes and would be less time consuming, i.e. less costly. It also avoids the problem or lacquer touch-up.

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Thanks Tommy--I'd heard of that, but also had read that it may not be as durable in the long run. Not sure if that's true. I'm going to take it in to my guy tomorrow and see what he thinks. I really appreciate everyone's input. I'll have to post some pics when I get it back and can figure out how to do that. It's an unbelievably pretty guitar.

Dwight

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The bone dust + super glue really is a good trick that will last quite a while. Sure... it will not be as permanent as replacing the nut, but it is extremely quick and easy to reapply whenever needed. If you ever need any bone dust, just let me know... I have quite a bit of it. =P~

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Thanks!! Just recognized the name--I'd suspect that there's no shortage of bone dust at your place!! Welcome to the forum. You'll enjoy the discussions. I'm bringing the guitar to my tech today. Heard from Gibson--if a nut replacement is needed, that shouldn't cause a problem with the warranty.

Dwight

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Whenever I'm making a new bone saddle or nut, I collect sanding dust in a plastic film cannister, so have a supply for building up slots. Since it is high E only, and that string is plain (not wrapped) there is essentially zero filing action on the slot when tuning the string, so I would guess it might never wear through a proper fill in your lifetime. I have also used baking soda w/ CyA glue and it does work, too. I defy a normal human to be able to detect that a slot bottom was built up a few thousandths like this. Maybe if you peered closely with a jeweler's loup. It's certainly not obvious at a glance.

 

I'm pretty sure Gibson would consider nuts and saddles as "consumables", not warranty items. Like shocks on your car, changing those youself won't void a warranty on the engine. Just because you replaced a nut wouldn't let them off the hook for a neck reset, or a loose bridge. Of course once the original nut is gone, they wouldn't want to cover the new nut, assuming they could tell it wasn't a factory nut. A good luthier could make it impossible to prove one way or t'other.

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Thanks everyone--Brian, that makes sense--I never really thought about the plain strings being less abrasive and less likely to wear through. I brought it in to my guy yesterday. (First thing he said on opening the case was "Wow"--and he's not easily impressed). He suggested the same remedy as the folks here suggested--a bone dust, cyanocryalate fill. He'll be checking it over and doing a general set up. I should be getting it back in a day or two. I'll post and let everyone know how it came out. I'd post some pics but I'd have to figure out how. Oh, and borrow a camera...

Thanks everyone for the helpful suggestions.

Dwight

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I have the same problem as dwolf: high E slot cut too deep. My question is, being that cyanoacrolate hardens so fast, do you mix the powder and glue before setting it into the slot, or do you place the powder into the slot and then add the glue? I was thinking of building a dam on both sides of the nut with tape and then adding the powder, and then the glue.

Which way do you all suggest?

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I have the same problem as dwolf: high E slot cut too deep. My question is' date=' being that cyanoacrolate hardens so fast, do you mix the powder and glue before setting it into the slot, or do you place the powder into the slot and then add the glue? I was thinking of building a dam on both sides of the nut with tape and then adding the powder, and then the glue.

Which way do you all suggest?[/quote']

 

 

You can get slower setting cyano, do the mix, get it in place and then shoot it with accelerator.

 

This page shows a number of the different products available, including the accelerator and the solvent.

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The bone dust + super glue really is a good trick that will last quite a while. Sure... it will not be as permanent as replacing the nut' date=' but it is extremely quick and easy to reapply whenever needed. If you ever need any bone dust, just let me know... I have quite a bit of it. [-X [/quote']

 

 

Been there done it...has lasted 3 years and will likely go another 3.

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Well' date=' since nobody else has stepped up to the plate..... I guess I could spare some "nut dust" for you!

 

Paul "Donor Nut" Taylor Player... =P~

[/quote']

 

'Mater said he'd give his left lug nut for the cause. #-o Or maybe that was a date with Porshe? :-k

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...cyanoacrolate hardens so fast' date=' do you mix the powder and glue before setting it into the slot, or do you place the powder into the slot and then add the glue? I was thinking of building a dam on both sides of the nut with tape and then adding the powder, and then the glue.

Which way do you all suggest?[/quote']

 

Actually, CyA glue hardens slowly. In fact it only grabs quickly in the absense of air, as in mating up two preglued, tight fitting parts, or your fingers. It grabs almost instantly and never lets go. CyA is a anaerobic adhesive. It only hardens in the absense of air (oxygen?). I would tape off the area of the head stock next to the nut to avoid dribbles from getting on it. Use scotch 'magic' tape so you can make sure the tape is firmly down at the edges so the glue doesn't wick under the tape via gaps. Mix the bone dust and CyA with a disposable spatula / coffee stirrer, then apply to the slot. Then go have coffee, maybe evn lunch, then come back, it should be hardened. File away.

 

There are varying grades of CyA. The industrial stuff absolutely will not let go under any circumstances. It used to be what was sold to home owners. Homeowners were having so much trouble with sticking various parts of their anatomy to other parts of their anatomy and in animate objects, they quit selling it in grocery and big box stores. I'd try the consumer grade stuff first. It will probably do a good enough job.

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