North Fremantle Guitar Lessons

New Guitar Nut

  •  03 August 2018
  •  30
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So my guitar nut broke the other day.

Broken Nut
Broken Nut

I did get a replacement nut (from my local guitar shop: Just Music), which was pre-slotted, however it was not wide enough.

So I swapped it for another nut which was wide as well as long enough.

However, it was a blank nut. Made of brass.

Blank Nut
Blank Nut

So I thought I would take the plunge of do it myself.

After all, I do have some nut files.

 

Nut Files
Nut Files

So, my checklist is good, I have a set of ...

  • nut files
  • masking tape
  • sandpaper
  • ruler
  • internet
  • a blagger's attitude

What could go wrong? (luckily nothing, as it turned out)

...so I'm good to go, except Fred was having doubts

Fred Anxious
Fred Anxious

My nut is 1 + 13/16 inches.

I needed some nut data to help me get the measurements right.

I headed to the Graphtech site and used their  nut info.

Nut Info
Nut Info

(My blagger's way of doing things: They have a page you can print out to get your measurements from, I just took a screenshot of their page and zoomed in untill it was the actual size I needed, i.e. an inch on the screen was an inch in reality).

I Measured my distances and wrote them own in a nice visible place.

Distance Between Notes
Distance Between Notes

When I placed the nut in the guitars slot it wobbled a bit so I added a bit of masking tape to the side to pad it out. I also added tape to the sides of the guitar to help prevent the nut from slipping out.

Taped Nut in Place
Taped Nut in Place

With my smallest nut file, which is .010, I marked the E and e string slots, then added the slotes for the remainig strings.

Nut File .010
Nut File .010

My string guages are

  1. .028 (e)
  2. .032 (B)
  3. .040 (G) 
  4. .028 (D) 
  5. .0335 (A) 
  6. .041 (E) 

I filed the slots with nut files that matched as best they could the size I was looking for, making sure I slopped off towards the back of the nut so that the strings rested mainly on the front. The reason is because I saw a guy on YouTube do it so thought I had better, too.

My neck is flat on the fretboard side, so I did not have to factor in different heights for my strings.

Measuring from the nut, the height from the fretboard to the bottom of the string should be just enough so that when I push down at the 3rd fret, the string clears the 1st fret by 0.010 of an inch. I measured this using a feeler gauge. Again, this is from YouTiube, a luthier reading this may be going mental right now!!

With all the strings in I'm good to go... almost.

Slotted Strings Too Deep
Slotted Strings Too Deep

To finish off I need to file down the nut so that the strings are half in and half out of the groove.

This helps with tuning stability.

Finished
Finished

It's not perfect, but I am glad I had a go, and it plays nice.

I thing my B and e strings are a bit close together, and my D and G strings are a bit far apart, but what you gonna do, eh?

So I say sweet, I'm finished. All right!!

 

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