Results 1 to 12 of 12
Like Tree2Likes
  • 1 Post By Steve A.
  • 1 Post By Mick Bailey

Thread: Nut slots-angled or straight?

  1. #1
    Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Posts
    44

    Nut slots-angled or straight?

    This is a question for those of you cut your nut slots. Do you follow the headstock angle or do you file parallel with the fingerboard? The nut does several jobs, 0-fret, string spreader/keeper Headstocks are angled to exert pressure on the string to keep the string from popping out of the slot. Does it make a difference? Wont the angled slot wear faster due to the peak or edge fret side? Does it affect playability? Thanks

  2. #2
    Supporting Member Steve A.'s Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    3,679
    The nut slot needs to slope upwards towards the fretboard so that there is a sharp enough break angle for a solid tone. A completely level nut slot could have a buzzing banjo or sitar effect. (I learned that from Wayne "Doc" Horner here at AMPAGE in the late 90's.)

    Steve Ahola

  3. #3
    Supporting Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    2,329
    +1.

    The strings angle upward towards the bridge, so a slot that's level with the fingerboard would buzz on open strings even if it didn't on fretted notes.

    There's another factor; strings have a certain bend radius - particularly heavier, wound strings where they can get coil-bound and in any case have a stiffer core. This means that when a string is bent over an edge it can rise slightly immediately after the bend. That is to say, it doesn't have the same bend radius as the edge it's bent over (unless it's forced to do so).

    Angling the slot addresses both of these and results in buzz-free nuts.

    I guess there would be increased wear compared to a level slot, but a guitar with a buzz at the nut is no good.

  4. #4
    Supporting Member Steve A.'s Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    3,679
    On a related note (C#!) there has been a big problem with recent low-end models Gibson having nuts which grab on to the strings causing them to go flat even after pre-stretching the strings. One test for this is to tune the string to pitch then push down on the string between the nut and the tuning key. If the string goes sharp and doesn't return to pitch you have the dreaded Gibson grabby nut syndrome.

    To save wear and tear on my nut files I've been using a set of oxy-acetylene tip cleaners to make the nut slots a little wider. Home Depot sells a set of 13 for $3.90.



    Lincoln Electric Long Tip Cleaner-KH574 - The Home Depot

    Or if money is no object you can buy a set of 6 "nut slot saw rods" from an ebay seller for $15.99 incl s/h



    Vintage 1950's Carnaval p˙rpura de cristal de palo de vela los titulares de las uvas y hojas Set | eBay

    I've been handing out the $3.90 sets to my luthier friends as a little thank you present for all of the advice that they have given me...

    Steve Ahola

  5. #5
    riz
    riz is offline
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Oakland, CA. USA
    Posts
    283
    Quote Originally Posted by Mick Bailey View Post
    +1.

    The strings angle upward towards the bridge, so a slot that's level with the fingerboard would buzz on open strings even if it didn't on fretted notes.

    There's another factor; strings have a certain bend radius - particularly heavier, wound strings where they can get coil-bound and in any case have a stiffer core. This means that when a string is bent over an edge it can rise slightly immediately after the bend. That is to say, it doesn't have the same bend radius as the edge it's bent over (unless it's forced to do so).

    Angling the slot addresses both of these and results in buzz-free nuts.

    I guess there would be increased wear compared to a level slot, but a guitar with a buzz at the nut is no good.
    Yep. Give your slots a gentle roll-off away from the bearing edge, to support the string and distribute the load. I cut them straight with a slight downward (toward the tuner) taper first, and then roll them off slightly with a few strokes of the file. Helps to grind and polish safe edges on your file ends, and protect that headstock finish with some thin hard plastic!
    Don't believe everything you think. Beware of Rottweiler. Search engines are free.

  6. #6
    riz
    riz is offline
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Oakland, CA. USA
    Posts
    283
    I wanted to add--stiffness increases with core diameter as Mick described above, and that effectively shortens the vibrating length of the string. Which is why we need to compensate for intonation!
    Don't believe everything you think. Beware of Rottweiler. Search engines are free.

  7. #7
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Sacramento, CA
    Posts
    499
    Quote Originally Posted by Steve A. View Post
    On a related note (C#!) there has been a big problem with recent low-end models Gibson having nuts which grab on to the strings causing them to go flat even after pre-stretching the strings. One test for this is to tune the string to pitch then push down on the string between the nut and the tuning key. If the string goes sharp and doesn't return to pitch you have the dreaded Gibson grabby nut syndrome.

    To save wear and tear on my nut files I've been using a set of oxy-acetylene tip cleaners to make the nut slots a little wider. Home Depot sells a set of 13 for $3.90.



    Lincoln Electric Long Tip Cleaner-KH574 - The Home Depot

    Or if money is no object you can buy a set of 6 "nut slot saw rods" from an ebay seller for $15.99 incl s/h



    Vintage 1950's Carnaval p˙rpura de cristal de palo de vela los titulares de las uvas y hojas Set | eBay

    I've been handing out the $3.90 sets to my luthier friends as a little thank you present for all of the advice that they have given me...

    Steve Ahola
    I use guitar strings to clean my torch.

  8. #8
    Supporting Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    2,329
    I recently needed a custom spring for a vintage desk fan restoration (it has automatic oilers for the bearings). But no spring wire. What about all those bass strings in a pile?

    Endless fun unwinding the wrap, but the core was perfect.

  9. #9
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Sacramento, CA
    Posts
    499
    Automatic oilers for a desk fan? That must be some fan.

  10. #10
    Supporting Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    2,329
    Too right - I'll post a pic when I get chance.
    Richard likes this.

  11. #11
    Supporting Member Steve A.'s Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    3,679
    Another tip: If you end up cutting a nut slot too deep before replacing the nut try filling the slot in with Superglue and baking soda, and then recut it. Back in the OLDE days I'd cut a small piece from a string envelope and wedge it under the string...

    Steve Ahola

  12. #12
    Supporting Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    2,329
    Here's a pic of the fan oilers....

    fan.jpg

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Similar Threads

  1. Les paul nut slots - fanned or straight?
    By Mick Bailey in forum Guitar Tech
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 10-25-2016, 11:47 AM
  2. Angled claw?
    By tedmich in forum Guitar Tech
    Replies: 12
    Last Post: 04-12-2016, 04:30 AM
  3. Replacement nut to remove a Floyd Rose locking nut
    By Slobrain in forum Guitar Tech
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 02-26-2016, 04:30 AM
  4. Replies: 13
    Last Post: 07-11-2012, 11:52 PM
  5. Replies: 38
    Last Post: 06-17-2010, 02:07 PM

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •