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Would This Work To Widen Nut Slots

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I have this new Agile Strat style guitar here's a pic.


The guitar is flawless but the only problem I have with it is the nut. It seems to be the right depth and the strings are sitting great and level, no high points, but some of the slots are too tight, and when I use the trem it makes that awfull ping noise, not all the time but sometimes, and never when I bend the strings for some reason. I'm just a little upset cause this is the first time I have a good tremolo (it's a Wilkinson btw and It has grover tuners) and I'm really getting some interesting and cool sounds from it, but it just goes slightly out of tune every so often after the annoying ping noises.

I don't think it needs to be widened that much since it doesn't ever do it when I bend, even with big bends.

I'm pretty sure it's the nut though, because the first day I got it and removed the clear plastic from the pickguard, I had to loosen the strings and move them out of the way cause some of the plastic was stuck under the heel, and the strings were a little hard to take out of the slots.

Could it be another problem or is it the nut?

I was just wondering if I could use something like this that my dad has laying around the house, wrap it with some sand paper and just patiently and little by little grind off a little of the sides to open up the slots a bit.


I really don't want to bring it into a shop cause they said it would cost about $75-$85.

They would need to change the strings and do a complete set up, and with taxes I'm looking at almost $100, and I've already spent waayy too much money over the holidays and can't really afford that right now. And a set of nut files would be just as expensive.

Any tips or helpfull ideas? Should I just wait it out t'ill I have some spare cash?

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Well, before you do that, why not try putting some graphite in there first --what I do is I take a pencil (bowling pencils are nice, the graphites nice n' soft, but any pencil will do) and use a file to shave off some of the graphite into the slots.

Kind of messy--try to keep it away from the maple because it can stain a little.

I think Eddie Van Halen used vaseline in his.

There are also commercial products for that.

I've also read tips on the internet that one way to cure this is to take a bit of guitar string and just coax it back and forth in the slot. That way the slot will stay the same width.

You might consider replacing the nut with a Graphtech trem nut (or similar slippery nut type --stew mac has the Delrin nuts).

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Quite a few months back, soapbarstrat posted a tutorial about making a luthier's "multi-tool" I think he called it. What is was was basically a small cabinet hinge mounted to a long threaded rod with a handle, used to hold a thickness gauge. (or a feeler gauge you know, those thing you use to set the gap on a spark plug).The gauge was held in the hinge with a screw and wingnut. He would wrap like 320 grit sandpaper aroung the gauge and then secure it in the hinge and use that tool to slot the nut.

What you have to remember is the thickness of the sandpaper has to be taken into consideration along with the thickness of the feeler gauge. I believe we came to the conclusion that 320 grit sandpaper averaged about .010". So. if you wanted a slot that .045" you would use a .025" feeler gauge and with the thickness of the sandpaper at .010" on each side of the gauge, you have a total thickness of .045".

Here is a link to the original thread, but for some reason, soapbarstrat deleted all of his entries.


(on edit, Damn, I should really start reading the entire post before I reply. This is exactly what you stated you were already thinking about doing :D )

Edited by SawDust_Junkie
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Thanks for the help.

I was hoping someone tried my idea first, if someone here has tried it, it would be worth a try.

I think I'll try the graphite idea first and see if it helps. Cause it's easier and faster then filing the slots

But I would still like to hear if anyone else has tips or even concerns about this method of widening the slots.

Thanks again.

EDIT: I wouldn't mind getting a new nut like a graphtech from stew mac (it already has a graphite nut though) but I think I would probably have the same problem anyways. Last time I got a nut (dif guitar) that had all the same specs as mine it turned out totally off and I had to remove it and put back my original.

Does anyone here have any experience installing a graphtech nut from stewmac in a Strat type "1 11/16 nut slot? How did it go, did it need some extra filing in the slots?

Edited by L_Z_Nut
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Good memory, SDJ. Yep, I deleted for reasons I've gone over enough times before.

But you guys should know that my ability to edit posts was taken away after that, so no chance in hell of me being able to re-post it (but I never had a reason to repost it anyway).

But you pretty much nailed it with your description. Sandpaper can be wrapped around anything that will do the job, and you can use adhesive with the paper, clamp it onto a "tool" you come up with, or just hold sandpaper tightly around it with your fingers, I guess.

I use paper backed sandpaper, but wonder what the thickness is on that *mylar* backed stuff. Haven't bought the mylar yet, because I want it in every grit, and at the cheapest possible price, and found out I have to buy 8 rolls of each grit to be able to do that.

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