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Found 8 results

  1. when I built my guitar a couple years ago the area where the nut rests ended up being at a slight angle, call it 10 degrees, from square, now I'm replacing the nut and I am honestly not skilled at matching this angle* (I had help from a guy I paid at the time that certainly helped this process). I am thinking if i can make the small area right behind the nut 90 degrees with the end of the fingerboard this process would be a lot easier, the only thing I have come up with is using a file as wide as the nut and slowly cutting a groove back there and put some painter's tape over the top edge of the fingerboard so I don't inadvertently shorten the scale of the guitar. does this sound like a sold plan or can you guys give me any idea how to do this and not screw up my guitar. If I have to spend a little bit on a tool that's ok too (like less than $20) I no longer have access to a table saw or router, but those sound frightening to work so close to this finished area anyway. thanks * not skilled meaning I am on my 3rd nut trying to get this right, telling me to take it slow and check often isn't enough for me apparently I just can't judge this right.
  2. Hey Guys! So if you haven't seen my build that I'm doing, just check the link here. I need advice on how to get the string with placement on the nut. I've seen the spreadsheet calculator but it does not make much sense to me. My nut is 43 mm, 10.4mm string spacing at the bridge. Cheers R
  3. I'm making a brass nut for a project guitar and need to source some nut files in the UK that can definitely handle this material. Any suggestions? Thanks in advance.
  4. Hi, I lost a Nut I'd made for a Custom Fanned Fret guitar I've built and have to make a new one. This got me to thinking . and has raised a few doubts in my mind about the benefits of Fanned Frets.... My main concern is that as string separation tapers from Bridge to Nut due to the smaller Nut width / larger bridge width, this means that on a conventional fret board the string angle of the outer strings will cause the intersection of the fret and string to not accurately match the correct fret spacing as the string is angled across the frets rather than perpendicular to them. However the difference looks to be so small as to be insignificant - in the 0.01 mm ball-park. On a Fanned Fret Guitar on the other-hand, I assume that the two different scales are measured along the outer strings with the frets slots cut between these two points for each fret position. In this case the centre line will be inaccurately fretted and the outer strings correctly fretted. I'm concerned that because the frets are angled on a fanned fret guitar, that these small differences that affect the inner strings will exaggerate the difference between ideal and actual fret/string intersection. Would this be a problem?
  5. Version v1.0


    Calculating the exact positioning and spacing for strings across the nut can be a pain....by inputting your nut width, fretboard edge spacing and string gauges, this spreadsheet automagically outputs all the information you need to create a proportionally-spaced nut! Awesomes.
  6. File Name: Equal String Spacing Nut Calculator File Submitter: ProjectGuitar.com File Submitted: 19 Apr 2014 File Category: Documents Calculating the exact positioning and spacing for strings across the nut can be a pain....by inputting your nut width, fretboard edge spacing and string gauges, this spreadsheet automagically outputs all the information you need to create a proportionally-spaced nut! Awesomes.
  7. I'm a bassist so these things matter to me more than guitarists. We're sort of used to looking at the world in terms of strings that you can measure with a thrown axe than the fine micrometer-and-loupe stuff used for the twiddly high notes! Nonetheless - how strings are spaced across the nut matters a lot, especially when the gauges from one side to the other are radically different. The two distinct methods of string spacing are centre-to-centre and "proportional" spacing. I'm more into the latter of the two, so lets start with the first one so I can sell you on my personal favourite later.... Centre-to-centre spacing is exactly what it says on the tin. Regardless of each string's gauge, the centre point of each string is the exact same distance from that of neighbouring strings. Most off-the-shelf guitars come with this setup purely because it's simple, quick to use and works independently of the destined string set gauges. Even bassists can work this out on all four of their fingers! All that is required is to take your nut width (lets say, 1,75" or 44,5mm) and subtract the spacing from each edge that you prefer (about 0,125" or 3,0mm on guitar). Divide this by the number of strings minus one. In our example: Metric (nut width - bass edge - treble edge) / (strings - 1) (44,5mm - 3,0mm - 3,0mm) / (6 - 1) 38,5mm / 5 = 7,7mm Imperial (1,75" - 0,25") / (6 - 1) 1,5" / 5 = 0,3" This makes it extremely simple to mark out on a nut blank using a pair of calipers. Set up the string to string distance, lock the calipers up and mark the string centres using the sharp points of the jaws one to the next. So what's wrong with this method? (This is where I get to sell you on the benefits of proportional spacing....) In short, nothing. It has been used since forever, and the chances are that your hands are used to this spacing anyway. As a bassist however, the disadvantage becomes far more apparent; the heavier gauge strings have smaller gaps between the edges of each string. Basses with five or more strings exhibit this symptom in increasing measure. Extended range guitars can also fall afoul of the centre-to-centre spacing bug with lower strings starting to bunch up. It's definitely an option worth considering because of this. Instead of marking up each string's centre point by a simple division of string span, the overall spacing between all of the strings is divided instead, taking into account the fact each string's width. The outer strings are in the same positions, however the bass strings are no longer bunched up in comparison to the thinner treble strings. Does this sound clear as mud? Once you've played with the calculation a couple of times it becomes pretty much as easy as centre-to-centre calculation. Take your destination string set. I'll use a 7-string set for this example, based on the Optima Gold .009-.054 set on my own 7-string and its 50mm / 2" nut size. Firstly, total up the diameters/gauges of each string in your string set; 0,188" or 4,8mm for the set mentioned. Subtract both this and the outside spacings from the nut width; (nut width - string gauge total - bass edge - treble edge) 50,0mm - 4,8mm - 3,0mm - 3,0mm = 39.2mm or 2" - 0,188" - 0,125" - 0,125" = 1,562" Now simply divide this value by your number of strings minus one to produce the spacing; 39,2mm / 6 = 6,53mm or 0,260" The trick here is how to transfer this to your nut! For CAD users, it is a simple matter to draw out a 1:1 representation of the nut, pasting this to the top of the nut blank and using a razor to scribe where the centres are located. For those used to doing it manually, there are two alternatives; one with a bit of maths and the other requiring a little precision woodworking. Mathematical version Working from the 1st string, add up the outside spacing value with half the diameter of the 1st string; 3,0mm + (0,228mm / 2) = 3,1mm 0,125" + (0,009" / 2) = 0,125" Okay, so not a huge jump. The centre point of the 2nd string is the outside spacing, 1st string's gauge, equal spacing value and half of the 2nd string's diameter; 3,0mm + 0,228mm + 6,53mm + (0,279mm / 2) = 9,9mm 0,125" + 0,009" + 0,260" + 0,011" = 0,405" From that point on, each centre point is worked out using the same combination of edge/string-spacing-string-spacing-string-spacing/half-string calculation. Still with me? To make this process simpler, I have created an Excel spreadsheet to do all of the donkey work for you: Woodworking version The most practical method is to work out the spacing between each string and make a precision wooden shim. These can be used in a number of ways to transfer the spacing onto a nut, whether it be guiding fret files or physically spacing strings and marking the nut by a light hammer blow over the nut. Which method is better here? Ultimately it depends on whether you can produce shims to exacting thicknesses. Certainly, using shims is a more repeatable method if you're making more than one nut. ----- Opinion is pretty much polarised on the two methods of string spacing. Some people (especially bassists) swear by proportional spacing due to the effect of larger differences the lower to heavier gauges accumulate across the string span. Many people initially dislike proportional spacing, having compensated for the spacing differences of centre-to-centre for years. Either way is perfectly relevant and don't let anybody tell you otherwise! Unless they are a bassist, in which case they are right.
  8. Straight from the factory or off the shelf, an instrument rarely has its nut slots cut to ideal depths. Generally they are always cut a little high so that the instrument is buzz free out of the gate. For most people, slightly high nut slots go unnoticed and the tougher feel to the strings near the nut gets taken for granted. Before proceeding, ensure that your guitar is correctly strung up to pitch using the string gauges you normally use on that instrument and that your neck is reasonably straight with a little relief as per the previous step in this series. Check that your fretwork is not in need of immediate attention. A neck with incorrect relief or one with uneven high/low frets cannot be improved by adjusting the nut and may give false measurements. Firstly, you need to know what type of nut you have: Standard Nuts Standard "Gibson type" nut Standard "Fender type" nut The most common nuts found on non-tremolo or non-locking tremolo designs resemble the two above. A simple block of material with evenly-spaced slots. The material varies from plastics/composites, bakelite, bone, graphite and graphite substitutes, ivory, pearl, metals, wood or more exotic materials like carbon fibre or Borosilicate glass. Regardless of the material type, the function is the same. Each string has its own slot filed to the same width. The slot has a slight backward angle so that each string firmly contacts the very front of the slot. The depth of each slot is cut to create a string path over the first frets that is high enough that strings do not buzz over them when open notes are vibrating, but not so high that fretting lower notes becomes more difficult than the rest of the neck. "Fender type" nuts are installed into a slot milled in the fingerboard itself. "Gibson type" nuts butt up against the very end of the fingerboard, usually with a very small recess to prevent movement. These two styles are found on acoustics, basses, archtops, violins or in fact virtually any strung instrument vaguely related to a guitar. Locking Nuts Ibanez RG Locking Nut The downside to the previous type of nut is friction. In use, strings can bind up in the nut slots when using a tremolo or string bending. This leaves the string out of tune and can cause "pinging" sounds as the string pops out from being bound up. Worse yet, strings slowly grind their way down lower into the nut slots, especially wound strings in softer nut materials. Eventually open strings start buzzing over lower frets. Guitars with floating/locking tremolo systems such as a Floyd-Rose commonly use a metal locking nut mechanism which clamps strings in place once tuned. Locking nuts usually comprise small metal pad or cam clamps which hold two (sometimes three) strings at at time. The nut slots are precision milled into the body of the nut itself with perfect string witness points and falloff angles at the very front of the bridge itself. Other Nut Types Some tremolo systems (eg. a retrofit Kahler) work in conjunction with a standard style of nut, instead locking the strings a short distance beyond the nut. For the most part, these remove the issues of "binding and grinding". The standard nut is adjusted the same as it would be without the additional string locking unit. Zero frets are a hybrid between a "normal" nut and a fret. An additional fret is placed at the point where the nut would normally be. A guiding nut is placed slightly further back from the zero fret whose sole duty is to manage the string spacing than to set string height. The physical advantage of a zero fret is that they provide the same string height clearances as any other fretted note; automatic ultra-low action with no maintenance! Famous examples of instruments including zero frets are the Höfner "violin" bass and unusually, Brian May's inimitable "Red Special" with it's non-locking floating tremolo system. Other styles of nut exist also, such as the Fender LSR roller nut, adjustable brass nuts, etc. These require more specific considerations whereas this article is meant to cover the most common examples; an upcoming future update will cover the more exotic styles of nut.... Measurements One by one, fret the strings at the third fret or place a capo over all of the strings at this position. Each string should have an extremely small amount of clearance between the bottom of the string and the crown of the first fret. This can be carefully observed through lightly tapping the string at the first fret with a finger and/or measuring using engineer's feeler gauges. Ideally you should have at least .002"/0,05mm of clearance under the thinnest strings and .005"/0,13mm under the heavier wound strings. Generally speaking, as long as the strings are not contacting the first fret the clearance is fine. If you do not have feeler gauges on hand, Post-It notes from the small pads (not the big cubes as they're thicker) are approximately .004"/0,1mm to .005"/0,13mm thick. Grab a block of 25/50 Post-Its, measure the thickness of the block with calipers and divide it by the number of sheets. If this measurement is close or dead on, move on to the next string. You may should jot down the clearances as you move across the fretboard to see the nut slot heights in relation to the fretboard as you progress, especially if you have a locking nut. Adjusting A Standard Nut If you have determined that any of the slots in the nut are too low (usually due to wear and age) you may want to consider replacing the nut at this point. There is the option of packing the bottom of the nut slot using a mixture of CA (cyanoacrylate, crazy glue) and baking soda, or a little material sanded from elsewhere on the nut. Backfilling and cutting back nut slots in this manner requires a fair bit of experience and practice; the subject of a whole different tutorial. Nut replacement is generally more reliable, quicker and simpler....they're pretty cheap! If any of the slots are too high (or you just backfilled one) and excessive distance in the measurement between the bottom of the string and the first fret exists, the nut slot needs to be cut deeper. Special nut slotting files are readily available for this, however they can become expensive as specific file widths are required for each string gauge. Suppliers such as Stewart MacDonald sell nut files with dual cutting gauges, however welding nozzle/tip cleaners suffice for occasional repairs. It is even possible to mount a small piece of an old wound guitar string onto the side of a popsicle stick as a makeshift file of the correct string gauge. Firstly, remove the string from the nut slot. Usually it can be loosened and temporarily seated in an adjacent nut slot. Using a feeler gauge, find the existing falloff angle towards the headstock in the nut slot. File the slot a little at a time, keeping the file vertical and maintaining the existing falloff angle. Clean the slot from any debris, replace the string and bring it up to tension before repeating the 3rd fret/1st fret clearance test. Repeat the filing process until an adequate clearance is achieved. Replace the string and ensure that open notes ring clearly, otherwise the slot may have an inadequate falloff angle or the string is not seated firmly at the witness point. Bad nut slot falloff angle The string will intonate badly and open notes will likely buzz or choke. More desirable nut slot falloff angle The string witness point is sharply defined at the front of the nut. Adjusting A Locking Nut Filing down the metal in the slots of a locking nut is not an option. Instead, height adjustment shims are fitted under the nut itself to alter the height of the entire unit. Nut shims are available in different styles and thicknesses from the bridge/nut manufacturers or luthiery suppliers. Most are available in both full width and half width to allow raising one side of the bridge more than the other. If necessary you can combine several shims to achieve perfect clearance across the fretboard. Sacrificing a couple of feeler gauges is also a swift fix if shims are not easily available! Step 1: Introduction and headstock area Step 2: Trussrod and neck bow adjustment Step 3: Nut height check and adjustment Step 4: String height and bridge adjustment Step 5: Adjusting the intonation of a guitar Step 6: Adjusting pickup height
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