Cutting slots into a metal nut
I'm converting my 4 string t40 to a 5 string, and I'm going to use the existing nut, but widen the Low E slot for the B, and cut three more slots for the E, A and D (obviously the high G stays the same)
When cutting the new slots, what's the "ideal" width? the set of strings I'm using is a pretty standard set
.045 | .065 | .080 | .100 | .130
Do I want the slots to fit exact? Or a little bigger?
right now, with an unaltered but 30 year old metal nut, here's the 4 slot measurements.
.060 | .071 | .088 | .104
the G string slot is a lot larger than the G itself, but the other slots are more snug, and they get more snug as the string size increases. Is that by design, or is that level of detail just not that important?
Thanks for the help
Ideally, one or two thousandths bigger is what you're shooting for, but how many things in life are ideal? And how many strings are manufactured to within one or two thousandths of the nominal diameter?
Realistically, the important thing is to make sure that the bottom of the slot is rounded and even. Then, even if it's a few thousandths over, the string will still sit in the center of the slot and not buzz. Having the slots a little oversized is not the end of the world.
If I know for certain that I'm always going to use the same guage on a particular instrument, I'll start with one or two thousandths over and see if it's too tight from there. If it pinches during tuning, I'll open it up another two or so.
thanks! After reading this page, it has me considering taking to a pro. Is it hard to get somebody the work on metal nuts? I know they aren't exactly standard
If you're planning to take it to a pro and you have enough metal stock for two, why not try one yourself first? If it doesn't work out, you'd take it to a pro anyway, right?
You shouldn't have any trouble finding a luthier who will work with metal. In the 70s, brass was a hugely popular material for nuts and any luthier who has been around a while has made some. Unless you are considering a very hard metal such as stainless steel or tungsten you won't have any trouble finding someone to do the work.
Here's some excellent info on topnuts, straight from the father of the T-40, Chip Todd: http://t40mafia.englishboard.net/t59...d-by-chip-todd
He specifically addresses the issue of slot widths, too. :bassist:
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