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Nut Slot Height

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Old Fart, Dec 15, 2013.

  1. Old Fart

    Old Fart

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    Here is my question: With the nut cut properly, what is the distance between the bottom of the string and the top of the first fret when you hold the string down against the second fret?

    Some say a distance as small as a piece of notebook paper is sufficient. Is this true? Some sources say notebook paper is .003" thick. Do I need to stop there? Can I lower the nut slot so that I get only .002"?

    Theoretically, this should work. Why do I think that? Because when I hold the string against the first and third frets, a .002" feeler gauge fits between the string and the second fret.

    Comments? Observations? Suggestions?
  2. quiltkitty

    quiltkitty Supporting Member

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    No advice, but I am interested to see what others have to say.
  3. 96tbird

    96tbird Supporter Supporting Member

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    Most of mine have such such tiny gaps that they barely click on the first fret when you tap them. So likely a paper thickness, very thin; I have never measured, just go by feel. They play beautifully.

    The issue is that some gap should be left so the string doesn't buzz on the fret below the one you're playing. It's going to be difficult for your fingers to feel the diff of a thousandth of an inch. I would keep it at spec to be back buzz free.
  4. SBassman

    SBassman Supporting Member

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  5. JLS

    JLS Supporting Member

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    I setup & repair guitars & basses
  6. Turnaround

    Turnaround

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    +1

    More like .002". Otherwise it will be stiff at the first fret and out of tune to boot.
  7. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

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    Should be the 3rd fret and, yes, the textbook range is .003-.005" via feeler gauges ($4 at PepBoys...accept no substitutes). The "plink" test is a quick qualitative method of determining whether or not some gap exists. I have, in my earlier years, inadvertently dropped a slot to .002" with no ill effects.

    Riis
  8. SBassman

    SBassman Supporting Member

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    I didn't conjure the spec - it's Stew Mac's, as well as the spec for many bass builders. If you can get away with bringing it tighter, that's great.
  9. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

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    Stew Mac lists the value .022-.020 for "action" which is the height between the 1st fret and string in its normal tuned-to-pitch state...that's fine and dandy. What we're addressing is tolerance / gap between the 1st fret and string while fretted at the 3rd. These are two different methods which is why we're seeing two widely varied range of figures: .003-.005" vs .020-.022".

    Riis
  10. SBassman

    SBassman Supporting Member

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    Ahhh - I read too quickly. Thanks for clearing that up.
  11. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

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    I hate small print, too. Action, per se, is not the best approach when eval'ing nut slots as it folds relief (..to some degree), nut, and bridge into the equation. Depressing at the 3rd fret is a more sensitive test as it removes the bridge and relief from contention.

    Riis
  12. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Gold Supporting Member

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    heed the zoob.
  13. Precision101

    Precision101

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    I have my nut cut low as possible so I don't have too much tension when fretting the first Frets. Feels super nice.
  14. mongo2

    mongo2

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    I use the third fret and my OEM photon detectors.
  15. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member

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    The distance between the nut slot and the fretboard should be about the distance if there were a zero fret there.
  16. JLS

    JLS Supporting Member

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    Love it! Thanks for the chuckle.

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