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Crappy Squier VM tele nut - suggestions?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Thangfish, Jul 26, 2008.

  1. Thangfish

    Thangfish ...overly qualified for janitorical deployment...

    Ok, last night at rehearsal, I got in some good playing time on the Squier VM Tele. First song used low F and octave, and right away I noticed that the low F on the E string was sharp. Also too high and harder to fret. Quick intonation check showed the other positions to be fine (despite a 2 saddle bridge).
    Just figured the nut needed filling, after all it IS a cheap bass, right?

    Checked it out closely with a magnifier and found that the bass side of the nut slot was not deep enough.

    So, what should I do? File the slot or remove the nut and TRY to file or otherwise deepen the slot in the neck.

    Apparently there is not a competent luthier within 100 miles in any direction from Raleigh and Fayetville NC, so if this is going to be addressed, it will have to be by me... with improvised tools.

    Treble side


    Bass side


    Full view

  2. Busker


    Jan 22, 2007
    My guess is that the F note is playing sharp because you're having to "stretch" the string too much to fret the note.

    The Squiers have a flat-bottomed nut, to fit the flat cut nut slot. Don't deepen the slot for the nut in the neck! If it were me, I'd gently remove the nut (it should pop loose with a gentle prying on either end) and take the height off of the nut by sanding the bottom of it with coarse sandpaper on a perfectly flat surface. You might have to take a bit more off the E side than the G side. But you have to take care to keep the bottom of the nut square & flat, and sand it lower gradually until you get the right feel.

    Or, if you have the right files, you could just cut the E string slot deeper, but its hard to do a clean job of that without minature files. IMO.

    Nice photos by the way. You must have a nice camera.
  3. Thangfish

    Thangfish ...overly qualified for janitorical deployment...

    Yes, that's obviously why the F is sharp.

    I like the idea of sanding the bottom of the nut (if I can get it out in one piece). I just thought that the neck slot looked mis-cut and wasn't flat, but maybe it's just an optical illusion. That's why I took the pics.

  4. Busker


    Jan 22, 2007
    The nut slot is likely perfectly flat, and the E side of the nut is taller than the G side, but the E side of the nut should be a little higher in order for it to play properly. The fatter strings need a bit more clearance than the thinner strings. So, I'd keep it that way, but sand a little overall height off the bottom. This will make it easier to play, for sure. But if you sand too much, the stings will buzz on the first fret. A little dab'll do ya on the sanding.

    The nut should pop loose easily, and in one piece. Just apply a little pressure on one end with a tiny flat-bladed screwdriver or some similar tool. They don't glue the nut too securely, probably so it can be removed if necessary.
  5. Thangfish

    Thangfish ...overly qualified for janitorical deployment...

    Hey Busker,
    I finally got the nut off in one piece and found that the slot was indeed cut poorly... shallow on the bass side. Tried to show it in a pic. I think it's pretty plain to see. I sanded the back side of the nut and got it a lot better, not perfect but better.

  6. FYI-

    When I lived in Fayetteville NC (I was stationed at Bragg) I used to take my basses to a music store on Skibo Road... I don't remember the stores name (McFaddens Music?). The tech they had there was named Mike. He did a refret job for me on my old Fender P Bass in addition to a few other odds and ends.

    It might be worth the trip to Fayetteville to get the nut slot fixed, a new nut, and maybe some other work done when the time comes.

    Love those VM Squiers... I have the '70s JBass.
    This is the first "complaint" I have seen about a VM Squier. Hope it works out well for you.

  7. Thangfish

    Thangfish ...overly qualified for janitorical deployment...

    Thanks Gregg,
    It'll work out, one way or the other.
    I won't let it lick me.

    Sadly, McFadden's has closed shop.
    I know a bass player that worked there though.
    Maybe he can let me know if this Mike dude is around here still.

    There is a guy named Mike up in Raleigh at Fat Sound who has quite a rep, but he's VERY hard to get up with, way too busy, and once you drop of your ax, you may not see it or hear from him for along time. Kind of a flake. Anyway, you should see what he did to the string spacing on my Geddy when he filed the new bridge saddles for me.
    I could have done better, and I'm no setup man for sure. Hell a blind man could have done better!

    I guess I'll have to break down and invest in some tools.
    I've done a couple fret leveling and re-crown jobs and got rave reviews. Maybe I could work this into a side job...

    Who am I kidding... like I have time for one more thing to do.
  8. filter


    Jun 7, 2003
    Atl, GA
    What kind of camera did you use for your pics?
    Very nice!
  9. Thangfish

    Thangfish ...overly qualified for janitorical deployment...

    :p Hehheh...
    A Canon 20D with a kinda cheap Canon EF 50mm f2.5 compact macro lens, handheld for those shots.
  10. as far as improvising tools the new quarter and dime work wonders...
  11. kyral210


    Sep 14, 2007
    I've said it before and I will say it again, you dont get quality with ANY Squire branded bass or guitar. You get a good entry level piece, but that's all.

    I STRONGLY recommend replacing the nut with a Graphtech TUSQ (white) nut and having it professionally fitted (live near Leicester in the UK?). Also, a new Basslines vintage pickup would expand your sound no end. I replaced my Squire P-Bass pickup with an EMG select (their dirt cheap entry model) and I jumped; it was that much of a change. If I was to compare a Basslines Quarter Pounded to a Squire pickup, you Quarter Pounder is a Mustang and your Squire is a Citron 2CV.
  12. Will you have The Stig come over test it out? I understand he is a prog rock fan.
  13. kyral210


    Sep 14, 2007
    Don't tell anyone, but I am The Stig!
  14. sevenyearsdown

    sevenyearsdown Supporting Member

    Jan 29, 2008
    Sanborn, NY
    I have a VM Tele, and I too had to change the nut. When I took the stock strings off and tried to put flats (.105 - .45) I found the slots were not all that accomodating. First I filed them them out myself, and then decided to just have the plastic POC replaced. I had a pro cut a synthetic for it, and couldn't be happier. It also improved the action dramatically.

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