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DIY Nut Filing questions

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Matthew_84, Aug 4, 2012.


  1. Hey TBers,

    I recently got a Mighty Mite fretless neck, and it is a really good neck. The only thing I don't like though is that the nut is too high. It takes some good force to fret the first notes.

    I don't have too much coin right now, and would like to spend as little as possible. On StewMac's website I found these two different items:

    Nut and Saddle Shaping Files

    Gauged Nut Slotting Files

    The first option is two files with different grits on each, so there are four grits altogether. This is the cheaper option and the one I'd rather go with. But I don't know if I'll be able to get a rounded bottom. Does that matter?

    The second option requires me to buy four different files, one for each slot. It's about twice the price, but I would get that rounded bottom, as well as it may be safer. I would think that I'd be less likely to make the slots too wide with these.

    Is the first option okay, or should I opt for the second one? I very well may never need these again. Plus, I've never done this before.

    Also, if anyone has any tips that would be great. Like, should I file level with the board, or on a bit of an angle down towards the headstock?
     
  2. Actually, since I am bring all of the slots down the same amount, I will verify this before doing anything, wouldn't be easier to take a knife around the nut, carefully remove it, sand the bottom of it down, clean the gap in the neck, and glue it back when I'm at the depth I'm looking for?
     
  3. mech

    mech Supporting Member

    Jun 20, 2008
    Meridian, MS, USA
    Personally, I would not remove the nut. Flat sanding something that small where the surface remains true and flat is not as easy as it sounds. There's also the possibility of the nut breaking at some point in the process. You would also need to try the action several times by re-inserting the nut and tuning to pitch.

    As far as which files...try a pawn shop. Most of them have a large selection of files which include needle files (small) that can be had for little $$.

    Be sure and cut the slots at an angle where the edge at the peghead is the lowest. When it looks like you can take off just a taste more to make it "perfect", stop.

    mech
     
  4. Turnaround

    Turnaround Commercial User

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Independent Instrument Technician, and Contractor to Club Bass and Guitar - Toronto
    The first set of files you referenced (Nut and Saddle Shaping Files) are not designed to be used to lower the fret slots - they are for the general shaping of the nut overall. The ones you need are the nut slotting files. Lots of folks will tell you to use small rat-tail or needle files. I don't recommend them - it's far to easy to cut slots that are too wide with them.
     
  5. testing1two

    testing1two Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 25, 2009
    Southern California
    For less than the cost of the files I'm sure you could find a tech to lower the slots for you. With the right tools it's a 10 minute job.
     
  6. I really didn't realize it was that short of a job. Turnaround, I just sent an email your way.
     
  7. CnB77

    CnB77

    Jan 7, 2011
    NJ
    Sanding the bottom is a better idea than deepening the slots. If the slots are too deep it'll make string buzz. If you're careful it's fine. The slots should be no deeper than half the diameter of the string
     
  8. Turnaround

    Turnaround Commercial User

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Independent Instrument Technician, and Contractor to Club Bass and Guitar - Toronto
    I think you need to try again - I haven't received anything from you. I will PM you with my contact information.
     
  9. I responded to your PM before reading this, wasn't aware that it didn't come though. I can't access my e-mail right now, but will fire one off tomorrow evening. Thanks,

    Matt
     

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