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Do I need a new nut?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Powersupplydude, Sep 25, 2018.

  1. Powersupplydude


    Jul 3, 2018
    Hello friends,
    I bought this old kalamazoo bass a few months ago and still have slight intonation issues (already set up bridge height etc.) mainly on the E and G string. When played on the 12th fret they are still a bit sharp, altough A and D strings are fine. The bridge on this bass doesn’t allow it to set the intonation for the strings individually (see picture). However, I noticed that the nut has quite some wear from all those years of use (see pictures), specially the G string nut slot is very low I think...Can someone tell me if I should get a nut replacement and if that may help with the intonation issues?

    Attached Files:

  2. Slater

    Slater Leave that thing alone.

    Apr 17, 2000
    The Great Lakes State
    I would clean up the E-string nut slot, but if you don’t have any buzzing issues, that nut should be fine. With that type of bridge, intonation is going to be a compromise.
    SoCal80s likes this.
  3. Turnaround

    Turnaround Commercial User

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Independent Instrument Technician, and Contractor to Club Bass and Guitar - Toronto
    Maybe. The current one is not properly cut, but may be salvageable. The strings need to be properly installed - they are a disaster now.
    Zooberwerx likes this.
  4. Powersupplydude


    Jul 3, 2018
    Hey there thanks for the message. Sorry, english is not my first language, what do you mean by installed properly? That the strings sit right in the slot?
  5. Bassbeater

    Bassbeater Guest

    Sep 9, 2001
    I'm quite certain it's the bridge and not the nut. The bridge is nice looking, but technically it's a gorgeous chrome turd IMO. Great looking though! It would be a shame to swap it out because it's such a great look. I'd just leave it and play within the bass's limitations.
    saabfender likes this.
  6. sissy kathy

    sissy kathy Back to Bass-ics Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2014
    Arbutus, MD
    Some bridges like that have a grub/set screw at the shoulders allowing you to move the entire bridge back some. That could make the A and D slightly flat and move the E and G closer to intonated, or you could add a shim(s) at the post(s) (aluminum foil maybe?)
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2018
    Zooberwerx and Bassbeater like this.
  7. Turnaround

    Turnaround Commercial User

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Independent Instrument Technician, and Contractor to Club Bass and Guitar - Toronto
    The end of the string should go down into the hole in the tuner post. And there should be about three complete wraps of the string on the post, winding down towards the headstock. Your A string has almost no break angle over the nut. If there were 4 wraps on the post there should be a better break angle. As it is now it is very likely to buzz on the open string.
  8. A new nut will not solve your problem, if it really is a problem. Most likely you will never notice it in actual use.
  9. Powersupplydude


    Jul 3, 2018
    Thanks for clearing that up, I’ll set it up properly!
  10. 96tbird

    96tbird PLEASE STAND BY

    saabfender likes this.
  11. Powersupplydude


    Jul 3, 2018
  12. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    The nut looks salvageable to me. For that fact, the slots appear to be under-cut (too shallow) which gives you the necessary real estate for bringing it into spec. Here's a quick way to check:

    *Re-string properly and tune to pitch.

    *Fret each string on the leading (bridge) side of the 3rd fret.

    *The resulting gap between the string and 1st fret should be .003-.005"...you'll need feeler gauges.

    Last edited: Sep 29, 2018
  13. Skillet

    Skillet Supporting Member

    Nov 25, 2011
    Find some videos on the proper way to string the bass. It will help you a lot.
  14. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Supporting Member

    There's nothing wrong with that bridge if the rest of the bass is set up properly. Gibson used that bridge on many basses and it's fine - the one on my '64 EB-0 intonates well. As noted earlier, there is a set screw which can be used to slightly adjust the bridge angle.

    Your nut slot looks low, but baking soda and super glue can be used to rebuild the bottom of the slot. It looks like all the slots may have been filed wrong, with the low side of the cut toward the fretboard, but it should be toward the tuners. The nut slots are at a slight angle to give the string a break point at the fretboard side of the nut.

    A drill bit of appropriate size with wet-dry sandpaper wrapped around it can be used to re-file slots. Not a professional level tool, but it works.

    If the strings on it are old, they are likely to be part of the problem. Install them correctly at the very least.
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2018
  15. GIBrat51

    GIBrat51 Innocent as the day is long Supporting Member

    Mar 5, 2013
    South Bend, Indiana
    I agree. And, as the owner of several basses with... pretty much un-adjustable bridges:
    1. Yes, unless you get lucky, intonation is very likely going to be a "less than optimal" compromise - which is why bridges like that went away a long time ago. That bass - like several of mine - are from a time when bass players seldom went above the 12th fret, and generally didn't worry about intonation. If they were in tune, and if the intonation was anywhere close, they were good to go. Which is not the case with music now...
    2. Basses with bridges that are more or less fixed are, IME, pretty picky about the strings they'll work best with. If you find them, the bass will usually tune up and intonate just fine. If you don't? Well, good luck, and see No. 1 above.. I have a couple that I haven't found those strings for yet; it can be a frustrating search...:rollno:
  16. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

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