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Gaps and diagonal orientation of nut

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Alex94, Dec 26, 2017.


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  1. Alex94

    Alex94

    Dec 26, 2017
    IMG_4041.JPG IMG_4042.JPG IMG_4043.JPG IMG_4044.JPG IMG_4045.JPG IMG_4046.PNG

    Hi folks and happy holidays,

    My guitarist/luthier brother generously gifted me a bass guitar gift for Christmas this year, and in examining the neck today we noticed a possible imperfection that worried us about the nut. It appears as though the groove for the nut was cut too wide for the nut itself, as there are apparent gaps on either side of the fingerboard in between the edges of the nut and the margin of the groove. It also appears that the nut has been set in the groove diagonally (see drawing above, along with comparison between first and last pictures (i.e. left and right sides)). Does anyone have experience with this issue? I am not sure that it is actually cause for concern, but I figured it is a good idea to ask before going ahead and putting the thing together. I imagine that if this gap is an issue, a new nut could be purchased/made to a wider dimension. One final note: the nut is secure and not wobbling. Please let me know what you know.

    Thank you and happy new year,
    Alex
     
  2. 96tbird

    96tbird PLEASE STAND BY

    Your brother is a luthier? Ok.

    The front of the nut has to be 1/2 scale length from the 12th fret. Then the points where the string touch the nut have to be at that point exactly. So if that isn’t the case, it needs attention. Also, it’s advisable to pull the nut and make a new one that fits that bathtub slot properly.

    But then your brother the luthier knows that. :bag:
     
  3. Alex94

    Alex94

    Dec 26, 2017
    Hello tbird and thank you for the reply,

    Obviously there will be differences in the distance from the 12th fret to the margin of the nut and therefore small differences in string length. Do you have knowledge of the tolerances that are acceptable for these differences? An estimate by my eye is that the distance will be off by about 1/2 - 1 mm

    Thanks,
    Alex
     
  4. lz4005

    lz4005

    Oct 22, 2013
    Measure it exactly from the center of the fret to the body-side edge of the nut.
    If the bass is 34" scale it should be exactly 17".
    If it isn't exactly that distance, move the nut so that it is exactly that distance.
     
    Alex94 and 96tbird like this.
  5. If it was mine, I’d remove the existing nut, check the measurements to make sure the slot is in the right place, and either make a new nut or, less of a good plan, use something to shim the the existing nut to the front or back of the slot, whichever is appropriate.

    Also, the front part of that nut slot looks to have been cut way too deep. Could be of some concern. Can the neck or bass be returned?
     
    Alex94 and 96tbird like this.
  6. Alex94

    Alex94

    Dec 26, 2017
    From center of 12th fret to back of slot measures exactly 17 inches on both sides. Therefore the E string would be off by about 1/32". I think my best bet as far as repair is concerned, as Matt mentioned, is to remove this one and make/buy a new one to fit the slot width, which may be a pain. I'm not sure if there is a standard nut width, and if there is, the slot is likely larger than this standard. Therefore I think I will attempt to return this neck. It is part of a "assemble your own" kit, which my first post failed to mention. Thank you both for your help.
     
  7. Turnaround

    Turnaround Commercial User

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Independent Instrument Technician, and Contractor to Club Bass and Guitar - Toronto
    If I understand you correctly then the nut is very badly placed. The front of the nut should be 17 inches from the centre of the 12th fret.
     
  8. Bruce Johnson

    Bruce Johnson Commercial User

    Feb 4, 2011
    Fillmore, CA
    Professional Luthier
    That deeper narrow slot that you see at the forward edge of the nut slot is the Zero Slot. Whoever made the neck, that slot was cut at the same time as the other fret slots. So it's in the correct position in relation to the other frets. Then the 1/8" wide slot is cut on the outboard side of that slot.

    That's all good. What's wrong here is that the nut is a little too narrow for the width of the slot. Either the slot was cut too wide, or the nut blank is undersize. What's important is that the nut should not be in there diagonally. It should be seated up against the inboard (towards the other frets) side. That's the Zero Line. I would knock the nut loose and reglue it correctly, up solidly against the inboard wall. There will be a gap on the outboard side, but that's just cosmetic. If it bothers you, glue in a thin slice of contrasting wood and file it flush.
     
    digmeout, Matt Liebenau and Alex94 like this.
  9. Alex94

    Alex94

    Dec 26, 2017
    Perhaps I have my terminology correct. The end of the slot closest to the frets and furthest from the headstock is what measures at 17 inches.
     
    Matt Liebenau likes this.
  10. Turnaround

    Turnaround Commercial User

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Independent Instrument Technician, and Contractor to Club Bass and Guitar - Toronto
    That's OK then. You can always use thicker nut material - something that will fit snugly in that slot.
     
    Matt Liebenau likes this.
  11. Alex94

    Alex94

    Dec 26, 2017
    Meant to reply to you by saying my terminology was incorrect, not correct. My apologies. Thank you for your help. It does appear that the problem can be fixed easily per your instructions.
     
  12. Alex94

    Alex94

    Dec 26, 2017
    This is a very good post and I have learned a lot from reading it. Thank you. I'll try what you reccomend.
     

  13. Bruce will do that to you.:smug:;)
     
    Alex94 likes this.

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