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I've been dreading this for a while

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by MVACCARO, Apr 3, 2020.


  1. MVACCARO

    MVACCARO

    Dec 15, 2013
    NC
    So I have a nut that definitely need replacement. First thing is, is this something that I (who only have changed strings and adjusted action) can do or is this more for a tech to do. And second I noticed the only way to do a truss rod adjustment (a friend told me I'd have to do that after a nut replacement.) is to pull the neck off the rod is squarely in the bottom of the neck. And here is a pic to show the nut. And I want to replace with a bone one.
    20200403_063119.jpg
     
    PennyroyalWe and EatS1stBassist like this.
  2. garp

    garp

    Feb 7, 2009
    Connecticut USA
    If you really want a bone nut, you can remove a femur yourself. But I'd still let a qualified, competent luthier/tech cut the nut and install it. :smug:
     
  3. Warpeg

    Warpeg Supporting Member

    Jun 20, 2005
    Ohio
    If you have zero experience with bass maintenance/repair, then you should certainly get your bass to a qualified tech. However, if you are interested in learning these things, then I would recommend buying a beater and letting it be your guinea pig as you learn and practice.
     
    Sands, spvmhc, DJ Bebop and 8 others like this.
  4. Rabidhamster

    Rabidhamster

    Jan 15, 2014
    If you’re only interested in one nut, it will be cheaper to pay someone who already owns the nut slot files to do it.

    Cutting bone smells quite gross, besides.
     
    imabuddha, TheLowDown33, MCF and 3 others like this.
  5. Coolhandjjl

    Coolhandjjl

    Oct 13, 2010
    Appleton
    Bone nuts are really only needed for acoustic guitars.
     
    macmanlou, MCF, gebass6 and 1 other person like this.
  6. MVACCARO

    MVACCARO

    Dec 15, 2013
    NC
    Yeah I'm definitely not going to touch this myself.
     
  7. Sid the Kid

    Sid the Kid Supporting Member

    Jun 7, 2013
    Illinois
    Replacing a nut isn’t too difficult. There are a number of pre cut nuts available for you to purchase. The nut itself is either going to be flat on the bottom or have a small radius, so be aware of this before you purchase a replacement. Also be aware of the nut width, but that is more obvious.

    A few small drops of elmers glue, not superglue, will hold the new nut in place just fine. The new nut may be slotted too high. A cheap set of files can be obtained and will work great on plastic. I have even used a rotosound roundwound string to file a plastic nut before, but that was in a pinch.

    A neck adjustment may or may not be required after the nut replacement. It is not that difficult to do and you may be able to get the movement you need with the neck still attached. Very small movements can have a big effect, so small 1/4 turns of the truss rod are optimal. Move small and let it settle before adjusting again. I would do a small move each day, give yourself something to do during lockdown!
     
    HardNHeavy, MCF, Kukulkan61 and 6 others like this.
  8. Sid the Kid

    Sid the Kid Supporting Member

    Jun 7, 2013
    Illinois
    If you want to try to build up your current nut you can do that as well. Replacement is optimal though.

     
    macmanlou, mcnach, DJ Bebop and 6 others like this.
  9. mongo2

    mongo2

    Feb 17, 2008
    Da Shaw
    That nut is a bit of a mess. While it can be repaired, IME replacement would be a better way to go.
     
  10. Jim C

    Jim C Is that what you meant to play or is this jazz? Supporting Member

    Nov 29, 2008
    Bethesda, MD
    When I was a teenager I stupidly filed a nut too low.
    Used just standard 2-part epoxy and a small jewelers file.
    Since you're not going to get into a shop anytime soon, this can get you up and running.
    I agree that super glue and baking powder is best but my 40 year old epoxy job is still perfect.
     
    DJ Bebop, jamro217, 707GK and 3 others like this.
  11. Roland GR 88

    Roland GR 88

    Sep 16, 2013
    Whitby
    Keep in mind that the properties of a nut only come into play with open strings. I have guitars with plastic, tusk and brass nuts and IME the tonal differences are nearly impossible to detect.
     
    macmanlou, DJ Bebop, nice_hat and 7 others like this.
  12. micguy

    micguy

    May 17, 2011
    The most important thing in a bass nut is low friction (which helps tuning stability) - Tusc nuts are quite good in that department - if you're going to have someone fix it, a few extra bucks for a Tusc nut (bone and brass aren't ideal) is well worth it.
     
  13. JerBear80

    JerBear80 You smell like cats in here.

    Dec 19, 2006
    MN
    I'd recommend trying a pre slotted Tusq nut. They're pretty easy to install and no need to mess with filing the slots. Just take you time sanding the bottom to the get it to the proper height.
     
  14. arbiterusa

    arbiterusa

    Sep 24, 2015
    San Diego, CA
    Disagree vehemently. Yeah, they’re mandatory on acoustic guitars. But they also help electric instruments as well.

    Over my enforced break from gigging, I’m doing some refinish work and all the gigging Corts will get bone or mother of pearl nuts. Just gives a little extra zing and evenness to the tone.
     
  15. Tommyc

    Tommyc

    Nov 11, 2015
    Midwest
    May I ask, why are you certain you need a new nut? Are you getting back buzz?
     
    EatS1stBassist likes this.
  16. luciens

    luciens

    Feb 9, 2020
    It's not hard to replace a nut but it's imperative that you have the right tools. A good set of nut files of all the correct sizes for your strings is mandatory. And it also takes great care, especially when cutting the slots. Even so much as one accidental swipe of the file on a fret can make a mess of that fret. And if you're really anal about intonation, if the break angle of the nut slot isn't right, the "anchoring" of the string in the nut can move towards the headstock, or cause buzzing at the nut or both.

    Don't ask me how I know all that.

    But some cost for tools and a surprising amount of time and care is needed to cut one right....

    L
     
  17. 4sight

    4sight Supporting Member

    Only on open strings, as soon as you fret a note, the nut is out of the equation.
     
    Vinny_G, JimmyM, Peteyboy and 3 others like this.
  18. CyberSnyder

    CyberSnyder Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 19, 2003
    Maryland
    I Endorse Alien Audio Basses
    By the time you pay for the tools, a luthier can do the whole job cheaper (and probably better than your first shot, but that applies to all of us, not just you personally).
     
    DJ Bebop, imabuddha, westrock and 8 others like this.
  19. Coolhandjjl

    Coolhandjjl

    Oct 13, 2010
    Appleton
    Once you fret a string, the material is out of the equation as mentioned above. And for bass? I doubt anyone could hear any difference between Bakelite, Delrin, or bone even on open strings.
     
    Bahjark, Vinny_G and EatS1stBassist like this.
  20. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    A zero fret would do it better if evenness of tone is what you’re after on open strings. On a fretted string the nut (or a zero fret) won’t make any difference since they won’t be within the vibrating length of the string being played.
     
    EatS1stBassist likes this.

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