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Discussion in 'Strings [DB]' started by Jack Lemon, Jun 19, 2017.

  1. Jack Lemon

    Jack Lemon

    Mar 8, 2015
    Hello experienced TB'ers, I'm trying to file down the nut on my DB and I'm looking for the proper size rat tail files. The strings I'm using are:

    D'Addario Helicore Pizzicatos, 3/4 Scale, Medium Tension

    I'm looking for the diameter of these bad boys, so I can file the nut without worry of future buzz. I'd measure them myself, but I'm inexperienced with some tools and I don't think I'd get it quite right, if I'm being completely blunt.

    Thanks in advance, and any advice for going about this would be greatly appreciated.
  2. Sam Dingle

    Sam Dingle Supporting Member

    Aug 16, 2011
    New Orleans
    Jack Lemon likes this.
  3. LouisF

    LouisF Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA
    You might want to run this by the Set Up and Repair forum. The only time I've had to file the notches in the nut or bridge was when using gut wound strings like Olives or Eudoxas
    Jack Lemon likes this.
  4. Rat tail files are conical, so you need to use the right part of it. The thinnest one would be fine.
    But I doubt that you need to widen the slots, since most steel core strings have a similar diameter and are the smallest. Synthetic core and gut core may need a widened slot.
    Jack Lemon likes this.
  5. Jack Lemon

    Jack Lemon

    Mar 8, 2015
    Thanks to all for the responses!

    I just picked up a tip cleaner kit from the welding section of Home Depot. I have the D and G sizes, but am still lacking the E and A.

    My action is sky high, several business cards won't hold under the first note. Should I take off the glued in nut and file down the bottom, or should I file the slots? I am now becoming confused for what I thought was a pretty easy job..
  6. Jack Lemon

    Jack Lemon

    Mar 8, 2015
    Also, if there is a way to just move this discussion into that forum, please lmk! Otherwise, I'm just gonna post the same issue over there.
  7. Well, personally I would file down the slots first and with the nut in place. That way you can control quicker and therefor more often that the height does not get too low.
    Also have an eye that the slot needs to go down a bit towards the pegbox and round the pegbox end of the nut to avoid a sharp edge that the string might need to run over. (You might want to delay the rounding after the next step.)
    After you filed the slots to the correct height, remove the nut (if possible) and file down the top of the nut until the grooves in the nut are only a third of the diameter of the string deep. If you delayed the pegbox end rounding of the grooves (!) do that now. Put the nut back in place and maybe secure it with a drop of superglue against the fingerboard end.
    Jack Lemon likes this.
  8. Jack Lemon

    Jack Lemon

    Mar 8, 2015
    Thanks, MIDI! I'll give that a go for sure.

    What is the purpose of filing down the top of the nut after I get the slots correct? Just for looks?
  9. No, to avoid clamping of the string in the nut. Maybe also to reduce friction.

    Same should be made with the bridge slots 1/3 string diameter deep. Any wood above should be removed. But the bridge slots should be in parallel orthogonally to the top. The E groove should be a bit deeper or 1/3 string diameter deep on the outer side, more on the inner side. Usually this is not so much of a problem on the G side, but basically the same is valid there too.

    And don't forget the lubrication of bridge and string slots with graphite (I use the softest pencil I can get for that).
    Jack Lemon likes this.
  10. Bridge slots 1/3 the diameter of the string is good for classical and most jazz pizz players to minimize damping effects on the string, but heavy slap players need slots that are closer to 1/2 the string diameter to avoid pulling the E string out of the slot.
    Jack Lemon likes this.
  11. Rat tail file, I guess that is the english name for the (metal) file, I have been using for all these kind of jobs. It is a one size fit all solution, provided you use your eye, common sense and judgement properly. Imo you are over complicating it a bit..
    Jack Lemon likes this.
  12. Jack Lemon

    Jack Lemon

    Mar 8, 2015
    There's no such thing as overcomplicating a repair, I'd like to cross my t's and dot my lower case j's before I carve too much out of my instrument. I'm obviously less experienced than you, no need to jab..
  13. I am actually not very experienced, so it was meant more like a reassurance than a jab.
    Chris Fitzgerald likes this.