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Minimal String Height @ 1st Fret?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Zooberwerx, Apr 7, 2009.


  1. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    I'm doctoring the slots on a brass nut (too shallow) and was unsure of the acceptable gap / tolerance between the string and 1st fret when depressing the string at the 2nd fret. As is, I can barely slide a double thickness of printer paper betweenst the B string and 1st fret (not terribly scientific but it works!) and it passes the "plink" test so I think I'm okay. Any words of wisdom?

    Thanks

    Riis
     
  2. 202dy

    202dy Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2006
    Not only does it pass the plink test but it also passes just about any other way of measuring clearance at the first fret. Usually the test is performed by depressing the string at the third fret. Optimal clearance is ~.003". If you measure the thickness of the printer paper it should come in right around three thousandths give or take a thousandth.

    Sounds like a job well done.
     
  3. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    3rd fret, eh? I've heard that somewhere before. Seeing as I'm working with brass, I'm using "expendable" files for the rough work and the ol' drill bit-wrapped-with-emery-cloth for the clean up.

    Thanks for the affirmation and encouragement!

    Riis
     
  4. 202dy

    202dy Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2006
    Why are you working with makeshift tools? (Fairly certain you have a full compliment of luthiery tools.) Brass won't harm a hardened steel file.

    Third fret: Mentioned by Dan Erlewine and in a slew of other texts. That's where you've probably heard it.
     
  5. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    Full complement of tools, my eye! You're dealing with a full-fledged hack here. I know just enough to be dangerous. OTOH, I have some common sense and know my limitations.

    I'd heard from a local tech that brass was hard on files, hence the improvisations. I would like to buy a set of "budget" nut files; I believe Warmoth has them available on line.

    Riis
     
  6. 202dy

    202dy Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2006
    Hack? That would be surprising.

    A set of nut files, apart from the fact that they are essentially useless for any other task, is a wonderful thing to own and use. Brass is soft metal. It might wear the files out faster than bone or Corian would. Not sure how much faster. However, it would take an awful lot of brass nuts to wear out the entire surface of the file. Looking at it from a cost standpoint, it would probably be way less than a dollar per nut per set of files. Could be as low as ten cents per file. That's a bargain in anybody's book.
     
  7. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    A bargain, indeed, considering the number of poorly cut / installed nuts I've seen over the years. I'm no expert but I've witnessed firsthand how this can plague an otherwise near-perfect setup.

    Riis
     
  8. the string hight at the nut is determined when you have all other thing set up like they should then you start to lower the nut string by string... i always check how much i need to press at the first fret... you should have to press very little when its right...
     

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