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nut adjustment?

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by Chris Fitzgerald, Oct 23, 2000.


  1. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    Hello,

    I've been playing (pizz only) on an old American Standard bass, and something is going on with it that is driving me nuts (no pun inteneded)......

    After getting the action set up last year (which I have to drive about 100 miles to do), I noticed that my open G string sounds way too live and loud when compared not only with the fingered notes on the same string, but also compared to the other open strings. I know that open strings always sound different, but this is out of control, esp. when recorded. What I'm wondering is, is there some kind of home remedy for this that will save me a trip to the doctor, who lives far, far away and has a waiting list?


    Thanks in advance!

    Chris
     
  2. Tim Ludlam

    Tim Ludlam

    Dec 19, 1999
    Carmel, IN
    Chris:

    Who is your bass doctor? Or I should ask, is he in Cincinnati or Indianapolis? The reason I ask, is you ought to be able to get a quick response from The Cincinnati Bass Cellar.

    Anyway, If you play with Steve Allee, I bet I have seen you play a time or two. (Info derived from profile)
     
  3. Sounds like your nut is grooved for a slightly thicker gauge string. Okay, here is a quick fix that I used to use. I got it from a violin player. You obviously need someting to dampen the string, either at the nut or at the Bridge. Thomastiks used to come with a little rubber tube for just that purpose. So here are the two things you can do. Cut a
    piece of shrink-wrap tubing(available at radio shack) about
    1/4 to 1/2 inch long (just big enough to go over the nut groove or bridge groove. You don't have to heat it up, just make sure it is almost the same gauge as the string, and slip it over the string and guide it into place over the nut. The other thing you can do is take a tiny square of paper (Business card thickness)and slip it under the string at the brige or the nut. This may raise the action a mm or so, but it should also dampen the string quite a bit.This should work at least until you can get it set up properly.
     
  4. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    Hello again,

    Tim: You probably have not seen me play with Steve Allee, since I've only played with him on one gig in Indy. We teach together at the Aebersold summer workshops, and he also teaches here in Louisville at the University one day a week. However, I hope to play with him more in Indy as time goes by(he's really fun to play with)... but it's a heckuva drive for a one nighter! By the way, my bass doctor is Andy Stetson in Cincinatti; I was advised against going to the bass Viol shop because my bass is so ratty looking and was not made in Europe; about 5 different people told me that they can be a little snobbish that way....which is fine, since Andy's a nice guy and does nice work anyway...is there a good person in Indy also?

    reedo - thanks for the tips! I won't be able to try the more complicated solution until next week or so, but the business card idea works pretty well as a stopgap measure.I wonder if using felt or velvet or something like that would dampen the @x!!$%* thing too much? Well, it's worth a try. I'd like to get a new nut and just fix the whole thing, but I'm saving for a new fingerboard and it makes more sense to do that all at once, unless you know something I don't?

    Thanks!
    Chris
     
  5. Well, since you asked... There is another solution, but it is a bit more complicated, and I don't recommend doing it unless you have cut a nut before. You can sand down another scrap piece of ebony with fine grade paper 400-600, take the shavings and fill the existing groove with it. Tamp it down,Add a little super
    glue, just a few drops, let it dry a few minutes, and voila!
    a new nut, ready to be filed. But if the paper is working, I know it doesn't look too pretty, but leave it until you can get the whole thing done, like you are planning to do.
    I tried velvet before, but it didn't work as well as the paper solution.
     
  6. The nut is a separate piece, and if it's really bothering you, I don't see the point in waiting until you do the fingerboard.
     
  7. I think the reasoning here is that if you get a new fingerboard, you will also need to get a nut adjustment anyway, so why do the same thing twice?
     
  8. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    Don -

    actually, the reason I don't want to deal with the nut as apart from the fingerboard is because I can't afford to leave my bass with the doctor for a couple of days. I realize that I'm lucky to be working that much, but I count myself unlucky not to have a backup bass yet (I hope to change that in the next year or so!). So , I guess if I can deal with this until I can afford the new fingerboard, I'll just do it all at once and only have to make one road trip (well, actually, two if I want to pick it back up...)

    reedo - thanks for the tips!
     
  9. Tim Ludlam

    Tim Ludlam

    Dec 19, 1999
    Carmel, IN
    Chris:

    There is a guy in Indianapolis named Kalon Watkins, who has a tremendous reputation. Deals in mostly high end stuff, and is rumored to "work at his own pace".

    I too, take my basses to Andy.

    Hope to catch you playing with Steve sometime.
     
  10. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    Tim,

    Works at his own pace?....hmmmm, that sounds like bad news for someone with only one bass...I think I'll stick with Andy, since last time I went up there, he was nice enough to arrange it so that I only had to make one trip. He let me drop it off in the morning, hang out and shop in Cincy for a bit, and pick it up in the late afternoon of the same day. I really, really appreciated that. Of course, that was only for a setup. I don't think I (or he) could pull that that off for a fingerboard replacement, but I remembered being very pleased with him at the time.

    Hope we run into each other one of these days.