Nut question

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by xring, Nov 4, 2005.

  1. xring


    Sep 16, 2003
    Hello. A local luthier installed a new bone nut on my EBMM Bongo 5 since the G was much too close to the side of the fretboard and I would occasionally pull it off. Only problem is, the string spacing is now irregular, and he's going to re-do it. So I want to have a little insight before I turn it over to him again!
    Is this correct, as I have self determined?
    1. Center the A string.
    2. Locate the G slot where it needs to be.
    3. Measure center to center the distance from A to G, and locate the B slot appropriately same distance. Now B-A-G are correctly in relation to one another.
    4. Place E and D slots exactly between. All should be correct? Thanks. ( I did search some...)
  2. pkr2


    Apr 28, 2000
    coastal N.C.
    You can cut a strip of paper the same length as the distance between the two outside strings. now fold the paper into four equal sections and then use the paper for a template.

    Saves some aggravating measuring.
  3. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Bettendorf, IA USA
    That's one way to do it, but if you do all your measuring center to center, you'll end up with tighter spacing on the larger strings. Using typical gages, the spacing between the G and D would be almost the width of a G more than the spacing between E and B.

    Additionally, with your method, the B will seem much closer to the edge of the FB because it's nearly three times thicker than a G. Basically, it'll be half the difference in thickness of the B and G closer.

    If you wanted each string to be exactly the same width apart, you would add up the total thickness of all strings. Add that to two times the preferred distance from the outside edge of a string to the edge of the fingerboard.

    Subtract that figure from the total fb width at the nut. Divide that # by four and you have the spacing between the strings. Start at one edge, work the grooves to their full width and move on to the next.

    I have done it both ways. I think my method (above) plays better, but it freaks some people because then the A doesn't align with the dots down the middle of the fb. I've redone one once because of that.
  4. when i am laying out a new nut the first thing i do is cut the outside string slots and string up the bass. Then i hold the strings in place with my fingers and eyeball the positioning. Grab a pencil and quickly draw either side of the string and cut the slots. I dont like to do too much measuring cause i tend to do it wrong. For me my eyes are the best tool i have, we can all see when a nut looks wrong.

    Old strings make good files for smoothing out the slots after they have been sawn.
  5. thedoctor


    Jun 20, 2005
    WezV really has the best way unless you are doing a new nut for a customer you don't know too well. I have them play a couple of my personal basses and ask them which string spacing they like. It depends on string-guage, action-hieght, fret-size, etc. but when a guy can slide the low E or B off the neck I know we have to do something a little different. Nuts are the most-often poorly-done luthier jobs for two reasons. You cannot go backwards after a cut is made and, just like a medical doctor, the time is seldom spent finding out what the real problem is. Time is money. If you have a guitar guy/gal working on it for you, make sure you TALK to him about what your issues are and what you expect him/her to do.
  6. Rene


    Mar 8, 2004
    To cut a nut
    1) mesure the width of the fingerboard at the nut(example 48mm)
    2) mesure and cut 3mm on both ends of the nut (since it is a 5 string so on th B side you mesure 3.5 mm because the string is bigger)
    3)you take 48mm - 6.5 mm= 41.5 mm
    4)you take 41.5 mm divide by 4 = 10.3mm
    5) 10.3 mm is the exact distance between all the strings
    6) you cut the slot and install B string anf from the center of that string you mesure 10.3 mm which will give the exact position of the E string
    7) repeat until all the slots for every string are cut and the strings installed
    8) for the height of the strings, with a proper file, you file down the slot until when you press on the string at the third fret you can snag a playing card between the fret and the string at the first fret.
    That's my way of cutting a nut. It is easy and works fine for me
  7. xring


    Sep 16, 2003
    Thanks to all. I hope to have this done in the next week or so.
  8. remo


    Jan 15, 2005
    good luck mate.. I had the same thing done to my MM SR5 as the G was slipping off.. now its slightly too close to the D but I can easily live with it.. I'll get it recut one day.

    heaps better.. i don't know what EB were thinking when they designed the G so close to the edge.. only bad thing on an otherwise great bass.
  9. xring


    Sep 16, 2003
    Thanks. I'm getting ripped a new one on another board just for mentioning the negative side of the topic. Many can live with it just fine. Many can't. I'm thinking of utilizing the stock nut if I can get away with building up the slot on the G side. Worth a try.

  10. That is a very good, follow the rules method. If anyone is doing this for the first time or wants utterly consistent results they should probably follow this. I learnt bad habbits and got used to doing things without the maths. It works for me now but i have cut some dodgy nuts in the past
  11. xring


    Sep 16, 2003
    I'm going the simpelist route of all. A new factory nut is going on, but being dragged over to the B side which will fix my G location, all the while leaving plenty of room for the B. The A is still nicely centered also. I don't know why I did not do that the first time. :meh: