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nutty thread....

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by The_Bass, Apr 14, 2001.

  1. ok, so I want to replace the old crappy plastic nut on my Yamaha BB G5....

    and I´ll probably make one myself...

    what material should I use? I´ve heard bones are good... what kind of bones?

    any tricks on how to do it....

    (it´s too much trouble to buy one...)
  2. rubber chicken

    rubber chicken Guest

    Apr 7, 2001
    too bad no one else replied, cuz i sure can't help you.
  3. thanx, that was REALLY helpful :rolleyes:


  4. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    You'll change your mind about "too much trouble to buy one" after you try to make one. I'd say you're not close enough to being a luthier if you don't even know what to make it out of.
  5. Make it out of Human bone. give it that Humanistic touch. :p

    "my bass is called Bill, cause its got a bit of him in it". lol
    hmm where's my beer?

  6. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    I herd det! They look very simple to the lay person, but they really are a combination of art and science. Even the crummy one you want to replace had to have someone who was well versed in luthiery to make the prototype. Even otherwise decent basses can have nut problems once the production workers get to them..

    Why not get a synthetic, or bone, from the StewMac catalog? They don't cost much. Putting it on will be another matter (for a tech, if it was I).
  7. Please search the forum for the other 20 or so threads concerning this topic. There's lots of info to be found.

    You can make nuts from lots of different materials. I've made them from brass (very dense, attractive, not the easiest to carve), aluminum (again dense, attractive, easier to carve), and phenolic (dense, colored, very easy to file). You can also get blanks of what it called graphite but what is really a product called "Nylotron" which is a high density nylon impregnated with graphite powder. Easy to work, easy to go "too far" if you don't use a delicate hand. You can use a product called Ivoroid, which is a synthetic material designed to replace the use of ivory in antique instruments. This is easy to work and really looks like ivory. You can get Ivoroid from Stewart MacDonald at www.stewmac.com . Whatever you choose, do not destroy your old nut. Use it as a pattern and make your new one EXACTLY like the old. No need to re-invent the wheel here.
  8. ok, thanx for all your replies... :)

    and I know it won´t be easy to build a nut.. and now that I think about it, I don´t think I would EVER be able to get up off my ass and start building it anyway...

    but when I said it was hard to buy one, that´s because I would have to order it and with no credit card it´s hard to order from the web and there are few music stores in Iceland and probably none of them sells nuts..

    now, if someone could SEND me a nut... wink, wink... ;) j/k..

    but if I buy a nut from say, stewmac... I will still need to put the slots in by myself, right? and making a rectangle out of say, bone, shouldn´t be so hard if I know what height and width to have..... right?

    anyway, I guess I´ll TRY to get my dad to give me his credit card so I can buy from stewmac.. boy, that´ll not be easy....
  9. Make sure you get the right thickness when you buy your blank, but you can thin a blank to the perfect thickness by carefully and evenly rubbing the flat on a file and checking with a micrometer for evenness, plus checking in the slot for perfect fit (I did).

    Graphite-impregnated nylon is very forgiving because it will sort of mold to the string a bit (you can cut it a little tight or a little loose) and it is very easy to cut. Be willing to try making several nuts until you get things just right. To get the size of the slots just right, I do the final filing of the nut slots with drill bits. Drill bits come not only in metric and fractional inch sizes, but in letter and number sizes (get a chart to show you the diameter in thousandths of an inch). Leave about 0.010" gap (using an automotive feeler gauge) between the first fret and the string when you hold the string down at the third fret (you can later make this gap smaller if you want but getting close to 0.010 is a warning to slow down). Be careful to angle the slot downward from the fretboard edge to the tuner edge. Ideally, the slot will slope downward in a line that leads to the spot where your string will come off of the tuner after it's wrapped around the post. Remember that strings have different diameters. If you cut the slots for the strings equidistant from each other and the end slots an equal distance from the ends of the nut, you may find the lowest string too close to the edge of the fretboard compared to the highest. So what you want is to leave the same space from the end of the nut to the side of the string, which means the center of the cut for the G string will be closer to the end of the nut than the center of the cut for the lowest string. Personally, I like to calculate out the gaps between the strings to be equal, even though that's not the way bridges are built (bridge string spacing is equal from center to center of strings). It just feels more natural to my left hand to have the spacings equal. If you liked the side-to-side string positioning of your old nut, you can use it for a rough guide to cutting your new one. After you are through, you will want to file the nut into a smooth curve on top so that 1/2 of each string is exposed, no more or less. Then you will want to round the two exposed top side edges for comfort, but those only and not the front or back edges. You have probably read most of this, but I figured I'd type what I learned doing it and maybe there's something in there you can use.

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