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Possibly okay to leave it this way? (nut slots)

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Aaron_D, Sep 26, 2010.


  1. Aaron_D

    Aaron_D

    May 9, 2010
    Tallahassee, FL
    Okay, so I never even noticed this, but My new set of chromes are too fat go sit all the way into my Spector's nut. I have played a few shows this way and while I did notice my actions seemed a little high in the lower registers, nothing else seemed out of the ordinary (sustain, dead spots, etc.)

    I searched and saw one thread saying this was totally fine, but it was only one guy and no one backed it up. Will this cause any problems?
     
  2. Slowgypsy

    Slowgypsy 4 Fretless Strings

    Dec 12, 2006
    NY & MA
    Using a string that doesn't seat all the way in the nut slots can cause some problems. One is... a potential "pinch point" that can lead to pre-mature string failure. Another one is... a bit of stress on the outer strings (E & G) that can lead to the nut cracking. And yet another is... tuning can be tricky as the string might "pinch" at the nut causing one tuning, and then as you play, the string will find another position causing it to be slightly out of tune.

    If it were my instrument I'd make the nut slot the proper width.
     
  3. Aaron_D

    Aaron_D

    May 9, 2010
    Tallahassee, FL
    Well hmmm. So the new chomes are done? Should I just chalk it up to a lesson learned? I guess that's the only thing that kinda sucks. :bawl:
     
  4. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    alpha-music.com
    your strings are probably fine, but that nut needs to be filed out correctly.

    it won't tune or intonate properly, it becomes harder to play than it needs to be, and you risk breaking the corners of the nut off.

    (sorry, but whoever said it was "totally fine" is an idiot.)
     
  5. M0ses

    M0ses

    Sep 11, 2009
    Los Angeles
    Definitely want to enlarge the slots a bit. It's ok, though, because having slots that are too big if you change gauges again is not a problem.
     
  6. OlSkewl56

    OlSkewl56

    May 26, 2007
    South Texas
    Smaller gauge Chromes?
     
  7. ixlramp

    ixlramp

    Jan 25, 2005
    UK
    Just buy a small file with a fine abrading surface, widen the slot by filing back the top 2/3 of the nut slot walls. Go slowly and gently. Be sure not to deepen the slot. Also leave the floor of the slot untouched so that it retains it's U-shape, this is what centres a bass string in the slot so that using thinner strings in future is not a problem. You could rest a piece of metal of a carefully chosen thickness on the fretboard against the nut to act as a guide for the file, to keep it from contacting the floor of the slot. Make sure the file is moving parallel to the floor of the slot.

    If you do it wrong, nuts are cheap, no big loss.
     
  8. Hi.

    Even though it's not fine, a "condition" You describe is way more common than people think or believe. It's way more common with smaller diameter guitar strings than bass strings though.

    Ordinary players just don't pay any attention to details like that, and unless there's problems, they usually don't care either.

    Because of the large diameter of the strings, the cheapest "file set" to dress up the slots is a cheap drill bit wrapped with fine emery paper. Less chance of failure than with a conical tipped round needle file.

    Regards
    Sam
     
  9. FunkMetalBass

    FunkMetalBass

    Aug 5, 2005
    Phoenix, Arizona 85029
    Endorsing Artist: J.C. Basses
    Sand paper will take 3 minutes. Do yourself a favor and widen the slots slightly.
     
  10. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    alpha-music.com
    no, they just wonder why their guitar is hard to play and doesn't stay in tune ;)
    now that's good!

    find a drill bit that's just the same size as the string in question, and the thickness of the sandpaper you wrap around it will be plenty to give the string clearance in the nut slot. slower than a file, but less risky, especially with the rat-tail needle file, which (like T-bird alludes to) causes problems from binding up in the slot since it gets fatter along its length.

    make sure the slot is angled so that the string first contacts it right at the end of the fretboard, or the intonation will be off.
     
  11. RustyAxe

    RustyAxe

    Jul 8, 2008
    Connecticut
    Nah. Just have someone touch up the nut for you. No big deal, and not expensive at all. A benefit is that the slots will also be at the correct height, and you'll get better action at the bottom of the scales. Hell, spend the $40 and get it set up properly.
     
  12. mcm

    mcm

    Oct 2, 2007
    Nashville, TN
    easiest fix would be to get the chromes in 40-95 gauge, the green packaging. less tension also
     
  13. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    Use emery cloth, not paper. Sandpapers, in general, have a way of creasing when wrapped around smaller diameter supports including drill bits. We buy they stuff by the roll for repairing wheelchairs and the like....some of it "accidentally" made its way to my house. If you'd like a couple samples (probably more than enough for the project at hand), please PM me.

    Riis
     
  14. JLS

    JLS

    Sep 12, 2008
    Albuquerque, NM
    I setup & repair guitars & basses
    All wellllllllllllllllllllllllll said...

    T-Bird's tip about the drillbits/sandpaper is right on the money, too.
     
  15. Turnaround

    Turnaround Commercial User

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Independent Instrument Technician, and Contractor to Club Bass and Guitar - Toronto
    Don't know where you got this information, but it's wrong. Just as many problems with slots too wide as with those that are too narrow.
     
  16. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    alpha-music.com
    if you have any down angle at all, a slot that's a little bigger than the string is fine, as long as the bottom is rounded so the string stays in the center.

    it's when the slot is flat on the bottom that the string slides around and rattles.
     
  17. Turnaround

    Turnaround Commercial User

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Independent Instrument Technician, and Contractor to Club Bass and Guitar - Toronto
    Sorry, but that has not been my experience, especially with a certain brand of basses where wide nut slots seem to be both common and problematic right from the factory (rounded bottom and all).
     
  18. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    alpha-music.com
    it might be an issue on the A string of the average fender (due to the lesser angle), but on the average angled-headstock spector (like the OP's) it's not a problem.

    we're talking about a .110" wide slot for a .105" string, nothing much bigger than that.

    it's way less of an issue than a .104" slot for that .105" string, that's for damn sure.
     
  19. Turnaround

    Turnaround Commercial User

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Independent Instrument Technician, and Contractor to Club Bass and Guitar - Toronto
    Agreed. A few thousandths too wide is fine. A thou too narrow and you could have a broken nut, a pinched string, etc. I was thinking of a particular brand's five-string where the B string slot consistently has a lot of wiggle room and consequent problems.
     
  20. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

     
    Mar 6, 2021

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