Proper Nut / String Height?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Zooberwerx, Mar 12, 2005.

  1. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    What's the appropriate method for determining correct string height at the nut? The bass in question is a 5 string with brass nut (unfortunately not an Adjust-a-Nut).

    Here's a method I heard about years ago; I don't know if it holds true:

    1) Fret any string at the second fret.

    2) A slight gap should exist between the string and the top of
    the first fret (standard bassist's unit of measure = one
    credit card).

    3) If the nut slot is cut too deeply, you may experience
    buzzing with open strings. If the string is too high, fretting
    at first position will be notably stiff.

    I'd appreciate any input.


  2. Wings


    Feb 6, 2005
    Bellport, NY
    I like a very low action so theoretically, a "zero fret" is what I'm after for my J bass. In other words the nut, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc. frets would be in alignment with one another.

    I use your method... I depress and hold the sting down on the 2nd fret. Now, while holding the sting down on the 2nd fret, with my other hand I try to press the string down to the 1st fret. What I want to "feel" is the slightest of "clicks" as the string hits the fret. Perfect would be no movement at all, but if in fact the nut was too low, I'd also get no movement as the string would already be up against the 1st fret. That's why I want the slightest bit of movement or the click I feel as the string hits the 1st fret. In my case this measures out to .005" which is perfect for me.

    By the way, I've used TI flatwounds for a year or so, but just switched back to Fender 9050 ML flatwounds because the TI's were just a little too flexie for my technique and the strings were hitting the frets when I played hard with my low action. I have 1/16" or slightly less clearance at the 12th fret across the board and .018" (the thickness of a thin guitar pick) relief in the nect at the 12th fret with a capo on the first fret and the string depressed at the 24th fret.