Quick nut width question

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by NNNN, Feb 26, 2022.

  1. NNNN

    NNNN Supporting Member

    Dec 28, 2021
    I have a bass with a 40mm nut (about 5-6mm thick), which seems to be an atypical size for off-the-shelf replacements. There seems to be a fair number of 38.5mm nuts available (including the Warwick Just A Nut which is tempting for the extra flexibility). Would I even notice if I installed a 38.5mm nut, or is it going to throw the cosmos out of whack? Maybe it would help to mention that the bass is 30.5" scale with 16.5mm bridge spacing. Thanks in advance for any input.
     
  2. Gilmourisgod

    Gilmourisgod

    Jun 23, 2014
    Cape Cod MA
    If the string slots are pre-cut, they will be a little far in on 38mm vs 40. I think you will notice the difference.
     
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  3. TFM94

    TFM94

    Aug 24, 2020
    Finland
    I agree with @Gilmourisgod, the 38.5mm nut will be a bit off. If it's slotted, the string spacing will be too narrow, and there will be sharp edges at the fingerboard at the nut slot. Additionaly, it will likely look out of place on that bass.

    I don't know how handy you are, but in this case (and because you posted this in the luthier's corner) I recommend making a nut from scratch. You can buy nut blanks of various sizes. You can cut it to the exact width, shape it to the correct height and then file in the slots. The good thing is that you can't really do any damage here, and if it doesn't turn out as you want it, you can simply start over with a new blank. This is a very useful skill for repairs and setups.
     
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  4. NNNN

    NNNN Supporting Member

    Dec 28, 2021
    Ugh, yeah I know. I'm mostly being stubborn/lazy because I don't want to buy a set of nut slot files and add this to the pile of other projects I have. I was also hoping I could get away with the 38.5mm Just-A-Nut because I could get two and easily swap between EADG and BEAD tunings.
     
  5. dwizum

    dwizum

    Dec 21, 2018
    No need to use actual nut slot files. You can make bass nuts with a razor saw and a few cheap needle files. Or just wrap sandpaper around appropriately sized drill bits.
     
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  6. TFM94

    TFM94

    Aug 24, 2020
    Finland
    Yes, exactly. I use a tapered needle file, and depending where on the taper I file I can cover anything from 40-135. Those files are nowhere near as expensive as "proper" nut slotting files.
     
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  7. RichterScale

    RichterScale

    Feb 21, 2021
    WNY
    It also helps to run a collar of tape around the file at the point of the taper that matches the diameter you're shooting for, so you don't go too far. I haven't made a nut yet, but I've done that for other things.
     
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  8. Blues Daddy

    Blues Daddy

    Jul 1, 2016
    If you prefer to buy a preslotted nut check with GraphTech (graphtech.com) . . . they have varying 4-string lengths including 39.5mm and 41.0mm.
     
    JRA likes this.
  9. NNNN

    NNNN Supporting Member

    Dec 28, 2021
    Good call, I should take a closer look, but it from what I've seen the sizes and color/material options are all over the place. Plus most of the nuts are closer to 1/8" thick than 1/4".

    On a related note, do you happen to know how they measure the E-to-G distance? Is it center-to-center?
     
  10. TFM94

    TFM94

    Aug 24, 2020
    Finland
    I have used this one on my last build, it's exactly 40mm wide and 5 mm thick. Also, with the individual saddles it allows for different string gauges (EADG vs BEAD) and is easy to adjust.
    ABM 6240 Nut

    E-G measurements and spacing depends on the model and manufacturer, ABM for example has constant 10mm spacing center-center.
     
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  11. Queue

    Queue

    Jul 5, 2013
    DC Suburbs, USA
    +1 on the graph tech recommendation.

    If you don't see a good blank to start from, contact support, they sell a lot more than what you see on their page. I once found their dealer listing and special ordered via email some blanks that saved me lots of time.

    Another tip, check to see if your nut has a raidiused bottom or flat bottom. If it is raidiused, you can choose to flatten the slot. There's also some that come pre-radiused.
     
    NNNN likes this.
  12. Discount Bassy

    Discount Bassy Supporting Member

    Mar 9, 2020
    Right Here.
    I gewgled "40mm" bass nut and came up with a number of readily available...40mm bass nuts.
     
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  13. NNNN

    NNNN Supporting Member

    Dec 28, 2021
    How dare you suggest I'm bad at googling. Just kidding. I found a handful of options, but nothing pre-slotted, ~1/4" thickness, in a high-quality synthetic material. If that's what you're seeing, I'd really appreciate it if you post some links!
     
  14. Discount Bassy

    Discount Bassy Supporting Member

    Mar 9, 2020
    Right Here.
  15. Queue

    Queue

    Jul 5, 2013
    DC Suburbs, USA
    What about #1240?
    Is your 40mm actually 40mm? or a bit less?

    (see next post, the top is tapered a bit)
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2022
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  16. Queue

    Queue

    Jul 5, 2013
    DC Suburbs, USA
    20220227_183643.jpg 20220227_183734.jpg
     
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  17. NNNN

    NNNN Supporting Member

    Dec 28, 2021
    This is super tempting! I just wish it weren't brass, but that's on me.

    Thanks. I did find all of those resources already, including the TB thread. I wasn't super specific from the outset, but I don't want bone, and the thin 3.5mm nuts are too narrow as they will leave a gap at the truss rod cover. After some more measuring (see below) I think there is a Graphtech solution that can work.

    Thanks for the recommendation.
    It's actually a little over 40mm: about 40.2mm. Graphtech says the 1240 has an E to G distance of 30.0mm (I'm assuming that's center to center), and the E to G spacing on my bass is about 31.7mm on centers, which is a fair bit off.

    That said, I was already looking at the 42.mm 1242 nut as a replacement for my 42mm neck bass. The 1242 has an E to G spacing of 31.75mm. Looking at both basses now, they have the same E to G spacing measurement, but with nut widths that differ by 2mm. I suppose I could either file the excess off the 1242 to maintain the current string spacing, or try the 1240 nut with narrower, more typical 40mm nut spacing.
     
  18. Queue

    Queue

    Jul 5, 2013
    DC Suburbs, USA
    Careful with that 1242, if you have a bass with a Gibson/Epiphone type nut (not in a fretboard slot, and angled down toward the headstock) then you're fine. If you're trying to put it in a fender type nut slot, (mostly flat front to back) you'll need to get creative to flatten out that angle a bit. Look closely at the 3rd picture.

    Also, I found the OEM catalog. It is here https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/2372/8913/files/oem-catalog_2014_2.pdf
     
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  19. NNNN

    NNNN Supporting Member

    Dec 28, 2021
    Nice catch. Pretty sure both basses take the 1242 style nut:
    nuts.jpg
    I suppose then that if I were going to try the flatter 1240 on the 40mm neck (bass on the right), I'd want to file the slots to angle back a bit?
     
  20. Queue

    Queue

    Jul 5, 2013
    DC Suburbs, USA
    You always want them to angle a bit, even on a Fender-type nut, you want the witness point to be a point, not the whole nut. You can make a 1240 look like a 1242, but vice versa is really hard.
     
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