Raising action of one string at the nut

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by winston, Sep 8, 2004.

  1. winston

    winston Supporting Member

    May 2, 2000
    Berkeley, CA
    I was wondering if anyone had suggestions for raising the action of one string at the (graphite) nut. I recently got an inexpensive used custom 6 string made by a local builder. It's not Sadowsky or Carl Thompson grade but it sounds and plays very good. I took it home and gave it a once-over (I'm familiar with how to setup a bass) which included installing a neck shim, adjusting truss rods, setting the action, adjusting pickup height, tightening screws, new battery.

    It's pretty close to ideal but I can't play F (1st fret E string) without the note fretting out. Fret is well seated and not misshapen. This is the only problem note across the strings and I figured I might be able to build up the space in the E string nut slot a little bit. Any advice on how to do so?
  2. Lyle Caldwell

    Lyle Caldwell

    Sep 7, 2004
    If the problem's at the first fret, the problem isn't the nut height. Either the first fret is too low or the second fret (or possibly the third) is too high. Usually a partial redress can fix this.
  3. Replacing the nut is probably the only good permanent solution. Nuts aren't very expensive and don't really take much effort to replace, unless, of course, someone used the wrong glue to install your nut in the first place.

    Also you could try raising the bridge action a tad to see if that helps. It probably wouldn't have to move much to get you off that fret. Of course, if you're like me (and most basses on this planet) you want your action as low as you'd dare.

    Perhaps you could try wedging some sort of thin, dense material in the groove under the string. I don't know, perhaps try a sliver of hardwood. The only problem is, that you have to be careful that the bridging point on the nut remains the same or your intonation will be out of wack. Also, this may have a tendency to dampen the string and make it sound a little darker than the rest (only for the open string, however).

    My final suggestion is to EXPERIMENT. That's how we all get to know what we know really. It's through experimentation. :cool:
  4. Lyle Caldwell

    Lyle Caldwell

    Sep 7, 2004
    Again, it's not the nut. If the string buzzed when open, the nut slot would be too low. If it sounds fine open, and sounds fine at the second fret and heigher, it's not the nut. It's the 1st or 2nd fret.