Setting a GraphTech nut into an Essex-esque bass

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Stealth, Feb 19, 2010.

  1. Stealth


    Feb 5, 2008
    Zagreb, Croatia
    In an effort to fix an old Jack & Danny P/J bass, I ordered a GraphTech Black Tusq nut in order to eliminate tuning issues.

    Now, the GT-BT site suggests using 200 or 400 grit sandpaper (not a problem) to bring the nut down to proper height and length, however, I have a few questions.

    • How do I determine the proper nut height, assuming I want a fairly low setup suited for fingerstyle and tapping (Billy Sheehan-style)? Should I default to Jerzy Drozd's setup book on that? I have a hard-copy on my desk, but I won't be back there for a few hours.
    • The currently installed nut is half as thick as the Black Tusq. While installing the nut, is it a good idea to sand length-wise so I would thin it down to the old nut rout? Or do I try to sand it just enough get a bit of overhang, and in which direction, towards the tuners or towards the frets? Logic suggests the neck-facing side would have to be left as is to avoid detuning the entire fretboard out of intonation.
    • If the nut slots are too thin, is using old bass strings instead of a rat-tail file (which I don't have) good enough to widen them?

    Thanks for the help - this is the first time I'm replacing any kind of instrument nut.
  2. Stealth


    Feb 5, 2008
    Zagreb, Croatia
    Week bump.

  3. stflbn


    May 10, 2007
    Sounds like you bought a nut that's to wide for your bass. I've replaced nuts on SX's and such before and the correct width ones are out there.

    Then just slowly sand/file the bottom down to get the nut to the height you personally find comfortable. Doesn't mean you won't need to tweak the individual slot height of each string some after you get it in the general area.

    Just depends how finicky you are and how precise you choose to work.

    A good starting rule of thumb is to buy 2 because you'll probably do it wrong at some point and need to start over if you haven't done it before.
  4. Stealth


    Feb 5, 2008
    Zagreb, Croatia
    Thanks for the info. Yes, the nut's too wide for the bass, but I don't think there was any thinner nut available at that particular shop. Will search for either better replacements or modify the ones I purchased.

    You're right about purchasing two - I did, though I intended to use each one on a different bass - fortunately only one bass is a priority.