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Should I sand the nut slot??

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Bassguitarbubba, Sep 14, 2008.

  1. I purchased a new J-neck with a finished maple fret board. I need to install the nut and was wondering if it was best to sand the nut slot before gluing the nut into it.

    I've read that CA glue is good for this but I don't know what CA glue is.

    Any help is much appreciated.
  2. standupright


    Jul 7, 2006
    Phoenix, AZ
    Brownchicken Browncow
    i'm not sure why you would want to glue the nut in the first place.
  3. To hold it in place. this is my first build so I thought I would have to glue it. I mean, when I change the stirigs on my other guitars, the nut doesn't fall out so I assumed it was glued in.
  4. standupright


    Jul 7, 2006
    Phoenix, AZ
    Brownchicken Browncow
    don't glue.....graphite between the nut and the neck.....if you ever need to change, it will be easier...not to mention that pure floating nut presents a better sound than glued...
  5. Of course, music is ALL about the sound. Anything I can to to imporve it is helpful. You also raise a good point about possible future repairs. Thanks for the feedback.

    So let me jump back to my original question regarding sanding. I should NOT sand the nut slot and leave it finished?
  6. standupright


    Jul 7, 2006
    Phoenix, AZ
    Brownchicken Browncow
    i'm no expert but.....my experience is to sand the nut before you sand the slot.
  7. I learn alot by listening to people like you who take the time to respond to my sometimes silly questions, or just by reading the tutorials or the steps others have done while building their basses. I read one tonight where a guy built a fretless and glued the nut into the fretboard after sanding the nut. The fretboard wasn't finished and looked loke it was rosewood (He didn't say what it was made of but it was clearly not finished). He used CA glue, which is new to me, that's why I asked to begin with
  8. standupright


    Jul 7, 2006
    Phoenix, AZ
    Brownchicken Browncow

    i think the best situation is where the nut is floating and secured by the tension of the strings....just my opinion....
  9. This is not the first time I've heard that. You're probably right and in a way it makes alot of sense. I like to subsribe to the KISS theory anyway.
  10. Jools4001

    Jools4001 Supporting Member

    I have to say that seems very strange advice to me, none of the basses that I've ever owned have had a floating nut - not intentionally anyway.

    I did have a problem with the nut on my fretless 5, when the nut became unstuck. It would hold into the nut slot under the string tension, but because of the slightly uneven string pull it would slide a couple of millimetres to the 'g' string side.

    The best thing to do is sand the nut thickness until it's a reasonable press fit into the slot. If you sand the nut, rather than the slot, it's easier and if you screw it up it's cheaper to replace than be left with a permanently enlarged slot.

    Once it's in place, secure it with a single drop of CA in the middle. That way, if it ever needs changing (maybe because you want to change to lighter gauge strings) you should be able to take it out again with a sharp tap to the side.

    IMHO, if you can hear any difference between a glued in nut and one that floats you obviously have superpowers and could start a new career as Captain Hearo :)
  11. gfried84

    gfried84 Commercial User

    May 7, 2005
    Owner Fried Guitars Inc.
    just use a small dab of ca or wood glue. with the ca you will have to set the nut exactly right because it dries very quickly. I have never heard the difference between a glued and unglued nut.
  12. CA == superglue, i think the bog standard stuff from the supermarket is ok :)
  13. Thangfish

    Thangfish ...overly qualified for janitorical deployment...

    Gfried and Jools have given you good advise.
    It is not uncommon for string tension to slide a nut over to the treble side, making a non-glued nut unfeasible.

    It will be fine to leave the finish in the nut slot, assuming the nut fits well. The glue will hold a little better. Sand the back of the nut for height adjustment.

    CA is shorthand for cyanoacrylate, which is the generic term for regular old super glue. One (small) drop is plenty, and DO line it up quickly.
  14. +1 on drop of CA

    DO NOT sand the slot at all. If it is an already-finished slot, further sanding can only make it worse, and could really mess up your intonation if you get aggressive with it.

    If the slot is too narrow, sand the nut to make it fit the slot, not the other way around.
  15. Thanks for all the advice and clarification on what CA glue is.

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