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String alignment - what is going on here?!

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by SteveGallo, Mar 14, 2018.


  1. SteveGallo

    SteveGallo

    Mar 14, 2018
    Hi folks,

    I just assembled a frankenbass out of various Warmoth and Fender parts. First pic is it mostly finished, with tape holding in the electronics while I wait for pickguard screws.

    Only thing I went a bit cheap on is the neck, which is now giving me problems. Came with way too much relief - no big, truss rod adjustments. Nut was improperly installed, (doesn't match the radius of the neck) no big, some sanding and it's good.

    What I can't figure out is how the strings could be so badly misaligned. Bridge is spot on, neck sits perfectly flush in the pocket and string spacing is good in that area. Am I wrong in thinking the only thing that could be causing such bad alignment is that the tuning machine holes are way out of place, too far to the bass side?

    It's so bad that when I tune up with the nut in, it slides the nut about a quarter inch bass side off the fretboard.
     

    Attached Files:

  2. JGbassman

    JGbassman Supporting Member

    May 31, 2011
    Listen the neck and pull it a little to the left. That’s the first thing I would try
     
    aaronious likes this.
  3. SteveGallo

    SteveGallo

    Mar 14, 2018
    I tried that to no effect. I even tried pulling it over HARD, still nowhere near enough of an adjustment to counter how badly misaligned it is.
     
  4. Hard to tell for sure from the pics, but to me it looks like the problem is in the nut. Doesn't look like the slots are cut in the correct place, or that the whole nut shifted sideways to the bass side.

    You may wind up having to replace the nut.
     
    JRA, Goatrope, Spectre1966 and 4 others like this.
  5. SteveGallo

    SteveGallo

    Mar 14, 2018
    I don't mind replacing the nut, but if you look at the second pic, the nut is off the bass. Still way out of whack. If I force the nut where it should be by holding it in place, the strings bend noticeably from the nut to the tuning pegs.
     
  6. SteveGallo

    SteveGallo

    Mar 14, 2018
    To illustrate:

    IMG_20180314_205133.
    IMG_20180314_205144.
     
  7. ctmullins

    ctmullins fueled by beer and coconut Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 18, 2008
    MS Gulf Coast
    I'm highly opinionated and extremely self-assured
    That nut looks like garbage to me. I’d toss it and cut a new one with the spacing that you prefer.

    The fact that the tuners are not “in line” with the strings is probably due to the typical manufacturing inaccuracies found in budget equipment.
     
    JRA, Dadagoboi, JoeWPgh and 4 others like this.
  8. Ah, no nut in the picture. That explains why things looked odd.

    There might be a little bend in the strings with a properly installed nut, but it shouldn't cause any huge issues. Gibson 2+2 headstocks have quite a bit of angle from the nut to headstock.
     
    InhumanResource likes this.
  9. SteveGallo

    SteveGallo

    Mar 14, 2018
    Do you think if I install a new nut, it will be able to hold up to the lateral string pull? It ripped this shoddy nut (supposed to be a Warmoth bone nut...) right out of the slot. Guess I could epoxy a new one in there to be sure.
     
  10. ctmullins

    ctmullins fueled by beer and coconut Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 18, 2008
    MS Gulf Coast
    I'm highly opinionated and extremely self-assured
    Epoxy would be a bad idea; it wouldn’t be removable later. You want it mounted firmly enough to hold, but not permanent. With a tight friction fit in the slot, the nut should be affixed with a few drops of super-glue.
     
  11. BtaylorTheRogue

    BtaylorTheRogue

    Nov 14, 2016
    My Elixirs are chaotic neutral. Wait, are we not doing that?
     
  12. Looks to me like the nut has been badly cut. I see more nut between the G and D strings than I do between the others, which suggests to me the D slot was cut too far to the left, which then forced the A and E slots too far to the left.

    Get a new nut and tac it down with something that will make it easy to remove. NOT superglue or epoxy.
     
  13. SteveGallo

    SteveGallo

    Mar 14, 2018
    We can. This J was supposed to be neutral good, but this nut issue is pushing it toward chaotic evil.

    Seems like everyone thinks the nut is the issue. I'll demand a new one from the neck vendor and update later. Thank you all for the help.
     
  14. amphlett7

    amphlett7

    Feb 27, 2008
    Basywater, Western Australia
    Audiofly In-Ear Monitors And Headphones
    What's going on here
    IMG_20180314_205144.


    That's not typically how you'd string a bass.
    The break angle wouldn't be great this way
     
  15. That nut looks like it's really loose in the slot. It should be a snug or light press fit in the slot. There appears to be a gap between the nut and sides of the slot.

    You can demand a new one but, if that one was off I wouldn't hold out a whole lot of hope on the replacement.
     
  16. SteveGallo

    SteveGallo

    Mar 14, 2018
    Nothing to see here! Move along!

    I'm not used to tuning pegs of that radius, so I clipped my strings how I would on my old bass with a much smaller peg. Too short. Had to plier the snippets into sheet bends (a tip I found on this forum) to get them to string up. I already have another set of strings on the way though.
     
    Jeff Elkins likes this.
  17. amphlett7

    amphlett7

    Feb 27, 2008
    Basywater, Western Australia
    Audiofly In-Ear Monitors And Headphones

    The knot is what I'm concerned with.
    It's supposed to look like this.
    maxresdefault.
     
  18. SactoBass

    SactoBass A retired civil engineer who likes all-tube amps! Supporting Member

    Jul 8, 2009
    Sacramento CA
    Steve,

    Based on what I see, it appears to me that the tuner holes were drilled in the incorrect locations in the headstock. Even the string tree looks to be in an incorrect alignment. Everything is pulling the nut to the E string side. You can "try" gluing a new nut into its slot, but that lateral force will be exerted on any nut that is put there. I wouldn't want to be playing a gig and suddenly have the glue give way as it would instantly slide the nut to the E string side of the neck and immediately throw your bass out of tune in a big way. As I see it, the problem is not with the bridge or the neck/body alignment. In fact, those parameters look great. To me, it's the tuning post locations that are off. Unfortunately, I do not see an easy fix to this problem.

    Sorry I couldn't be of more help. :(
     
  19. Bluesdog

    Bluesdog

    Apr 24, 2006
    Gold Coast
    You could try moving your string T that guides the thinner two strings over by the amount the nut is being pulled over (in the opposite direction of course. also try some kind of shim in the nut slot to make it a bit tighter fit, small piece of fine sand paper works well. before you dump the nut.
    You might also have a look at how you are securing the strings on the tuners, a couple of winds at least is recommended one over the string going in the slot and the next under it to give more downward pressure at the nut.
     
    fleabitten and SactoBass like this.
  20. SactoBass

    SactoBass A retired civil engineer who likes all-tube amps! Supporting Member

    Jul 8, 2009
    Sacramento CA
    Steve,

    I think Bluesdog is on to something there with the suggestion to move the string tree more to the G string side of the headstock. If the lateral force pulling in one direction by the E and A strings is balanced by the lateral force pulling in the other direction by the D and G strings, then it should, in theory, balance out the lateral force on the nut to zero. :thumbsup:
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2018
    pudgychef and Bluesdog like this.

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