String height at Nut

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by plester102, Feb 22, 2006.

  1. The following question is addressed to the luthier and repair types out there.

    When depressing a string at the 1st, 5th etc position there is no clearance between the string and fingerboard. The string is actually contacting the fingerboard and produces sound when bowed without buzzing.

    Common wisdom states that the string height at the zero position (the nut slot) should be the thicknes of a business card (.008" to .011") above the fingerboard. This zero position is just another null point similar to the 1st, 5th etc positions.

    And finally, my question. Why isn't the zero position (the nut slot) height the same as any other position height (touching) along the fingerboard? I don't understand why the zero null contact point is treated differently than the other position null contact points. It seems to me that the nut should be a device to keep the strings correctly spread apart -- not lifted above the fingerboard.

    All input greatly appreciated.


  2. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    The open string when plucked or Bowed with virbates more than any closed note. Your fingers are softer than the Ebony Nut and mutes and dampens the note. Some room must be made for this. I have just a tad of scoup on the FB under the Nut but I make the slots almost touch the FB. Some say 1 or 2 business cards of height and some leave more. I too like it as low as possible without buzzing.
  3. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC

    Apr 17, 2004
    To add to Ken's response, I think you are making an improper assumption about where the "zero position" is located.
  4. If the zero position isn't located at the exact point at which the strings exit the nut toward the fingerboard -- then where?

  5. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC

    Apr 17, 2004
    Well, the "zero position" as you call it is right at the end of the nut itself. This is true by definition because the strings should not touch the fingerboard at that point.