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string rattle in nut

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by steamboat, Dec 29, 2000.

  1. I just put a new set of flats on my fretless Stingray 5 (finally found a flat low B! they sound awesome) and my new E is rattling in the nut. I'm not quite sure why, because although these are fairly light strings (.95 E), the strings that the bass came with also seemed pretty light. By eyeballing them they look like they are pretty close to the same gauge.

    I immediately thought it was just a buzz on the fretboard so I started messing with my action, but to no avail. I decided to put pressure on top of the string where it crosses the nut, and lo and behold, no more rattling.

    As a temporary solution I stuck a very small scrap of construction paper partially underneath and partially on the side of the string. It seems to work fine.. the sound is unaffected and so far I haven't noticed any problems tuning the string or with the string going out of tune over time.

    Is there anything wrong with just staying with my paper solution? If so, is there anything better I can do short of getting a new nut? If I do have to get a new nut, what do I have to do (probably better phrased as: how much is it going to cost me for someone to do it for me? ;)) ?
  2. Your problem isn't uncommon and is easily remedied, Oh wait...you already did!

    One or two things are happening, either the slot in the nut is too large for the string (it doesn't take much) or the string isn't being pulled over the nut at the proper angle. I would guess the latter. It helps to use more of the extra string length to wrap around the tuning post when you change the set. This will pull the string down over the nut.
  3. Paper is most likely your best bet. You don't want to do anything more drastic or permanent, if you change to another brand or gauge of strings, you may have to change it back.
  4. Rumblin' Man

    Rumblin' Man Banned

    Apr 27, 2000
    Route 66
    Your solution should work until the paper deteriorates or you change strings and the paper falls out.

    The MM string posts are tapered to force the string down to the bottom of the post so as long as you leave enough string length for a couple of windings around the post and direct the string so it smoothly wraps to the bottom of the post that should be OK.

    Short of having a new nut installed you might want to have the nut slots checked to see of they slope down towards the peghead creating a defined witness point for the string at the fretboard edge of the nut. If they don't it's an easy job to have it done.

    Still short of a new nut you may want to consider having the offending nut slots filled and recut to more closely fit the string (and slope down towards the peghead). Again not a hard task. Remember though, that if you have the nut recut to fit the strings they may require widening if you change guage. (Just sloping the nut slot down to the peghead won't be effected by changes in string guage.)

    I've done those types of repair numerous times and so far so good.

  5. Yea, all of my strings are forced down by extra string windings.. I sort've found that out the hard way the first time I ever changed strings. :)

    Unless it becomes more of a problem I think I'll stick with the paper. Thanks for the advice.
  6. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    I had a similar problem and as mentioned, had the nut filled - the bass tech at the shop where I bought it keeps some ground-up nut dust for this purpose. He did it in about 5-10 minutes and didn't charge me at all, as I bought the bass there.
  7. The permanent solution is to have a luthier put on a new nut. The Graphtech range of nuts are awesome. One of those on your bass will make a noticeable difference in tonal quality over the stock nut. Well worth doing, and so what if it costs a few bucks, you've got a great bass, why not make it even better? Graphtech is a solid lubricant, and has many times the sustain factor of bone, brass, micarta, plastic etc. Will likely cost you $20-$30 to have one fitted.
  8. This solution was offered by the venerable gmstudio in regarding Fenders with this problem.

    Get some cable ties from the hardware store and secure one around the headstock just behind the nut lacing over the buzzing string. the tension pulls the string down and eliminates the buzzing. the cable ties are those zip ties that tighten over little ridges and don't slip. The only drawback is that they need to be cut off when needed, but they are a quick and cheap fix.

    For my Fender I used 7" cable ties that i got at Home Despot, 15 for 2 bucks or something. they are also very handy for...tieing up messy cables!

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