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Old December 21st, 2013, 04:58 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Need to replace a nut.

Who has replaced the nut on their Tele? I am thinking about getting a new nut for my MIM neck. The B and G strings don't ring as well as I'd like them to. Would a new nut make the guitar sound better? I also think a string tree would help on the G.

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Old December 21st, 2013, 06:41 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Do they ring when fretted? If not, then it's not a nut problem. Plain Gs are plunky, the easiest fix is a wound G. The B could be saddle problems or a pickup that's too high.
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Old December 21st, 2013, 07:37 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Think of it this way: a new nut would require all six nut slots to be adjusted, but your guitar has an issue with only one or two strings. You should have someone with the proper tools (gauged nut slot files) and experience (one swipe too many and you've got a problem) take a look at it. You might have an issue where the slot is angled improperly. Do you have a sitar type weak sound on the open string? does it get better when pressing down behind the string where a string tree would be holding it)? If so, then the nut slot can be cut at the proper angle to address the issue.

My point is that it's entirely likely that you can have the issue fixed without replacing the nut, but you have to know what your situation is with the nut slots.
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Old December 21st, 2013, 08:33 PM   #4 (permalink)
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The problem is because the slope of the slot through the nut is too steep, the headstock side of the string is loose in the slot hence it rings and/or sitars.

It probably doesn't need a new nut but it does need the nut slots filed correctly. It doesn't need an extra string tree, it needs the nut fixing. I have never seen a nut on a new guitar that has been filed correctly, the slots are always deliberately left high, it is intended that you would have the setup done with your choice of string gauge.

It is not a difficult job, nor is it difficult to learn, but it does require some experience and skill to get it right.
It sounds like you (the OP) has never done this and the guitar has not had this done to the nut. Best bet in this instance it to take it to a good guitar tech/luthier and have them do it. They may fit a new nut in the process, all well and good.
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Old December 21st, 2013, 08:37 PM   #5 (permalink)
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They ring perfectly fretted. I like one of the local shops guitar tech. I'll take it in and see what he thinks. I have a wound g on my Dot, but can't see having one on my Tele.
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Old December 21st, 2013, 09:09 PM   #6 (permalink)
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They ring perfectly fretted.
Then it's not the nut. Sometimes even something as simple as different strings makes a big difference.


Quote:
I have a wound g on my Dot, but can't see having one on my Tele.
Your guitar, your rules, of course, but, I'm curious as to why. I use a lot of wound Gs, it's an easy way to improve the sound of an awful lot of notes, not to mention the ease of fretting and bending a wound string over a thick plain string.
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Old December 21st, 2013, 09:09 PM   #7 (permalink)
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The tele was designed with wound Gs in mind, there were no other string sets then.

It would need the setup altered, mainly the 'intonation' length of the 3rd saddle.

A good setup by your guitar tech should lower the action considerably, making the heavier set easier to use. I've got a dread running D'A Jazz 14s that's as low as something new in a shop loaded with 9s.
Have him fit a nice new bone nut, if for no other reason than they look nice. A nut cut for a wound G set should still be usable if you revert to 10s, there's only a couple of thou in it on slot width, slot height is the same.
Vee shape slots with round bottom (nut files) cover a very wide range of string gauges.

Having the nut cut correctly will lower the action over the first few frets, stop the notes pinching sharp up there. This then allows the overall action to be lowered further, and allows the overall intonation to be set much better.
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Old December 21st, 2013, 09:13 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by dsutton24 View Post
Then it's not the nut. Sometimes even something as simple as different strings makes a big difference.




Your guitar, your rules, of course, but, I'm curious as to why. I use a lot of wound Gs, it's an easy way to improve the sound of an awful lot of notes, not to mention the ease of fretting and bending a wound string over a thick plain string.
They do not ring perfectly open, they sitar.

I've had this, it's the nut.
The slope is too steep so the string is loose at the back and sitars in the headstock. The "needs an extra string tree" is the give-away clue, because an extra string tree will indeed cure this although it is the wrong medicine.

A wound G is more flexible than a stiff heavy plain. But as you increase string gauge you increase tension. This can make bends harder. The higher tension also produces a louder attack making the decay relatively quieter, this has the effect of a shorter sustain. You can fine-tune your guitar's response by switching string gauges. I have guitars loaded with anything from 9s to 14s depending on what sounds are needed. My jazzboxes are loaded with Thomastik Swing JS110 jazz flat wound 10-44, which do have a wound G, nice.
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Old December 21st, 2013, 09:21 PM   #9 (permalink)
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They do not ring perfectly open, they sitar.
What are you talking about? According to the OP:

Quote:
They ring perfectly fretted.
If they sound properly when fretted, the problem is not the nut.
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Old December 21st, 2013, 09:35 PM   #10 (permalink)
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What? Que? They ring perfectly fretted. Yes. They're supposed to do that.

When they are fretted they are not vibrating in the nut.

When they are open, what are they doing?
They are "not ringing as well as I'd like them to" and thinks a string tree on the G would help.
It's the needs a string tree, not ringing properly when open, basically fluffing, buzzing or sitaring, in the nut, that is indeed the nut. That's the problem.
Been there, had that one, cured it.

Are you using some different definition of ring?
I take "ring" to mean working correctly and "not ringing as well as I'd like them to" meaning not.
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Old December 21st, 2013, 09:46 PM   #11 (permalink)
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What? Que? They ring perfectly fretted. Yes. They're supposed to do that.
My apologies, I've got my head up somewhere dark and tight. If it rings properly when fretted, but is dull when played open, the problem is most likely the nut.

Still, I do prefer wound Gs. Or, at least I think I do.
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Old December 21st, 2013, 10:17 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Yes they ring perfectly fretted. No sitar, no fret buzz. Nice low action set up by same guitar tech. Pretty sure it's a nut thing. I love a wound G. But a Tele is so good for bends.
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Old December 22nd, 2013, 01:00 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Geez Louise, everybody's just pi$$ing in the snow on this thread! A new Tusq nut precut for Tele is easy to install and costs a few dollars. No need for a tech; a basic file from the hardware store and some sandpaper is all it takes. If you mess it up on the first try, get another one. Keep the original so you can revert if there's no improvement.

This isn't rocket science, guys.
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Old December 22nd, 2013, 10:34 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Geez Louise, everybody's just pi$$ing in the snow on this thread! A new Tusq nut precut for Tele is easy to install and costs a few dollars. No need for a tech; a basic file from the hardware store and some sandpaper is all it takes. If you mess it up on the first try, get another one. Keep the original so you can revert if there's no improvement.

This isn't rocket science, guys.
You can do that or you can do it properly.

A pre-cut nut needs the slots cutting correctly, the ones in it are just markers.
The underside of a Tusq has a peg that needs adjusting for correct fit, even so it doesn't leave the nut in full contact with the neck as it should be.
The file from the hardware store is at least twice as wide as it should be and makes a poor job of it, it takes 2000 grit to polish it up.
Nut files are easy to control accurately and do an excellent job, they have fallen in price recently, I've worn out my first set, my new Hosco files were only 73.
It is not rocket science but not everyone has mechanical skills. If you do have good mechanical skills and several guitars then it is perhaps worth learning, but it does take some skill and experience to do it well.

Tusq is a good nut material, I only have a personal preference for bone because it does look better, it polishes up like jewellery, it comes in sizes I want, and I find it easier to work.

If you ever play a guitar that has had the nut and other setup done properly, you will appreciate the difference. Chalk and cheese ;)
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Old December 22nd, 2013, 02:05 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Geez Louise, everybody's just pi$$ing in the snow on this thread! A new Tusq nut precut for Tele is easy to install and costs a few dollars. No need for a tech; a basic file from the hardware store and some sandpaper is all it takes. If you mess it up on the first try, get another one. Keep the original so you can revert if there's no improvement.

This isn't rocket science, guys.
I've put in a bunch of TUSQ nuts and I like them a lot. But the slots never match the radius of my necks and always need adjustments that I make with nut saws.
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Old December 22nd, 2013, 10:56 PM   #16 (permalink)
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I just replaced the nut on my new MIM with a TUSQ XL Fender nut and it was a simple job, required just a bit of sanding, and it completely eliminated the "sitar effect" I was getting on my D and low E strings. The only tricky part was removing the existing nut. I used a piece of wood as a wedge and lightly hammered it against the nut front and back (parallel to the neck), then was able to easily pop the nut out from the side. After sanding off the tab the new nut fit almost perfectly, I just had to sand the side thikness a bit to make it fit perfectly and sand the bottom down a tiny bit to lower the height a hair, and sand maybe 1/16 inch off each end. I have had no problems whatsoever with the existing string slots (I also changed to 10 guage strings). It works and sounds great and was an inexpensive but huge upgrade.
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