Any experience with Graph Tech pre-slotted TUSQ nuts?

Personal Gsus

TDPRI Member
Joined
Feb 9, 2021
Posts
46
Age
48
Location
Atlanta
I've got 6 guitars that I want to replace the nuts on – I've got Graph Tech saddles on all of them which I'm really happy with so I figured I'd stay with the same brand. The guitars (Strats, Teles, and Gretschs) run the gamut in terms of neck radius (7.25, 9.5 and 12).

For anyone with experience with the Graph Tech pre-slotted TUSQ nuts:
1. Good / bad / meh?
2. Quality / durability?
3. Ease of install?
4. How did you install?
5. Will I need slot files?
6. How did you select the proper nut for your guitar (is the sizing chart on their website adequate)?
7. Any other info that can help me?

Thanks!
 

Freeman Keller

Poster Extraordinaire
Joined
Aug 22, 2018
Posts
9,056
Age
77
Location
Washington
Preslotted nuts are a decent starting point but I would expect to have to do some work on each of them. I prefer to make mine from scratch using bone, but if someone brings me a synthetic blank I will make the nut for them.

I've replaced a couple of Tusq saddles on acoustics with bone and could not detect a difference. I also replace a synthetic nut on a classical guitar with bone and while I can't hear a difference the owner swears she can (and I can see a slight difference in the frequency spectrums that we took before and after).

Remember that if a nut has any affect on the sound it will be only open strings, once you fret a note its out of the picture.

I believe you will need a set of good nut file (there have been several discussions lately at the tool forum). I also think that the nut is just one small part of a good setup - you should plan on doing all the other stuff too.

ps - just for fun, with each guitar I suggest recording it before and after - keep the same strings and picks and stuff and see if you can hear a difference (and if you think its an improvement).
 

sammy1974

TDPRI Member
Joined
Aug 17, 2017
Posts
13
Location
Milwaukee
I've got 6 guitars that I want to replace the nuts on – I've got Graph Tech saddles on all of them which I'm really happy with so I figured I'd stay with the same brand. The guitars (Strats, Teles, and Gretschs) run the gamut in terms of neck radius (7.25, 9.5 and 12).

For anyone with experience with the Graph Tech pre-slotted TUSQ nuts:
1. Good / bad / meh?
2. Quality / durability?
3. Ease of install?
4. How did you install?
5. Will I need slot files?
6. How did you select the proper nut for your guitar (is the sizing chart on their website adequate)?
7. Any other info that can help me?

Thanks!
1. Good, got the teflon embedded ones
2. Good
3. Had to file down the ends, were wider than speced
4. Tapped out the old one with a block of wood as a buffer, after slicing around it just a bit to avoid adhesion damage
5. I did not, they were perfect. I sanded down the underside to achieve the proper height.
6. Tried to use the website charts and nothing matched exactly. Emailed support and they were great.
7. Spend the most time on careful removal, and take just a fraction of a mm down when sanding off the height from the bottom. Use a perfectly flat sanding block and flip the nut 180 every few strokes. Check bottom on perfectly flat surface held up to the light to find any irregularities.
8. Good luck, they're great.
 

fleezinator

Tele-Meister
Joined
Apr 4, 2020
Posts
470
Location
Texas
I've only small experience, 1 replacing the stock nut on my squier strat that wouldn't hold tune and the other on a warmoth neck for a new parts build. I don't have files so I'm sure there's room for improvement but from what my ears tell me, they sound great, no binding so all stays in tune.

Deinstall of the old squier nut was a little tricky since it was glued in there pretty well but once out, adding in the tusq XL was pretty easy. I used the old nut's height as a reference and slowly sanded the bottoms, test fit, restrung, tuned played, rinse & repeat until I was happy before adding a drop of elmer's to hold in place. I did have to sand down the sides and round them a bit for feel.

The biggest thing tho: the string spacing was a little of a mismatch for the smaller squier nut width. The E to E spacing was a little wider than previous so I have to play a little carefully on the high E that is closer to the fretboard edge.

Install on my warmoth neck was easy as well. However, the model PT-5000-00 nut is a 9.5 raidus which I didn't factor in at the time to go into the Warmoth's compound radius of 10-16. I know it's not perfect but it still plays amazingly well.
 

KokoTele

Doctor of Teleocity
Vendor Member
Joined
Mar 17, 2003
Posts
14,709
Age
47
Location
albany, ny [not chicago]
Tusq/Graphtech nuts are always made a little longer than they need to be so you can sand the ends to perfectly match your neck. They're a pretty good DIY solution.

As was mentioned before, just sand down the under side of the nut to get the right height. It can be a bit fiddly, but if you're patient you'll get it right.

If you have to sand the width of the nut, place sandpaper on something flat and hard and be careful to apply pressure evenly. It's real easy to taper the nut in one or two directions. Go slow and test fit frequently.

Ideally, you want a tight fit so you have to apply pressure to get the nut seated. Glue it in with just a couple of dots of glue near each end and maybe one in the middle. No need to smear glue through the whole nut slot.
 

4wotitswurth

Tele-Meister
Joined
Nov 30, 2016
Posts
200
Age
66
Location
Texas
1. Good / bad / meh? Fine
2. Quality / durability? Only had them a month or two
3. Ease of install? Very easy
4. How did you install? Tapped out the old, sanded the new, in they went, perfect fit
5. Will I need slot files? Yes, I have one set for 9-42, SM,
6. How did you select the proper nut for your guitar (is the sizing chart on their website adequate)? Their site worked for me
7. Any other info that can help me? I used no glue, no issue whatsoever for me.
 

Bangdapoontwang

Tele-Meister
Joined
Apr 21, 2006
Posts
309
Location
Hawaii
They can be a good, but to do the job correctly you need files for the gauge strings used on the guitar. The “pre slots” are just a starting point, they need to be finished.
 

ChuckC

Tele-Meister
Joined
Aug 17, 2017
Posts
144
Age
80
Location
Maryland
I put tusq nuts on all of my guitars. I have nut files but I sand the new precut nut to the correct height/size before gluing it to the guitar. If possible, I leave the top of the nut and the slots alone.The molded slots on the new precut nuts work well for me (9-42 & 10-46). Make a "sanding jig" to keep the bottom and fretboard contacting surfaces of the nut square while you are sanding. I usually ruin a few nuts before I get one perfect, but that's me.Trying to get the action at the first frets low for the best intonation, without fret buzz.
 
Last edited:

Pater Familias

Tele-Meister
Joined
Feb 4, 2010
Posts
112
Age
56
Location
Leesburg, GA
How are y'all sanding the bottom of the TusqXL preslotted nuts on a flat service?

I swear all the ones I've bought have a radiussed bottom with the little tab that needs removing to fit into the curved slot of my Allparts TRVF-C neck.
 

LutherBurger

Poster Extraordinaire
Joined
Oct 29, 2013
Posts
6,275
Location
Newyorkistan
How are y'all sanding the bottom of the TusqXL preslotted nuts on a flat service?

I swear all the ones I've bought have a radiussed bottom with the little tab that needs removing to fit into the curved slot of my Allparts TRVF-C neck.
The nut slots in all of my guitars' necks are flat, so I use adhesive sandpaper on a granite tabletop. If I had a curved nut slot, I'd stick the sandpaper to the fretboard.
 

GeneB

Tele-Holic
Silver Supporter
Joined
Apr 15, 2015
Posts
701
Age
71
Location
Tampa, FL
1. Good, got the teflon embedded ones
2. Good
3. Had to file down the ends, were wider than speced
4. Tapped out the old one with a block of wood as a buffer, after slicing around it just a bit to avoid adhesion damage
5. I did not, they were perfect. I sanded down the underside to achieve the proper height.
6. Tried to use the website charts and nothing matched exactly. Emailed support and they were great.
7. Spend the most time on careful removal, and take just a fraction of a mm down when sanding off the height from the bottom. Use a perfectly flat sanding block and flip the nut 180 every few strokes. Check bottom on perfectly flat surface held up to the light to find any irregularities.
8. Good luck, they're great.
This matches my experience 100%. The TUSQ XL models have teflon added to the ceramic slurry before baking ... I have them on my Epi 339, and MIM Tele and Strat. Completely satisfied with the results.
 

Boreas

Poster Extraordinaire
Joined
Nov 3, 2019
Posts
8,709
Age
67
Location
Adirondack Coast, NY
XLs are my go-to electric nuts because most of my guitars have trems installed. EZ to work and of course, consistent. I have seen (or heard) no down side to their nuts or acoustic saddles.
 

Si G X

Friend of Leo's
Joined
Dec 8, 2019
Posts
2,674
Location
England
I've only used one once but it was fine. Similar experience to many people above, I took a little off the bottom to lower it slightly too (it was a flat bottom, flat slot too, so fairly easy)

I don't think you nessesarily 'need' nut slot files to end up with a good playable guitar... but it may need a little work depending on the guitar and if you have 6 guitars that need doing a good set of files might be worth the investment.

There are 'get arounds' and ways to do it without using them and if you were only doing 1 inexpensive guitar then, that's what I would do. I did one of mine with a little set of files from the pound shop/dollar store, some wet/dry paper, a little block of wood and some old string ends... and it's be fine ever since, so it is possible.
 




Top