Cheaper Nut Slot Files?

Telekarster

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As @Peegoo and others have said, just buy the real deal and be done with it. Believe me, you'll thank yourself later. Plus, you'd be surprised how much you might use em! When I bought mine, 100 bucks I think, I thought I'd only use em a couple times. That was over 3 years ago and I'll bet I've used em a dozen times at least, including repairing my buddies guitars! LOL!!! And every time I use em I think to myself "Man... I'm glad I bought these..." Seriously... just get the real deal and do the job right ;) Good luck man!
 

Beebe

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Interesting. I wonder how that impacts bending/vibrato? There must be a reason they switched to better fitted slots. Maybe it was poka-yoke (dummy proofing string installation).

You could be left with a little triangle shape open space under each string... That is if the width of the tip of the triangle file is smaller than the string.

Don't know what that means as I've never tried it... I guess you could argue that less contact would result in less friction and therefore would be better for allowing the string to slide back to it's resting position after being bent or pulled.

You could probably also argue that less contact would change the way the string and neck vibrations couple... Maybe less sustain or "worse tone."

Maybe they changed it because of the way it looks like "donkey teeth" as someone in the other forum mentioned.

I think if you file the slots with what you are trying to achieve in mind (contacts along a single plane at the fretboard side of the nut, strings that don't pop out or rattle around, nothing to get hung up on), you could probably get pretty good results.

I'd rock the tip of the triangle file side to side a bit for the larger strings if you want more contact, and find a triangle file with an edge sharp enough for the small strings to not rattle around.
 

Beebe

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But I'd also recommend getting the good files. Guitars are likely to leave the factory with slots that are too high. So you'd get good use out of them.
 

Boreas

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Zero frets are greatly misunderstood. The nut behind the zero fret--when properly set up--does a whole lot more than just maintain string spacing.

Ideally, the nut slots are cut to a depth that allows the strings' downforce over the zero fret to be just a little more than what you exert when you press a finger on a string to fret it. This misunderstanding is why zero frets wear so fast: they're improperly set up. More here:

I agree, there is truth to what you say about reducing the break angle behind the ZF likely causing less wear, but it is also true that the more "upforce" the nut contributes, the less benefit you gain from the ZF. Adding an additional source of friction will come with that upforce, which may or may not be desired by that player. It may help the ZF avoid wear, but they can be replaced. I have only set up a couple on my personal guitars, and I do maintain contact on the nut, but mostly to avoid ringing in the strings past the nut. But with no contact at the base of the slot, the sound and action IMO were still pretty good. So, IMO, a "proper" setup should be driven by the player's preferences, not just wear mitigation.

NOTE: I have never tried a SS ZF. I would assume it would wear less, but I don't think I would want to add a SS ZF to a fretboard with traditional softer frets. The additional brightness of the open string vs fretted might be undesired In that case, more upforce by the slot bottom may help attenuate that uneven brightness.
 

bobio

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By no means cheap, but I have a set of Stewmac Gauged Nut slotting and Diamondcut Nut slotting files for electric light stings.
I have been more than happy with how both sets have performed. 👍

0881-1-set-3000.jpg 2325-1-3000.jpg
 

ChicknPickn

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You hear this all the time, but . . . if you have a stable of guitars and you've become interested in maintaining them yourself, just buy the good tools and feel the satisfaction of high quality.

Somewhere, a long time ago, I read this: The sting of poor quality remains long after the thrill of low price is forgotten.

"Compromise" tools cost more in the long run. Because when you decide to get the good stuff, you pay for both the new tools and the discarded ones. Anyway, enough preaching from me. Been there, done that. Be happy.
 

Wooly Mammoth

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This is what I did with the Stew Mac files which I find to be far superior than anything I contrived myself! The biggest problem is the "wobble" factor of the very thin files.

Do this to overcome that problem!


DC
I would just design and 3d print a file holder sized for each blade. Or just buy the Music Nomad ones. They make good stuff too.
 

Wooly Mammoth

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You hear this all the time, but . . . if you have a stable of guitars and you've become interested in maintaining them yourself, just buy the good tools and feel the satisfaction of high quality.

Somewhere, a long time ago, I read this: The sting of poor quality remains long after the thrill of low price is forgotten.

"Compromise" tools cost more in the long run. Because when you decide to get the good stuff, you pay for both the new tools and the discarded ones. Anyway, enough preaching from me. Been there, done that. Be happy.
I agree. Cheap tools where precision is needed just don't cut it. No pun intended. ;)
 

JL_LI

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There are absolutely no shortcuts to using a good nut slotting file. Yeah, some folks will extoll the virtues of those torch tip cleaners and other cheap alternatives, but they are imprecise and a whole lot more work.

It's really hard to understand just how good (and easy) the work is when using nut files until you've actually used them. You WILL kick yourself in the junk for not getting a set of files years ago.

Use them only for nut work. Do not use them on any metals, and they will last many mNy years.

Go on Amazon and look for Yu-Chikyo nut files. They're available in various sets. Yeah, they don't have big comfy rubber handles, but handles are not necessary and you're paying for that too.

Yu-Chikyos are what's used by many big-name makers and a whole boatload of pro guitar techs.
Peegoo is right of course and I don't recommend 600 grit over a feeler gauge as luthier tools. I've never cut a nut from top down, only deepened c cut where necessary. My recommendation for a workaround in Post #2 is just that, a work around. At almost 72, I don't trust myself to cut a nut anymore. I barely trust myself with a soldering iron. I still see big stuff OK though. Big stuff like frets and position markers.
 

Si G X

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I usually use 10-46 strings but would like to be able to cut 9-42 and maybe 11-49 as well. I have Fenders, Les Paul and A Gretsch. The Gretsch and a Tele really need a nut slotting job and I use different string gauges. Larger flatwounds on the Gretsch.

Do you need different files for those? I've changed between 9, 10 and 11 on my guitars and friends guitars without doing anything to the nut, I just presumed all stock nuts are cut slightly over size, to accommodate all modern 'standand' string gauges? Do people cut nuts perfectly to a single string gauge usually?
 

Wildeman

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20220122_092458.jpg

I bought cheapo one's a couple times, might as well lit my money on fire, i bought this set maybe a couple years ago and its one of my best purchases ever, I feel dumb for waiting so long.
 

Wildeman

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Do you need different files for those? I've changed between 9, 10 and 11 on my guitars and friends guitars without doing anything to the nut, I just presumed all stock nuts are cut slightly over size, to accommodate all modern 'standand' string gauges? Do people cut nuts perfectly to a single string gauge usually?
You're good for a couple thou either way, you can also rock the files side to side a little to make the slots bigger.
 

Freeman Keller

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I'll just make one comment. Good tools pay for themselves over and over and over. I've seen so many Mickey Mouse ways to cut nut slots and frankly I would never use any of them on my guitars. I bought my StewMac files 16 years ago, built 30 guitars to date and made probably close to twice that many nuts (or more). I'm ready to make a nut for the guitar on my bench with the same old files. And I'll get off my soap box.
 

telemnemonics

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There are lots of options between Amazon junk and Stew Mac spendy.
Hosco around $50 and Hiroshima around $100, search more for better prices.
And as mentioned, .010- .046 is fine for .009- .042.
Rocking the .010 to widen to .013 is easy too.
 




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