D string problem on my #1

LaMarr-Bruister

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I'm not sure what happened to my D string. Everything was great, the guitar was playing as well as ever and the setup has been dialed in for a long time. I changed strings last night and the D string is ringing on the first fret.

I used the same brand and gauge as I've used for the last 5+ years. I changed the D string a second time after opening a 2nd pack but the problem persisted. I've checked the relief, which is at my usual spot, but played with the truss rod to no avail just in case I needed to add a little relief. I slid a single PC of paper under the string and that's enough to get the string off the fret and make the ringing stop. It just seems odd that this coincided with a string change. I would've thought that if the nut was off I would have noticed before.

Maybe this is a reason to buy a set of nut files and fill that slot slightly and learn to cut the slot (it's been on my list of things to learn), but it seems like something else should be going on. The saddles haven't moved. It went from being dialed in completely to a disaster the moment I changed strings.

Is there something that I am missing that I should try? It seems unfortunate to replace a bone nut with a new one for a single string.

Any tips would be appreciated!

Thanks!
 

Chart72

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Kind of makes sense to me that it would happen during a string change - any built up debris under the string would have the chance to get dislodged. Get a file or a set of files and give it a go. Not all that complicated, just take your time!
 

Chipss36

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Super glue and baking soda. Then a file.

but ya cutting nuts is pretty fun, and relaxing, if you go that way.
get good Japanese nut slot files, they cut very clean. I like also stew mac’s abrasive cord for a final polish. That area is important To get smooth and perfect.

a small jewelers saw, works well for cutting , need not be expensive, a tiny vice, also not expensive, and A bunch of sandpaper. different grits.
It’s pretty cool, here is a nut I made of wooly mammoth ivory. This piece in an interesting transition area of the ivory.
nothing like having a prehistoric nut…..
 

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Jason McG

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I'm not sure what happened to my D string. Everything was great, the guitar was playing as well as ever and the setup has been dialed in for a long time. I changed strings last night and the D string is ringing on the first fret.

I used the same brand and gauge as I've used for the last 5+ years. I changed the D string a second time after opening a 2nd pack but the problem persisted. I've checked the relief, which is at my usual spot, but played with the truss rod to no avail just in case I needed to add a little relief. I slid a single PC of paper under the string and that's enough to get the string off the fret and make the ringing stop. It just seems odd that this coincided with a string change. I would've thought that if the nut was off I would have noticed before.

Maybe this is a reason to buy a set of nut files and fill that slot slightly and learn to cut the slot (it's been on my list of things to learn), but it seems like something else should be going on. The saddles haven't moved. It went from being dialed in completely to a disaster the moment I changed strings.

Is there something that I am missing that I should try? It seems unfortunate to replace a bone nut with a new one for a single string.

Any tips would be appreciated!

Thanks!
the wound string is quite abrasive, as you loosen or tighten with string changes, you are flossing that slot, wearing it down over time, so perhaps you just pushed it past the limit on your last string change. you can use a toothpick to dab a very minimal trace of CA glue in the slot, building it up a few layers worth, then file the slot back down to where you want it. just let it set up really good before you put a string back on it, or the winding will leave a pattern, and you'll get the dreaded jumping string squeak as you are tuning. Alternatively, if the nut isn't glued in beyond where you can just tap it out, you can remove it, and super glue a piece of white paper, or recipe card to the underside. the superglue soaks the paper and amalgamates into a very hard shim, blending pretty well with the white nut. lay down some waxed paper, then your white paper, soak it in CA, press the nut down into it. after it all sets up, trim flush to the nut with a razor, then put the nut back in its slot. all your slots will now be higher, but you can work them each down to where you want, and you didn't need a new nut.
 
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crazydave911

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the wound string is quite abrasive, as you loosen or tighten with string changes, you are flossing that slot, wearing it down over time, so perhaps you just pushed it past the limit on your last string change. you can use a toothpick to dab a very minimal trace of CA glue in the slot, building it up a few layers worth, then file the slot back down to where you want it. just let it set up really good before you put a string back on it, or the winding will leave a pattern, and you'll get the dreaded jumping string squeak as you are tuning. Alternatively, if the nut isn't glued in beyond where you can just tap it out, you can remove it, and super glue a piece of white paper, or recipe card to the underside. the superglue soaks the paper and amalgamates into a very hard shim, blending pretty well with the white nut. lay down some waxed paper, then your white paper, soak it in CA, press the nut down into it. after it all sets up, trim flush to the nut with a razor, then put the nut back in its slot. all your slots will now be higher, but you can work them each down to where you want, and you didn't need a new nut.
^^^^^^^ THIS 😉
 

Peegoo

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@LaMarr-Bruister BEFORE YOU DO ANYTHING ELSE, replace that D string.

Any time a guitar plays fine and then doesn't play okay following a string change, always suspect the offending string first as the cause.

I've seen this many times over the years I've been wrenching on guitars. Sometimes a winding may be loose, or the wire is necked, or there's an imperceptible kink in the string that causes it to buzz or slap on a fret.

Pop in a new D string, tune it up, and see if that alleviates the problem.
 

Boreas

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@LaMarr-Bruister BEFORE YOU DO ANYTHING ELSE, replace that D string.

Any time a guitar plays fine and then doesn't play okay following a string change, always suspect the offending string first as the cause.

I've seen this many times over the years I've been wrenching on guitars. Sometimes a winding may be loose, or the wire is necked, or there's an imperceptible kink in the string that causes it to buzz or slap on a fret.

Pop in a new D string, tune it up, and see if that alleviates the problem.
I believe he did that.
 

LaMarr-Bruister

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Super glue and baking soda. Then a file.

but ya cutting nuts is pretty fun, and relaxing, if you go that way.
get good Japanese nut slot files, they cut very clean. I like also stew mac’s abrasive cord for a final polish. That area is important To get smooth and perfect.

a small jewelers saw, works well for cutting , need not be expensive, a tiny vice, also not expensive, and A bunch of sandpaper. different grits.
It’s pretty cool, here is a nut I made of wooly mammoth ivory. This piece in an interesting transition area of the ivory.
nothing like having a prehistoric nut…..
Kind of makes sense to me that it would happen during a string change - any built up debris under the string would have the chance to get dislodged. Get a file or a set of files and give it a go. Not all that complicated, just take your time!
I have a question about the actual filing. I have been reading about it this morning and it looks like you need to "back-cut" the nut, so the string rests on the front. Makes sense for intonation. I understand about filing the slot to the correct depth at an angle - with the file aimed toward the tuning peg. Is that enough or do I also have to try and "roll" the file down to create a dropoff? I think I am capable of filing straight, but at an angle, not sure if I have the skill set to manipulate the file to roll it.

I hope that makes sense.
 

Boreas

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I have a question about the actual filing. I have been reading about it this morning and it looks like you need to "back-cut" the nut, so the string rests on the front. Makes sense for intonation. I understand about filing the slot to the correct depth at an angle - with the file aimed toward the tuning peg. Is that enough or do I also have to try and "roll" the file down to create a dropoff? I think I am capable of filing straight, but at an angle, not sure if I have the skill set to manipulate the file to roll it.

I hope that makes sense.
It isn't too difficult, but first of all, mask off the headstock to avoid inevitable loss of concentration accidents. One good way to learn is just go through the motions with little to no pressure on the file, or abrasive cord if you use that. That will give you a little muscle memory when you actually start filing.
 

schmee

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I have a similar thing yesterday on a near new Musikraft neck. I put on my 2nd set of strings. The A note on the G string at fret 2 just wont intonate at octave with the low A.
After tuning with a tuner, if I pluck the open low A (5th string) and the A on the G string, they dont match! "OK, I must be bending the string a bit." NOPE.

"OK, my nut slots must be too high causing string stretch when fretted" NOPE, almost zero.

"OK, I pluck the open low A (5th string), and the A at fret 14 on the G string." Perfect match! HUH?

"OK, replace that G string". NO FIX.

The only thing I have left to try is review the nut slot, maybe the string is contacting the bottom of the nut slot away from the fret board. Tried to file it yesterday clearing away any slot except at the very edge of the nut, but hard to see what I'm doing.

How can one darken the slot on that narrow (.016) slot width so I can tell where I'm filing? Pencil point wont get in there. I can't screw up this slot, it's about at perfect depth already.
nutSlotHump.jpg
 

Boreas

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I have a similar thing yesterday on a near new Musikraft neck. I put on my 2nd set of strings. The A note on the G string at fret 2 just wont intonate at octave with the low A.
After tuning with a tuner, if I pluck the open low A (5th string) and the A on the G string, they dont match! "OK, I must be bending the string a bit." NOPE.

"OK, my nut slots must be too high causing string stretch when fretted" NOPE, almost zero.

"OK, I pluck the open low A (5th string), and the A at fret 14 on the G string." Perfect match! HUH?

"OK, replace that G string". NO FIX.

The only thing I have left to try is review the nut slot, maybe the string is contacting the bottom of the nut slot away from the fret board. Tried to file it yesterday clearing away any slot except at the very edge of the nut, but hard to see what I'm doing.

How can one darken the slot on that narrow (.016) slot width so I can tell where I'm filing? Pencil point wont get in there. I can't screw up this slot, it's about at perfect depth already.
View attachment 1041753
Rather than darkening the slot, how about a TON of light and magnification? Magnification and light are wonderful things. Not that I would buy one for this, but they make cheesy USB microscopes with adequate resolution for less than paying someone to make a new nut. Even a cheap 10X hand magnifier can work wonders.

Otherwise, you can just scrape the pencil across the top and powder will fall in the slot.
 

Little Red Tele

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@LaMarr-Bruister BEFORE YOU DO ANYTHING ELSE, replace that D string.

Any time a guitar plays fine and then doesn't play okay following a string change, always suspect the offending string first as the cause.

I've seen this many times over the years I've been wrenching on guitars. Sometimes a winding may be loose, or the wire is necked, or there's an imperceptible kink in the string that causes it to buzz or slap on a fret.

Pop in a new D string, tune it up, and see if that alleviates the problem.

I went through two or three D strings without changing the setup before I got one that acts like the one I took off - but only because I changed brands (from ernie ball to d'addario). I recall reading something about the EB factory changing the way it makes the strings due to supply chain issues and not announcing the change. May actually be industry wide at this point.
 

Freeman Keller

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@LaMarr-Bruister BEFORE YOU DO ANYTHING ELSE, replace that D string.

@LaMarr-Bruister BEFORE YOU DO ANYTHING ELSE MEASURE EVERYTHING.

You said the relief is "at your usual spot" but didn't say what that is. What is your first fret clearance? If you fret at three how much of a gap do you have at one? Don't start changing things (other than the string) until you know what you have.
 

schmee

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Rather than darkening the slot, how about a TON of light and magnification? Magnification and light are wonderful things. Not that I would buy one for this, but they make cheesy USB microscopes with adequate resolution for less than paying someone to make a new nut. Even a cheap 10X hand magnifier can work wonders.

Otherwise, you can just scrape the pencil across the top and powder will fall in the slot.
I'll be trying it with a magnifying bench lamp today. It's hard to see the slot bottom contour though anyway. You can drag a file through it, but you dont really know what you've done.
With it darkened, you know immediately where you are filing and where you are not. Tried the dust thing yesterday to no avail. Maybe I will sand some pencil lead into dust and try to get it in there with a tiny paint brush.

Not really sure the slot is even the issue. It wasn't an issue days ago... open G sounds fine ...two bad strings in a row?
 

Peegoo

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but they make cheesy USB microscopes with adequate resolution for less than paying someone to make a new nut.

I have a cheesy USB microscope. It was a lousy $15 on Amazon about 10 years ago and it is the bee's knees for seeing stuff at the micro level. Here's a happy-snap I took of the high E string saddle on a Strat.

High-E-saddle.png
 

LaMarr-Bruister

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It isn't too difficult, but first of all, mask off the headstock to avoid inevitable loss of concentration accidents. One good way to learn is just go through the motions with little to no pressure on the file, or abrasive cord if you use that. That will give you a little muscle memory when you actually start filing.
Great tip. I definitely don't trust myself. lol

Is the motion a straight motion with the file or a rocking motion?
 

Peegoo

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Straight motion for now. Do not lean on the file at all, and make only one or two passes. Check your work. If more material needs to come out, one or two passes again, and check your work.

Filing a nut is definitely a 'feel' thing that must be learned. It's very very common to use too much pressure, take too many strokes, and cut a slot too deeply.
 




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