Flat nut vs curved for Fender replacement neck?

Discussion in 'Tele-Technical' started by klasher, Sep 17, 2019.

  1. klasher

    klasher Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    560
    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2003
    Location:
    Harrisburg, PA
    Hi all, I'm planning to order a neck from Musikraft. It's offering a choice between flat and radius (curved) nuts. I understand the difference between the two, but not the advantages that one offers over the other. Is one more preferable?
     
  2. bullfrogblues

    bullfrogblues Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    4,203
    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2011
    Location:
    Southeast Florida
    IMO, neither curved or flat make a tonal or playable difference. Some manufacturers build flat, some curved, so the companies selling nuts cater to both.

    I don't know if makes a hill of beans, but a flat bottom nut will have a very minute amount of mass more than the curved bottom. You might not even be able to weigh the difference without very accurate equipment.
     
  3. Wallaby

    Wallaby Tele-Meister

    Age:
    55
    Posts:
    252
    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2018
    Location:
    Midwest
    It might be easier to work with a flat-bottomed nut than with curved.

    I've never made a nut with a curved bottom, so it's a guess.
     
    radiocaster likes this.
  4. poolshark

    poolshark Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    558
    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2011
    Location:
    Tallahassee
    I prefer flat bottom, because it makes more sense for future service. Fitting a curved bottom nut requires radius gauges to measure the slot, then cutting the blank bottom to match, then actually cutting the nut. Flat bottom skips that for the most part. Unless you're worried about cutting into the truss rod cavity - like on a bullet, for example - it's more work for no reason.
     
  5. beagle

    beagle Friend of Leo's

    Age:
    60
    Posts:
    2,702
    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2010
    Location:
    Yorkshire
    It makes no difference which you decide to use. It's easy enough to make either.
     
  6. radiocaster

    radiocaster Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    5,525
    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2015
    Location:
    europe
    I had to shave a curved nut once and it was not a pleasant experience.
     
  7. Skydog1010

    Skydog1010 Tele-Holic Ad Free Member

    Age:
    66
    Posts:
    906
    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2019
    Location:
    North Carolina
    The one that fits. They should be able to tell you which channel your selected neck has.
     
  8. Skydog1010

    Skydog1010 Tele-Holic Ad Free Member

    Age:
    66
    Posts:
    906
    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2019
    Location:
    North Carolina
    Very true, but, there is that possibility that if the curved nut blank was too tight of a radius, it could be too short once reduced to flat. I guess the reverse could be said too. Buy oversized and shape to suit your needs.
     
  9. beagle

    beagle Friend of Leo's

    Age:
    60
    Posts:
    2,702
    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2010
    Location:
    Yorkshire
    There's no difference in the length of flat or curved bottom nuts, they're all oversized. Tusq nuts come with a curved bottom with a removable pip so that they can be used it a flat slot. I prefer a solid nut, so I only use those for curved slots.

    If you filed the bottom of a curved nut flat, it would be lower, but not much.
     
  10. Skydog1010

    Skydog1010 Tele-Holic Ad Free Member

    Age:
    66
    Posts:
    906
    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2019
    Location:
    North Carolina
    That's exactly what I meant.
     
  11. beagle

    beagle Friend of Leo's

    Age:
    60
    Posts:
    2,702
    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2010
    Location:
    Yorkshire
    Transatlantic dimension translation failed again. Damn you Mr Gooooooooooogle. :lol:
     
  12. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Age:
    62
    Posts:
    15,395
    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2010
    Location:
    Western Connecticut
    It doesn't matter. Given the choice, I'd pick flat bottom. It's easier to deal with. That way when I'm making a nut, I essentially joint flat the blank bottom edge, and then joint the adjacent face, which will sit against the fingerboard. I can do all that and then radius the bottom, but it's one more step, and always a chance to get the edge and face out of square, and a poorly seated nut reduces vibration transfer to the neck.
     
    urbandefault likes this.
  13. theprofessor

    theprofessor Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    4,363
    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2016
    Location:
    Chattanooga, TN
    I've always thought the choice was based simply on whether the nut slot itself was curved or flat. Then you just choose the one you need. I have recently installed two curved-bottom ones on nut slots that call for a curved bottom. They both worked out fine. I try hard not to radius or modify the bottom of a nut in any way, unless I absolutely have to. The possibility of getting out of square (or the wrong arc) is great.
     
  14. urbandefault

    urbandefault Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    285
    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2016
    Location:
    Yukon OK
    I don't think there's any real reason for a curved nut slot. If I had to guess, I'd say it came about because of the gang saw thing Fender used to cut fret slots, and continued into the CNC era.

    No evidence, just connecting the dots. :)
     
  15. eallen

    eallen Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,432
    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2013
    Location:
    Bargersville/Indianapolis, Indiana
    I do both & one is as easy as the other to me. For the bottom curve, set the flat nut on top of the fretboard by the nut slot and follow the radius with a pencil. Remove the material in the shape of the pencil mark & shazam! A star is born!

    Eric
     
  16. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Age:
    62
    Posts:
    15,395
    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2010
    Location:
    Western Connecticut
    I think the OP is buying a neck, not a nut (or I guess both). So, he doesn't have an existing condition to match.

    The rest of your statement, about getting out of square - yep, that drives my preference for flat as well.
     
  17. otterhound

    otterhound Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    7,601
    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2008
    Location:
    Manheim Pa.
    Has anyone found the radius of the curved nut slot to be different from the radius of the fretboard ?
     
  18. poolshark

    poolshark Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    558
    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2011
    Location:
    Tallahassee
    Yes. Hence why I check them with radius gauges, and why I prefer to work with a flat bottom slot.
     
  19. The Ballzz

    The Ballzz Tele-Afflicted

    Age:
    64
    Posts:
    1,390
    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2016
    Location:
    Las Vegas, NV

    That is a very good question, right there! I've often pondered it myself!



    How can you view whether or not there is a gap under the gauge, when it is in the slot? Just Curious?

    My $.02 & Likely Worth Even Less!
    Gene
     
  20. Vizcaster

    Vizcaster Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    5,046
    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2007
    Location:
    Glen Head, NY
    Theoretically they're going to be the same, so that a common method of radius-ing the nut is to put sandpaper on the fretboard surface and use that to shape the underside of the nut.

    I would suggest that the answer to the OP's question depends on whether you are making your own nut from a roughly shaped nut blank, or if you intend to use something that comes out of the package deceptively looking more like a final fit nut.
     
IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.


  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.