high nut question

Discussion in 'Tele-Technical' started by leonard d rock, Aug 18, 2021.

  1. leonard d rock

    leonard d rock Tele-Afflicted

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    hello,

    does a high nut throw off the intonation? the G note on my low E sounds sharp when i play the cowbow G chord, tried moving the bridge saddle but the intonation on the 12 fret will also be off
     
  2. guitar_paul1

    guitar_paul1 Tele-Holic

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    Yes especially on the first 5 or so frets.
     
  3. JL_LI

    JL_LI Poster Extraordinaire

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    An improperly cut nut makes your guitar difficult to play and impossible to play in tune, A professional setup will do wonders.
     
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  4. Peegoo

    Peegoo Poster Extraordinaire

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    The process is to use gauged nut files to deepen the string slots.

    Don't try it with those torch tip cleaners sold as nut files. They will not work very well, and will probably make matters worse because they're flexible wires--not files.
     
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  5. trev333

    trev333 Telefied Ad Free Member

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    you can check by putting a capo/fret at fret3 and seeing how much air gap there under fret1 strings....

    a sheet of printer paper size gap is about where I lower my nut slots to.

    nut slots 2.JPG
     
  6. ghostchord

    ghostchord Tele-Holic

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    How high are we talking about? The higher nut will have a very minor effect on the length of the vibrating string in the open position. *very* minor. If the nut is not located properly or if the slot isn't slotted properly (so the string is actually vibrating some place further back) that's a bigger deal. All this is assuming you're not accidentally bending the strings slightly?
     
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  7. TimTam

    TimTam Tele-Holic

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    A high nut does not "throw off" the intonation as such. But it does exaggerate the residual error that remains after setting the intonation for the 12th fret at the saddle.

    The reason why you need to adjust intonation is that fretting a note stretches the string, sharpening it. The higher the action and the stiffer the string (longitudinally), the more it sharpens when fretted.

    You can't adjust intonation to remove that sharpening at every fret, so we choose a compromise by usually setting it at the 12th fret.

    When you match the fretted 12th fret and open string (or 12th fret harmonic) by adjusting the saddle, you are effectively setting a new, longer scale length for that string (which flattens the fretting-induced sharpening, back to correct pitch). That scale length is then correct for the 12th fret and open string, but wrong for every other fret. The error increases the further you get from the 12th fret. It will be worst at the 1st fret because that is furthest from the 12th. And worse on the stiffer strings.

    But if you lower the nut slot to minimize first fret action, the error is usually reduced to a level that most people don't notice it. Because you are stretching the string when fretting by the least possible amount for the lower frets. If you do notice it, you can spread the string length compensation between the saddle (easily adjusted) and the nut (not easily adjusted). But you really need different amounts of compensation depending on the string properties and action. Commercial compensated nuts make assumptions to employ a different stock compensation to each string, that by definition will not work well under all conditions.

    Note that Equal Temperament is associated with a separate set of "errors", specifically some two-note intervals that sound a little dissonant. That's the price we pay for straight frets. There is no practical solution for that.
     
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2021
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  8. Thebluesman

    Thebluesman Tele-Holic

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    if you learn to apply a 'light,even,stroke' etc...to avoid bending,distorting'the thinnest diameter 'rod=they will file ok for 90% of users !
     
  9. fuzz guy

    fuzz guy Tele-Meister

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    It's not an intonation issue, but when the nut is too high and you try to fret a string on the first few frets you're basically bending the string downward and altering the pitch. A properly cut nut is one of the most important, and also most overlooked, components of a well playing guitar.
     
  10. jfgesquire

    jfgesquire Friend of Leo's

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    If your frets don't look like this... And you have a really good ear and can hear a 2 cent difference, and your nut action is as low as it can go without buzzing, then you may just have to live with it.

    neck.jpg
     
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  11. highwaycat

    highwaycat Tele-Holic

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    First step is to replace that string with a new one, the low e won’t intonate if the string is deformed.
     
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  12. schmee

    schmee Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Yes, that G note is a tad iffy even when the nut is tweeked!
     
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