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My nut template process

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by highwaycat, Jan 26, 2021.

  1. highwaycat

    highwaycat Tele-Holic

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    I make make nuts different ways, line sanding or files, string spacing ruler or math formula, just depends how good the coffee is or what smokes I got.

    Sometimes I make a nut template.
    This is handy if a neck doesn’t have a nut.

    I’m very serious about removing as much material as possible from the top of the nut.

    Sometimes I make a wooden nut and I can even get the slots too low so I can see what’s going on, and pair it with the half pencil trick. Neck relief still throws off the half pencil trick that’s why you leave plenty of material to work with.

    The last picture, I fix the guitar and set it up, then make somewhat of a template of the old damaged nut. Removing material from the top and filing the slots, then removing more material from the top of the nut.
    D2239830-318F-4F45-9C93-766251E0B77F.jpeg DFC8E8CC-166D-41B3-A868-F4D973B7D7D2.jpeg 0ACC3052-FF26-40C5-97C6-C374E9EF892E.jpeg
     
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  2. highwaycat

    highwaycat Tele-Holic

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    Notice the difference and how deep slots make everything harder and deform your tools too. E281FE0D-99AC-4171-B5B3-5CD3F88A1115.jpeg
     
  3. John Nicholas

    John Nicholas Friend of Leo's

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    Not sure why you would need a template, but whatever works for you.

    My process is as follows. Start with a Bone Blank.
    IMG_8046.JPG

    Mark the edges of the fingerboard and use a full mechanical pencil to get the general shape of the top of the nut, then cut and sand to shape.

    IMG_8699.JPG

    Adjust the width of the nut so that it is the same as the width of the fingerboard.

    IMG_8703.JPG

    Mark the shots using a chart found online.

    IMG_8707.JPG

    Cut on the lines with my .010 saw from Stew Mac.

    IMG_8705.JPG

    Cut the nut slots deep enough to hold the strings using the proper size nut files.

    IMG_8708.JPG

    String up the guitar and get the setting close, so you can cut the nut slots to the proper depth.

    IMG_8709.JPG

    The when the nut slots are the proper depth, file the top of the nut so the strings are not "buried" in the nut, sand, then polish as needed. In this case, I leave a bit extra material for the "B" and high "E" strings.

    IMG_8741.jpg

    How do others do this process?
     
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  4. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Poster Extraordinaire

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    I do it very similar to John and have documented it in several builds and the setup thread. I do use the StewMac ruler which essentially does the spacing math and I do pay careful attention to the offset from the edge of the fretboard. I only use bone and select the color to fit the guitar. I probably would roll mine a little more towards the tuners than John has done. Each nut is made to fit the particular guitar and PLAYER - I see no reason to use a template.
     
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  5. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Your process isn't quite the same as mine but I could be happy doing it your way.
    Except! I never finish the width until the action is pretty well dialed in, because final centering really needs the strings to be in their final resting places, or I get a little nutty about the distances from the edge of the board, where the fret ends and string thicknesses make the centering more about English than math.

    The fret ends are nice and square in the pics, but some guitars got the ends beveled in further for the hip rolled fingerboard trend, or for some other mysterious reason.
    Of course we can also move the slots closer to or further from the edges is needed while deepening to finish depth, but that is harder than simply moving the nut to center after the slots are close.

    This is also why I prefer curved bottom Fender slots, even after final depth you can move the nut.
    Gibson and acoustic flat bottom you have to center before the final depth but I find comfort in having the centering wait until I can see pretty well how the stings relate to the edges and fret ends.

    Reading this I sound a bit OCD!
     
  6. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Poster Extraordinaire

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    From the double neck thread

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  7. Colt W. Knight

    Colt W. Knight Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    The Stewmac string spacing rule is handier than a pocket on a shirt. I've watched some prominent youtube repair guys that do not use it and do a bunch of time-consuming math or trial and error, and I think to myself. Man, do they think that ruler is a gimmick or what?
     
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  8. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Poster Extraordinaire

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    There are basically two ways to space your strings. You can put them on equal centers which is pretty easy - classicals are done that way. Or you can try to put the same gap between each string - in that case you add up all the diameters (only half on the E strings), divide by five and do some other fiddling around. Some people do it by eye. I like the SM ruler.
     
  9. Colt W. Knight

    Colt W. Knight Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    When I first started building, I did equal centers until someone told me about equidistant spacing. Once I switched over to equal spacing between strings, I felt the guitar playability increased.
     
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  10. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I've got mixed feelings about center vs edge spaced, seems like I fret for the center, so moving the bass strings further apart to make the edge distances the same is to me more visual. But I do get a certain amount of distress if I see spacing that looks wrong.
    Fatter fingers on a narrower nut neck might really appreciate the extra space for the wound strings, but better still might prefer a wider nut! 1 5/8 is pretty narrow for wider fingertips, so tweaking the spacing might really help those players.

    One thing I do that seems unusual is I obviously set 12 string nut slot heights off the bottom of the string, but I set bridge saddle heights off the top of the string. I find when playing 12 string near the bridge, the fundamental strings sitting higher, get a harder pick attack while sort of protecting the octave strings from getting their fair strikes. So I make the tops of the courses the same height, and the octaves end up a little higher off the frets at the upper end of the fingerboard. Near the middle of the neck it's averaged out.
    Before doing that I felt like the octaves were not prominent enough in the sound with the way I play.
    Strumming far enough from the bridge it doesn't really make a difference though.
    Could be my playing idiosyncrasies.
     
  11. highwaycat

    highwaycat Tele-Holic

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    Here’s why I’m doing a template for this particular guitar, it’s just ONE of the ways I make a nut. I don’t actually need to do a template.

    The fingerboard level and radius isn’t perfect since it’s a budget guitar.
    So now I have an idea where to compensate, unless I’m refretting this neck and truing up the fingerboard.

    12F7CF77-8411-49D3-9F0B-4B16F10E15E1.jpeg 4B66DFFB-5914-4483-B8F2-D218E4DC23D0.jpeg 649C2640-0CF4-455D-B2EB-3141B76474D1.jpeg 7C6B6B38-CEC6-4537-8661-C84877561FA3.jpeg A4F2CBD0-E43F-46BB-9151-90F95A7009A5.jpeg CDF8A68C-2151-45B8-B0C6-64E11BBE781D.jpeg 8D230F1D-AC93-4607-AFB1-3256B298D465.jpeg E37CF049-02AB-42B9-8A01-AFE5D814E5E4.jpeg 2C1FD361-28D7-4C8C-BCAC-FB59374E4CA8.jpeg
     
  12. highwaycat

    highwaycat Tele-Holic

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    This template took just minutes to make. If I was making a brass nut and wanted a line sanded finish I’d want it spec’d out perfectly so cosmetically wise it would be the perfect nut.
     
  13. highwaycat

    highwaycat Tele-Holic

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    I filled the slot and removed top material and back angle then fine tuned the slots to be half diameter of strings.
    It’ll be easy to fine tune the slot height and fine tune the top of the nut too.
    So far the neck doesn’t have a body or existing nut however since I adjusted the truss rod, used 6 different feeler gauges with the half pencil, and compensated the not so perfect 12” radius, the slots won’t be too low and I figured how to make this particular neck a nut that will look very good.

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  14. highwaycat

    highwaycat Tele-Holic

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    I file the shape more with just files and I can still use fine sandpaper later on too.

    This is a fun idea that’s good practice for getting the shape you like.

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  15. highwaycat

    highwaycat Tele-Holic

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    Compared to a stock American strat nut, it’s smoother and you can slide from open notes to fretted notes and the sides don’t catch your hand when you play.
    The face of the nut is smooth too.
    This is pre sandpaper and polish.
    5405E7F6-B048-4B0F-8DA2-4647A02A969A.jpeg
     
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