Player Series: *lower* radius of nut 7.25" or 9.5"?

Discussion in 'Tele-Technical' started by Luis Mendo, Mar 16, 2021.

  1. Luis Mendo

    Luis Mendo TDPRI Member

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    I recently sanded the bottom of the nut of my Player Series Tele. I assumed the lower and upper radii of the nut were the same as the radius of the fingerboard, which is 9.5". So I used a 9.5" radius as a reference for sanding. The nut seemed to fit well when I put it back in the guitar.

    However, I've just seen that Fender sells pre-slotted nuts with upper radius 9.5", lower radius 7.5", and says they are «for electric guitars with modern 9.5" fingerboard radius, including most U.S.- and Mexico-made Stratocaster and Telecaster models». It also adds that «some filing and shaping modifications may be required». Link:

    https://shop.fender.com/en-US/parts...e-slotted-melamine-string-nut/0994404000.html

    This makes me wonder: does the Player Series Tele nut have a lower radius of 9.5" or 7.5"? Have I sanded it wrong?
     
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  2. RodeoTex

    RodeoTex Doctor of Teleocity

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    What is your goal?
     
  3. Dacious

    Dacious Poster Extraordinaire

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    What it probably means is the CNC machines that cut Fender necks cut 7.25" radius not slots. Then when the necks are sanded they are sanded to 9.5" or flatter depending on guitar. It isn't going to make much difference in a glued in nut.
     
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  4. bumnote

    bumnote Tele-Holic Ad Free Member

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    If I'm reading that correctly it's 7.25 prior to sanding, probably for a better fit...or it's just easier to make that way. Once you begin sanding the nut, it will match the neck. I've always sanded the bottom of nuts with a curved slot by using the fret board, lay a piece of sandpaper across the first fret & sand back & forth until the height is what I want.
     
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  5. Luis Mendo

    Luis Mendo TDPRI Member

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    I want to make sure that I sanded with the correct bottom radius (it's hard to tell by looking), or else to re-sand to correct it
     
  6. PCollen

    PCollen Friend of Leo's

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    Note:

    • Melamine string nut
    • Pre-slotted with string location grooves for easy spacing and positioning when performing final slot filing
    • 9.5" (241mm) top radius, 7.25” (184mm) bottom radius ( not 7.5" )
    • 1.695" (43.05 mm) wide

    I would interpret those specs as the bottom (lower mounting surface) of the nut being 7.25" radius and the top of the nut being 9.5" radius.
     
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  7. Luis Mendo

    Luis Mendo TDPRI Member

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    Yes, sorry, I meant 7.25", not 7.5".

    Anyway, those are the specs of the nut. My question is: if I use such nut in a Player Series Tele, should I leave the nut with 7.25" lower radius, or sand it to 9.5"? The upper part of the fretboard has radius 9.5", but maybe its lower part (where the nut rests) is 7.25" and that's why the nut is that way?
     
  8. PCollen

    PCollen Friend of Leo's

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    There are ways to determine if the bottom of the nut, as is (7.25"), is coming into full contact with the bottom of the nut slot or not. If the bottom of the nut slot is radiused more than 7.25", then the center of the nut would not touch the bottom of the nut slot, just the outer tips would touch. If less than 7.25" , then the center of the nut would touch the bottom of the nut slot but not the outer ends and the nut might even rock slightly. Since there is little difference either way, you might want to thinly and evenly spread a layer of black graphite powder or some other powdered substance on the bottom of the nut slot, dampen the bottom of the nut, insert the nut into the slot, and then extract the nut and examine the bottom of it to see if the powdered substance is evenly distributed across the bottom of the nut. Or you can make a 7.25 and 9.5 radius gauge using a cheap compass and some heavy construction paper and use it to optically ascertain which is closest to the internal radius of the nut slot. There are many good luthiers participating on TDPRI, and Strat-Talk , forums that I'm sure will give you the advice you need shortly. I myself am not one of them.
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2021
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  9. Sea Devil

    Sea Devil Friend of Leo's

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    Here's what the difference looks like. The bottom line is straight, and the top two lines -- yes, you read that correctly -- show the difference, or lack thereof, between 7.25" and 9.5" over such a short span. I used a .3mm mechanical pencil.
    CECD2B91-1B82-42B8-8A06-0B449DADA9C5.jpeg
     
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  10. lammie200

    lammie200 Friend of Leo's

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    Probably going to get flamed but I have several guitars that have flat nut slots and I have used curved bottom Earvana shelf nuts on them. I have filed down the ends of the nut so that the shelf bottoms out on the fretboard like it is supposed to but the entire nut bottom doesn't bottom out in the nut slot. Just the ends do where you see them from the side of the neck. They stay centered and work well.
     
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  11. Luis Mendo

    Luis Mendo TDPRI Member

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    I know, the difference is small. Hence my question :-D
     
  12. Vizcaster

    Vizcaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    A set of fretboard radius gauges will answer your question - even if you make them yourself from some reasonably easy to cut but firm thin material such as a manilla folder or thin sheet of plastic.

    The bottom radius of the nut is important so it fits snugly in the nut slot. Normally on a well made guitar the curved nut slot will match the fingerboard radius, and you can use the fingerboard as a sanding block to final fit the radius of the underside of the nut.

    The "top radius" of the nut is absolutely meaningless if you are carefully cutting the nut slots to where they need to be in the real world of your guitar and strings. Meanwhile I am ignoring any reference to "preslotted" nuts IMHO there's no such thing, if you know what I mean.

    In other words, don't let the specifications of a pre-slotted drop-in part (which is a myth) affect what you know you already did properly on your own nut.
     
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  13. Warren Pederson

    Warren Pederson Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Wouldn’t it be quicker just to file the bottom of the nut slot flat, it wouldn’t take very much
     
  14. Vizcaster

    Vizcaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    I wouldn't be the one to change the specs of a guitar that way. The OP's guitar was built with a certain factory nut slot spec' and it doesn't make sense to modify it just to be easier to swap out the nut (which shouldn't have to happen more than once or so in the guitar's lifetime). And if you think about it, it's just as quick to sand the bottom radius into a bone nut than it would be to try to get the slot perfectly flat and square (particularly since the neck is finished and there aren't any flat reference surfaces on it to go by other than by eye with a straightedge).

    Having said that, the handful of scratch-built necks that I've made all have a flat nut slot because it's easier to rout it out between two parallel swipes of a fret slotting saw (before radiating the fretboard surface so it's still in the square, easier to be precise that way). If I had CNC and was able to do a proper curved nut slot I certainly would do that and then keep the guitar that way.
     
  15. beagle

    beagle Friend of Leo's

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    Take the nut out, put a piece of card in the slot. Use a pencil to trace the fretboard radius on to the card.

    Do I need to explain the rest?
     
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