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Question about when to fit a nut to a neck

Discussion in 'Tele-Technical' started by etype, Jul 5, 2019.

  1. etype

    etype Tele-Afflicted

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    Musikraft says they won't install a nut on a neck they make because nuts and the string slots really need to be customized to each guitar once the neck is attached. Also, when you buy a Fender replacement neck, they don't fully cut the slots in the nut (presumably for the same reason).

    However, Warmoth will install a nut for you when you buy the guitar and I often hear guys at TDPRI talk about switching necks, buying used necks, etc. And I have seen posts where someone adds a shim to the connection between the neck and guitar to change the neck angle. I would think this would be the most likely thing to mess up the relation between the nut and the frets.

    I can see how the frets need to be installed before you can cut the string slots in the nut as fret heights differ, but how critical is it to wait to cut the nut slots until the neck is attached to the guitar?
     
  2. dan40

    dan40 Friend of Leo's

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    I would say it pretty important. You could start to slots by marking them with a ruler and rough them in, but until the neck is on an actual guitar body, it would be very difficult to file them down to their correct depths. There is also the issue that every player has their own preference as to slot depth and string spacing. I like mine cut pretty low, but I do like to leave a little extra space because of my playing style.
     
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  3. stormin1155

    stormin1155 Tele-Holic

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    I always wait until the neck is installed on the guitar, and make setting the nut as part of the overall setup process. But I see no reason why you couldn't install the nut and file the slots to the proper depth before it's installed, because your are setting the depth in relation to the frets, not to any other part of the guitar.
     
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  4. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    Assuming you have the neck, you can rough the blank to shape, and seat it. You can also layout the slot placement, and maybe mark each with a single stroke of a .010 saw. Even that, depending on the player, they may want custom placement. Bass closer to edge, treble further from edge, but a bit of extra room between the fingerpicking strings (D, G, B). For example.

    Anything beyond that, you would do during a setup. Sure, you can buy pre-made nuts, and they're shaped, but taller, and with deeper slots that still aren't deep enough. And likely the blank won't fit in the seat without some work. The ideal slot depth is around 1/2 the thickness of the string. You'll need to finish the shaping on a pre-made nut by taking material off the top, as well as finishing the slots.

    I would much prefer to work on a nut that is properly shaped (by me), and has the strings laid out, and that's it. You'd do it with strings on (I use trash strings and put on a fresh set after), first making sure the frets are level, and the truss rod is roughly correct.

    I imagine MK won't do it because they know this, and know they can't make anyone happy. The pre-made "gets you started" approach, which is likely what Warmoth does, isn't all that helpful, IMO.
     
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  5. Ron C

    Ron C Tele-Meister

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    My experience echoes what Moosie wrote.

    I've never had a pre-slotted nut work out perfectly for me. Always some additional adjustments needed after the install. Caveat that I like wider than typical string spacing and fairly low action.

    Maybe Warmoth has come up with a formula that works for folks that aren't picky about spacing and don't mind higher action. I'm guessing they have to cut the slots a little high to avoid buzzing and with relatively narrow spacing to avoid fall-off in order to avoid a whole bunch of returns. So I can see why Musikraft and others avoid this entirely.
     
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  6. tessting1two

    tessting1two Tele-Holic

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    I don't use pre-slotted nuts because, in my experience, a neck's fret bevel and fingerboard roll will determine the actual string spacing and very few neck/guitar makers do this consistently enough to trust a pre-slotted nut. PRS replacement nuts were a surprising exception.

    I could see Warmoth having a system where they can fabricate a nut that's 90% finished, leaving the end user to dial in the slots and do a little final shaping & polishing to taste. I've actually made some nuts this way on guitars where I was waiting for other parts to arrive before putting strings on.

    For the DIY crowd, a pre-shaped, unslotted nut can be a real time/dust saver if you don't have a combo sander for rough shaping a blank.
     
  7. schmee

    schmee Doctor of Teleocity

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    I would say not critical. (Assuming they dont use a nut with slots too low to start!) I can't remember ever having an aftermarket neck with nut installed that wasn't fine and adjustable for the final nut setup. Had probably 7-8 Warmoths and others.
     
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  8. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    I use a bench sander for some of it, but mostly I just use sandpaper on a surface plate, and a file. Micromesh for the polishing. It's not crazy fast, but I don't need it to be... I enjoy the work. Working mostly by hand, dust isn't really an issue.
     
  9. RottenTheCat

    RottenTheCat Tele-Holic

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    Frank has the perfect nut set method.

    Warmoth must have a jig to cut nuts to relative fret height... As they offer many fret sizes. MUCH better job now than say... Eight years ago. Virtually perfect on my last neck.
     
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  10. boris bubbanov

    boris bubbanov Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    I like having pre-slotteds from a number of sources, so you have something with some pretty appropriate spacing. Then, when you make the final passes (if any) with the nut file, you can favor this direction or that and get a custom result (pretty much) with the precut. I also "build" the neck with the nut a bit high and just resting in there, held by stiction, until I'm totally convinced the neck and body are going to be together for a while.

    Kinda like this wonderful old lady I knew who bought the "newlyweds" a very, very nice Wedding gift but presented it to them on their 2d anniversary. :^)
     
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