Strings in metal nut making clinky noise

effzee

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I didn't know how to describe this better in the topic heading 🤷🏻

I don't want to keep bugging @Tricone with my stuff so I'll ask this in public.

My new for me but old Framus Atlantik 6 has a zero fret and a metal nut, see pics.

The slots in the nut are wider than the strings (11-46 Fender vintage pure nickel) and the strings move up and down in the rectangular slots when I bend them.

Because the nut is metal, that makes a clinky sound every time the strings "snap" up or down and bang into the edge of the slot. As far as I can tell so far, the sound doesn't transmit through the amplifier, but I sure hear it when I'm playing.

Are these nut slots intended for a specific gauge string that would fill them accurately, or are you supposed to just ignore the noise, or there something else I'm overlooking here?

Any common methods to alleviate the situation? Replacing the nut is not out of the question for me.

olbavgnclhkwoqf3vmge.jpg
IMG_20221003_201853.jpg
 

Boreas

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Start here:

2022-10-04_18h03_25.jpg

Looks like a friction-maker if I ever saw one.

Strings are likely grabbing/binding on worn metal surfaces. The path through these holes needs to be glass-smooth with no grooves. Lubrication will help, but not eliminate the problem. With this thing in place, you probably don't even need your nut!
 
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effzee

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Start here:

View attachment 1036535

Looks like a friction-maker if I ever saw one.

Strings are likely grabbing/binding on worn metal surfaces. They path through these holes needs to be glass-smooth with no grooves. Lubrication will help, but not eliminate the problem. With this thing in place, you probably don't even need your nut!
Oh, that's interesting. When I was looking at the guitar online before buying it, I actually had thoughts along those lines. I mean your last sentence. The big string tree seems to make the nut superfluous. I hadn't considered that it could actually be causing a problem. I can remove the nut very easily just to try it out and see what happens, can't hurt. Thanks 👍🏼
 

Boreas

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Oh, that's interesting. When I was looking at the guitar online before buying it, I actually had thoughts along those lines. I mean your last sentence. The big string tree seems to make the nut superfluous. I hadn't considered that it could actually be causing a problem. I can remove the nut very easily just to try it out and see what happens, can't hurt. Thanks 👍🏼

I think playability would be kinda sloppy without the nut, but I could be wrong. But yeah, to me, I suspect you have binding in that monstrous string tree. With the odd placement of the tuners, I doubt the string tree can be removed. But if you can get the guides polished, it should help.
 

effzee

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I think playability would be kinda sloppy without the nut, but I could be wrong. But yeah, to me, I suspect you have binding in that monstrous string tree. With the odd placement of the tuners, I doubt the string tree can be removed. But if you can get the guides polished, it should help.
Thanks. I looked closer at everything and the string tree isn't a problem, best I can tell. It's highly polished and the strings just lie in it with no discernable movement. I actually like it because it's kind of quirky.

The problem is just the metal nut, the strings sit in the slots with space around them and since the slots are flat at the bottom and with 90° angles, it makes sense that the strings go boing to the other side of the slot when I bend a note.

I need a way to fill the space in slots, or replace the nut, which would be simple to do with the zero fret.

But the clanging doesn't come through the amp, I guess because it's happening behind a fretted note. So it's not an emergency 😊
 

Boreas

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Thanks. I looked closer at everything and the string tree isn't a problem, best I can tell. It's highly polished and the strings just lie in it with no discernable movement. I actually like it because it's kind of quirky.

The problem is just the metal nut, the strings sit in the slots with space around them and since the slots are flat at the bottom and with 90° angles, it makes sense that the strings go boing to the other side of the slot when I bend a note.

I need a way to fill the space in slots, or replace the nut, which would be simple to do with the zero fret.

But the clanging doesn't come through the amp, I guess because it's happening behind a fretted note. So it's not an emergency 😊
Try polishing the zero fret. If it has any friction or grooves, you will likely get pings when bending notes. Once that is done, re-assess. If it is the nut slots, you will need to "adjust" them with files and polish them as well. Filling the "space" in the slots is likely the wrong way to go with a steel nut. I would concentrate on deepening them and rounding the bottoms. You could likely deepen them so that the strings do not touch at all on the bottom. They shouldn't need to touch bottom with the zero fret.

You could remove the steel nut and replace it with bone or plastic nut set up for a zero fret.

I have found this stuff quite handy for polishing nut slots:

2022-10-05_09h14_21.jpg

Comes in many flavors and gauges. Also available in tape form and in crocus polishing form.



If you have a Dremel tool, you may be able to use an abrasive cutting wheel to tweak the slots. Otherwise, you will need to buy a couple nut files which could be damaged by the steel.
 
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effzee

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Maybe a wrap of something soft & spongey between the nut & string guide.
A mute for those distracting noises?

That was my initial idea. I tried to think of something that could work but came up blank so far. I mean something I might have around the house 🤔


Try polishing the zero fret. If it has any friction or grooves, you will likely get pings when bending notes. Once that is done, re-assess. If it is the nut slots, you will need to "adjust" them with files and polish them as well. Filling the "space" in the slots is likely the wrong way to go with a steel nut. I would concentrate on deepening them and rounding the bottoms. You could likely deepen them so that the strings do not touch at all on the bottom. They shouldn't need to touch bottom with the zero fret.

You could remove the steel nut and replace it with bone or plastic nut set up for a zero fret.

I have found this stuff quite handy for polishing nut slots:

View attachment 1036701

Comes in many flavors and gauges. Also available in tape form.

If you have a Dremel tool, you may be able to use an abrasive cutting wheel to tweak the slots. Otherwise, you will need to buy a couple nut files which could be damaged by the steel.
That's very interesting, thank you. I've wanted a zero fret for a long time, now I have one and I guess it's time to educate meself a bit. I understand what you mean about the strings not even having to touch the nut, that makes sense. Think I might have little project for the evening 😊
 

middy

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The pings will just come back as you wear into the fret, even with a stainless steel zero fret. They come and go.
 

Boreas

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If you don't have the tools to adjust the nut slots, you may be able to just effectively lower the entire nut. You could do that by filing/grinding the bottom of the nut, or the wood upon which it sits. Probably only need to remove a few thousandths of wood or steel.
 

effzee

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The pings will just come back as you wear into the fret, even with a stainless steel zero fret. They come and go.

So, I did some closer inspection and I'd say this is the actual issue. Now it makes sense, too. There's no reason for the strings to ping anywhere unless they're first stuck someplace to ping out of (there's probably some more professional jargon to explain this stuff).

If the fret was totally smooth, then the strings would just smoothly slide along inside the nut, without any noise, but they're hanging up in the little grooves in the fret and then jumping out of them.

That's my explanation and I'm sticking to it until the next better one comes along.

The question remains what to do about it. Short term, polish the fret. I think that'll probably be enough. The guitar is from 1969 or 70 and the fret is probably original. So, a good polishing might last another 50 years.

But the nut isn't old. And I don't really like the chrome-i-ness of it. I think a nice bone nut would simply look better and even if a string pings into it, won't make as much racket.
 
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effzee

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The grooves in the zero fret are pretty deep. That's gotta be the source of the ping

IMG_20221005_211221.jpg
 

Boreas

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It should be easy enough to replace the worn ZF with a new SS fret. You may already be at the point where you don't have enough string clearance at the second fret. Stainless Steel will be much more resistant to wear.

And yes, you should be able to swap nut material as well. I would be inclined to use ebony or black Tusq.
 
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effzee

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Well I finally got around to filing down the fret a bit. I used my rubber fret eraser, holding it vertically and rubbing with the small end for more pressure. It's 1000 grit, lol. Think I'll invest in a 400 grit, too.

Took a while but I didn't have anything else to do. It's not 100% smooth yet, but close enough. Next up, I'm going to try fashioning a black tusq nut, with tighter slots than the metal nut that's currently installed, which isn't the original anyway yes, it's the original from 1970

IMG_20221011_220024.jpg
IMG_20221011_220036.jpg


I just noticed that the perspective of the photo makes the eraser look monstrously huge 😅
 
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schmee

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That was my initial idea. I tried to think of something that could work but came up blank so far. I mean something I might have around the house 🤔



That's very interesting, thank you. I've wanted a zero fret for a long time, now I have one and I guess it's time to educate meself a bit. I understand what you mean about the strings not even having to touch the nut, that makes sense. Think I might have little project for the evening 😊
Heat shrink tube. Made in various sizes. Some tiny. test it then make that plastic nut/guide to replace the metal.
 

Boreas

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Well I finally got around to filing down the fret a bit. I used my rubber fret eraser, holding it vertically and rubbing with the small end for more pressure. It's 1000 grit, lol. Think I'll invest in a 400 grit, too.

Took a while but I didn't have anything else to do. It's not 100% smooth yet, but close enough. Next up, I'm going to try fashioning a black tusq nut, with tighter slots than the metal nut that's currently installed, which isn't the original anyway

View attachment 1039075 View attachment 1039076

I just noticed that the perspective of the photo makes the eraser look monstrously huge 😅

I really wish you had mentioned you were going to smooth out the ZF. If you managed to effectively lower the ZF by polishing, you may introduce buzzing to some of your frets if it is too low. Don't take it down any further or you may have to replace it, or level the rest of your frets to match. Hopefully you will be OK. 👍🤞🤞🤞🤞🤞🤞🤞🤞🤞
 

effzee

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I really wish you had mentioned you were going to smooth out the ZF. If you managed to effectively lower the ZF by polishing, you may introduce buzzing to some of your frets if it is too low. Don't take it down any further or you may have to replace it, or level the rest of your frets to match. Hopefully you will be OK. 👍🤞🤞🤞🤞🤞🤞🤞🤞🤞
Well, I had thought about that. The reason it took me so long to get around to doing this is that I've been looking into replacing the fret altogether. But then it dawned on me that the strings are sitting in the grooves and not buzzing at all, so smoothing down the fret to at lowest the point where the strings are anyway, shouldn't really screw things up. And it didn't 😇

There's still a tiny bit of that plinking, especially on the g-string, and I'll do some more erasing tomorrow.

I ordered the tusq blank from Thomann, should be here in two days, then I can start messing around with that next project.

None of this stuff is going to affect the guitar in any fundamental, irreparable way, so I'm not worried about trying stuff out 🙂
 




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