Suspected nut issue - question

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by Tobias, Nov 14, 2020.

  1. Tobias

    Tobias Tele-Meister

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    FC489356-12A1-443D-A917-B500FFFAD8F2.jpeg I recently acquired this SG. Like it, but the frets closest to the nut are way sharp (tonewise). I suspect the (superhigh) nut causes this.

    Can this be the cause?
    If yes, do I eyeball the new slot depth, or is there a spec?
    I have no special files - just use the strings as file?

    Much appreciated!
     
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  2. fatcat

    fatcat Friend of Leo's

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    Could also be how you're gripping. I used to have a death grip and would pull sharp.

    Go through it thuroughly and check set up and intonation. Take it to a tech.
     
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  3. Wulf

    Wulf Tele-Afflicted

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    yup..its the nut.
    you can use a lump on guitar string to do it...but be effin careful tape something on the neck flush with the nut to the depth you need...always groove nut so the slot is downhill towards the headstock..rasp away at angle a bit at a time a bit of pencil lead in grooves afterwards is never a bad idea...also...hows the neck relief and bridge set up?...once you do the nut its time to check everything else.
    never be afraid to ask....help is only a bit of typing away
    Good luck
    Let me know if i can help more
     
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  4. breadfreak

    breadfreak TDPRI Member

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    The tall nut is absolutely the cause of sharp first few frets. The bottom of each slot should only be as high off the fretboard as the frets. There is no specification because different guitars have different size frets. Make sure the neck is straight, then go ahead and eyeball it, bringing each slot down bit by bit until you're there. Work slowly cause it's easy to go too far in the soft nut material.

    In terms of tools, I use a super cheap (like 50 cents) triangular needle file for plain strings which I bought as part of a set from the ironmonger up the road. An oval shaped one works nicely for wound strings. You'll find some small files somewhere and one or two of them will be suitable.

    The easiest way to check for neck straightness and nut progress is with the strings themselves. Hold a string (tuned to tension) down at the 1st and 12th frets and check what gap remains underneath its midpoint — this tells you how bowed forward the neck is. Adjust the truss rod til there is barely a gap at all. Now you can hold the string down at virtually any fret and check what gap remains above the first few frets — this tells you how much extra height you have in the nut. On a straight neck with a well cut nut, a string held down at the last fret will just kiss every fret, even the first few.
     
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  5. schmee

    schmee Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    Capo at fret 3.
    Push the string down at fret 1 and observe the movement. You should just have a little movement.
    I like like .005 (the thickness of printing paper) , especially on the treble stings.
    Adjust the string slots accordingly.
    If all are somewhat equal high you can try to remove the nut and carefully sand the bottom instead.
     
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  6. jondanger

    jondanger Poster Extraordinaire

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    It’s way easier to sand the bottom of the nut than to cut each individual slot deeper. Warm the nut up, knock it off with a rubber mallet and then sand the bottom. You can glue it back in with regular old Titebond.
     
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  7. MickM

    MickM Poster Extraordinaire Platinum Supporter

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    You don't need to read entire tutorial but it's the best I've seen here. Also if you're going to dyi put a crowbar in your wallet and pry out the cash for some real nut files. Your SG is too nice to mangle with crap tools. ("Here, hold my beer while I find a close to size cutting torch tip cleaner")


    https://www.tdpri.com/threads/makin-your-own-nuts-tutorial.276101/
     
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  8. SamIV

    SamIV Tele-Holic

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    I recently broke down and spent the money for a nice set of fret files from Philadelphia Luthiers Tools. World of difference on a few of my guitars.
     
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  9. Wulf

    Wulf Tele-Afflicted

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    can be a dodgy move...i have managed to destroy a few getting them out....those cheapo ones especially...i think they make them from laminate slices of margarine tubs or something...mind you...i had a guitar given once...yamaha SG2000 ...the nut was so bad...i think they omitted said tub and used the margarine.(dont think it was the orig nut in that one...the guitar had not been looked after at all
    that was in the 80s..so i made a brass one
     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2020
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  10. JWH7

    JWH7 Tele-Meister

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    first before you remove the nut measure the fret board to the bottom of each string and write down the measurements to know where you started at. use a new razor blade or a new xacto blade and carefully and slowly with finese in mind wiggle the sharp end of the razor blade between the end of the fret board and the nut to help lossen it up then use a light plastic tip hammer or a piece of wood like a punch and any hammer and gently with finess pop the nut out. sand the bottom on a piece of sand paper laid flat on a table top or counter top ( if your married) work bench then. and slowly sand back and forth one stroke at a time then reposition the nut in your fingers the opposite end and do the same . its easy to sand an angel so stroke once look twice. By trail and error keep setting the net in place after a few strokes and check the string highth. better to leave nut a little high stringe up and tune and play. before glueing back in. do not epoxy glue the nut. i use elmers white glue for easy future nut replacements. its the string tension that keeps it in place. the glue keeps the nut from sifting left or right
     
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  11. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Poster Extraordinaire

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    I'll also state that before you do anything you should measure everything, particularly the action at the first fret on all strings. Anything over 0.020 is high and can be causing your problems. The fix is to lower each slot the right amount with the correct file, which it sounds like you aren't set up to do.

    A quick and dirty check of the nut is to throw a capo on at one and play each fret above that. If they play in tune then the nut is the problem. If they are still sharp its time to look elsewhere/

    If you happen to take those measurements report back.
     
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  12. fenderchamp

    fenderchamp Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

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    take it to a luthier and have it set up properly.
     
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  13. Tobias

    Tobias Tele-Meister

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    Thank you all for your answers and your time!

    I know how to set up a guitar, or, to be more accurate, adjust the setup on a guitar that is already sound mechanically. (Truss rod, bridge and saddle height and intonation). It is done without nice measuring equipment or much experience, so it involves a degree of back and forth but gets me where I want to be in the end.

    At this point, I expect the nut is garbage anyway from some Google searching. I was going to bring it to a luthier, but thought I might get some practice and experience this way. I’m generally careful by nature, so damage should be limited to the nut. If i do screw up - it was going to the luthier anyway.

    I’ll report back on developments (unless I forget - sorry!).
     
  14. Noak

    Noak TDPRI Member

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    This is a good way to evaluate nut slot height. I generally just fret the 2nd fret and then check the gap under the first fret but whatever works best for you!

    Also can't agree more. Bought a set of nice nut slot files years ago. These days you can even get them pretty cheap, which wasn't the case back then. Best investmenr to get your guitars playing well!
     
  15. 3bolt79

    3bolt79 TDPRI Member

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    Make sure that your relief is where you want it before you start filing the slots. If your first fret notes are dead on, not sharp, you don’t need to remove any more material from the slots.
     
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