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Thread: A trick for nut work using no files.

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    Gear Ho Gearjoneser's Avatar
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    Lightbulb A trick for nut work using no files.

    I thought I'd share a technique I've always used for getting the nut slots to be seated nicely, and it also helps to clean up a nut slot, eliminating ghost notes, and widening the slot enough for a Fender trem to work a lot better.

    Take a 1 - 2 inch square piece of fine grit sandpaper. The 600 grit black/gray sandpaper works best. Take the little piece of sandpaper and put it under a string, folding it upwards, so you can grip it above the string. The paper will automatically bend itself around the bottom of your string. Slide it up toward the nut, and draw it through the nut, sliding it toward the tuners. Just like a file, it'll swipe out a little bit of nut material, cleaning up the slot. I do this on all strings, till all the slots are smooth. If you need to lower the nut slot a little, just do it a few times, and you can re-adjust the paper so you're always using fresh paper. If you perfect this technique, you can get the nuts dialed in on your guitars, so that regular trems work better, eliminating strings binding at the nut. It'll also fix strings that don't ring quite right.
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    Luckybastidologist bungalowbill's Avatar
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    Default Re: A trick for nut work using no files.

    Vault worthy.
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    Toneologist darkshadow54321's Avatar
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    Default Re: A trick for nut work using no files.

    We need pics!
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    Default Re: A trick for nut work using no files.

    Nice tip GJ. Thanks.

  5. #5
    theodie
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    Default Re: A trick for nut work using no files.

    GJ, I do about the same thing after I am done using the files on the slots. I usually just bend the paper in half and use the side of it to sand the slots to clean them up. You have added a nice touch though.

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    Administrator Robert S.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: A trick for nut work using no files.

    I do the same thing with automotive feeler guages.

    Nice tip!

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    Tommyologist
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    Default Re: A trick for nut work using no files.

    Cool tip!

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    Gear Ho Gearjoneser's Avatar
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    Default Re: A trick for nut work using no files.

    Quote Originally Posted by theodie
    GJ, I do about the same thing after I am done using the files on the slots. I usually just bend the paper in half and use the side of it to sand the slots to clean them up. You have added a nice touch though.
    I started doing it by folding it in half to an approximate diameter, then swiping it through. However, that can cut a V into the slot, which isn't really a nice U. Then it dawned on me to allow the string's diameter and downward pressure to aid with the swipe. I just take a little piece, wrap it under the string, then slide it right toward the tuners. Since it's very fine grit and the paper is thin, it doesn't cut very deep, it just cleans it up.

    After doing it to most of my guitars, all the strings ring like normal. No more binding on the wound strings, and the plain strings never have a dull ring or pingy ghost note.
    If you play guitar chest-high, you play from your heart.

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    Ultimate Tone Slacker fingerace's Avatar
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    Default Re: A trick for nut work using no files.

    Do you de-tune before you do this, to make it easier for the paper to go under the string??

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    Default Re: A trick for nut work using no files.

    COOL
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    Tone Member toneseeker's Avatar
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    Default Re: A trick for nut work using no files.

    Thanks GJ! I wish I had known this a couple of months ago.

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    Super Toneologist midnite_man's Avatar
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    Default Re: A trick for nut work using no files.

    Quote Originally Posted by fingerace
    Do you de-tune before you do this, to make it easier for the paper to go under the string??
    I would think the best way to slide the sandpaper under the string would be to loosen the string first to the point where the paper will slide under easily and shape to the curvature of the string, then adjust the tension on the paper using the tuner until the paper is doing what you want it to.
    This is one of the coolest tips I've come across in a long time, and definitely worthy of the Vault. I've got a set of jeweler's files that I've contemplated using on a few of my guitar's nuts to eliminate those ghost-notes especially on my Strats, but feared doing so thinking I might screw something up. Gearjoneser's trick is just what the doctor ordered.

    Thanks GJ!!!

    ....Bob
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    Default Re: A trick for nut work using no files.

    Forgive my irgnorance, but what's a ghost note?

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    Super Toneologist midnite_man's Avatar
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    Default Re: A trick for nut work using no files.

    Quote Originally Posted by Robbiedbee
    Forgive my irgnorance, but what's a ghost note?
    It's that little "ping" sound you hear especially on Strats when you use the tremelo. It's usually due to tightness in the nut slot and I usually have the problem on my .010 E-string. Factory nuts frequently require a little bit of dressing to really allow the string to sit in the groove properly without any binding.

    ....Bob
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    Stratoblaster Tone Meister STRATDELUXER97's Avatar
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    Default Re: A trick for nut work using no files.

    Great info GJ as usual...I'm going to try this trick on one of my Teles that has some snug slots on the 1st,2nd,and 3rd strings...Is there going to be room enough in the slot for the sandpaper and the string though?
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    Gear Ho Gearjoneser's Avatar
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    Default Re: A trick for nut work using no files.

    Quote Originally Posted by STRATDELUXER97
    Great info GJ as usual...I'm going to try this trick on one of my Teles that has some snug slots on the 1st,2nd,and 3rd strings...Is there going to be room enough in the slot for the sandpaper and the string though?
    You've got to use the very fine 600 grit sandpaper, and it probably widens the slot to the point where you could use 1 string gauge higher.....ie, doing it with a 10 high E, you'd be widening it enough to also use 11. You definitely don't want to use abrasive wood sandpaper, or else you'll sand too much material out of the slot.

    And, yes, it's a good idea to detune the note a little, just so the paper slides through easier. You want to drag the folded paper at the same angle the string sits in the nut, so you don't ruin the break off point.
    If you play guitar chest-high, you play from your heart.

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    Administrator Scott_F's Avatar
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    Default Re: A trick for nut work using no files.

    I use an old string of the size and file it back and forth like a hack saw. GJ's sounds easier.


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    Stratoblaster Tone Meister STRATDELUXER97's Avatar
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    Default Re: A trick for nut work using no files.

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott_F
    I use an old string of the size and file it back and forth like a hack saw. GJ's sounds easier.
    This only works best on the wound strings though,as the plain strings don't remove material...
    Amps: 66 Fender BF Pro Reverb Combo,1973 50 Watt Marshall Head,Marshall 4x12 A/V Cab,Vox ToneLab LE,Vox VTH Valvetronix 120 Head,Vox AD 2x12 Cab,Roland Cube 20X

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    Pickups: SD SSL2,SSL5,Twangbanger,Antiquity Surfers,59N,Seth Lover N/B,Dimarzio Fred,Dimarzio VPAF N,Fender Fat 50s,Fralin SP43 Bridge,Brobucker,Antiquity Texas Hot.

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    Gear Ho Gearjoneser's Avatar
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    Default Re: A trick for nut work using no files.

    Another trick I've learned, to keep the strings from binding is putting White Teflon Powder in the slots, which they sell at hobby shops for lubing airplane motors. Graphite makes a black mess all over the nut, but White Teflon Powder does the same thing, and you just blow off the excess like it's baby powder.
    You might even be able to use baby powder, because it doesn't gum up the slots, the powder just makes strings glide through the slot with no resistance.
    If you play guitar chest-high, you play from your heart.

    If you play guitar waist-high, you play from your guts.

    If you play guitar low, you play from your huevos.

  20. #20
    Ultimate Tone Slacker fingerace's Avatar
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    Default Re: A trick for nut work using no files.

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott_F
    I use an old string of the size and file it back and forth like a hack saw. GJ's sounds easier.
    +1

    Never thought of using sandpaper

    Thanks GJ !!

    EDIT: i can't find 0000 steel wool in my country. can i use 600 grit sandpaper for cleaning the Fret wires?? thanks
    Last edited by fingerace; 04-25-2006 at 06:05 AM.

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