Nut Slot Files

Discussion in 'Other Guitar Discussion' started by Laren, May 18, 2020.

  1. Laren

    Laren Strat-Talk Member

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    Hi all,

    Pretty sure I know the answer to this but if any of you have been here I'd appreciate your thoughts.

    Nut Slot files, expensive.

    Alternatives, seem to be of not much use.

    I just know I should bite the bullet and buy a set, luckily we can get them from Stewmac here in the UK as there seems to be very little alternative.

    If any of you have 'bitten the bullet' were they worth it?

    Paj
     
  2. brians

    brians Senior Stratmaster

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    The thing is you can't use them more than once on a nut ( duh ) so unless you do a lot of guitars , not much of an investment.

    Better to borrow than buy in this case or take it to someone.

    SM files must be expennnnsive ?

    You can get cheap imports on the net, probably do exactly the same job, but I'm guessing.

    I needed to do one nut once, used some 1000 grit paper, bent in half, worked just fine, just took a little time.




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  3. nadzab

    nadzab Peace & Love, my Brothers & Sisters... Strat-Talk Supporter

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    In my opinion, having the right tools for a job is pretty much always worth it. Most of us probably know the feeling of trying to get something done with tools that are either a work-around for the right implement, or cheap and flimsy versions...personally, I hate that feeling. Shelling out for a set of files from Stew-Mac (which I have done), hurts a little in the moment because they are expensive, but at the rate I do nut work, I consider them a one-time, lifetime purchase that's well worth the money.
     
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  4. henderman

    henderman Most Honored Senior Member Strat-Talk Supporter

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  5. dirocyn

    dirocyn Senior Stratmaster

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    Two alternatives: welding tip cleaning files, or use a Dremel to cut saw teeth into a set of automotive feeler gauges. Haven't tried the Stew Mac set, I don't need to cut nuts often enough to justify the cost.
     
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  6. Smylight

    Smylight Strat-Talker

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    ^^This... with a caveat.

    Nut-making is a learned skill, and you will blow many before you can reliably cut slots without getting too deep. Which means a new nut. And then you’ll need shaping files as well and maybe this very useful little vise, oh and polishing papers... ;-)

    So I'd advise, unless you work on many guitars, to save the money and get them done by your tech or luthier.

    I have both StewMac and the aforementioned Japanese files, and the quality is comparable.
     
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  7. wrvond

    wrvond Senior Stratmaster

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    I'm with @Smylight on this. I'm willing to dress an existing nut that may be poorly cut from the factory, but I don't do enough blank cutting to hone the skill or justify the tool expense. When I feel the need for a new nut on a Strat, I install an LSR roller nut.
     
  8. mapleglo

    mapleglo Senior Stratmaster

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    I invested quite a bit in tools for fretting and making nuts for both guitar and bass.

    fretting.jpg

    I have a set of both the StewMac and Hosco nut files. For guitar, I prefer the StewMac files. I work on all my guitars and basses, and built a bunch from scratch, so it has been worth the investment. Though even if I were to have to do only one nut, knowing what I know, I'd probably had invested in the StewMac files anyway.
     
  9. Smylight

    Smylight Strat-Talker

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    And don't forget you'll have a gauged set for your electric, but you'll want a full set for the acoustic and the bass as well.
     
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  10. Baelzebub

    Baelzebub Senior Stratmaster

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    I'm not sure of the efficacy, not having tried it, but I've read a few places of people using wound strings to sort of floss the nut.
     
  11. Smylight

    Smylight Strat-Talker

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    I should have said that I have the Hosco files as well. Full sets for electric, acoustics and basses, too.

    I tend to rough-in the slots with the Hosco files and then move on to the StewMac / Japanese files to do the fine-tuning if required. If I had only one set, I'd personally prefer to keep the Hosco. Works faster, doesn't stick as much with a too-tall nut, has a better grip.

    But then I do several nuts each week, so I need the full set. You can wiggle your way with less gauges, but eventually you’ll find yourself adding more and more files.
     
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  12. Smylight

    Smylight Strat-Talker

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    That's something one might do in a pinch to somewhat polish the bottom of an already well-cut slot. Mitchell's abrasive cord (again, in many gauges) works way better for that.

    I only slide a bit of string back and forth to make sure it's not going to stick anywhere.

    Think of this : if sliding a bit of string could dig in a bone nut hard enough to shape it, you'd wear it out in no time just tuning the guitar and using the tremolo.
     
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  13. Thrup'ny Bit

    Thrup'ny Bit Grand Master Curmudgeon Strat-Talk Supporter

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    Set of 10 Hosco files from Touchstone Tonewoods here in the UK for £134 free delivery.
     
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  14. Believer7713

    Believer7713 The Pink Bunny Frankenstein Strat-Talk Supporter

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  15. Smylight

    Smylight Strat-Talker

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  16. AngelDeVille

    AngelDeVille Senior Stratmaster

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    If you own more than 2 guitars they pay for themselves.

    Adding a couple extra files on either side of an acoustic or electric set, will cover most everything.

    I have a set of 11 or 12 from .009 to .130

    I prefer the Hiroshima/Uo-Chikyu files.
     
  17. Smylight

    Smylight Strat-Talker

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  18. Smylight

    Smylight Strat-Talker

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    This is the exact first set I got, from Philadelphia Luthier's as well. Great buy, very dependable shop with top-notch service and entirely reasonable shipping rates.

    I believe it is the same Thrup'ny referred to. The bigger gauges, as used on acoustics, are missing, but you can add as you need them.


    Envoyé de mon iPad en utilisant Tapatalk
     
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  19. Engine Swap

    Engine Swap Strat-Talker

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    Essential - They pay for themselves quickly if you have multiple guitars.

    Forget about hacks, get the right tool for the job.
     
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  20. Kestrel

    Kestrel Strat-Talker Strat-Talk Supporter

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    I got mine from StewMac over 20yrs ago, set of 3 Hosco's with different gauge each side, they have been much used, I have other sets in my workshop but for electrics the Hosco's are the most used.