Screwed up a nut - How to fix?

Discussion in 'Tech-Talk' started by Malurkey, Nov 15, 2020.

  1. Malurkey

    Malurkey Senior Stratmaster

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    Hi all,

    I tried to adjust but slots for the first time, yesterday. Something unexpected happened:

    I carefully filed out the slots until I had 0.020’’ relief as measured over the 1st fret. According to the manual this was medium to high relief for the nut slot height.

    Relief was a little low for the wound strings, but perfect for the other strings.

    Then today I restrung the guitar. Now there is zero relief on the first fret on the high E. I’m pretty sure the string gauge was the same (0.09’’). I also took care to clean out the nut slots after filing.

    How did this happen? Was there some precaution I forgot to take? o_O

    More importantly, is there a way to fill the nut slot? Or do I need to replace the whole nut?
     
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  2. strat_strummer

    strat_strummer Most Honored Senior Member

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    I cut a tiny sliver from a guitar pick and super glue in the slot. I've done this a couple of times and works perfectly and easy to file if you still need to go deeper after gluing it in.
     
  3. Guitarmageddon

    Guitarmageddon Dr. Stratster

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    Before we even go there.....check the truss rod relief......put a capo behind first fret, push down at last fret, and frets 7-10 should have just enough room between the low E and tops of frets to slide a thin business card through.....check that THEN report back on your nut situation....
     
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  4. Gevalt

    Gevalt Strat-O-Master

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    If you have to shim the nut, the best way is to cut a shim from the paper envelope some strings come in. Wet it with crazy-glue and apply that sucker like a model-airplane decal. I shimmed just the bass side and it worked too, but I smoothed it after it dried.
    You can also fix a slot by crazy-gluing in a shred, shard or dusting of scrap nut material and smoothing the seams after it dries.
    The pros redo it from scratch, but us tinkerers ain't got the patience.
     
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  5. Malurkey

    Malurkey Senior Stratmaster

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    When I put a capo on the 1st fret and press down on fret 17, and pluck the string in between, all strings ring out true (with a slight buzz on the low E). Around 0,25 mm, 0.015’’ of relief as measured on the 8th fret. High E is on the low side.
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2020
  6. Guitarmageddon

    Guitarmageddon Dr. Stratster

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    You're checking the relief measurement, it's not checking to see how it plays there......it's last fret, 21 or 22 - not 17......and distance doesn't measure any string except distance between tops of frets 7-10 and low E.....

    My guess is you have more than .015" relief which is not a good sign, it means the nut slots were filed too low because the truss rod needed tightening and the whole guitar was not checked for setup before hand....and it probably would have had perfect nut slot height had the relief been set.....
     
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  7. Kyri

    Kyri Senior Stratmaster

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  8. charlie chitlin

    charlie chitlin Strat-O-Master Silver Member

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    If you shim the nut, you will have to lower all the slots.
    Might be good practice.
    Some baking soda in the slot, then some water thin super glue can be considered a permanent fix.
     
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  9. The_Whale

    The_Whale Strat-Talker Silver Member

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    Only file the slot a tiny bit at a time; with lots of playing in between.

    Once you're able to fret at the first fret without the note going sharp; STOP filing.
     
  10. rafasounds

    rafasounds Senior Stratmaster

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    I once had some low slots and used the baking soda/super glue method. There is a video of Dan Erlewine explaining it on YT. Never had the same problem again, I'm still using the same nut. When you file down the solidified baking soda on the slot, give it a little down slant towards the headstock. The highest point on the slot should be where the string enters it coming from the bridge.
     
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  11. myredstrat

    myredstrat Senior Stratmaster

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    if you totally screw it up then this
     
  12. Malurkey

    Malurkey Senior Stratmaster

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    I’m pretty sure I filed the high E slot too low: All other strings play fine all over the neck. The high E also plays fine as long as you’re pressing down on any fret. It buzzes like crazy when open, and you can see that it’s resting on the first fret.

    What puzzles me is that it was fine with the first set of strings, and so much lower with the second set, and just on one slot.

    I was really careful, measuring every few passes with the file, and stopping when I thought I could still go quite a bit lower (thinking I could always take off a bit more later), and cleaning the slots to make sure there was no dust remaining in there.

    Imagine my surprise to find I had completely and utterly overshot the mark. :(
     
  13. The_Whale

    The_Whale Strat-Talker Silver Member

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    But don't make it TOO much of an angle!

    If the string is at too steep of an angle it puts too much downward pressure on the plastic right where the string overhangs the nut, and this extra pressure can end up wearing/cutting the nut down at this point, leaving it cut too low after a decent amount of restringing, tuning, playing.

    I learned this lesson the hard way....

    Make the angle just enough to make certain the string is vibrating at the edge of the nut.
     
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  14. The_Whale

    The_Whale Strat-Talker Silver Member

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    It happens.

    Believe me, the next time you do this you'll get it right!
     
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  15. henderman

    henderman Most Honored Senior Member

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    i fix nut slots with super glue and fine bone dust, or corian dust. i drop glue in the slot and drop dust on the glue and then glue on the dust.

    then i re-cut the slot.
     
  16. charlie chitlin

    charlie chitlin Strat-O-Master Silver Member

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    The baking soda is not just for structure... it's a catalyst.
    The down side of that is, if you fill the slot, the glue can harden before it completely penetrates. Then there is just powder on the bottom.
     
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  17. charlie chitlin

    charlie chitlin Strat-O-Master Silver Member

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    As for getting the slot just right then finding it too low...it has happened to me.
    I have no idea how.
    It's weird and it sucks.
    With bone, it could be a void in the bone
    It could be dust left in the slot.
    The only thing for sure is, it's frustrating.
     
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  18. henderman

    henderman Most Honored Senior Member

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    i work fast and with a super magnifier to make sure it is going to become one with the nut, but you are correct, it will go wrong if they do not all bond together.
     
  19. Miotch

    Miotch Senior Stratmaster

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    I've used a thin slice of 1200 wet dry sandpaper under the nut to shim it up. If filling a nut slot, I use thin layers of CA and graphite dust for graphite nut and thin layers of plastic dust or baking soda and CA for a plastic nut. Key is a few very thin layers of dust with the smallest drop of thin CA. then you have to smooth sides of nut and re-file to perfection.
     
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  20. Malurkey

    Malurkey Senior Stratmaster

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    Going for superglue and baking soda:

    490C0B94-81BE-46A6-B7EE-DF45CFE8C9CB.jpeg
     
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