Strat NUT Questions - 1st and 6th String Not Symmetrical

Discussion in 'Tech-Talk' started by phaedrus, Jan 21, 2021.

  1. Bob Spumoni

    Bob Spumoni Senior Stratmaster

    Messages:
    1,014
    Joined:
    May 5, 2019
    Location:
    New England
    Guitars are rarely perfect in this regard nor generally does it matter much. I've only had one guitar where I had to do more than loosen the neck and yank it over. I tapped the nut loose, slid it over a teense, reglued it, and smoothed things up a little. The result was imperfect (nut edges not perfectly aligned) but perfectly functional. I'd probably these days replace the nut, but you never know! The guitar was a Squier Affinity, if it matters.
     
    nutball73 and rolandson like this.
  2. rolandson

    rolandson Most Honored Senior Member

    Messages:
    9,169
    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2015
    Location:
    Foothills of the Cascades
    Couldn't think of a way to describe the motion needed. If one says "tilt," it's easy to mistake that for changing the angle of the heel in the pocket. The "elevators" if you will...

    Then I remembered flight school ... !

    In this, youtube is your friend!
     
    Willmunny likes this.
  3. charlie chitlin

    charlie chitlin Strat-O-Master Silver Member

    Messages:
    855
    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2007
    Location:
    pennsyltucky
    I've only done a few dozen with my end cutters with no problem.
    You can grab the nut right at the base to reduce the chance of breaking.
    Bring they're cutters and not "pliers", the nut can be grabbed right at the base and only at the base, where it is strongest.
    I'll keep doing it my way and you can keep whacking yours with a piece of wood.
    I would do this on a Gibson style guitar, where there is very little wood/headstock overlay on the back side, but not for me on a Fender which requires a slight rocking back and forth because there is wood on both sides of the nut.
     
  4. Baelzebub

    Baelzebub Most Honored Senior Member

    Messages:
    7,007
    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2019
    Location:
    State of Disbelief
    THIS +1

    Easy fix.
     
  5. Baelzebub

    Baelzebub Most Honored Senior Member

    Messages:
    7,007
    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2019
    Location:
    State of Disbelief
    My money is still on trying the neck adjustment first. If you have room to move the the low E a small tweak will get it done.
     
  6. charlie chitlin

    charlie chitlin Strat-O-Master Silver Member

    Messages:
    855
    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2007
    Location:
    pennsyltucky
    Neck tweaking is par for the course with 3 bolt necks and much less common, hardly ever done, for 4 bolt.
    The picture clearly shows a high E much more outboard than the low E.
    I put both 1/8" on center from the edge of the board; this puts the outside edge of the high E almost .020" further inboard than the low E.
    It's definitely noticeable.
     
    phaedrus likes this.
  7. Fenderbaum

    Fenderbaum Strat-Talker

    Messages:
    359
    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2020
    Location:
    Bergen, Norway
    Depends. If this is the nut that came from the Fender factory you are in a world of hurt.
    Partially because Fender glues it so hard on.. Not always but often.
    Apart from glue, Fender lacquers their neck with both frets (for maple necks) and nuts already installed, so the poly or nitro acts as a glue (or sealer) as well. You have to trace & cut the lacquer away around it before moving on.
    And whatever you do, most people sometimes use force knock the nut loose and if you go that route (nothing wrong with it) dont EVER tap the nut loose from the fretside and backwards towards the tuners, i will guarantee you the wood will fly. Always tap it loose sideways.
    Or you can:
    -Saw it in half. If you have a hacksaw you can actually saw the nut in half sideways. Protect the sides well.
    -Use a plier and lure it out by wiggle it. use a large one that grips well. Careful that you dont crush it. Nuts are both strong and fragile dependable what they are exposed to.
     
    phaedrus and Baelzebub like this.
  8. dirocyn

    dirocyn Senior Stratmaster

    Age:
    45
    Messages:
    4,334
    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2018
    Location:
    Murfreesboro, TN
    I'd score between nut and neck, first (to avoid chipping the finish) and tap it sideways to get it loose.

    I'd consider just scooting the whole thing over by .6mm to center ups the strings, and then sand the end of the nut off if it's proud at that point. Except that those nut slots are not well cut to begin with--they're very deep. Most likely someone adjusted action at the nut by filing the slots deeper, where the better practice is to sand the nut from the bottom. So with that in mind, I'd probably just replace the nut.

    Installing a prefab nut is not a big deal.
     
    phaedrus, The_Whale and Baelzebub like this.
  9. myredstrat

    myredstrat Senior Stratmaster

    Age:
    68
    Messages:
    2,337
    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2020
    Location:
    ontario canada
    This^
    If you look at the second picture posted, the D string looks almost in the center of the fretboard. Look at where it sits in relation to the plastic truss insert
     
    Baelzebub likes this.
  10. Baelzebub

    Baelzebub Most Honored Senior Member

    Messages:
    7,007
    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2019
    Location:
    State of Disbelief
    Definitely. But I haven't even owned any 3 bolts and I've adjusted several 4 bolts with no issues. I'm not sure it's "hardly ever done".
     
  11. eclecticsynergy

    eclecticsynergy Senior Stratmaster

    Messages:
    3,266
    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2014
    Location:
    NY
    I'll repeat something others have mentioned because it's important:

    Before trying to loosen the factory nut be sure to cut through the finish with an exacto knife or similar blade - front & back edges and both ends.
     
    phaedrus, Baelzebub and rolandson like this.
  12. Jimistone

    Jimistone Strat-Talker

    Messages:
    278
    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2012
    Location:
    Mississippi
    Yeah, wasn't insinuating that you were giving bad advice. I was just pointing out that he was going to need tools that he may not already have to install a new slotted nut and that it would be worth a try to try moving it a tad in the slot. You are right that moving the nut over will bring the 6th string closer to the neck edge. The 6th string is a little bit easier to manage on the other edge IMO.

    Bottomline is if the current nut isn't cut right the best solution is to put another one in and either buy some files or pay someone to file it.
    Decent files aren't cheap and cutting a new nut correctly is something a newbie may not get right on the first attempt.
    But, slotted nut blanks are not that expensive.
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2021
  13. nutball73

    nutball73 Senior Stratmaster

    Messages:
    2,860
    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2013
    Location:
    Southern UK
    Am I the only one that thinks the nut looks fine to me? Here's the nut on my 51 Tele, and it works just fine (I know it's a bit dirty, but...). Looks just like the OP's.

    If the strings don't lie along the neck, tweak the neck a bit. Don't go replacing perfectly serviceable nuts...

    20210122_111549.jpg
     
    Baelzebub likes this.
  14. Baelzebub

    Baelzebub Most Honored Senior Member

    Messages:
    7,007
    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2019
    Location:
    State of Disbelief

    I agree. At the very least that's the first thing you should try, as it's completely and easily reversible if it doesn't work.
     
    The_Whale likes this.
  15. dirocyn

    dirocyn Senior Stratmaster

    Age:
    45
    Messages:
    4,334
    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2018
    Location:
    Murfreesboro, TN
    It doesn't, though. OP's is less well centered, for one. For two, yours doesn't have the slots cut so deep that all the strings sit below the surface level of the nut. Yours looks good. OP's doesn't, those slots are too deep.

    [​IMG]
     
    Dave Harmon likes this.
  16. nutball73

    nutball73 Senior Stratmaster

    Messages:
    2,860
    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2013
    Location:
    Southern UK
    Ah but that's not the issue the OP was reporting - he was worried about string spacing, which was what I was commenting on.

    I agree the nut slots look deep, but if the depth is OK for height above the lower frets, the extra bits above the string don't matter too much.
     
    Dave Harmon and The_Whale like this.
  17. The_Whale

    The_Whale Strat-Talker Silver Member

    Age:
    52
    Messages:
    295
    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2020
    Location:
    Gaithersburg, MD
    I don't judge not slots by their appearance.

    If they work, they're good.
     
    rafasounds likes this.
  18. phaedrus

    phaedrus Strat-Talk Member

    Messages:
    32
    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2018
    Location:
    Austin
    First, thank you to everyone for contributing so much knowledge and tips.

    I'm not sure exactly when I'll tackle this project, as I have a few other buns in the oven.



    Let me try to respond to a few threads...


    Neck yaw:

    I would prefer to focus on the nut first versus tweaking the neck as the nut is objectively off-centered. I think of the nut as the foundation to the house, let me get that sorted out, then we'll move on to the other areas.

    All of my other guitars: Tele, Jazzmaster, 335, Archtop all have symmetrical 1st and 6th string slots.

    This one, the 1st string has always been the weak spot.


    Slots are too deep:

    Agreed. I think every guitar I have came this way.

    When I replace this one, I'll probably look to address that too.

    Two birds with one stone.


    Tools:

    Yes, I'll probably need to get some.

    I figure if I mess up the replacement nut, I can always take it to someone.

    I may as well try, maybe I'll learn something in the process...
     
  19. rafasounds

    rafasounds Senior Stratmaster

    Messages:
    4,362
    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2011
    Location:
    Brazil
    It's probably on the slightly dangerous side, but I don't think it's too bad.
     
  20. rolandson

    rolandson Most Honored Senior Member

    Messages:
    9,169
    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2015
    Location:
    Foothills of the Cascades
    Sorry to quote myself...edit not available.

    An update:
    Just to see, I installed the optional stainless zero fret to this ... ummm....thing (zero glide).

    My opinion: In a word, useless.
    For about 2/3 the price of a set of good nut files one can have a marginally acceptable nut.

    And the thing is, cutting a nut is not difficult.

    I put the old, slightly buzzing nut back in temporarily.