Re: Slotting a Guitar Nut
- From: JimLowther <JimLowther@xxxxxxx>
- Date: Mon, 7 Nov 2011 11:41:08 -0800 (PST)
On Nov 7, 10:45 am, "Kevin Hall" <timberl...@xxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
"JimLowther" <JimLowt...@xxxxxxx> wrote in message
Just curious--when you all slot a nut, do you use a different size
slot for each string, and if you do, are you actually slotting a
guitar for a given set of strings, or do you slot (for example) so
that the nut would be able to accommodate light, medium, and heavy
sets as the player wishes? What I mean to ask is are you making a
more or less "one size fits all" nut?
Dr. Jim Lowther
Nuts on production instruments are usually slotted to accomodate mediums.
Hand builders will slot to suit the strings the client wishes to use. Nut
files are made in a wide range of sizes with rounded cutting edges and
'safe' sides. When you get a new set it is wise to check the actual width
of cut, regardless of what the manufacturer claims they may be. I've
found several over the years which cut several thou. narrower than the maker
indicated. That leads to pinched strings and spotty tuning.
Classical builders clung to three-cornered Swiss files for nut slotting for
decades, and some hard core traditionalists still do. I'd bet the farm
that this is one of those things handed down from one generation of luthiers
to the next gen. of apprentices as gospel without any actual evidence of
material benefit. Most of the old Spanish builders were poor, very
practical folk who used what tools they had and got surprisingly good
results from those. If a tri-cornered file was the best they had, they'd
cut nut slots with that. Give the same guy access to a good set of modern
nut files and he'd almost certainly switch in a heartbeat.
Using a vee shaped slot on a rubber-strung guitar is daft, as the soft
strings wedge themselves into the slot not only making tuning tougher but
actually wearing the strings at that point. Fans of Ramirez staunchly
defended the practice for decades in spite of the obvious.
I can kind of relate to the issue of using "the best they had." I
have an excellent set of metal working files left over from my forary
into silversmithing, including three-cornered files, but nothing
really of the shape ofproper nut files.
I would expect that the factory builders really have to have an all
inclusive approach to nut slots. I am guessing this is one of the
areas in which the guitar player benefits from a custom builder in
producing a guitar more focused on the player's need/desire.
Thanks to all for your response, BTW. I was beginning to think this
group had finally kicked the bucket.
Dr. Jim Lowther
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