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Worth learning to make nuts?

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  • #16
    Reminds me. Our piano needs tuning. Every guy I’ve seen work on one has done so by ear and worked from middle C out. They’d make sure middle C was pitch then take the rest from there.

    On the subject of making nuts, yes it is worth it. I bought slot files, slot saw and a spacing ruler to help with it. Time and patience. I made the nut that’s on my SG Jr and I felt it was fine for a while and then realized the slots were high so I compared to one of my other guitars and adjusted the SG Jr accordingly. Plays like a dream. Still need to work on my overall shaping but it’s better than it was.
    Last edited by ErikH; 01-02-2021, 10:11 AM.

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    • #17
      Exactly, Erik. If the strings are too high in the nut - not only will it be difficult to play, but it won't play in tune if the action is high at the nut. You are literally sharping the string at both ends. So lowest possible action at the nut for tuning stability, and then set action at the bridge for your comfort level when playing.

      And I should mention - an ugly nut will still work. Mine from the early days worked well.... but they looked like **** compared to what I do with them now.

      My biggest teaching experiences were working on the guitars of really top notch players. They have the sensitivity and experience to know what works for them - and I didn't get defensive or scared - I actively tried to remain open to learning. I'm so grateful for the patience of my clients in the early years. Even 40 plus years later - they are still with me, and I am among their biggest fans. They provided me a good living, while they went out and fed their families.

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      • #18
        If you can get a pre made nut that truly works for your guitar then I would go that route if you want to not invest in the right tools and take the time to learn. It doesn't happen over night. That being said, it is virtually impossible for a pre fab nut to not need some work to be right. They make some wonderful tools and jigs, etc to aid you in making nuts and they are well worth the money in my experience. Work slow, and with the right tools and good things can happen. It may take blowing through a few blanks to get it right but definitely not impossible. A proper nut does solve a lot of problems and does make a guitar play wonderfully.
        The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side.

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        • #19
          I’ve made a few bone nuts, then I discovered GraphTec Tusq blanks. If there’s a GraphTec available, I’ll always use that instead.
          "Patience is key. Hard work is obligatory. And itís the decisions you make right now, not the habits of the past, that will shape your success in the future." - Janek Gwizdala

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          • #20
            The thing I hate about working with bone is the smell. Ick.
            I've done it with TUSQ, but it has been awhile since I needed to make anything from scratch. The next project ill have an LSR.
            Dave, Ambassador/Writer/Artist for Seymour Duncan

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            • #21
              In my opinion, the traditional nut is unnecessarily complex. Let's break it down, a few things needs to be achieved in the general area where the nut sits:

              Firstly, something is needed to create a quite small 'break point' or 'zero point' for the string (just like the saddle at the bridge) and do so in a way that creates enough downward angle for the string on its path to the tuner so the string doesn't sound dull, as well as keep the string slightly above the first fret to keep it from buzzing.

              Secondly the two E strings and maybe even the A and B can't be allowed to slip over the edge of the fretboard, and frankly, no string should slip over its neighbouring string when being bent. So they need to be kept relatively in their place at the 'zero point' to prevent this.

              The traditional nut needs to do all of this. Thus the need for specific materials, well made slots, with the correct filed angle, width and spacing is necessary in order to achieve all of this.

              A more rational solution is a zero fret. The Zero Glide is a much better option in my opinion. Not only does it create a small 'zero point' for the strings AND keeps any strings from slipping over the edge of the fretboard or even potentially over each other, the open notes now sound the same as fretted notes since the zero fret is made from the same material as the rest of the frets.

              The slots on the actual nut behind the zero fret only has to accomplish one job - keep any strings from slipping over the edge of the fretboard when being bent. The strings don't have to rest in these slots so the slot depth doesn't need to be perfect and the same can be said about the width of the slots as well. Also, the material of the nut is now irrelevant since it doesn't play a part in creating the tone of an open note. As long as the nut keeps the strings from slipping too much from side to side.

              And as a bonus, if all of this wasn't enough - one of the best things with a Zero Glide - should you want to change your string gauge you don't have to change the nut.

              The zero fret is a much more rational solution in my opinion. It takes a lot of complicated work out of the equation and solves a bucket load of potential problems by completely circumventing them.

              Now, like someone else stated earlier in this thread - learning a new skill is never a bad idea, but if that skill isn't neccessary, perhaps it would be time better spent learning something else? But that's up to you. Ultimately not everyone want a zero fret on their guitar. Perhaps they don't like how it looks, how it sounds or something else. For me it was the best solution and I have equipped all my guitars, electrical as accoustic with Zero Glides and will probably do so on all future ones.
              Last edited by DarthTangYang; 01-08-2021, 03:39 PM.

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              • #22
                I am a big fan of the zero fret, for many reasons. I am surprised it isn't more popular than it is.
                Dave, Ambassador/Writer/Artist for Seymour Duncan

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                • #23
                  At least learning to file/adjust existing ones. Not sure about making from a blank...but as said, isn't difficult, just takes time. Perhaps lots of time.
                  Originally posted by Bad City
                  He's got the crowd on his side and the blue jean lights in his eyes...

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                  • #24
                    Originally posted by Clint 55 View Post

                    I'm happy for you that you're skilled enough to do that, but that's simply not an accurate statement. Tuning pianos is extremely hard. There are like 200 strings and to get them all right down to the cent so the instrument sounds mint to play requires enormous dedication and skill. Think of how many people will be able to tune their guitar by ear and then have every string be 100% correct when checked with a tuner, then magnify that job by 100. Adjusting your set up is not hard at all. Tuning pianos is somewhere between quite challenging but plenty do-able for a seasoned pro to impossible.
                    ok, try to setup an Ibenez 7-string with edge zero ii

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                    • #25
                      Originally posted by DarthTangYang View Post
                      In my opinion, the traditional nut is unnecessarily complex. Let's break it down, a few things needs to be achieved in the general area where the nut sits:

                      Firstly, something is needed to create a quite small 'break point' or 'zero point' for the string (just like the saddle at the bridge) and do so in a way that creates enough downward angle for the string on its path to the tuner so the string doesn't sound dull, as well as keep the string slightly above the first fret to keep it from buzzing.

                      Secondly the two E strings and maybe even the A and B can't be allowed to slip over the edge of the fretboard, and frankly, no string should slip over its neighbouring string when being bent. So they need to be kept relatively in their place at the 'zero point' to prevent this.

                      The traditional nut needs to do all of this. Thus the need for specific materials, well made slots, with the correct filed angle, width and spacing is necessary in order to achieve all of this.

                      A more rational solution is a zero fret. The Zero Glide is a much better option in my opinion. Not only does it create a small 'zero point' for the strings AND keeps any strings from slipping over the edge of the fretboard or even potentially over each other, the open notes now sound the same as fretted notes since the zero fret is made from the same material as the rest of the frets.

                      The slots on the actual nut behind the zero fret only has to accomplish one job - keep any strings from slipping over the edge of the fretboard when being bent. The strings don't have to rest in these slots so the slot depth doesn't need to be perfect and the same can be said about the width of the slots as well. Also, the material of the nut is now irrelevant since it doesn't play a part in creating the tone of an open note. As long as the nut keeps the strings from slipping too much from side to side.

                      And as a bonus, if all of this wasn't enough - one of the best things with a Zero Glide - should you want to change your string gauge you don't have to change the nut.

                      The zero fret is a much more rational solution in my opinion. It takes a lot of complicated work out of the equation and solves a bucket load of potential problems by completely circumventing them.

                      Now, like someone else stated earlier in this thread - learning a new skill is never a bad idea, but if that skill isn't neccessary, perhaps it would be time better spent learning something else? But that's up to you. Ultimately not everyone want a zero fret on their guitar. Perhaps they don't like how it looks, how it sounds or something else. For me it was the best solution and I have equipped all my guitars, electrical as accoustic with Zero Glides and will probably do so on all future ones.
                      You've installed them yourself? Do you have any recommended resources for approaching this that you wouldn't mind sharing?
                      Originally posted by crusty philtrum
                      Anyone who *sings* at me through their teeth deserves to have a bus drive through their face
                      http://www.youtube.com/alexiansounds

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                      • #26
                        Originally posted by alex1fly View Post

                        You've installed them yourself? Do you have any recommended resources for approaching this that you wouldn't mind sharing?
                        Yes, I simply followed Gold Tone's instructional video. They have more videos on their website and YouTube is full of instructional videos that show you how to do it. It's prettys straightforward to be honest. If you want more videos just type in "zero glide install" on YouTube and you'll find lots of videos. I believe StewMac has one too if I'm not mistaken.

                        But the first thing you need to do is to download and print out their "Sizing Guide" which will help you determine which model you need for your specific guitar. You will find the download on their website (link above).

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