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Thread: Filing Nut for Low G Tuning

  1. #1

    Default Filing Nut for Low G Tuning

    I have a high G concert I want tune to low G. Is there a standard size I need to file the nut to, to accommodate the low G string?
    Also, do I have to use a nut file or can I get away with a triangular needle file?

    Thanks,
    Matt

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by ash13brook View Post
    I have a high G concert I want tune to low G. Is there a standard size I need to file the nut to, to accommodate the low G string?
    Also, do I have to use a nut file or can I get away with a triangular needle file?

    Thanks,
    Matt
    Technically, the size you need is just a little larger than the diameter of the string you're fitting ... not helpful, maybe, but accurate!

    What you do NOT want to use is a triangular file. The narrow bottom of the groove you'll cut is perfect for causing the string to jam (and probably snap) under tension. Ideally you want a circular "rat's tail" file of a diameter appropriate to the string you're fitting.

    Having said all that, I'd probably use a hacksaw blade, VERY SLOWLY AND CAREFULLY, just as I usually do, but I'd not recommend that to anyone who wasn't totally familiar with using a hacksaw on hard plastic material (eg. ukulele nut).

    What ever you do use, mask off the whole area with card and tape so there's absolutely no chance of damage when the tool slips, as it almost certainly will!

    Unless you cut into the wood you'll not do any damage that can't be easily recovered, so don't be put off, but do work very slowly!

    Good luck
    There are those who will wax lyrical about the ability to play a double shuffle with a split fan and a tight G-string ...
    it just makes me walk funny!

  3. #3

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    I didn't even think about that. I have the perfect blade for that. Is there any fine sanding needed? Or some graphite maybe?

    Matt

  4. #4

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    I've just ordered some low G strings, and it looks to me like if you go with a wound G, the diameter may be close enough to nylon/fluorocarbon that you won't need to modify the nut. That's what I'm hoping, anyway.
    Last edited by jackj; 08-24-2017 at 08:33 AM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
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    Why not try install the string into the existing slot and see what happens? I have Kala Tenor and have installed wound and non wound low G strings without modifying the nut. I have not perceived any problems. It it does not work, then you can risk filing the nut.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by ash13brook View Post
    I didn't even think about that. I have the perfect blade for that. Is there any fine sanding needed? Or some graphite maybe?

    Matt
    Fine sanding shouldn't be necessary if you cut slowly and lightly, it'll only take a couple of light "wipes" with the blade to enlarge the existing slot ... graphite will never go amiss, even if it's not actually needed.

    If you do want to try installing the new string "to see how it goes" without any cutting, go slowly. If the string gets jammed in the slot that's potentially an immediate weak point that you may have to deal with later on.

    I agree, wound low-G's can be thinner and may be less of an issue. Still does no harm to check that the string lies sweetly IN the slot before you start to tighten it, use a magnifier if necessary to ensure the string actually gets to the bottom of the slot without jamming.

    There are those who will wax lyrical about the ability to play a double shuffle with a split fan and a tight G-string ...
    it just makes me walk funny!

  7. #7
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    I've been using welding rod tip cleaners as round files for nut filing for a long time. You can get them in any decent hardware store for somewhere around US$ 5 for a complete set (approx 20 in various diameters). They are usually in a blue metal case.

    Ditto on the "don't use triangular files" comment. Nylon strings get pinched in the angle and often snap when tensioned..
    ...SteveZ

    Ukuleles: Martin T1K (T), Oscar Schmidt OU28T (T8), Lanikai LU-6 (T6), RISA Solid (C), Effin UkeStart (C)
    Banjo-Ukes: Duke 10 (T), Lanikai LB6-S (S)
    Tenor Guitars: Martin TEN515, Blueridge BR-40T
    Tenor Banjo: Deering Goodtime 17-Fret
    Mandolin: Burgess (#7)

    The inventory is always in some flux, but that's part of the fun.

  8. #8
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    I'd get the appropriate size nut slot file from Stewmac or some other supplier for the size of the string you intend to use. These files cut a round bottom slot for optimal sound transfer.Go slowly, checking often.
    Having said that, I'd first try the lo G without filing. That way, if you don't like it, there's no problem switching back

  9. #9

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    I guess I didn't consider trying the string first, either. For sure I'm not using a wound string just 'cuz. It's a $50 Kmise uke, so there's no reason not to think the nut that came with it might be sloppy enough to need no widening.
    I looked at a set of nut files, but I have tools for too many different things as it is - two roller boxes each with two top boxes. As soon as I bought nut files, I need a dedicated drawer, which would be nearly empty with only nut files in it, which of course would lead to more tools...and then, well, you get it.
    Thanks for the help so far.

    Matt

  10. #10
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    Fremont soloist squeekless low g, likely won't have to file.

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