View Full Version : what is the right tool for cutting string slots?

02-26-2011, 12:44 PM
Hello! Everyone,
I am preparing to cut the string slots on the bridge. I am wondering what is the best tool to do this job.
I am thinking about using the gauged saw from stew mac.

Is that the right tool to use? what are the tools you use?

I am also wondering whether it is necessary to match the string gauge too?

Thank you so much for your input.

02-26-2011, 01:23 PM
Nut files are what you are looking for, now they are expenesive
But notice that the gauge is the same as strings that you see. That is what I use when I make a banjo bridge and when I have to adjust my nuts (Insert laugh here)

Steve vanPelt
02-26-2011, 01:53 PM
I use the gauged saws from StewMac, .020 and .025, I think. Using the tiny miter box from exacto. Then finish up with nut files. There are more string gauges than nut file gauges so if the gauge doesn't match up I use the next smallest and work it around a bit until it's the size I'm looking for.

02-26-2011, 02:42 PM
No slots on bridge for me, only in nut...

Liam Ryan
02-26-2011, 04:37 PM
There are more string gauges than nut file gauges so if the gauge doesn't match up I use the next smallest and work it around a bit until it's the size I'm looking for.

If you can't find the right size nut file use the next size up, not the next size down. Next size down will make the slot too small and it will pinch. That said, I don't slot my saddles either, only the nut.

02-26-2011, 05:33 PM
Welding torch cleaners


They have a ton of different diameters on one set. These are good for maybe 5 ukes, then the wires are so bent it's too much of a pain to use. If you're building one or two they work great.

02-26-2011, 06:06 PM
I was going to answer this question differently, and my first answer was going to be drill bits.

That being said, I don't think too many builders slot their bridges as much as they drill them out for the strings. I know a couple of factories that use string slots on their Standards, in which case its usually a powered blade of some sort - I think Paul uses gauged mini blades on his custom "table saw" and cuts all 4 slots at once, but most, if not all of the Tenors use tie bridges, or bridge pins.

I'd probably use the SM saws IF I slotted bridges. Then again, I'd save my money and use my drill - redesign the bridge, especially since its already done.


02-26-2011, 07:11 PM
if you use nut files, isn't it too heavy for the files?

02-27-2011, 09:20 AM
Nut files are for nuts. You don't need them anywhere near the bridge.

Steve vanPelt
02-27-2011, 03:36 PM
I owe an apology to the OP, I saw string slots, tools, nut files and assumed he meant slots in the nut. This afternoon it struck me that he meant slots in a bridge like this..


Someone on this forum once did a tutorial on making these, but I can't seem to find it now. I made a couple of these bridges and just used a japanese pull saw for the slots. The first one I made too thin and it broke off, now that one has a string through bridge.

02-27-2011, 03:49 PM
thank you for the clearification.

ya, I want to make a bridge like the ones in the picture.
I have a Japanese pull saw, but I think it generates a pretty wide cut.
Which saw did you use?

Thank you

Steve vanPelt
02-27-2011, 03:54 PM
Just a thin kerf dozuki. BTW, I borrowed that pic from Ken (Timbuck).

02-27-2011, 09:11 PM
Any sort of fine saw would do. I've got a Dozuki that would do the trick. There are also Exacto razor saws. A fretting saw would work nicely as well.

02-28-2011, 06:27 AM
thank you all for your input...