View Full Version : Back in video production - cutting a nut!

Pete Howlett
05-25-2011, 02:16 AM
After a long period without a decent camera I am now able to shoot good quality video so here is the first:


05-25-2011, 02:57 AM
Nice video! Thanks for sharing this. Nice mirror finish on that ukulele

Pukulele Pete
05-25-2011, 03:03 AM
I always enjoy your videos. I have made one nut so far and it works fine. I wish I had known that the slots should follow the string line to the tuner , it makes sense . Why didn't I think of that. I guess I will just have to make a new one. I made the first one of buffalo horn , I have a nice piece of corian for the new one. Thanks again for the great videos.

05-25-2011, 04:33 AM
That's a nice, concise and precise video! Thank you. I "overshot" the depth on the OEM nut on my 'uke, and made a new one from an encarta blank, thanks to info from one of your earlier videos. I knew which files to get, and which angle to use for the cuts as well. Thanks, again.

One thing I enjoy is that I altered the string spacing, bringing the A & G further inboard. It's a custom modification and works very well for me. Your effort and experience are greatly appreciated, Mr. Howlett!


Pete Howlett
05-25-2011, 05:32 AM
Learning to do these essential and not so simple tasks can improve the quality of any ukulele - I do it for member of our local ukulele club and it is surprising what a properly cut nut and adjusted saddle height with a set of Aquila Nylguts can do :)

05-25-2011, 05:53 AM
Excellent Tutorial.

I 'd love to see one on making a compensated bridge saddle.

Pete Howlett
05-25-2011, 06:39 AM
Next week markophonic - I have some tenors to fit and fettle :)

mm stan
05-25-2011, 07:44 AM
Aloha Pete,
As Always, appriicate you sharing your wisdom and knowledge with us...Many thanks and take care...many blessings...MM Stan

05-25-2011, 07:57 AM
Aloha Pete,
Great video. Thank you so much.
I just want to let you know that your video really help me learn a lot in building.
For each step/process, I usually watch your video many many many times before I actually start it.


Ken W
05-25-2011, 08:00 AM
Thanks, Pete. Great job, as always. Your expertise is appreciated, as is the stellar quality of both the audio and video production. I appreciate you sharing your gifts of knowledge and experience with those of us who are still learning.

05-25-2011, 09:08 AM
I have a question. When do you use the .042 file? The .024 seems to suffice for my soprano nut.

A comment as well. For black nut blanks, the half-pencil isn't so useful. I used an automotive feeler gauge blade that was a bit thicker than the fret height. Lay the gauge blade across the fretboard, against the nut, as a guide.


Pete Howlett
05-25-2011, 10:31 AM
That feeler guage trick is used in many factory settings - it's a good one if you like taking the edge off your files.

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
05-25-2011, 11:18 AM
Another good video Pete. Not surprisingly, we do things a bit different but it all works. I do find it funny that you used inches in your measurements. Setting up the string spacing is about the only time I use the metric system! One tip I will offer is, personally I set the A string a but further in than the G. If the G is set at 1/8", then I'll slot the A at about 9/64". It helps to eliminate that "gutter ball" action further down the neck.

Pete Howlett
05-25-2011, 11:38 AM
Valued observations Chuck - just trying to make it simple for the masses. Personally I rarely measure since I was gifted the best gizmo on the planet from Timbuck...

05-25-2011, 12:51 PM
I'm impressed that you file the slots with the nut on the instrument. Whenever I've tried that, I invariably end up nicking the finish on the headstock with the end of the file. Your ability to control the file must be one of the marks of a true master!

Pete Howlett
05-25-2011, 06:34 PM
The last numbered instrument was 514. Not counting repairs, I've had a lot of practice. In the early days I taped the area behind the nut :)

05-26-2011, 06:04 AM
Yes, thank you Pete! Great video. I also did not realize (hello!) that the nut slots should be cut at the angle to the tuners. Something so simple...Again, thank you for all your help.

Uncle Leroy
05-26-2011, 11:41 AM
Great video! I have been doing small things to guitars and recently ukes for years. Videos like these are great to learn from. Thanks again.

05-27-2011, 02:53 AM
Thanks so much for sharing this video - just wish it was about 2-weeks earlier(!) before I screwed up the nut on my new Kala "Might Uke". Got a replacement nut now, so will use your video to help me get it right this time!

A couple of questions?? I guess the "half-pencil" is used to approximate the lowest edge of the nut slot? That makes so much sense! W/the strings already on a nut you wish to setup, what would be the equivalent method? I bought one of Stewmac's "String Action Gauge" & like any other tool, unless you know how to use it, its just another piece of metal!

The other question I have is regarding the way you line up the string slot to the angle of the tuner... I guess that what you do here is slant the angle of the slot towards the tuner itself instead of perpendicular to the nut itself? Again, it just makes sense, but for some reason, that doesn't appear to be the way its been illustrated in other videos I've watched.

Thanks again for sharing your expertise w/us. There is a whole crop of us do-it-yourselfers who are hankering to do our own setup & fix a bad setup & of course, also build uke #1!

Pete Howlett
05-27-2011, 03:09 AM
Strings on you just eyeball it - I'm afraid it's a mojo thing. Strings should follow from the slot in the nut to a tangent on the tuner string post.

05-27-2011, 03:18 AM
Strings on you just eyeball it - I'm afraid it's a mojo thing. Strings should follow from the slot in the nut to a tangent on the tuner string post.

Looks like its time I buy an "Optivisor"! My old eyes just can't see as well as they used to! But, again, I now have something to go by instead of the many descriptions I've read here & elsewhere.