Should all 4 strings have the same height (action) at the nut?

cyber3d

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Hi all,

I searched the forum threads and could not find an answer. My wound metal lowG string has a much higher action at the nut than the rest. Shouldn't they all have the same action at the nut? Or is this something common for wound metal low G strings?
 

anthonyg

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Hi all,

I searched the forum threads and could not find an answer. My wound metal lowG string has a much higher action at the nut than the rest. Shouldn't they all have the same action at the nut? Or is this something common for wound metal low G strings?

If string height at the nut was set perfectly by a skilled luthier, the low strings would be a fraction high than the high strings but not so much that it would be easily noticeable.
 

cyber3d

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So, C,E, and A are exactly .020" at the first fret. Yet the G is .032" Duh' moment. I just checked the other Tenor ukes I have (which all have metal wound G-strings, BTW) and they all have the same action for all strings. Wow. I'm Fn' disappointed in the setup of my Custom Espaniola Signature uke from Kanile'a. Not only is the height not the same as the other strings but, look at the angle cut for the E string. It's not straight!

I love my uke. Make no mistake. But, at $4k, you would think they would have taken greater care in the setup.

20210603_230617.jpg
 

cyber3d

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What is the height over the first when fretted at the 3rd?

.013" for the G-string metal wound
.007" for C, E, and A fluorocarbons

BTW, G dia .030", C dia .032", E dia .025", A dia .019"

The pic below shows just how much the action is off between the strings.

I think I'll do the nut for the G myself.

I mean, how hard can it be . . . . . ., right? famous last words. . . . LOL

20210605_120838.jpg
 
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VegasGeorge

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If I understand you correctly, your wound string is too high over the 1st fret. The slot in the nut is probably to narrow. You just need to widen the slot for the larger diameter wound string. Be careful not to make it any deeper. If you don't have a file, and have some extra wound string that you could snip off, you can actually use the string as a file, and widen the slot by running the piece of wound string back and forth thru the slot. I've done that, and it works fine. Once the slot is widened, the string will sit down to the bottom of the slot, and the problem will be solved.
 
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anthonyg

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Meh, deepening a nut slot is straight forwards enough, if you have the right tools, which is a correctly sized nut file. Without the right tools there is a HIGH chance of botching the job and making things worse. I own a set of nut files but this won't help you.
Maybe some fine sandpaper wrapped over a credit card will do the job if its not actually too wide for the slot. You really don't want to be using a tool with a sharp edge as this will cause the string to stick in the slot which causes all kinds of tuning issues.
 

cyber3d

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Meh, deepening a nut slot is straight forwards enough, if you have the right tools, which is a correctly sized nut file. Without the right tools there is a HIGH chance of botching the job and making things worse. I own a set of nut files but this won't help you.
Maybe some fine sandpaper wrapped over a credit card will do the job if its not actually too wide for the slot. You really don't want to be using a tool with a sharp edge as this will cause the string to stick in the slot which causes all kinds of tuning issues.

I ordered a set of nut files. I should file with the same size designation as the string itself, right? So, use a .030 file for a .030 string, right?
 
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Kekani

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I ordered a set of nut files. I should file with the same size designation as the string itself, right? So, use a .030 file for a .030 string, right?
Yes. Still gotta ask - are the measurements given above the first fret, when fretting the third? Just checking because how do you know if the slots on the first 3 strings aren’t too low? The other reason I mention this is because the first 3 strings are sitting really low in the slots. Just observations based on the pics.
 

cyber3d

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Kekani,

Quote Originally Posted by Kekani View Post
What is the height over the first when fretted at the 3rd?

.013" for the G-string metal wound
.007" for C, E, and A fluorocarbons
 
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cyber3d

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anthonyg

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I ordered a set of nut files. I should file with the same size designation as the string itself, right? So, use a .030 file for a .030 string, right?

Nominally yes, this is correct. I will still slide the string that isn't under tension through the slot a few times just to make sure that it isn't binding in the slot to be sure. A nut slot that's just a tiny bit wider than the string won't cause any problems yet a slot that's a tiny bit smaller will still accept the string but grab the string rather than letting it slide freely.
After using a nut file I will run some fine sandpaper through the slot to polish it. Folding some fine sandpaper (usually wet & dry) over a smaller nut file works for me.
 

cyber3d

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Nominally yes, this is correct. I will still slide the string that isn't under tension through the slot a few times just to make sure that it isn't binding in the slot to be sure. A nut slot that's just a tiny bit wider than the string won't cause any problems yet a slot that's a tiny bit smaller will still accept the string but grab the string rather than letting it slide freely.
After using a nut file I will run some fine sandpaper through the slot to polish it. Folding some fine sandpaper (usually wet & dry) over a smaller nut file works for me.

Thanks for the advice!
 

besley

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If string height at the nut was set perfectly by a skilled luthier, the low strings would be a fraction high than the high strings but not so much that it would be easily noticeable.


+1

I've not seen exact numbers for ukes, but for guitars, Dan Erlewine suggests that a Martin acoustic guitar would have a first fret action of 0.024" low E, and 0.016" high E.
 

cyber3d

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Ok, so I lowered the nut slot for my G-String to .023" at the first fret (that's down from .032"). And what a difference in playability! I can now barre the first fret with ease. And I checked for buzz throughout the fretboard. I am very happy now. And intonation is still excellent from the 1st fret all the way to the 18th fret.

I really like the nut files I got. They are from Music Nomad. Diamond Coated Nut Files. Relatively inexpensive. A joy to use. You have solid control of the file edge.
20210608_211644-(1).jpg