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Thread: How much can we lower the action on the first fret?

  1. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Camsuke View Post
    I would also recommend that we take a more cautious approach, it seems a little severe that we start knocking our nuts about filing the slots is a lot safer.
    Basically these jobs should be done on spare nuts which we can get very cheep in the Internet. And factory do not touch nut grooves either. They dig nut slots and put commercially available nuts in there. Their approach of the nut hight is managed on the nut slots on the head stock (not the each groove on the nuts) in general. Maybe Kamaka may filling nut grooves. Because Kamaka's nut groove s are very deep.

  2. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by buddhuu View Post
    Personally, I prefer to set nut action with nut files, one string at a time, rather than taking material from the bottom of the nut.
    Agreed. That's the way I've always done it too. A factory nut doesn't take into account the specific kind of strings you are using, so fine tuning can be needed on the slots to get the ideal setup. My reason has nothing to do with worrying about filing too deep though. I'd just get a new nut if that happened. I just simply think it's a better way and it seems most pros do it that way.

  3. #13
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    Hi, Thank you for reply, buddhuu!

    Quote Originally Posted by buddhuu View Post
    Personally, I prefer to set nut action with nut files, one string at a time, rather than taking material from the bottom of the nut. It gives more control and if you take off too much you've only screwed up one slot and can build it back up if you have to.
    When you lower the action, where do you shave on saddle and nut? Do you shave both top?


  4. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by zztush View Post
    Hi, Thank you for reply, buddhuu!

    When you lower the action, where do you shave on saddle and nut? Do you shave both top?

    Buddhuu doesn’t shave at the nut (correct me if I’m wrong). He uses nut files to adjust the slots.

  5. #15

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    Like Buddhu, I file each nut slot as needed per string, and do not sand the bottom of the nut.

    For saddles, I sand the bottom for height, and then file the string breakpoint on the top of the saddle for compensation as necessary.

    This has worked out well for me over the previous 35 yrs on guitar, and the past 4 yrs on ukulele.

    I have 2 ukes where I went too far on the nut slots on one string, and need to get some superglue so I can tape off the area, and fill the slot, and start over.

    Yes, I also have some spare Tusq nuts, but the other strings are intonating perfectly so I'd rather not redo the iterative and tedious process of doing ALL FOUR STRINGS, over again.

    I think that shaving your nuts will cause problems, especially if you are wearing shorts in the winter
    Guinea proverb: "A cow that has no tail should not try to chase away flies."

  6. #16
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    Aloha, Booli!

    I think most of the people (if they file the nuts) take your way. File the top of the nut and sand the bottom of the saddle. I used to took same style but sanding bottom of the nut is easier than filing top of the nut for me. And as it is easier, the result is better to me.

    Quote Originally Posted by Booli View Post
    I think that shaving your nuts will cause problems, especially if you are wearing shorts in the winter
    Good point. Ireland nuts are cattle bone. I need Tusq or ebony nuts.

  7. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by seeso View Post
    Buddhuu doesn’t shave at the nut (correct me if I’m wrong). He uses nut files to adjust the slots.
    Yup. What Seeso said. I file each slot until I have the action at the nut exactly as I want it. I use the capo at 3rd fret technique to check the action at the first fret and then adjust.

    I always work from unslotted bone blanks so I rarely, if ever, ever file or sand the bottom of the nut.

    I tend to have slightly different action on different strings. On a low G I keep the action just a tiny fraction higher than the other strings as I hit that hardest.

    I'm a believer in not having nut slots any deeper than they need to be, so after setting the action I file/sand off the surplus height around the slots until the tops of the strings peek over the tops of the slots.

    I also file the slots at a slight incline to avoid a sharp friction edge on the headstock side and to ensure a clean break where the string leaves the slot.

    Oh, and I put a tiny spot of CA glue on the face of the nut that butts up against the end of the fretboard. That's safe as the glue goes against end-grain so you get no tear-out if you want to tap it loose later. I do NOT put glue on the bottom of the nut as you risk pulling wood away when you next remove the nut.

    There. Now I have no nut-filing secrets left!
    Last edited by buddhuu; 01-02-2018 at 10:27 PM.
    And whether the blood be highland, lowland or no,
    And whether the skin be black or white as the snow,
    Of kith and of kin we are one, be it right, be it wrong,
    As long as our hearts beat true to the lilt of a song.

  8. #18
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    I'll just add that, for anyone who owns several uke/mandos/guitars, or who regularly experiments with different string gauges and set-ups, a good set of nut files is one of the best investments you can make. It still takes experience to do a good job but it's way easier with good files.
    And whether the blood be highland, lowland or no,
    And whether the skin be black or white as the snow,
    Of kith and of kin we are one, be it right, be it wrong,
    As long as our hearts beat true to the lilt of a song.

  9. #19
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    And one final, final tip!

    If you need to fill/build-up a slot that you've filed too deep, and if you're using bone, try using the bone dust from filings to mix with CA glue for your filler. I find it works better than baking soda (for me).

    I recommend using only dust from filing, not from sanding as that may have bits of abrasive grit from the paper in the dust.
    And whether the blood be highland, lowland or no,
    And whether the skin be black or white as the snow,
    Of kith and of kin we are one, be it right, be it wrong,
    As long as our hearts beat true to the lilt of a song.

  10. #20
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    My way of lower the action is very easy.

    A is the original nut on my guitalele, and B is the new one. I've just shaped the groove for 6th string (red cirlcle). It was bit narrow and shape was triangle (see B) and the 6th string did not reach to the bottom of the groove. I just shaped it. We don't need special file for this. I have several files but we can do it with folded sandpaper. And Just shave the bottom.



    Hi, Booli! I've just get these nuts from Ireland this morning. Thank you for your help of world wide search.
    Hi, Rakelele! If you need nuts for your Ibanez piccolo guitar, ask me or Booli where you can get it. These nuts are 42mm and hard to find but they fit perfect, and now it is almost original action, I test it for a while and decide how much I lower the action, then just shave the bottom. I don't have intonation problem on this guitalele but l know you have intonation problem. Lowering action may solve your intonation problem.
    Last edited by zztush; 01-03-2018 at 10:00 PM.

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