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Thread: Deepeneing vs shaving entire nut

  1. #1

    Default Deepeneing vs shaving entire nut

    If I want to bring down the action on all strings (6 in this case) at the nut, is it better to deepen the slots individually, or shave the entire nut down? All things being equal, seem shaving would be a quicker (even better) way.
    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2019
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    Default

    Shaving the bottom is easier.


  3. #3
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    Jan 2009
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    West Midlands GB
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    Default

    I prefer to shave the bottom.

    John Colter

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
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    Toronto, Ontario
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    Default

    If you shave the bottom, this doesn’t necessarily mean that the slots are the right height for the individual strings. I find it easier to fine tune the individual slots rather than the bottom.

  5. #5

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Alytw View Post
    If you shave the bottom, this doesn’t necessarily mean that the slots are the right height for the individual strings. I find it easier to fine tune the individual slots rather than the bottom.
    Would it make sense to measure the heights at the nut first? If all are the same but high, take it off the bottom of the nut. If uneven, file the slots to where they should be.

  6. #6
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    Jan 2016
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    Toronto, Ontario
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    Default

    I'm not sure the benefit unless the nut is really really high. If you file the nut slots you can adjust each string to the correct height even if they differ from each other.

  7. #7

    Default

    Shaving the bottom is way easier if all the strings are the proper height in relation to each-other....Tuning the slots works well when there are individual string height issues....but to tune the slots you need some sort of nut slotting files which are not cheap. There are folks who have used tip cleaners and such and one can make it work...but the real thing makes a big difference in keeping everything in proper alignment, especially if you are a beginner.

    If you are unsure of what you are doing and concerned you might mess it up, you could order a nut blank (or two as they are cheap) make it like the one you are fine tuning and then adjust as you see fit....This way you can always just pop the original back in if you should mess up..... Otherwise just give it a go and hope for the best...

    Either way you do it just take your time and be patient....make a little change and string it back up....repeat until you like it....Where most folks mess up is they try to "save time" by getting the job done in one shot and go too far (by removing too much) just because they do not want to keep slacking and tuning....you really only have to slacken the strings enough to get them spread out of the way (without much tension preferably) so I take my string winder and go about say 20 turns (if you count your turns whilst slacking you can get close to pitch when re-tuning just by counting, then fine tune without being too far off)...You do want to check your string height(s) with the strings up to pitch by the way...

    So in a quick step by step..... slacken, remove nut, sand on flat surface ....**make sure you are sanding evenly so that you are not taking more off one end than the other...two ways to accomplish this are to use a guide of some sort or use little pressure and rotate your nut every so many strokes, as we tend sand with uneven pressure...Also I would suggest something like 180-220 grit as you do not want to go too fast**....place back in position, re-tune, check height and repeat until you like it...Then put one small dot of medium viscosity super glue in the middle of nut on the side face that mates with the fingerboards end grain and hold in place until it sets....if you put (or get) the glue on the bottom of the nut it is likely to take wood with it when you want to remove it again in the future!

    However, with all that said the other option is to take it to a luthier / repair tech and have the job done....

    Hope this helps!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2017
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    Default

    Assuming one has the proper files; filing each nut slot seems best to me.
    Shaving the nut is not without its own problems. Removing the nut can be dicey... you can damage the headstock overlay. Also, it’s not as easy as it might seem to keep the bottom of the nut flush and square and it is important that you do so.
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  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2019
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    264

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    Shaving the bottom of the nut assumes that you can shave evenly along the length of the nut and whilst doing the shaving that you maintain the correct geometry (base and side remains square, and you do not taper the nut).

    Easier to file the individual slots.

    Where is the action high?
    Col.
    From the UK with a bad case of MIAS.
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  10. #10

    Default

    Thanks to everyone who has contributed so far. I knew this is going to be one of those “strap or no strap“ threads, but I wanted to get several opinions.
    I have sanded the bottom of the nut on some, and deepened the grove on others. Proper files are certainly the best way to go, but I have used everything from welding tip cleaners to folded sandpaper and that has worked as well. As far as popping off the nut, because different manufacturers attach theirs with varying adhesives, you always run the risk of taking wood off. I have!
    The final solution of just taking it to a luthier is certainly the easiest way out. The latest quote I have from my local here in Orlando is $30 and up. Certainly reasonable, but it doesn’t give one the experience of working with their own instrument.
    If it were just one of my four strings, I wouldn’t give it a second thought and do it myself, carefully removing the nut and shaving off the bottom. But this has turned out to be my favorite six string, and the guys at my local shop have been doing this for decades. I’m thinking money well spent.

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