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Thread: Strings sticking to rosewood nut - what can I use?

  1. #1
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    Default Strings sticking to rosewood nut - what can I use?

    I just got in a new instrument and I want to work out a couple of kinks before I show it to you. For now, let me just say that it has some wound strings and some unwound strings. More later, I promise.

    One issue is that the strings are really sticking badly trying to tune, moreso on the wound strings but even on the unwounds to a lesser degree. The nut is rosewood (as is the fretboard). What can I use to slick things up that won't damage the rosewood nut and fretboard?
    Last edited by Jim Hanks; 09-29-2019 at 09:12 AM.
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  2. #2
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    No 2 pencil lead has graphite, cheap, easy, non destructive.
    Playing my Magic Fluke and grinning like a fool!

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by maki66 View Post
    No 2 pencil lead has graphite, cheap, easy, non destructive.
    ^ This. I've done that for any stringed instrument no matter the nut material for years.

    Before that, you could get a super fine grit piece of sandpaper and fold it over and gently run it through the slots to smooth things down.
    Wear a mask and gloves. I wouldn't guess this little dust could be too harmful, but some people have a rosewood allergy that can cause serious issues. So I wouldn't feel right not mentioning that.

  4. #4
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    Make sure the string slot is large enough for the string diameter. The double-edged nut files from StewMac work well (.032/.026 and .012/.020).
    -Hodge
    Humble strummer of fine ukes.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doc_J View Post
    Make sure the string slot is large enough for the string diameter. The double-edged nut files from StewMac work well (.032/.026 and .012/.020).
    It's a new instrument and these are the stock strings, so the slots are wide enough. Just sticking like crazy. It almost like trying to tune with friction tuners.
    Ukulele:
    Iriguchi Tenor "Weeble" - A, WoU Clarity
    Blue Star 19" baritone Konablaster - DGBE
    Cocobolo 16" SC#1-gCEA, SC SLMU
    Ono #42 19" baritone, Ab, LW
    Imua iET-Bb, M600
    Covered Bridge CLN pineapple - Eb cuatro, SC XLL
    Rogue bari
    Bonanza super tenor, cFAD SC LHU
    Kala KSLNG, Eb SC XLU
    Flea soprano, C LW
    Hanson 5-string tenor, dGCEA
    Bonanza SLN GCEA
    Bonanzalele concert
    Guitars:
    Jupiter #47, G, TI CF127
    Pelem, A, EJ45LP

    !Flukutronic!

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Hanks View Post
    It's a new instrument and these are the stock strings, so the slots are wide enough. Just sticking like crazy. It almost like trying to tune with friction tuners.
    That's no guarantee of anything much. Here's a quick test. Unwind the strings from the tuners and see how well they run through the nut slots by hand without any tension on them.
    Are the slots wide enough? Are the slots rounded at the bottom? Can you feel them sticking somewhere?

    I've replaced the wood nut with a bone nut on one of my ukulele's. Whatever I tried I couldn't get the wood nut to work for me.

  7. #7
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    That particular piece of rosewood might not be hard enough to serve as a nut with wound strings. When you bring the string to pitch, the windings might be leaving impressions in the wood which make the string resist further tuning. Many rosewoods fall at about 2400 on the Janka hardness scale - compared to ebony at more than 3000.

    I’d think the solution is to swap out the nut for bone, or swap out the strings for non- wound... or possibly flat wound. If the non wound strings stick, check the slots are wide enough and lube with graphite as mentioned above.
    Last edited by Swamp Yankee; 10-02-2019 at 03:39 AM.
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