Filling in a low nut slot

CDGR

Member
Messages
21
Hello everyone!
Excited to be in the forum and hope to learn from all the talented people here, I have been a ghost reader for years!

Came across this product recently called Nut Rescue, its some sort of lubricated nut powder created by Joe Glaser down in Nashville. I've been using regular bone dust, dust from broken Tusq nuts and even some old school tricks like the paper towel trick and the baking soda trick but wasn't sure how this stuff hold's up in real life.
 

Terry McInturff

40th Anniversary of guitar building!
Platinum Supporting Member
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6,863
I've always been a total curmudgeon when it comes to filling-in nut slots, with the exception of an old ivory nut. In those cases, I used to widen the slot and create a flat floor. Then I'd glue in a piece of old ivory piano key and recut the slot.

Joe G. is a very sharp guy and I'll be interested in hearing more about this product. Sounds like it could be a very valuable part of every tour-tech's gear, for those emergency temp repairs on the road.
 

CDGR

Member
Messages
21
I totally understand! I am a fan of filling nut slots when the customer has a instrument they do not want to spend the money on a new nut. I am on the few tech's that I have met that will not use those Tusq or Graph Tech nuts in my shop. I use them on the road as a quick drop in but I am a old school bone guy. Def going to have to order some of this stuff if no one has any insight on it. Im a sucker for trying new methods and products.
 

blondestrat

Member
Messages
490
What helped me get better results regarding the superglue n powder trick is doing exactly what dan erlewine says. He lets the superglue roll into the slot.
Kinda like that physics explanation on how laying superglue across a bead of a fret will suck it in the slot due to physics. The word starts with the letter p but I can’t remember the exact word at the moment.
Watch the Stewmac video very closely.
 

CDGR

Member
Messages
21
So I went by and picked up some of the nut rescue from Joe's shop today.
For I believe it was 16 bucks you get three colors, a bleached, unbleached and "ebony" black and a small serving spoon. Filled in the slots on my one Tele to see how it worked and I really really liked how smooth and easy it was to work with. Way less messier than baking soda or bone dust, and it feels smoother than bone un lubricated. No more than you use, this stuff will last forever. In this instance, I just filled every slot to just try it out and see how I like it across the board. Def on my list of products I would keep in stock for my repairs!
 

VaughnC

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
17,707
Hope this new solution works as every fill-in nut slot trick I've tried was only a temporary fix and would wear away quicker that the original nut material. I'd rather install a new nut and be done with it.
 

CDGR

Member
Messages
21
Hope this new solution works as every fill-in nut slot trick I've tried was only a temporary fix and would wear away quicker that the original nut material. I'd rather install a new nut and be done with it.
So far so good, been using it out on the road and its been nothing but fantastic and reliable!
 

SlightReturn

Member
Messages
93
I've been using straight superglue lately.

Wet out the edge of an index card with water thin CA glue. The edge of the index card is very precise and you can fill each slot with glue like this.
It'll wick into the slot via capillary action.

I let it sit a while and then sprinkle baking soda over the nut and blow it off. The baking soda will activate and harden any glue that hasn't set up yet. I've used baking soda + superglue for over 15 years but have been finding straight superglue works just fine and holds up just as well. Also is easier to clean up.

That product sounds interesting. I'll have to try it sometime. I use Tri-Flow liquid teflon for lubricating nut slots after getting them dialed in. Works great. Should've used "Nut Rescue" on myself in my last relationship.
 

John Coloccia

Cold Supporting Member
Messages
9,580
I would always rather glue a thin shim to the BOTTOM OF THE NUT (not the nut slot), reinsert, and recut the strings the right height. Seems like a much better way to fix a low nut you just can't replace, IMHO.
 

Beto

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,745
I would always rather glue a thin shim to the BOTTOM OF THE NUT (not the nut slot), reinsert, and recut the strings the right height. Seems like a much better way to fix a low nut you just can't replace, IMHO.
What material would you use for the shim for a bone nut? And what would you use to glue it to the nut?

A few years back I got a nice Made in Korea guitar on which the original nut had been replaced with a bone nut. I don't know if it happened after some time or if it was there since the very beginning (i.e. a badly cut nut), but the open G string buzzes a bit unless I play it very softly - and there is no buzz at all when this string is fretted anywhere.
 

John Coloccia

Cold Supporting Member
Messages
9,580
You can shim the bottom of the nut with steel or brass shim stock. Either cut you own or buy it cut for the job ..
https://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_from=R40&_nkw=guitar+brass+nut+shim+set
I usually use a piece of wood veneer, because it's easy, quick, and what the hell...it's sitting on wood anyway so what's a little more wood?

Just dab some CA on the bottom of the nut, stick it on some veneer, wait a bit, and then just break off what doesn't stick. A minute of touch up with a knife and some sand paper, and it's done. A Fender slot requires a touch more hands on work because it's curved, but CA fingerprints scrape/sand off pretty easily, and if you're persnickety you can use some wax paper to avoid that too.
 

John Coloccia

Cold Supporting Member
Messages
9,580
What material would you use for the shim for a bone nut? And what would you use to glue it to the nut?

A few years back I got a nice Made in Korea guitar on which the original nut had been replaced with a bone nut. I don't know if it happened after some time or if it was there since the very beginning (i.e. a badly cut nut), but the open G string buzzes a bit unless I play it very softly - and there is no buzz at all when this string is fretted anywhere.
I always use a thin piece of veneer and CA.

That said, you will HAVE to recut the nut when you're done. There's no avoiding that, so this isn't a quick and easy fix. However, it allows you to save a nut that you really don't want to replace. Ivory and shelf nuts come to mind.

Conventional wisdom with ivory nuts is to inlay a new piece of ivory if it's only one string because that lets you save the rest of the nut. IMHO, ivory nuts are WAY overrated anyway, but the most important thing sometimes is to do the least harm you possibly can, especially on a vintage instrument, so you do what you must to keep it as original as you can, and increase the longevity as much as you can. Once it's gone, it's gone for good these days.
 

walterw

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
37,580
I would always rather glue a thin shim to the BOTTOM OF THE NUT (not the nut slot), reinsert, and recut the strings the right height.
agreed!

if replacing the nut entirely is "Plan A" then shimming it up from the bottom is "Plan B".

for me, "Plan C" (filling a slot) is more along the lines of what @Terry McInturff talked about, actually inlaying a solid piece of replacement nut material in there.

an easy trick i've discovered for non-bone nuts is to take a super-sharp chisel to a block of graph-tech's tusq material (either off-white or black, it's the same stuff) and carve off a little curved shaving, then "inlay" that into the slot with a spot of thin CA. quick, easy, and done right you end up with a solid surface of good frictionless nut material for the string to slide across instead of a soft, grabby glue-dust amalgam.
 

Tony Done

Member
Messages
5,724
I did a couple of slightly low slots this morning, using the same method i have for years:

Clean the bottom of the slot
Lay a few strands of cotton thread in the bottom o the slot, in a single neat layer side-by-side, and hold taut with poster putty or tape on the headstock and fretboard.
Apply enough superglue off a toothpick to just flood the threads, not the whole slot, with a little wicking out from the sides of the nut.
Trim the threads off flush with a sharp knife when the glue is dry.
The thread can be filed down, or more added as necessary.
 
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