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Gibson behind the nut bends on D/G strings

still.ill

Member
Messages
3,204
Is it normal for the string to go sharp and then flat again if you bend it normally?
It seems like this is case for most Gibsons I've played.

Bone nut replacement from top luthier, same deal
 

Terry McInturff

40th Anniversary of guitar building!
Platinum Supporting Member
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6,863
It's all about the shape, direction, back-angle, and dressing of the slot.
This stuff was figured-out decades ago.
Sorry to sound self-righteous/frustrated but the same Q's come up often.
You shouldn't be having a problem.
 

still.ill

Member
Messages
3,204
It's all about the shape, direction, back-angle, and dressing of the slot.
This stuff was figured-out decades ago.
Sorry to sound self-righteous/frustrated but the same Q's come up often.
You shouldn't be having a problem.
Cool, im bringing the guitar back to tech today, what do you consider the best fix?

Youtube says
"File an angle towards the string post into the nut slot and lube the nut. Problem "solved"
 

Terry McInturff

40th Anniversary of guitar building!
Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
6,863
Cool, im bringing the guitar back to tech today, what do you consider the best fix?

Youtube says
"File an angle towards the string post into the nut slot and lube the nut. Problem "solved"
The YouTube quote that you mention describes perhaps 35% of the complete list of steps that are performed in order to achieve a nut slot that conforms to what I believe to be required.
Among other things, the nut slot needs to be a particular shape (it is not a simple straight slot), as well as a particular width, depth, direction, angle, and polish. When these parameters are achieved the need for additional lubrication is either reduced or eliminated.

It may sound more complex than it is in practice; it's a routine that can be taught and become second nature, and things can move along rather quickly and well.
 
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John Coloccia

Cold Supporting Member
Messages
9,580
Is it normal for the string to go sharp and then flat again if you bend it normally?
It seems like this is case for most Gibsons I've played.

Bone nut replacement from top luthier, same deal
Yes, it's normal and unnecessary. It's not rocket science, but as Terry says there's a bit more to it than just filing a slot. It's still pretty simple, but despite the glut of tools and gadgets people seem to throw at it, I've seen shocking few nuts come through my shop that were anywhere near close to the best they could be. It's almost more important than a good fret job. You can deal with a mediocre fret job, but a mediocre nut screws everything up, from tuning stability to playability up and down the neck.
 

Terry McInturff

40th Anniversary of guitar building!
Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
6,863
Yes, it's normal and unnecessary. It's not rocket science, but as Terry says there's a bit more to it than just filing a slot. It's still pretty simple, but despite the glut of tools and gadgets people seem to throw at it, I've seen shocking few nuts come through my shop that were anywhere near close to the best they could be. It's almost more important than a good fret job. You can deal with a mediocre fret job, but a mediocre nut screws everything up, from tuning stability to playability up and down the neck.
THIS^^^^^^^^^^^^
 

walterw

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
37,582
Cool, im bringing the guitar back to tech today, what do you consider the best fix?
the best fix is finding the guy who can fix it.

this really is a "separating the wheat from the chaff" thing for guitar techs
 

Timtam

Member
Messages
2,067
It seems that the '3D horn' shaping may need to fulfill somewhat different nut design requirements for different 3x3 headstock designs. On string-straight-through headstock designs, a little 'flaring' at the rear of the nut slot ensures that the string leaves the nut on its way to the tuner in the smoothest possible way. But on a Gibson-style headstock, the flared shaping ideally also has to ensure (for the A, D, G, B) that the string path curves gently outwards in the plane of the headstock, towards the angled position of their tuners. So the Gibson 3x3 presumably requires a more pronounced 'horn' / curve between the front and back of the nut (looking down on the nut from above). Or is the reality that such a curve is too hard to achieve (can the Plek cut a curved nut slot in that plane ?), and that a simple angled slot is the best compromise ? ...
https://hazeguitars.com/blog/how-to-make-a-bone-nut-part2

3D horn-shaped slot from above ...

http://www.lutherie.net/nuts.html
 
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walterw

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
37,582
It seems that the '3D horn' shaping may need to fulfill somewhat different nut design requirements for different 3x3 headstock designs.
nah, it's the same principle regardless. the "horn" needs to flare enough to provide the smooth curving ramp whatever the situation, and for the middle strings of a gibson that means it must flare more than it does on the outer E strings.

think about it, from the string's point of view it's sort of "two-dimensional", its a simple angle. on a gibson, that angle is just not perpendicular to the guitar on the middle strings, it's swung around a good 45°. the reason for the tuning problems has nothing to do with "straight string pull" (the string is always straight) but just that the inner strings end up at a much steeper angle than the outer strings, creating more drag over the nut.
 

walterw

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
37,582
great photo essay about this over on TB

here's the nut of the idea (no pun intended?)

these inner strings are not "straight pull, right?


well it just depends on how you look at it!



the issue is just that these inner strings end up with a nut angle that's much steeper than the outers, well steeper than the headstock angle itself. that causes more drag and requires more care to shape the slot the right way, such that the actual "bottom" from the string's point of view has the right curving flare.
 

Timtam

Member
Messages
2,067
the issue is just that these inner strings end up with a nut angle that's much steeper than the outers, well steeper than the headstock angle itself. that causes more drag and requires more care to shape the slot the right way, such that the actual "bottom" from the string's point of view has the right curving flare.
Which right curving flare tool do you use ? ;)

I guess my main point was really that regardless of the requirement for a 3D flared horn, it is difficult to achieve .. particularly with flat nut files. So the best most people achieve on a Gibson-style 3x3 is probably a nice 2D parabolic slope, but straight-angled towards the tuners, with a little flare at the back ...



And many don't achieve that (including Gibson sometimes ?) ...
 

walterw

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
37,582
Which right curving flare tool do you use ?
just the regular nut files, works fine.

i'll go back with a size or two smaller file after the main slot has been cut to flare out the back edge.

this issue is the main reason to not have nut slots too deep, that prevents you from angling the file to create the ramp at the angle that's truly at the "bottom" of the string pull when it veers off the centerline like this.

this graphic shows the problem, you have a nice sharp kink right at the leading edge of the nut on the inner strings, no bueno

 
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Timtam

Member
Messages
2,067
You're right about the angled slots for 3x3. They're really just shifting the kink from the back of the nut to the front.

I'm glad to hear that the ideal 3D flared nut shot shape is achievable with flat files and the right skills. But if someone said "make this narrow slot with a 3D flared shape ... here's a flat file" ... I think most people might say "wtf" ;)

Sounds like you use a two-stage process ... straight slot (2D parabola ?), then add flared back. I wonder if there's some weird flare-shaped dental tool / drill that would do a better / easier job at the back ? eg


Then of course there's the approaches that attempt to shift/solve solve the problem elsewhere (requiring only straight nut slots) with curved bearings, with similar radii to the 3D horn flare at the nut ... maybe for those less-skilled ;)


https://www.thegearpage.net/board/index.php?threads/truglide-enhances-tuning-stability.2075542/
 

John Coloccia

Cold Supporting Member
Messages
9,580
You're right about the angled slots for 3x3. They're really just shifting the kink from the back of the nut to the front.

I'm glad to hear that the ideal 3D flared nut shot shape is achievable with flat files and the right skills. But if someone said "make this narrow slot with a 3D flared shape ... here's a flat file" ... I think most people might say "wtf" ;)

Sounds like you use a two-stage process ... straight slot (2D parabola ?), then add flared back. I wonder if there's some weird flare-shaped dental tool / drill that would do a better / easier job at the back ? eg


Then of course there's the approaches that attempt to shift/solve solve the problem elsewhere (requiring only straight nut slots) with curved bearings, with similar radii to the 3D horn flare at the nut ... maybe for those less-skilled ;)


https://www.thegearpage.net/board/index.php?threads/truglide-enhances-tuning-stability.2075542/
Seems like their only purpose is to keep the strings from hitting each other.

Look, this is really very simple, and very easy to achieve with standard nut files.

a) what happens above the string has zero bearing on anything. It's convenient to have the nut above the string low because it makes it easier to shape. That's why I start with V shaped files. It gets the nut above the string far away from the string and makes it easier to shape. Having the nut low on the heavier strings is more a mark of craftsmanship and caring, because it looks cool. The B and high E really do need to be buried a bit to prevent the nut from cracking/breaking in the long run.

b) The string needs to be well supported on a smooth surface. The front must be a clean edge (or the string will always buzz and sitar), and the back ideally gently falls away.

c) This takes a little experience. The angle of the slot needs to be such that it has decent downforce on the nut (or it will sitar) but minimized. Fenders have the opposite problem that it's difficult to get enough downforce on the higher strings to achieve this, hence staggered tuners and string trees.

However you achieve that is up to you. You don't HAVE to make a specific cone shape, but if not, then what other shape? We're not going for some fancy parametric surface. We're just trying to make it smooth so there is a good sized contact area, minimizing the force in any one place, and thus minimizing the chances of imperfections/dirt/whatever causing excess friction and tuning problems. The flared shape is very easy to make in practice and achieves all of the goals.

This is really very very simple, and a completely solved problem. There's nothing left to solve. With a good setup, unless you're diving bombing and screwing up string wraps, your tuning should be very stable with a plain old bone nut, even if you use a trem.
 
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John Coloccia

Cold Supporting Member
Messages
9,580
You should send this guy a note and ask him who his tech is. :) Just some random video I found in a few seconds to demonstrate the point. This is how every nut should behave.

 
Messages
243
There's no reason every guitar can't have a straight or nearly straight string pull. Just bugs me.

The horn thing is correct though.

Are you pulling the D down (towards the floor) to bend and pulling/pushing the G up (toward the ceiling) to bend? That helps.
 




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