Help me choose wise Gauges for the Nut files


Some time ago I started a thread about what tools I need for fretwork. Then I understood that if I want to work with frets, I would need to buy tools for Nut work too.

This time I need to ask: what gauges for nut files are the best selection if I will work with 9's and 10's but I want versatility? an experienced user recommended me .016, .020, .028, .035, .049 and .056 gauges for 8's, 9's through 13's sets of strings. I will work with 9's and 10's most of the time but if that gauges are a wise selection and dont have any cons I will go with that. What do you think about that selection of gauges?

I need to ask too about what gauge will work better for a .068 string: .065 or .085?

I investigated alot and Im decided to go with the Stewmac Gauged Files. My fundaments are based in some threads like this and this

Any advice is welcome.

Thank you in advance. Best regards, J.P.

Dana Olsen

Platinum Supporting Member
Hi JP -

In my opinion, there are two considerations for nut files:

1) The files you use to actually cut the nut slots from scratch
2) The "gauged' files you use to shape the bottom of the slot, after you've cut the slots into the nut.

I personally find it way easier to use the old Ibanez style files to actually make start and cut the slots. After teh slots are cut close to teh right depth and width, THEN I like to use the gauged flies to finish the slot on the bottom.

My experience is that you'll be 'sawing' for a very ling time trying to use an .013 file with straight non-cutting sides, wiggling it back and forth to give a small "V" shape until it gets to the right depth, then straightening it out to shape the bottom of the slot.

Start with ones like these:

Finish with ones like these:

There's tons of guys on TGP who are way better at this than I am - try posting this in "Guitar and Bass Technical Info" - that's where the techs hang out.

Hope this helps, Dana O.


Gold Supporting Member
I'm no expert, but since I started running flatwound 10's on all my guitars, I've had to adjust all the nut slots a little. I got my files from Stew Mac, and ordered sizes that were approx .004 larger than the string sizes I use. So far, they've worked out great.

I need to ask too about what gauge will work better for a .068 string: .065 or .085?

The usual thing would be to go with the .065, and then rock it to widen the slot. Stew Mac also has a double-sided file that has .075 on one side & .090 on the other... I'd probably get that one and use the .075 side for the .068 string. But like I said, I'm no expert. :)

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