Nut Radius Question

Discussion in 'Luthier's Guitar & Bass Technical Discussion' started by PlexiFuzz, Jun 4, 2008.

  1. PlexiFuzz

    PlexiFuzz I know karate. Voodoo, too.

    Messages:
    8,747
    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2005
    Quick (I think) question about nut radius:

    If I have a Fender Tele with a 12" fingerboard radius, what radius nut should I have---12", 10", something else?

    And should my saddle radius be 12" also?

    Thanks for your help!
    BAN
     
  2. walterw

    walterw Gold Supporting Member

    Messages:
    33,582
    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2006
    "radius" is not a specific factor here. the bottom of the nut should be the same profile as whatever it's resting on, the individual slots should hold the strings just barely off the first fret when the neck is straight and the action is right, and the top of the nut should be just enough higher than the slots that the strings don't pop out when bending.

    the saddles should be at a height that puts the bottom of each string the same distance from the top of a certain fret, or as some prefer, a height that puts the bass strings ever so slightly higher than the treble strings.
     
  3. PlexiFuzz

    PlexiFuzz I know karate. Voodoo, too.

    Messages:
    8,747
    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2005
    Thanks for the info, walterw.

    I've got a neck coming with a curved slot and when I look at some of the options out there for pre-slotted nuts, the Fender ones tend to come in 7 1/4" radius top and bottom and 10" radius top and bottom. I figured those were done to pretty much match the typical radii found on Fender guitars and I wasn't sure if I needed something different since mine is a 12" neck.

    So, I guess I'll go with a 10" curved bottom since that's closest to what I'll be using it on and make any adjustments I need to from there.

    Thanks,
    BAN
     
  4. Soapbarstrat

    Soapbarstrat Senior Member

    Messages:
    2,065
    Joined:
    May 28, 2005
    Nut slot bottoms certainly don't always match the fret-board radius. It's nice when they do though. But when you do mismatch the radius, you run a great risk of the nut snapping apart when you press it down in the slot.
    Can be quite a pain figuring out what it is. I'll rub pencil over radius gauges, then have a piece of white paper held firmly against the nut slot bottom and see which radius gauge puts a pencil smudge across the whole radius. (I'll start with a tight radius and work my way up to larger radii, since starting out with too large a radii can give a "false reading", by rocking and putting the pencil smudge all the way across)
    I bet David Collins has a better way, if his dedication to other areas of nut set-up are any indication.
     

Share This Page