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Nut replacement on a 03 Epi LP

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by FlyingDutchman, Jan 24, 2008.

  1. FlyingDutchman

    FlyingDutchman Member

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    Is this an easy task? I have a tiny bit of knowledge when it comes to working with guitars and I wasnt sure if this was something I could tackle. I broke the tip off of the nut next to the low E string last night changing strings. I was going to quick and didnt expect the stock nut to be so brittle. I ordered a TUSQ nut off of Ebay but it wont be here for about a a week. Should I just find a tech to do this replacement or is it something I should try? Finding a good tech has proven to be very difficult here in Maine. Seems like an easy switch. I have some gorilla glue that I could use to attach the new nut.

    Any input?

    Thanks in advance..
     
  2. FlyingDutchman

    FlyingDutchman Member

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  3. guitarfish

    guitarfish Member

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    I just replaced the nut on my '06 Epi with a pre-cut Tusq nut. Lightly score around the old nut with a razor or exacto knife so none of the finish (poly) will chip. Remove strings (don't need to destring, just loosen, and move 3 to each side).

    Remove trussrod cover. Put something against the nut at the first fret. I used a piece of hard rubber. You could use a piece of wood. One whack on the rubber was all it took. Not too much force. It will pop right off. Clean the slot of any dried glue, etc. using a razor.

    The good news is the Tusq fits in nicely. I did have to file about 1/16" off each side of the nut because it was hanging over the sides a bit. Took my time with a fine file, and made sure to put a little rounding on the edges when I got done, so it looked like the original.

    When ready to set in the new nut, put the truss rod cover on. Then apply 2 small dabs of glue to the bottom of the nut. (I use good old Elmer's glue, the white stuff). You DON'T need much glue. All it does is prevent the nut from popping out. The string tension is what really secures it in place.

    The bad news is that the nut slots, though precut, are pretty high. The action on the fretboard is definitely, noticably higher than the stock nut, and I found it too high to play comfortably. I noticed this same exact thing when I installed a Tusq nut on my Tele. Therefore, I decided to spend $75 on a set of nut files from Warmoth. This will allow me to finely file down each slot about the 1/16" or so needed to get the action where it belongs. The files will show up next week.

    Lastly - the Epi's plastic nut was yellowish, matching the binding. The Tusq nut is gray/white, kindof noticable that it doesn't match. But I'm not too worried about it.

    Hope this helps!
     
  4. FlyingDutchman

    FlyingDutchman Member

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    Thanks fish for the help..I'll definitely use your post as a guide to changing it out when the new one gets here. I hear ya on the glue. I should just pick up some basic elmers. I bet the gorilla glue will make it impossible to remove.
     
  5. guitarfish

    guitarfish Member

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    Yeah, you just want a drop or two. When you pop the old one out you'll see how little they used, and you can do the same. Have fun!
     
  6. Dana Olsen

    Dana Olsen Gold Supporting Member

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    True. In general, when repairing guitars you want to use glue that's almost, but not quite, stronger than the wood it's adhering to.

    That way, you can loose the glue or glued joint when necessary without breaking the wood, with heat or whatever.

    Also, Guitarfish sounds like he's made nuts before and knows what to do. The nut setup is one of the most important and critical parts in the guitar's 'setup'. If it's not done right and well, it negatively impacts the way your guitar plays, sounds and the way it intonates. Also, it's not that easy to do correctly - well, it is if you know what you're doing, but it's not like adjusting the action on a Les Paul w/ an ABR1, where you just spin the adjusting wheels and the action goes up and down - it's more complicated than that, and more detailed.

    I'll add this: when cutting nut slots it's CRITICAL to cut the slot dead flat on the bottom. Watch your file angle, bisect the angle between the peghead and the plane of the neck, and don't rock the file back and forth as you file the slots; make sure you keep the file level so it cuts a level bottom.

    A critical part of the setup like that needs to be done right. If it seems like there are probs with the guitar after you've had your shot at it, don't hesitate to take it to a good repair type and ask for help/advice. Having the nut exactly right for you makes a world of difference in your setup. It can be the difference between being able to play your guitar, and being stoked about the way your guitar plays.

    Hope this helps, Dana O.
     

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