Nut slots! Why are some radiused, and some flat?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Guitar & Bass Technical Discussion' started by eVITAERC, Aug 11, 2008.

  1. eVITAERC

    eVITAERC Member

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    This question has always bother me somewhat. Is there any reason, either technical or traditional, that you would have a radiused nut slot on your neck? Seems like flat nut slots are much easier to work with, no? Does it affect the tone or stability of the neck at all?
     
  2. David Collins

    David Collins Member

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    Like so, so many design elements, it started as a convenient production technique for a particular construction style or tooling, and stuck. I'm sure you'll find many creative explanations (all arising post-design) for it's superiority or tonal influence, but it's just one of those things. No original thought to structure or serviceability, just a production technique that stuck. Damn stubborn traditions.....
     
  3. Soapbarstrat

    Soapbarstrat Senior Member

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    I think it's a nice touch to only put cuts as deep into the neck as needed, and have always seen fret slots and nut slots cut on a radius as prime examples of this.
     
  4. eVITAERC

    eVITAERC Member

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    I can see this as a valid argument if the nut slot is left as-is. But with the nut in there, tightly held down with the same string tension that was exerted on the headstock, it just doesn't seem to make difference how deep a cut you make.

    I'm asking this question cuz I'm speccing out a custom strat neck and I can't make an educated decision about whether to get a flat nut slot. Based on Dave's comments it seems like there's really no reason to make it hard on my tech, so if I don't find a compelling argument here otherwise I'll probably go with a flat nut slot.
     
  5. Rosewood

    Rosewood Member

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    I've built both ways and I see no advantage either way eccept maybe being easier to make a flat bottom repalcement nut.
     
  6. Bob V

    Bob V Member

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    That is true where the radius cut is shallower than a flat cut, but in my experience nut slots are the same depth in the middle, but a flat slot gets very shallow out towards the ends. So in that sense the flat slot takes away less wood; I hadn't thought of it that way.

    I prefer flat slots because you can make sure they're true and clean, they're easier to scrape if there's a dot of old glue in there. Also, new nut blanks can be trued up on three sides for solid contact. Besides you save a huge two or three dollars per blank when buying them straight instead of pre-radiused on the bottom.
     
  7. Boris Bubbanov

    Boris Bubbanov Member

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    I've done both. I really like a flat slot better. I find it much easier to make the final fine adjustments to the under side of the nut when the slot is flat.

    Once the nut is installed, you can't tell which it was. I agree a curved nut slot generally means more slot depth near the edges, and flaking off wood is far more likely closer to the edge that dead in the middle.
     

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