Replace the nut, or....?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Guitar & Bass Technical Discussion' started by dougb415, Nov 11, 2005.

  1. dougb415

    dougb415 Member

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    My uber-cool wife bought me a LP copy a few months ago (the $5000 price tag on the '59 reissue is a bit steep, y'know?) and I've been having a lot of fun with it... but the nut concerns me. It looks oversized, and while the action feels fine, there is almost 1/8" space between the top of the string and the top of the nut! I'm wondering - should I replace the nut, or just file it down, or something else? Dan Erlewine makes it seem practically easy to switch out a nut, but my wife is worried that the guitar will be ruined; says she's talked to too many guitar techs that have commented on bad nut replacement.

    Thoughts?
     
  2. Turbozag

    Turbozag Senior Member

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    I would NOT recommend doing it yourself.

    I'd only let an experienced luthier replace the nut *if* it's necessary.

    Are you concerned because of the distance between the top of nut and top of string? Or is there some playability factor that causes you concern?

    Gibson often has spotty nut work. If I were replacing it, I'd go with ivory or bone. RS Guitarworks has some pre-ban elephant ivory headnut blanks at a great price ($40) if you choose to go that route.
     
  3. AaeCee

    AaeCee Member

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    like Turbozag says, have a luthier do it. They don't charge much for that and it will be done right. Additionally, a better material s/a bone or 'tusq' will possibly improve the tone and tuning stability of your guitar, and real bone just looks so cool. AC
     
  4. Clorenzo

    Clorenzo Member

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    The fact that the nut is high (as in protruding above the strings, not as in the strings being too high with respect to the first fret) is no reason whatsoever to replace it. If it bothers you for aesthetic reasons, you can file it down a bit, but if there are no tuning or intonation problems, then that means that it's properly cut. The rule of thumb is that the wound strings should protrude half their diameter above the nut and the top of the plain strings should be level with it, but it's more aesthetics than anything else. For example the nut in my PRS is much higher than that and, since it works fine, I hadn't even thought about filing it down.
     
  5. dougb415

    dougb415 Member

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    Hmm. Well, all seems well, except that it looks wrong - the strings feel fine, tuning is okay, etc. Maybe I'll look into that, filing it down. Thanks!
     

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