string gauge change - nut slots


Wondering how you guys feel about changing string gauge and what amount of gauge change means nut work.

I have a custom made bone nut on my semi-hollow which was made with .046-.010 strings in mind. Was thinking of moving the strings up in gauge so I can get more umph on my slide playing.

moving to:

.052 - .011

It should be OK IMO but looking for some input. Do you guys have any experience with this? I've been playing .046-.010 forever.


that's not a drastic increase, maybe only the low E would need to be widened a bit. A huge swing either way will probably need work, but going up or down a few sizes usually don't present much of a problem for the nut in my experience

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Senior Member
You can at least try the .11's and see what happens and/or if you like them before doing anything. Just run a little chapstick over/into the slots when you put the new string on. That said, you should be using Chapstick or similar with any strings.


10s to 11s shouldn't be too bad at all, if the slots are well-cut already... there should be more than enough space to string them up without binding.

This is assuming you don't get any catching or binding already while restringing with 10s... if you do, it'll be much worse with even slightly thicker strings.

Chris Scott

As already stated, small changes are usually easily tolerated, though the low string (.052) might be the one that wants to stick a bit.

Easy test: while strung to pitch, with both hands lift each string out of it's slot, with each hand being on either side of the nut. Lift the string out, then push it back in a few times and feel if it pinches in the bottom of the slot - it'll feel as though there's something sticky on the bottom of the slot - you'll feel it quite easily. If it's sticking, carefully relieve just the sides of the slot nearest the bottom, or if not comfortable/experienced, take it to somebody you trust.

It should also be noted that 6-in line (Fender style) guitars are much more prone to sticking, due to the lack of side loading imposed on the slots ala a 3/3 style (Gibson style) instruments, though it happens on both to be sure.

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