1st fret string height? - cutting nuts

Discussion in 'Luthiery, Modifications & Customizations' started by J_Mac, Dec 7, 2018.

  1. J_Mac

    J_Mac SS.org Regular

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    What height do you guys aim for at the 1st fret when cutting nuts?
     
  2. KR250

    KR250 SS.org Regular

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  3. FwLineberry

    FwLineberry User of Registers

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    Hold the string down at the 3rd fret. If the string just clears the first fret, good to go.
     
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  4. dmlinger

    dmlinger SS.org Regular

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    This always seems to work.
     
  5. LiveOVErdrive

    LiveOVErdrive CNC hack

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    I'd go the same height as your frets. There is enough clearance when you fret the string on one of them so there should be the right amount for the nut too.
     
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  6. MaxOfMetal

    MaxOfMetal Likes trem wankery. Super Moderator

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    I never really set out with a particular spacing in mind. I cut and shape the nut, slot it to the proper radius, leaving plenty of extra material, then test fit it with strings. From there I remove material from the base for overall correction and make fine adjustments with gauged files in the slots.

    Honing it in with the final setup always seems to work out best in my experience, then again I'm mostly replacing existing nuts so I usually have that to go off of.
     
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  7. IGC

    IGC SS.org Regular

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    I heard zero fret is the "high end" thing to do? Never tried it. Are we talking 6,7,8,9 , 10 stringer?
     
  8. MikeNeal

    MikeNeal SS.org Regular

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    zero fret is great if you don't know how to set a nut properly.
     
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  9. IGC

    IGC SS.org Regular

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    Yeah, a proper nut set is surely an invaluable luthiery tool to hone. Zero seems like the way to go if there is no need to adjust each individual string slot height and get perfect height off zero...
     
  10. MaxOfMetal

    MaxOfMetal Likes trem wankery. Super Moderator

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    I wouldn't say "high end", it's just a different way to do it with a different outcome. There's pros and cons.

    Really, it's mostly about preference.

    It's not like it totally negates the string nut, that still needs to be cut properly for minimal friction, it's just more forgiving as far as individual string depth.
     
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  11. LiveOVErdrive

    LiveOVErdrive CNC hack

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    That's why I use them :)
     
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  12. MikeNeal

    MikeNeal SS.org Regular

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    I just use a pre slotted graphtech nut, and make a few small adjustments. Done!
     
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  13. KR250

    KR250 SS.org Regular

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    That's smart talk! I need to try that and save some time.
     
  14. Walshy

    Walshy SS.org Regular

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    Same here. Much easier to use a nice Graph Tech and remove material from the base. Big fan of the fret 3 rule, too.

    There is a real art to handcrafting a nut and I respect anyone who makes them from scratch. Just make sure you wear a good mask if you're carving inorganic matter like bone. Or any material for that matter.
     
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  15. J_Mac

    J_Mac SS.org Regular

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    Ah ok yeah, this makes a lot of sense to my OCD brain. Are you saying maybe capo fret 3 and measure clearance above the 4th?
     
  16. LiveOVErdrive

    LiveOVErdrive CNC hack

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    I guess I would say fret it on the fourth and it should JUST touch the first-third. But the easiest way to do it is to use a zero fret. That's what I do :)
     
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  17. ChAoZ

    ChAoZ Build Addict

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    I use a feeler gauge and have .018" clearance, I like measurable repeatable
     
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  18. ElRay

    ElRay Mostly Harmless

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    Or if you like open strings to sound like fretted strings ...
    Or if you want your action as low as possible ...

    The only reason zero frets get a bad rap is because it was a choice of cheap manufacturers a while back. Just as bolt-ons are associated with cheapness.
     
  19. ixlramp

    ixlramp SS.org Regular

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    Zero frets can be 'set' and can be adjusted for per-string heights, by abrading the top surface.
    I like to use a stainless steel fret higher than the other frets then abrade the top as far as is necessary.
     
  20. TonyFlyingSquirrel

    TonyFlyingSquirrel Cherokee Warrior

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    I hand crafted nuts and done the Tusq nuts and I'll take the Tusq anytime. Spacing is always correct, they're usually slotted just a touch on the high side so that you can really fine tune how deep to finish the slot for the setup needs of the player, and because it's less labor intensive, I can turn around a job for a customer in a quicker amount of time with a bit less labor cost.
     
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