High E nut slot

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chillybilly
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High E nut slot

Post by chillybilly » Wed Jun 24, 2020 12:10 pm

60s lacquer Jazzmaster. Stock bridge. Stock nut. Bought used in 4/5 condition early in the year and except for a string change it really hasn't needed much tweaking but the change of season must have affected it as the high E and B strings started fretting out especially during a bend.

Got a hex wrench out and raised the bridge on the treble side. That solved the fretting out problem but now the high E wants to jump out of the nut slot even during rhythm strums. Probably due to change in angle/orientation with the bridge adjustment.

Once upon a time, Matt Umanov wrote in his Guitar World column that the nut slot could be deepened with a folded piece of sandpaper (ie using the surface of the 'spine' when folded. He warned against making the slot wider by accident.

So, I've done that. I would say it's improved by 50% but I still get the occasional 'jump.'

I have a notion to deepen the slot some more using the same method but wondered if anyone has a different/better solution. Am also looking at needle file(s).

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Scout
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Re: High E nut slot

Post by Scout » Wed Jun 24, 2020 5:41 pm

The high E slot is probably best done with the correct sized file due to its tiny diameter. You could get just one , say an .011, or buy a set for the cost of having someone do it for you. It's not difficult just don't go too deep, Stew Mac has some good videos on set-up.

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Re: High E nut slot

Post by timtam » Wed Jun 24, 2020 6:50 pm

EDIT: Misread your issue as jumping out of saddle slot not nut slot. Gotta read more carefully !

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Last edited by timtam on Fri Jun 26, 2020 5:49 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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ChrisDesign
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Re: High E nut slot

Post by ChrisDesign » Fri Jun 26, 2020 5:01 pm

You need to check your nut height with feeler gauges. With a capo in the third fret, the gap between the bottom of the string and the top of the first fret should be

6th string = 0.5mm (0.020”)
1st string = 0.37mm (0.014”)

Nuts also wear out. The guitar is old, so take it to a good tech for a setup and explain your problem. They may have to fit a new nut, and that’s ok.

Filing nuts is a skilled job. You need good nut files or no nut files at all. I just buy a TUSQ pre slotted nut and fit it to my guitars to the right height. That way your just sanding down a flat/ curved surface instead of filing fine contact points.
"I own a '66 Jaguar. That's the guitar I polish, and baby - I refuse to let anyone touch it when I jump into the crowd." - Kurt Cobain

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Re: High E nut slot

Post by jorri » Sat Jun 27, 2020 6:20 am

^those measurements are more like an upper boundary.

The problem with sandpaper is whilst it may lower the slot it may widen it out and provide no more grab to keep the string in.

Occasionally I've found some files used for drill cleaning on eBay. They are thin enough. They are flexible and wear easily but we are talking spare change cost. Imagine filing with an actual string, not great but will do little jobs.

Like others say, it needs lowering. But nothing you can do if it's too low to setup. Rather, a new nut needs to be higher around the slot.

Or, checking the string tree is all good--on a throwaway guitar you might install one (maybe move it) closer to the nut but I expect that could be viewed as ruining a cherished guitar.

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Re: High E nut slot

Post by andy_tchp » Sat Jun 27, 2020 5:01 pm

ChrisDesign wrote:
Fri Jun 26, 2020 5:01 pm
You need to check your nut height with feeler gauges. With a capo in the third fret, the gap between the bottom of the string and the top of the first fret should be

6th string = 0.5mm (0.020”)
1st string = 0.37mm (0.014”)
Where are these figures sourced from? :unsure:

Those seem a little high to have the instrument play in tune across the first few frets.

When cutting nut slots I cut them to the point where the string is nearly touching the top of first fret w/ string depressed at the third - just enough clearance that a piece of paper would fit in the gap (so about 0.004").
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Re: High E nut slot

Post by ChrisDesign » Sun Jun 28, 2020 1:28 am

Where are these figures sourced from? :unsure:
Sketchy setup guide for Fender Offsets: https://hazeguitars.com/sketchysetups/#buysetupguide
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Re: High E nut slot

Post by jorri » Sun Jun 28, 2020 4:30 am

ChrisDesign wrote:
Sun Jun 28, 2020 1:28 am
Where are these figures sourced from? :unsure:
Sketchy setup guide for Fender Offsets: https://hazeguitars.com/sketchysetups/#buysetupguide
Its likely these are without using the capo

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Re: High E nut slot

Post by andy_tchp » Sun Jun 28, 2020 4:38 am

jorri wrote:
Sun Jun 28, 2020 4:30 am
ChrisDesign wrote:
Sun Jun 28, 2020 1:28 am
Where are these figures sourced from? :unsure:
Sketchy setup guide for Fender Offsets: https://hazeguitars.com/sketchysetups/#buysetupguide
Its likely these are without using the capo
That would make more sense.
"I don't know why we asked him to join the band 'cause the rest of us don't like country music all that much; we just like Graham Lee."
David McComb, 1987.

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chillybilly
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Re: High E nut slot

Post by chillybilly » Thu Jul 02, 2020 12:36 pm

Cheers for the interest and detailed responses.

I guess I had a brain cramp because the obvious solution (or at least A/B comparison) of a new nut didn't occur to me immediately.

I have self-installed TUSQ/TUSQ XL nuts on almost every guitar I've owned or bought. In some cases it was an absolute must eg on Epiphones with horrid plastic nuts that grabbed and bound and sounded lifeless. On other guitars I did it merely out of preference and for consistency with the others.

The MIM Fender Jazzmaster nut was a bit of an odd duck in terms of size/shape but I used the TUSQ XL PQL-5010-00. In hindsight the PQL-5000-AG probably would have worked better but the little tab underneath made me nervous although TUSQ claim it's not an issue.

In the end, I shaped it with some manual and powered sanding and fitted it today. So far so good in testing/tuning - will put it through its paces this weekend. Big gig coming next weekend so fingers crossed!

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