Nut Slot Depth on Guitar Neck

Sp8ctre

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As some may know from another thread, I'm putting together a Telecaster from scratch.

The neck I bought does not have the slot where the nut lays in cut out fully. When I get a new nut exactly how deep do I cut the slot in the neck?
 

cmjohnson

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You cut the slot as deep as needed to make the action right. Don't do it until the guitar is strung up and ready for setup.

Some people like their action over the first fret to be higher than others. So you adjust for YOUR comfort.
 

Sp8ctre

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You cut the slot as deep as needed to make the action right. Don't do it until the guitar is strung up and ready for setup.

Some people like their action over the first fret to be higher than others. So you adjust for YOUR comfort.

So...I finish the guitar, string it up with the nut just sitting in the slot at the neck then I take it out and adjust the slot in the neck until I get the depth I want???
 

LtDave32

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So...I finish the guitar, string it up with the nut just sitting in the slot at the neck then I take it out and adjust the slot in the neck until I get the depth I want???

Be careful with that. Using a "nut slot cutting file" as sold by stew mac can bring two issues up. I know, I have one.

One is when you file, you tend to file in an arc, which makes it difficult to get a square cut for the bottom of the nut.

Two is that said file from stew mac isn't exactly wide enough to cover the entire width of what's necessary for the nut to fit in. The file is actually skinnier than the nut itself. You have to make sure you file inside the entire nut slot area.

But let's talk about cutting the slot first.

What I did before I started using table saw templates was to use my .023 fret slotting saw. First step is to carefully mark the lower, crucial side of the nut (the side facing the first fret area), then space off 1/8" behind that and draw another fine line. Then I set up a block so the blade just covers the first line when you press the blade up against the clamped block, and draw several times until you reach a depth just a bit deeper than the fret slots. Then I reset the block for the line in back and do the same thing.

Now I have two cuts that are precisely 1/8 apart, and at an equal depth.

I now try as carefully as I can to slice another cut between the two. Difficult to get right in the middle between, but a cut that's closer to one side or the other will do. Cut it to the same depth. Now you can take the fret saw blade and "snap" the pieces out fairly easily.

Clean all that up in the slot with the file I mentioned earlier.

At a depth just slightly deeper than the fret tang slots, you can adjust a height of the nut by filing the bottom of the nut (be careful to be square) or you can fit the nut as it is, slot for the strings to the desired depth and file the extra material off the top. What I routinely do and what works for me is the latter of those two choices.
 

ARandall

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Is this a precut/preslotted nut, or a blank??
 

C_Becker

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I'd recommend getting a pre-cut TUSQ nut. Just file it down to the correct height, done.
 

Marty M.

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On a tele neck, I cut the outer edges of the nut slots 1/8 apart, and 1/8" deep, and remove the middle with a chisel. The Ed Hawley drawing in here:


http://www.gitarrebassbau.de/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=6 shows a depth of.103"


Remember the thickness of the saw in the placement of slot closest to the first fret. On a LMii fret slotting system, one side of the indexing pin used to be about .010 thinner to compensate for the .020 saw kerf.

Once the slot is made in the fretboard, then the nut it made and slotted. As mentioned above, you'll cut, file, and sand it until the action is where you like it.
 

Sp8ctre

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Thanks for the great responses! I would hate to destroy a $300 neck! I'm going read some more on it and take my time to get it right.
 

David Collins

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Do you have a picture of the slot as it is? A Fender style neck doesn't need much depth at all in terms of function.
 

Sp8ctre

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One more thing...about how deep should the slot in the neck be?
 

Sp8ctre

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Here are some pictures...

20161022_091533_zpsluowgzvt.jpg


20161022_091524_zpsdyfjswp7.jpg


20161022_091542_zpsh55vs20a.jpg
 

ARandall

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With that nut, it should match an existing nut, but you can see that the fret tang matches the slot. So if you have the nut/fret coming, simply cut the slot to match what the fret needs to sit flat on the fretboard.

As an aside, that setup looks a bit clumsy.
 

David Collins

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That slot does look a bit on the shallow side, but there's really no reason you should have to deepen it at all, other that perhaps if you prefer the aesthetics of a more traditional depth as viewed from the side.
 

LtDave32

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That slot does look a bit on the shallow side, but there's really no reason you should have to deepen it at all, other that perhaps if you prefer the aesthetics of a more traditional depth as viewed from the side.

I'll agree. I've done similar shallow slots. Held a nut fine. Just a drop of wood glue (not CA) to hold.
 

LtDave32

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So you did! Guess I need to pay much more attention...or I'll need a new neck for sure!

Spec.. The slot depth is not critical. "deep enough to hold" will suffice.

It's more about how tall/short you make your nut and how deep you slot for the strings.
 

Bill Hicklin

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The one thing to watch out for on a Fender neck is cutting the nut slot into the truss rod- this is bad.

I now try as carefully as I can to slice another cut between the two. Difficult to get right in the middle between, but a cut that's closer to one side or the other will do. Cut it to the same depth. Now you can take the fret saw blade and "snap" the pieces out fairly easily.

There's a very cool new tool out for doing this. It's called a "chisel."
 

Sp8ctre

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Thanks for all the replies! I ended up just working on the nut and getting it fit nicely. I really didn't want to mess with the neck slot and from the wise folks here I found I didn't need to...

Surgery in the morning...so no more work on this for a week or two...
 

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