Nut slot files, need recommendations

Uncle Vinnie

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This is probably a one-time thing for me.

After owning the LP Pro Deluxe in my avatar for nearly three years I just noticed that the slots in the nut are just that, slots.

The nut slots are neither angled downward at the rear of the nut, nor are they flared, so there's a very acute string angle at the back of the nut, not to mention that the string height at the nut is way too high.

I don't want to spend and arm and a leg on diamond coated files but I want something that will do a decent job. Any recommendations for a non-professional file set that will fit the bill? I use .011-.052 strings.

ETA: I'm thinking < $100
 

jkes01

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There are many recommendations here. If you plan to use them, they will be worth it. But, if for only 1 time use, just take it to a pro.

When I made my first nut out of Corian, I started with 3 files, .010, .024, and .042. I could do any size slot with those 3 files. Using a small sized file and rocking it in the slot to widen it. A few bone nuts later, I got 2 more to fill in, just for convenience.

You may be able to get away with sandpaper wrapped around a guitar string? Or a string glued to a popsicle stick used as a file?

I kind of enjoy making nuts so I wanted a set to make it easier. I also got the nut/saddle vice, nut file set, safe slot, nut slot ruler, etc.
 

Uncle Vinnie

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I have this set, which would work for your strings. They used to be under $100, but are a bit more now:
Nice. I can probably lift $10 or $20 out of my wife's purse to make up the difference.

Do you like the results you get with this set?
 

Roxy13

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Nice. I can probably lift $10 or $20 out of my wife's purse to make up the difference.

Do you like the results you get with this set?
Definitely. They have a nice rounded off bottom. You don't want a V or a squared off one. The files are on both sides too so they should last a long, long time. I think several people here use this set.

I do follow up my new slots with Mitchell's abrasive cord. I get mine from StewMac since I have a membership and free shipping, but I think Amazon carries it as well.
 

jkes01

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If you can go for the entire set, go for it. I certainly would’ve if I could have afforded them at the time.
 

BadPenguin

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Only doing it once, and don't want to spend a lot? Home Depot or Lowes, about 5 bucks, you can find them in the welding aisle.
download (6).jpg
 

LtDave32

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Only doing it once, and don't want to spend a lot? Home Depot or Lowes, about 5 bucks, you can find them in the welding aisle.
View attachment 534470
Great little tool for rounding and burnishing the bottoms of the slots.

But try and cut a nut with them.. The wires will bend in 3 minutes and you won't have a slot cut.

There's a pretty hard and fast set of rules regarding nut slotting and files.

1) If you think you know what you are doing, then you don't. Be prepared with a few extra nut blanks. If you really know what you are doing, then you don't need the extra nut blanks -usually. So keep a spare. There isn't a luthier or set-up guy on this forum who hasn't tossed a nut in the trash after going too deep or getting the slot layout off or wrong. Have some spare nuts. They are cheap, so when you order one, order two or three. Just do it.


2) Never even bother with the cheap needle file set. It won't work. Just... don't. get proper nut slotting files.

3 Always file your slots a gauge or two wider than the strings you use. So if you use .010 on the high E, use a .012 gauge. You can benefit from the extra room, and if you want to kick it up a string gauge, you're already set.

4) If you are going to only do this once ever, then don't bother. Unless you like maintaining your guitars, then by all means, buy a set of nut slotting files. If not, just save yourself the aggravation a first-timer is always going to have, and take it to a pro.
 

LPTDMSV

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Are you making a new nut? If so it would be worth watchng Freddy G's video on removing Gibson nuts.

This is a good video - they're not all as bad as this, I don't know the dates when Gibson started using the unhelpful epoxy/Corian combo, but if yours falls into that era there's no short cuts unfortunately :(
 

Roxy13

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Yes, I wanted to make sure he knew about it because I've seen a lot of Gibsons with cracks coming from the area of the nut due to people not being prepared for one of the nasty nuts.
 

LtDave32

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This is a good video - they're not all as bad as this, I don't know the dates when Gibson started using the unhelpful epoxy/Corian combo, but if yours falls into that era there's no short cuts unfortunately :(
Anybody who uses epoxy to set a nut is either a fool (for not knowing or researching) or a dick for knowing and not giving a damn. This includes big companies.

Nuts, like frets are like tires and brakes on a car. You are going to go through them. Or you are going to go through gauge changes. Or a refret for taller frets when the old ones wear out, and the nut was filed for the old frets.

To chemically weld a nut on a guitar when a drop of wood glue will hold it in place, is screwing the next guy over who works on it.

I encountered this on some old "Lyle" 12 string I had in to work on. One light tap with a block of wood was all that should have been needed. Instead, it was epoxied on, and a few taps broke the right third of the nut into pieces.

I was going to use that old nut as a pattern for the new one. Fuckery made it impossible.

Far as Corian nuts go, I have my reservations. I have plenty of Corian on hand. It does cut and work easy. But strings can wear them down in the slots. They don't have much toughness to them.

And to set them with epoxy? that's just plain mean.
 

LPTDMSV

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Anybody who uses epoxy to set a nut is either a fool (for not knowing or researching) or a dick for knowing and not giving a damn. This includes big companies.
You tell 'em, Dave!

You're not wrong. It seems so pointless and unnecessary - a small blob of normal woodworking glue is plenty to withstand the forces on the nut.
 

smk506

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I use two pin head sized dots of elmers white glue to set nuts. It’s a shitty adhesive but it’s enough to keep the nut from shifting and super easy to remove when you want.
 


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