#1
Hello everyone,

I started a topic about a month ago i think about a problem i had with my acoustic guitar. The issue was ( and is ) that although the open strings are tuned the notes at frets 1-4 are sharper than they should be...and i mean sharp by 5-10 cent (the rest of the fretted notes are fine )...I've tried A LOT of things but none managed to correct the problem. Recently, i read somewhere that it was very important that the string comes at an angle from the headstock to the nut. I did that by winding the string more times around the pegs ( so that the strings 'climb' to the nut ) and it seemed to work for a few hours but now the problem's back...

The nut slots are ok i think, the nut doesn't move, the action at the nut is good...I think the string angle is the solution i'm looking for but i also know that it's not good to wind the strings too many times around the pegs.

So you can understand my predicament...Please please if you have any ideas let me know because i really need some expert help here

P.S. : A big thank you to all those that replied to my previous post...but alas, nothing worked then...Hope someone has an idea or two this time too!
#2
String angle is a good guess. In particular the heigth of the strings right above the lower most frets. Assuming you did your measurements with a correctly adjusted truss rod and a fresh set of strings, and you did not recently switch to heavier gauche strings, it seems the top nut has to be lowered somewhat, or at least some of the slots.
Now I could point out how to go about that, but I must say it is a rather tedious job that you can easily mess up. Someone not familiar with precision fabrication would love to leave it to a learned luthier.

About how many windings the strings should be around the post. Take as a rule no less than three loops and no more than there is room to the bottom of the post. Too less will provide too little grip and might break the string at the edge of the little hole in the post. Too many will jam the pegs and force the loops on top over each other, resulting in tuning problems and string breakage.

The angle from the nut to the post is of no consequence with traditional angled headstocks. If you keep the above mentioned three loops minimum, you'll be well within tolerances. This is more of a concern with straight protruding headstocks you see on a lot of electrics, but should not worry an acoustic player.
Last edited by Marcel Veltman at Feb 24, 2009,
#3
The string shouldn't climb that high up the tuning post. That would make for weaker contact on the nut, possibly decreasing sustain. Too many windings may also cause tuning problems, if I'm not mistaken.

Do you think you could provide a picture of the headstock and a close up on the tuning posts? It may give us some clues as to what your problem may be.
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#4
^-- I think he is placing the wraps under where the string comes through the peg, not over. So he is increasing the number of wraps in order to increase the angle that the string takes from the peg to the nut.

Is that right, ziggy?
#5
Quote by jimtaka
^-- I think he is placing the wraps under where the string comes through the peg, not over. So he is increasing the number of wraps in order to increase the angle that the string takes from the peg to the nut.

Is that right, ziggy?

exactly...wraps are under , not over the string that's going through the peg..and yeah you understood what i wanted to do...

thing is it appears there is something wrong with the nut...cause with a capo on at the 1st, 2nd, 3rd frets every note is spot on...but the slots seem deep enough to me...i'm confused
#6
Quote by Marcel Veltman
String angle is a good guess. In particular the heigth of the strings right above the lower most frets. Assuming you did your measurements with a correctly adjusted truss rod and a fresh set of strings, and you did not recently switch to heavier gauche strings, it seems the top nut has to be lowered somewhat, or at least some of the slots.
Now I could point out how to go about that, but I must say it is a rather tedious job that you can easily mess up. Someone not familiar with precision fabrication would love to leave it to a learned luthier.

About how many windings the strings should be around the post. Take as a rule no less than three loops and no more than there is room to the bottom of the post. Too less will provide too little grip and might break the string at the edge of the little hole in the post. Too many will jam the pegs and force the loops on top over each other, resulting in tuning problems and string breakage.

The angle from the nut to the post is of no consequence with traditional angled headstocks. If you keep the above mentioned three loops minimum, you'll be well within tolerances. This is more of a concern with straight protruding headstocks you see on a lot of electrics, but should not worry an acoustic player.



i think you might be right about the solution...but from what i know if the slots are just a tiny bit too deep i'll get fret buzz...and that would be bad
#7
That is true.
But now it seems that they are almost deep enough but not quite, so there must be a some room for improvement without adverse effects.
But as said, working the nut is tricky business. When filing out the slots the biggest 'risk' is that they become too wide or that you round off the edges facing the fretboard. That will result in a strange resonant buzzing of the strings, with the intonation still being off. Apart from the utmost precision, you would need some very thin key files to pull it off.
(Taking out the nut and filing down the bottom has its problems too. It is very difficult to keep the angle between the bottom of the nut and the fretboard facing side exactly 90 degrees. Failing to do so will result in an incorrect distance between the nut and the first fret, and thus again intonation problems. But as you say that not all strings are off, filing down the bottom of the nut is not the right solution)

On the positive side is the fact that nuts are cheap and easy to replace, so you can ruin a few for the sake of self education.
Or you can take my first advice and bring it to a good luthier (which is not necessarily the same guy as that nice and talkative salesperson in the next music store)