#1
So I've been playing mostly my resonator for the past 6 months or so. The string gauge is not massive but pretty typical for that guitar (13-56). In the last few days I've started noodling around with my strat again, which is strung with a 9-42 set. The strings felt like noodles! So I changed them for a 10-52 set (which is what I have on my other electric, an LTD). But the nut grooves for the low E and A strings are cut a little small, so neither strings actually fully sit inside the grooves, they just sort of partly sit on the top corners of the groove.

I'm wondering if I should loosen the strings, move them slightly aside, and slightly file the groove to enlarge them enough so the strings fully sit inside. Should I? Or it doesn't matter?
#3
Agh. Really? Why not file away? Seems like it'd be easier and more efficient to file the grooves instead of changing the whole nut, no?

I guess I could get a bone one...
#4
Yes. It ain't that difficult, and it's no big deal if you wreck the nut. But you do need to find the right size files. What I have found effective and cheap for the heavier strings is a set of oxy-acetylene jet cleaners. These are cheap little round files that are about the right sizes. They don't have enough bite for serious slot cutting but they are fine for minor alterations.

What I suggest you do is paint the inside of the nut slot and use this as a guide to how much you are taking off. - You don't want to accidentally make the slot any deeper.
#5
Do they pop out of the nut or buzz? I wouldn't file anything unless you really knew what you were doing, but if you do take it to a shop let them file it and not put a new nut on.
#6
I have a set of small files I bought because I'm planning on ordering a biscuit for my resonator and set it up the way I want. That should work... thanks.
#7
Quote by Spud Spudly
Do they pop out of the nut or buzz? I wouldn't file anything unless you really knew what you were doing, but if you do take it to a shop let them file it and not put a new nut on.


So far they don't. But I can tell they're sitting a little higher than they should be. It's not the strings you bend anyway so it might not be a big deal at all... but I wonder if it makes a difference in tone...
#9
Quote by OliveG
Agh. Really? Why not file away? Seems like it'd be easier and more efficient to file the grooves instead of changing the whole nut, no?

If you know what you're doing, yes.

No, it's not a huge deal if you break a nut. But if you don't know what you're doing, then it's better to let a tech at a guitar shop do it. The tech knows what he's doing.

Quote by OliveG
So far they don't. But I can tell they're sitting a little higher than they should be. It's not the strings you bend anyway so it might not be a big deal at all... but I wonder if it makes a difference in tone...

If the strings don't fit properly in the nut, it most certainly affects the tone.

Slightly related question: Did you do a proper setup when you switched springs? Did you adjust the action, truss rod, intonation, etc.? If not, then might as well get the guitar tech to do that and enlarge the nut grooves in the process.
Last edited by crazysam23_Atax at Apr 18, 2014,
#10
I'm not too bad with my hands (made my own valve amp from scratch, including cab and enclosure and all), so I think I should be OK enlarging it until it fits in. But that's a good question about the setup: in short, no. I bought that strat used about 7-8 months ago (for like $300...). When I brough it back home it was in not such a good shape, so I took it completely apart (short of removing the neck) and gave it a good cleaning (it still had remnants of the pickguard plastic cover under the volume and tone knobs, seriously... that thing is from like 1999), plus I fixed the intonation, which was pretty bad. Action was just fine so I didn't mess with it much (although I need to work on it because bending the high e string on the upper frets causes some buzzing). I put a set of 9-42s I had lying around, and it's been working well ever since.

But no I didn't adjust the neck when I put the new set of 10-52 today. I did look at the neck relief before and after and didn't notice much of a change, but to be honest I eyeballed it. I've ordered a string height gauge but haven't received it yet. I'll check (actually measure) the relief again when I get it and I'll adjust if needed. So far it feels OK. But in short I sort of consider that guitar my 'setup learner's guitar'. It feels and plays well, but I'll try to improve on it...
#11
Well, you sound like you know a bit of what you're doing then.




I apologize. I tend to assume people don't know what they're doing, because...more often than not, that's the case. Anyway, by all means, go to it then!
#12
You don't need files for a nut on a Strat. Just get some sandpaper and take very slight amounts away until it fits properly. This thread got way more complicated than it needed to get.
Last edited by JustRooster at Apr 19, 2014,
#13
Quote by crazysam23_Atax
Well, you sound like you know a bit of what you're doing then.




I apologize. I tend to assume people don't know what they're doing, because...more often than not, that's the case. Anyway, by all means, go to it then!


:-D No apologies needed!

I filed it some and it's much better. Yesterday I'd say about... 1/4 of the string "height" was actually inside the groove. So really most of the string was above the nut and it was resting on two points, basically resting on the edges of the groove. Today I slackened the string, took a 16 gauge string and laid it inside the groove to protect the bottom of the groove from the file (because you're right, I don't want the groove to get deeper) and enlarged the groove (for the low E, A and G strings), and now about 90% of each string is actually within the groove. So I'd think it should be much better...

@JustRooster: I used a very small file. I guess sand paper would work, except it would be a little harder because it's not rigid and the area you work in is really small...
#14
Hold both ends of the sandpaper, pull it tight. I do it almost every day. It's super easy.