I've now broken two nuts on my Telecaster, trying to adjust the action. The first one broke while filing/sanding the bottom; the second broke after I filed the bottom and installed the nut. They both broke (like you would break a stick with your hands) toward the middle, and they're both curved/radiused. What am I doing wrong?

Here's the second nut: http://www.amazon.com/Fender-Melamine-Stratocaster-Telecaster-Pre-Slotted/dp/B00FW773LA

Last edited by jdultguit at Sep 16, 2014,
is there something on the neck where the nut sits that's not flush with the bottom of the nut?

are they the correct radius? some teles are 7.5 and others 9.5.

when the one broke that was on the neck, did it fall in the middle or at the sides?
Thanks for the reply.

Yes, they're both 9.5" radius (fretboard and nut).

The second one, which broke on the neck, failed toward the middle, maybe 35-40%.

Is there a proper way to file/sand down the bottom of a radiused nut? I've looked online (of course), and can't find anything.
Heh... heheh, two broken nuts, eh?
Last edited by JustRooster at Sep 16, 2014,
With Fender a lot of times there's a little notch in the neck that you have to watch that won't allow the nut to sit flush along the wood. If you're adding string tension over that, it could break it. You can certainly sand it to match the radius, but that's hard to eyeball.

Are you buying plastic or bone nuts? Have you considered a graphite one?

EDIT: That amazon one is Melamine. They've got that on a lot of indonesian guitars. Haven't worked on them much, wish I had more to tell you. I'd try a real bone or graphite one.
Last edited by JustRooster at Sep 16, 2014,
Two broken nuts on Tele

You're wearing your guitar WAY too low.

If you sand the bottom of your nut flat (a good idea) and the shelf in which it sits is NOT flat, you will break your nut. Almost guaranteed that's what the problem is.
Some Melamine can be pretty brittle. I've broken a few just making them out of that stuff.

Bone is what I've had the best experience with, I even have a way to "speed create" a nut using a Dremel with it on the guitar, comes out perfect every time as long as the groundwork is laid properly prior to creation. I did my old 1966 Mustang I used to have and my 1971 Fender Music Master that way.

There might be something in the middle of the slot, beit that "key" some manufacturers put in the middle of the nut slot to make sure it won't slide around, or maybe some residual glue that is acting as a wedge.
My Current Mains
- 1996 Fender Jag-Stang with EMG Pickups
- 1998 Fender Jaguar with Cool Rails
- 1982 Hondo Paul Dean II (DiMarzio Super II X2)
- 2010 "Fender" Jazzmaster (Home built)
- 2013 Squier VM Bass VI (stock)
In my experience, the only guitars I have had where the nut broke were Telecasters. I have no idea why this is so; maybe it is because the nut seems to be thinner than on other guitars. I just know that I have broken three of them. I threw a GraphTech nut on my current Telecaster and have never had a problem with it.
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