#1
Have a guitar that has a graphite tusq nut. It sits too high and causes the strings to slightly bend to hit the fret. My question is would it be best to file down the bottom of the nut or should i file down the string slots or should i do both? My thought was i should take a good portion off the bottom of the nut then fine tune from the top with a file.
any thoughts or opinions are welcome.
Quote by BlackVoid
Every guitar and bass forum I've visited has some people chasing some magical tone that will shoot jizzing unicorns riding on a rainbow out of their amp.
#2
Have you checked the clearance at the first fret?

You do this by fretting the string between the 2nd and 3rd frets and looking at the gap between the crown of 1st fret and the string. It should be barely discernible, on some of mine I can only tell that there is a gap by tapping it and listening for the click.

If the nut is a lot too high, I would do as you suggest, take off as much as you can from the bottom of the nut, taking care to keep it level and not change any angles. Doing individual slots is a pain and needs a collection of suitable files.
#3
Thanks guys, i will start by verifying the neck is in good shape. That was a consideration as well.

I can tell the gap is way too high, what happened was i put the snark on the head and set the tone and when i would play the notes they registered like 3 bars higher when i held down the fret, and the open strings held their tune correctly. Basically that is how i saw the crazy bend caused by height. I was like what the ?!?!? until i looked how high the strings are off the neck at the head.
Quote by BlackVoid
Every guitar and bass forum I've visited has some people chasing some magical tone that will shoot jizzing unicorns riding on a rainbow out of their amp.
#4
+1 with Tony. File the bottom but as Tony mentioned make sure you are doing it uniformly and level or you just mess things up. I speak from experience having recently gotten overzealous filing a new nut and it was not level (I must have leaned to hard on one side when I was doing it).
Yes I am guitarded also, nice to meet you.
#5
If you have access to a Bridgeport mill, it's easy to control exactly how much is removed and also that the bottom stays completely flat. I needed a new nut for a 12 string and they only came in pack of 10 for the size I needed. I left the first alone, took 0.010" off the next, 0.020" off the next, etc. They were cheap, so I didn't mind sacrificing some. It made the work at home go really easy.
#6
If you're going to "level" the bottom of the nut,make sure you know how much to sand off by measuring and marking the nut with a pencil line or scribe it. Then fix a sheet of 180 to 200 grit s/paper to a cutting board (Wooden of course) an rub the bottom of the nut on this level surface, making sure not to go past the scribed line. This is the easiest way to do the job and get satisfactory results.
#7
^^^^ Something else I do is have a rectangular or square section length of wood laid on the abrasive paper to act as a guide that keeps the front of the nut at right angles to the bottom if that is how it is originally cut. - I keep the nut pushed against the wood while sanding and make sure I apply even pressure to the ends of the nut. It isn't so easy on those nuts where the front and base aren't at right angles.