#1
I’ve recently purchased a Breedlove AC25/SR plus.
I found the nut height is too much. It’s difficult to barre the first fret.
Do you guys think I can deepen the nut slots by myself? I mean I want to use a file to sand inside the notches of the nut one by one. Anyone has done it before?
#2
Damn I saw the thread title and clicked, but then I remembered I'm not in the pit.

I think you could probably do it if you're careful, if you can find a file thin enough. A new nut isn't really that expensive, though.
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#3
Be carefull what you do. The depth of the slots is set to determine the intonation of the lower most frets, not the playability. If the open E string is tuned properly, the string should give an F when fretted on the first fret, an F# on the second etc.. Deepen the slots only when you find that the low notes are too high in respect to the open strings. Otherwise, leave it alone, or else you'll mess up intonation big time.
Beside that, deepening the slots requires a lot of precision and special tools. Small mistakes make for very noticable and adverse effects on the sound. It should best be left to an experienced guitar tech, especially when a fine guitar like your Breedlove is concerned.
#4
You'll need special fret files [$85] to deepen the slots. You should have a U at the bottom of the slots not a V or a half-square. The U should be the same thickness as the strings. A tech. would sand down the bottom of the nut a little anyway, not deepen the slots.

Go to a Tech. It's simple job for him because he'll have the nut files [if really needed] and also he can tell you if the nut is your real problem. Maybe it's the bridge saddle that's too high [as they often are with new guitars]?
Last edited by Akabilk at Aug 4, 2008,
#5
Or, just leave it alone and play it. Chances are really good that you're just not used to playing it yet. Barre chords at the first position are bytch on an acoustic anyhow. Play, build up some more finger strength, and take it from there. I highly doubt it's a problem with the height of the strings at the nut. Breedloves are some pretty decent guitars. In other words, your not dealing with a mass produced cheapo Esteban here. Trust that the guitar is correct and learn it.
#6
Yea... nut action isn't really a very common problem.
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#8
Nah If you feel like changing something on your guitar & you feel confindent you can achieve a decent job , then I reckon HAVE A GO worst you can do is stuff your guitar & if it is yours, It is on your own head. Care & attention to detail & patients are all that is required to get any job done on your guitar. I would take mass off the bottom of the nut if i wanted to drop the string height at the 1st fret, not deepen the grooves (as Marcel) mentioned earlier the depth of the groove is important. Try contacting Breedlove & find out what the specs are for the guitar just to make sure.
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#9
DixFix would be quite rigtht here IF the top nut really needed adjustment. Heat it with a hair dryer, pry it out unscathed and then sand off the bottom.
However; I don't think it is very likely the nut needs adjustment at all. Like Lefty Dave already pointed out here above, we're talking Breedlove here, not Sonjjing.

This matter is actually very easy to sort out. Tune the guitar to E A D G B e, Then take a chromatic tuner (which of course you have. No way you'll be impersonating a guitar tech without one), fret gently one by one the strings on the first fet and measure their pitch. They should ring F A# D# G# C and e# respectively.
I expect that you'll find those low fretted notes to be spot on. That means that the top nut is well adjusted and should not be touched.

You already decided that, which is good, but should Dixy have made you doubt, this simple measurement sets the matter straight and beyond argument.
Last edited by Marcel Veltman at Aug 5, 2008,
#10
Knowing what the real problem is of the first importance. You could spend considerable time doing an expert job on say lowering the nut height because you have done all the research on how to do it properly, only to find out later the nut was not the problem, your saddle height was! Now you have 2 problems [amateur fixers have a great tendency to snowball problems] !!!

I'm currently doing a repair on an 73' Ibanez dreadnought Vintage series acoustic solid wood that had a hole the size of a finger in the sound-board hidden under an extra pick-guard. I contacted 4 Lutheirs for expert advice on the best approach to the repair without hopefully having to replace the sound-board which would have killed the 35 yr. old tone. [pretty much this way: http://www.phoenixguitarco.com/page9b.html . ] It's the way to go for any repair your not sure of. If your not up to it, leave repairs up to them. Their mostly very helpful guys and 3 of them are sending me some sitka spruce with the right grain for the job for free, plus their expert advice.

Sounds like a nice guitar, at least find out from an expert what the real problem is [if any].
Last edited by Akabilk at Aug 5, 2008,
#11
Quote by Marcel Veltman
Heat it with a hair dryer, pry it out unscathed and then sand off the bottom......

This matter is actually very easy to sort out. Tune the guitar to E A D G B e, Then take a chromatic tuner ,fret gently one by one the strings on the first fret and measure their pitch. They should ring F A# D# G# C and e# respectively.....


I don't want to sand the nut, because only SOME of the strings seem to be high.
Also I'm afraid I may damage the nut if I want to pry it out.
So I preferred just to deepen the high slots.

I do appreciate your comments, but I can't believe if we change the height by 1 milliliter, the tuning of the guitar will change.
[Sorry for my poor English] I mean changing the nut height will not change the length of the A string so that it will not ring A# at the first fret!!
#12
Quote by faramarz
I don't want to sand the nut, because only SOME of the strings seem to be high.
Also I'm afraid I may damage the nut if I want to pry it out.
So I preferred just to deepen the high slots.

I do appreciate your comments, but I can't believe if we change the height by 1 milliliter, the tuning of the guitar will change.
[Sorry for my poor English] I mean changing the nut height will not change the length of the A string so that it will not ring A# at the first fret!!


That's the spirit! Don't walk the trodden path of paradigm; don't follow what everybody else is saying just because everybody else is saying it, but go your own way. Do the experiment and see the results. If you're lucky you'll find the now lower sitting string, stretching less when fretted but yet miraculously ringing exactly as high as it did before. Then you'd formulate a yet unknown law of physics to explain this extraordinary phenomonen and earn yourself a nobel prize.
Meanwhile, untill I see your peer reviewed publication, I'll stick to what I know.
Success
Last edited by Marcel Veltman at Aug 5, 2008,
#13
Quote by faramarz
I don't want to sand the nut, because only SOME of the strings seem to be high.
Also I'm afraid I may damage the nut if I want to pry it out.
So I preferred just to deepen the high slots.

I do appreciate your comments, but I can't believe if we change the height by 1 milliliter, the tuning of the guitar will change.
[Sorry for my poor English] I mean changing the nut height will not change the length of the A string so that it will not ring A# at the first fret!!


1mm on a guitar will do more to the intonation than you know.

By lowering the height of the string in the nut, you might sand the slot in the wrong angle. If you do so, your intonation will go off because the contact point of the string to the nut is different. Also, you need special rounded files to properly sand it down. If you sand it in the wrong shape it could lead to premature string breakage.
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#14
Quote by Marcel Veltman
That's the spirit! Don't walk the trodden path of paradigm; don't follow what everybody else is saying just because everybody else is saying it, but go your own way. Do the experiment and see the results. If you're lucky you'll find the now lower sitting string, stretching less when fretted but yet miraculously ringing exactly as high as it did before. Then you'd formulate a yet unknown law of physics to explain this extraordinary phenomonen and earn yourself a nobel prize.
Meanwhile, untill I see your peer reviewed publication, I'll stick to what I know.
Success


Excuse me, Dr. Sarcasm Assumptionstein...

How do you know what his intonation is currently? Maybe in addition to high action he also has intonation issues and his adjustment will fix them both?

(I'm sure that's not the case, but you seemed to be having so much fun being snarky I thought I'd give it a go)
#15
Well faramarz, if your going to lower your nut [your choice]. Please don't deepen the nut slots without nut files. Reduce the nut from the bottom. Removing a nut is a simple procedure.

Nuts are attached with a very small drop of glue on the bottom of the nut near the bottom or top string. It's done this way so they are easy to remove. Lay a small piece of flat wood [about an inch thick or so], flat on top of the fretboard with the strings removed, up against the nut. Give the other end of the wood a SMALL tap with a small hammer. Bingo, the the nut will just slide out now because the small glue surface is broken. Replace with a small drop of super-glue on one end of the nut. Make sure there is no old glue in the slot.

On a dead flat surface and applying equal pressure on the nut you can sand the bottom down on some emery paper.
Last edited by Akabilk at Aug 5, 2008,
#16
Quote by Nims

Maybe in addition to high action he also has intonation issues and his adjustment will fix them both?

Yesterday I checked the intonation with a tuner. I found that when my guitar is tuned, the sound of the first fret is higher by +3 to +8 cents. (one semitone is 100 cents)
Does it proves the extra height of the strings? Or perhaps 3~8 cents is just normal?
#17
Sorry. I apologize for my sarcasm.
It is not dr. Assumtionstein however. Look at my posts here and see that I was the one who insisted on gathering solid data instead of assuming all sorts of things.

And Famaraz; now you have established the relevant facts (be sure you measure with fretting finger right above the fret making the string just touch the fretboard, so you are sure that you're not unintentionally bending up the notes yourself) I'd say +3 is acceptable while +8 is a bit mwoh, sod it if nobody hears it. It seems that the intonation can benefit with a slightly lower action.

But heed Akabilk's advice. Precision is of utmost importance here. Failure to produce a slot that is exactly as wide as the string and has it's fretboard facing edges in exactly 90 degrees angles will ruin tone and intonation big time. Minute inaccuracies, invisible to the naked eye, will have quite audible adverse effects. Special files are a must here. If you decide to go for Dixfix's method you can avoid this, but aware that the fretboard facing side and the underside of the nut must make a perfect 90 degree angle and that only total accuracy is acceptable.
Sucess.
#18
Intonation is all about bridge saddle angle mostly [basic to string length] and has stuff all to do with the nut except for a tiny difference messing around with the nut can make. Thats why they invented adjustable saddles. Most good guitars nowadays
have the saddle angle pretty good for correct intonation. Probably not perfect, but pretty good as it's cheaper than putting on an adjustable saddle. My first guitar was a very old Framus with F holes and an adjustable saddle. I could get the intonation perfect!

In fact, I'd love to replace the bridges on my guitars with adjustable saddle facilities. The main guitar I'd like to do it too is on my little blues guitar with intonation problems, but stupidly and with scant experience 35yrs ago, I glued a bridge on it with epoxy [it's there forever]!
Last edited by Akabilk at Aug 6, 2008,
#19
This is all true, but you're still missing an important point. The distance that a string has to travel when being pressed down towards the fret makes it stretch a bit, what makes the note go up slightly more than would be the case if the string was shortened only. That is one of the reasons the string sits closer to the fretboard lower down. If you'd fret, for instance, a note on the 12th position, the string is able to stretch on both the ringing side towards the bridge and the unringing side towards the nut. When fretted near the nut the string pretty much stretches only on the ringing side, so the distance to the fret must be less here to compensate. That way the upstretching is about equal everywhere up the neck.

That means that the distance between the lower most frets and the strings determines the intonation there. Higher above the fret means more stretch and a note going higher up when fretted here. Lower above the fret results in the opposite, i.e notes sounding flatter.

This low down intonation is in fact more important than the much discussed octave purity on the 12th fret. When playing open chords it is particularly annoying when the fretted and unfretted notes don't match. Everything you play becomes wry and sour. Therefore the heigth of the strings on the nut is very important. You just can't compromise intonation for the sake of playability here, as you might do when setting the action higher up the neck.

Which makes us fully agree on the fact that precision is of utmost importance when it comes to nut configaration. There is simply no room for error here, exept for the fact that a ruined nut can cheaply and easily be replaced.