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> Nut Height, Opinions?
fkalich
post Apr 23 2010, 06:26 PM
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I have never seen this discussed in a thread. I have always been perplexed as to why nuts slots are typically cut so high. If you hold down a string at the first fret and note the clearance over the second fret, this will be dramatically less than the clearance over the first fret when the string is open.

Now I bought some nut files a few years ago, and I have used them to cut the nut so the clearance is just a bit greater for an open string than when held at the first fret, that just seems so sensible to me. Why treat the open string any differently, and give it all that extra clearance? It just makes the guitar harder to play.

Is there any justification for this? I can't imagine why there would be. I have learned through experience that you want to be careful to not cut it too deep, especially on the unwound strings where the slot cuts down very quickly. I leave a bit of extra clearance to avoid that. But when you get a new guitar, it just amazes me how high they cut the nut generally. Maybe they just don't want to take a chance on the workers cutting it too low, and figure they will let you fine tune it, but most just never realize it does not need to be as high as they give it to you.

Any thoughts?
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stratman79
post Apr 23 2010, 06:39 PM
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I think a lot of makers don't spend time on a pro set up so make sure its a safe clearence, obviously the string vibrates most around fret 12 so it has to be high enough to clear that.
I've refretted a guitar of mine but not touched the nut, very trick to get correct IMO, I also understand that half to 2/3rds of the string is only supposed to sit in the nut, allowing for better vibration and tone...
interesting thread!!!
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Saoirse O'Shea
post Apr 23 2010, 06:44 PM
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I've always assumed that it's down to your last sentence - err on the side of caution rather than go too far and have to remove and correct.

I also think they assume/hope that the luthier at the guitar shop will sort it out when you buy the guitar. After all most guitar shops say they'll do a setup for free when you buy the axe. It seems a reasonable assumption that that a setup should include this - never seen one include the nut though unless you specifically tell them to.

This post has been edited by tonymiro: Apr 23 2010, 06:44 PM


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fkalich
post Apr 23 2010, 09:30 PM
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QUOTE (tonymiro @ Apr 23 2010, 12:44 PM) *
I've always assumed that it's down to your last sentence - err on the side of caution rather than go too far and have to remove and correct.

I also think they assume/hope that the luthier at the guitar shop will sort it out when you buy the guitar. After all most guitar shops say they'll do a setup for free when you buy the axe. It seems a reasonable assumption that that a setup should include this - never seen one include the nut though unless you specifically tell them to.


My Les Paul R8 did have it cut pretty low. I assume that guys who work at the custom shop probably are those who have had experience already in the production shop, so they are competent to fine tune it. Luthiers seem to me, to generally think it should be high, but I don't think it is rational, just a tradition that comes down from Acoustic where you really hit a lot of open strings, and maybe wanted more clearance so you could bang them. That seems to me to be the source of it, things sometimes just get carried on from the past, and people not only believe it, but they will defend it tooth and nail, no matter how ridiculous it appears if you look at it objectively. Sort of like traditional religions.

There I go again, walking on thin ice for the thrill of it.

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Ivan Milenkovic
post Apr 24 2010, 01:23 PM
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It depends on the guitar, playing style, and players preference. Modern day guitars don't need that much of a clearance because the sound is instantly there with very little pressure on both fretting and picking hand. Wood and specially pickups enable the string to vibrate small but to be heard big. On some older style instruments where you have to bang it hard in order to get a good sound, possibly a higher cut could prove useful. This also depends on the way a player hits the strings, and the overall build of the neck


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Santiago Diaz Ga...
post Apr 24 2010, 06:11 PM
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QUOTE (Ivan Milenkovic @ Apr 24 2010, 02:23 PM) *
It depends on the guitar, playing style, and players preference. Modern day guitars don't need that much of a clearance because the sound is instantly there with very little pressure on both fretting and picking hand. Wood and specially pickups enable the string to vibrate small but to be heard big. On some older style instruments where you have to bang it hard in order to get a good sound, possibly a higher cut could prove useful. This also depends on the way a player hits the strings, and the overall build of the neck



This is it! +1


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