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 Post subject: Zero glide bone nut?
PostPosted: Thu Jan 21, 2016 7:36 am 
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Joined: Tue Jun 10, 2014 2:45 pm
Posts: 34
Location: Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire, UK
Hi, im getting ready to start my second guitar build from scratch. Im not sure if ive posted this in the correct section, but has anyone tried a zeroglide nut, that Stew Macs sells, in an acoustic?

Im a skilled furniture maker, but on my fourth attempt to make an accurate bone nut, where all the open strings sound clear, the slot depth is just right and the g&d strings dont stick when tuning, so the option of a zero fret within a bone base sounds ideal.

Thanks for reading.


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 Post subject: Re: Zero glide bone nut?
PostPosted: Thu Jan 21, 2016 8:51 am 
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Joined: Fri Mar 03, 2006 7:09 pm
Posts: 5416
Location: Hegins, Pa
This to me is a solution looking for a problem.
If you get a fretboard or make one the zero fret is already there. I prefer to use a compensated nut. This has been used for a while. Few builders use a zero fret .
It will work but if you are learning to build , learning to make a nut is not that difficult.

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 Post subject: Re: Zero glide bone nut?
PostPosted: Thu Jan 21, 2016 9:01 am 
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Joined: Sun Mar 09, 2014 8:13 pm
Posts: 1305
What are you using to cut the slots?


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 Post subject: Re: Zero glide bone nut?
PostPosted: Thu Jan 21, 2016 1:20 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jun 10, 2014 2:45 pm
Posts: 34
Location: Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire, UK
Hi Diane, i use the stewmac calibrated nut files


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 Post subject: Re: Zero glide bone nut?
PostPosted: Thu Jan 21, 2016 2:37 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jul 28, 2014 7:50 am
Posts: 424
Location: Chadds Ford, PA
A compensated nut seems to be the way to go -- I wish I knew how to do that. For smooth tuning (no sticking), I use wet cotton thread/string impregnated with abrasive that matches the intended string diameter to polish the groove. On some types of instruments I make, the nut string angle approaches 90 degrees; the polishing really helps preserve string condition and quality of sound.


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 Post subject: Re: Zero glide bone nut?
PostPosted: Thu Jan 21, 2016 4:19 pm 
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Joined: Sun Mar 09, 2014 8:13 pm
Posts: 1305
I found some nut slotting saw rods that make the nut slots round and smooth, but they cost $14. Danl8 seems to have a very inexpensive and elegant solution. That would take care of the stickiness.

I saw the zero glide as well and thought it looked intriguing, but I've figured out my mistakes and I have a couple of solutions that might help you. It sounds like the problem you're having may be same that I had on my first guitar. I had several problems.

The bottom of the nut and the nut slot weren't completely flat. If the nut doesn't sit absolutely flat in it's place, you won't get the tone that you want. It's something that can be hard to see, but if you put your nut on a truly flat surface, check to see if there is a tiny movement back and forth, or from side to side. I went through 2 nuts before I realized the real problem. I had "flattened" the bottom of the nut by moving it back and forth over sandpaper on a flat surface. The back and forth movement actually created a very slight curve. When I took the nut firmly, and slowly moved it over the sandpaper, but only in one direction, it flattened.

I did the same thing to the nut slot; I used a 1/4" file, but went back and forth to create the slot. It ended up with a tiny, almost imperceptible hump in the center. I had to use the file in one direction only to flatten the slot.

To help with the string slot depth and top radius of the nut, I planed down a pencil, so that it is a half pencil. I lay it flat side down, on top of the leveled frets and move it back and forth, to draw a line. This is what I use as a guide for the nut radius, as well as the slot depth. I profile the top of the nut, just to the top of the line without going into it, then I cut the slots to bottom of this line, without going through it. It's works like a charm for me. Here is a photo of my "fretting pencil".

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 22, 2016 7:33 am 
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Joined: Tue Jun 10, 2014 2:45 pm
Posts: 34
Location: Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire, UK
Danl8 wrote:
A compensated nut seems to be the way to go -- I wish I knew how to do that. For smooth tuning (no sticking), I use wet cotton thread/string impregnated with abrasive that matches the intended string diameter to polish the groove. On some types of instruments I make, the nut string angle approaches 90 degrees; the polishing really helps preserve string condition and quality of sound.


Thanks Dan. I see that Stewmac sell an abrasive nut cord in different diameters, which would be similar to your technique, so Im going to try it soon.

Its the d & g strings sticking on the nut on most guitars Ive played that I find annoying - not so much sticking, as taking a while for the tension to slide thro the nut when tuning. I often have to press down on the string behind the nut, then bend the string a little near the soundhole to get the string tension to even out. The other 4 strings are fine. Splayed headstocks are pleasing to look at, but the Stauffer/Fender in-line design is more practical!


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 Post subject: Re: Zero glide bone nut?
PostPosted: Fri Jan 22, 2016 8:54 am 
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Joined: Sun Mar 09, 2014 8:13 pm
Posts: 1305
Does a compensated nut correct intonation better than compensating a saddle? I suppose the 1/4" nut width allows more leeway for compensation. I'm reluctant to throw out anything from guitar building; as a result, I have a couple of nuts laying around that I've since replaced. I may play around with them to learn nut compensation; it as to work on the same principal as compensating a saddle.


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 Post subject: Re: Zero glide bone nut?
PostPosted: Fri Jan 22, 2016 9:20 am 
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Joined: Mon Jul 28, 2014 7:50 am
Posts: 424
Location: Chadds Ford, PA
I believe that a compensated nut only affects open strings. Once the string is stopped/fretted that becomes moot. The saddle would then become the factor along with fret placement and tension in intonation. (?Maybe I haven't thought it thru enough.)

Dave, I know exactly what you're talking about. The more polished the groove, the better the strings slide, but I am still pressing a bit behind the nut, especially when the string starts to go false or with unusually 'grabby' string over-spun wire. (My bad -- I don't change strings as often as Diane properly would have it.)

-d.


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 Post subject: Re: Zero glide bone nut?
PostPosted: Fri Jan 22, 2016 1:21 pm 
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Joined: Sun Mar 09, 2014 8:13 pm
Posts: 1305
Danl8 wrote:
I believe that a compensated nut only affects open strings. Once the string is stopped/fretted that becomes moot. The saddle would then become the factor along with fret placement and tension in intonation. (?Maybe I haven't thought it thru enough.)

Dave, I know exactly what you're talking about. The more polished the groove, the better the strings slide, but I am still pressing a bit behind the nut, especially when the string starts to go false or with unusually 'grabby' string over-spun wire. (My bad -- I don't change strings as often as Diane properly would have it.)

-d.

I do have a suggestion for your sticky nut. I keep a set of old strings that I used to use to "polish" the nut slots, before I got the rods. They're the right size to do as Dave suggested.

You're right about open string "intonation", but isn't that adjusted with the tuning machines? The length of the strings between the nut and saddle is what is at issue.

If you adjust to a perfect "B" on open string 2, then fret and find it sharp, it means that the string is too short or tight. Lengthening the string is the answer. Whether the saddle or nut is moved doesn't matter, but one has to be moved away from the other. Therefore, either the saddle or the nut has to be profiled for that particular string, to lengthen the string, so that it plays true down the whole fretboard.

The only other thing I can think of that would make it very hard to tune a guitar's open strings, are the tuners. I had a set of tuners that had a lot of play in them, plus they were a bit sticky. I hated them with a passion. It made it hard to tune the guitar. I know that guitars are never "perfectly" intonnated, but I test my guitars at every fret, and adjust the frets to make sure that the intonation is as accurate as humanly possible. All of that work can be ruined by bad tuners.


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