12-string nut question

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Stray Feathers
Posts: 378
Joined: Sun Sep 08, 2013 11:39 pm

12-string nut question

Post by Stray Feathers »

Setting up my first 12-string and wondering if builders align the tops of the strings at the nut, or the bottoms, or split the difference? I've seen only a few thoughts both ways online and nothing definitive. Bruce W.
MaineGeezer
Posts: 1426
Joined: Wed Aug 13, 2014 12:14 pm

Re: 12-string nut question

Post by MaineGeezer »

I don't quite follow your question. If it's how deep you should cut the string slots in the nut, it's got to be at a depth that gives proper string clearance above the 1st fret. The you take the top of the nut down so about half the diameter of each string is above the nut. My guess, anyway.

If your question is, how far apart should the strings be, there two answers that I know about: equal centers or equal spaces. (You'll have to extrapolate this to 12 strings.) Equal centers is easy. Divide the total width into 5 equal segments and locate a string at each point including the end points. Equal spaces is more complicated. You take the string diameters into account. For example, if you have an 054 6th and an 042 5th, you want the center distance D to be (.054/2) + (.042/2) + K, where K varies for each pair of strings.

A while ago I tried both ways. Personally, I didn't like the feel of the equal spaces setup, probably because I wasn't used to it. The equal centers felt better,.
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phavriluk
Posts: 403
Joined: Mon Jul 09, 2012 9:49 pm

Re: 12-string nut question

Post by phavriluk »

OP is not going to obtain wisdom in a can. This is going to take some study, thought, and consideration. I had this very conundrum and I solved it by purchasing a template from Luthier's Cool Tools and sat down and fiddled around, wrote notes, and thought a whole (painful) bit.

Everybody's path is unique, but this worked for me.
peter havriluk
Stray Feathers
Posts: 378
Joined: Sun Sep 08, 2013 11:39 pm

Re: 12-string nut question

Post by Stray Feathers »

I found the clarification I needed in a piece on Premier Guitar on 12-string setup. It repeated something I had heard that if all strings were aligned on their top edges, it made the high/low pairs easier to play (in some opinions). But it is better to keep them aligned on the bottom edges to avoid fretted strings going sharp, which is what makes sense to me, and I was leaning towards, but wanted some reassurance. (I think I had somehow missed this piece in my initial research).
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