Results 1 to 19 of 19

Thread: If 1 nut slot is too low (cut to deep)

  1. #1

    Default If 1 nut slot is too low (cut to deep)

    Besides cardboard, is there an easy and effective way to raise the string or purchase a new nut?

    Making one to almost the same specs seems pretty challenging, or maybe not. Uncharted waters for me. I have a string that buzzes and see that the nut slot is a bit deeper than its neighbor. Raising the action at the bridge for 1 single string just seems wrong.

    It is a 6th fret buzz on a single A string. Can't afford to send to a luthier again, so any help would be appreciated. Otherwise I'll just raise with cardboard, and see what happens later.

    Some might say a fret must be addressed, and I see your point. I raised the action and it's better, and refuse to go higher. If I had confidence, I'd file the fret above some, but I don't.
    Also need feeler gauges. What is low/medium action without specifics is sort of dumb, I know.

    Also I added a bit of relief to the neck, 1/2 CCW turn of the truss rod.

  2. #2
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    DeKalb, IL
    Posts
    3,591

    Default Re: If 1 nut slot is too low (cut to deep)

    If the nut slot were too low, it would buzz at the first fret, not the 6th. I believe it is actually a fret issue.

  3. #3
    Registered User John Kelly's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Ardnadam, Argyll, Scotland
    Posts
    1,902

    Default Re: If 1 nut slot is too low (cut to deep)

    If the nut is bone then you could fill in the slot with a mix of superglue and fine bone dust (files from a spare piece of nut material) then re-cut the slot, but as Dale says, a low slot would be apparent from the first fret.
    If it is buzzing when you fret at the 6th, then you need to check fret 7 to see if it is slightly high. If you have a proper engineer's square or other very flat edge use this to see if you can get a rocking motion across this fret; the straight-edge must only be long enough to cover three frets (more than 3 and you lose the rocking test!) and you will quickly find the one which is high. Good luck with your solution.

  4. #4

    Default Re: If 1 nut slot is too low (cut to deep)

    I agree, I can be so stupid sometimes. It's the fret, although the nut IS a bit deeper, but this is not the cause. The nut does not appear raised, and tried a ruler to see..but it probably is, and will check again later with brighter lights with another straight edge. I mean we are talking very small tolerances here, much less than I am used to. Is filing a big deal?

    What's aggravating is I know this is a simple fix for an experienced person, hardest part is removing and replacing the strings. But trial and error could get quite costly for me if I ruin the fret.

    Anyone here who gives advice about SETUP BEFORE DELIVERY is giving very sage advice. 150 or more for setup seems like a lot until you're stuck with a problem beyond your knowledge, and unfortunately "hunches" can add more to the cost after home repairs.

    "the straight-edge must only be long enough to cover three frets (more than 3 and you lose the rocking test!) and you will quickly find the one which is high." Geeze you are so right, I was using a ruler. Ugh!

  5. #5
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    DeKalb, IL
    Posts
    3,591

    Default Re: If 1 nut slot is too low (cut to deep)

    You don't have to remove and replace the strings to fix this. Just loosen them enough to get them off to the side. Do your filing/polishing, and so forth. Bring the problem strings back up to pitch and test. If you have to do that routine more than one or two times, you'll probably want to change those strings, but not the whole set unless they're already all pretty shot. But do your levelling with the existing strings.

  6. #6

    Default Re: If 1 nut slot is too low (cut to deep)

    You are probably already aware of this, but be careful when filing just one fret or you could compound the problem up the neck.

  7. #7
    Café habitué Paul Hostetter's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Santa Cruz, California
    Posts
    6,286

    Default Re: If 1 nut slot is too low (cut to deep)

    The Krazyglue/bone dust/baking soda/whatever is a very insubstantial repair for a blown nut slot. But I'm with Dale: if the nut was blown, you'd hear it at the 1st fret, not the 6th.

    .
    ph

    º º º º º º º º º º º º º º º
    Paul Hostetter, luthier
    Santa Cruz, California
    www.lutherie.net

  8. #8

    Default Re: If 1 nut slot is too low (cut to deep)

    I am hesitant to try filing the fret myself, if necessary. I will determine if it's higher by any very small degree, and see if a few gente taps puts an end to it. Adding some relief to the neck did help, but did not eliminate.

    Although I am mildly annoyed by this problem, I will admit I prefer my action lower than most, which neccesitates a very well set up mandolin. I guess in this case, the frets may need to be near perfect - everywhere. Thanks for all the replies, at this point I might have just told someone to just suck it up and raise your d### action.

    If it was buzzing at other locations, I'd agree. But for 1 string, it's the fret. I'm frustrated by myself for not having the expertise to fix it. Again thanks for all the help. Once I resolve it, I will be able to help others with a similar quandry.

  9. #9
    Registered User Bill Snyder's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Central Texas
    Posts
    7,316

    Default Re: If 1 nut slot is too low (cut to deep)

    Did the buzzing just start? If so the fret might not need to be filed down but re-seated in the slot.
    Bill Snyder

  10. #10
    Registered User sunburst's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    Kentucky
    Posts
    15,199

    Default Re: If 1 nut slot is too low (cut to deep)

    ..

  11. #11
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Raleigh, NC
    Posts
    49

    Default Re: If 1 nut slot is too low (cut to deep)

    This is the way to fix a blown nut slot. Installing a solid plug gives a proper bearing surface for the string, unlike the dust-'n'-glue job which leaves the string resting on softer stuff. Considering the challenges mandolin players already face in keeping their instruments in tune, the last thing you want to do is fill the nut slots with soft, grabby material.

    Nice diagram as always, Paul.

    Rob

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Hostetter View Post
    The Krazyglue/bone dust/baking soda/whatever is a very insubstantial repair for a blown nut slot. But I'm with Dale: if the nut was blown, you'd hear it at the 1st fret, not the 6th.


  12. The following members say thank you to Rob Sharer for this post:


  13. #12
    Café habitué Paul Hostetter's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Santa Cruz, California
    Posts
    6,286

    Default Re: If 1 nut slot is too low (cut to deep)

    ..
    .
    ph

    º º º º º º º º º º º º º º º
    Paul Hostetter, luthier
    Santa Cruz, California
    www.lutherie.net

  14. #13
    lonewolf
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    San Antonio, Texas
    Posts
    78

    Default Re: If 1 nut slot is too low (cut to deep)

    I don't recommend trying to file just one fret. It is too easy to just chase the problem all the way up the neck, one fret at a time. Ideally, every fret on the instrument needs to be the same height, as the lowest fret.

    It seems strange to me that no one has mentioned checking to see if the neck is adjusted correctly, before doing anything else. With super low action like the poster seems to be using, everything has to be just about perfect.

    What's with the $150.00 set-up price? I never charged more than $50.00 to set up a mandolin, when I was working. I am talking about adjustment now, which is what a set-up is, not fret work, a new nut, or repair of any kind.

    Seems the only thing solved here, is that the problem had nothing to do with the nut.

    Find a new tech in your area, that others say is good, and see what he would charge you to just take a look at it. Unless I was in the middle of some project with an imminent deadline, I never charged to take a quick look at an instrument.
    Gene Warner
    retired repiarman

  15. #14

    Default Re: If 1 nut slot is too low (cut to deep)

    Quote Originally Posted by lonewolf View Post
    I don't recommend trying to file just one fret. It is too easy to just chase the problem all the way up the neck, one fret at a time. Ideally, every fret on the instrument needs to be the same height, as the lowest fret.

    It seems strange to me that no one has mentioned checking to see if the neck is adjusted correctly, before doing anything else. With super low action like the poster seems to be using, everything has to be just about perfect.

    What's with the $150.00 set-up price? I never charged more than $50.00 to set up a mandolin, when I was working. I am talking about adjustment now, which is what a set-up is, not fret work, a new nut, or repair of any kind.

    Seems the only thing solved here, is that the problem had nothing to do with the nut.

    Find a new tech in your area, that others say is good, and see what he would charge you to just take a look at it. Unless I was in the middle of some project with an imminent deadline, I never charged to take a quick look at an instrument.
    Gene Warner
    retired repiarman
    This is a lesson in being very careful what you say sometimes - regarding me

    The tech did a good job at a higher action, and installed a quality bridge as we agreed. The problem occured when I lowered the bridge to where I have the action on my Big-Muddy, which is low. Mike Dulak set it up, and told me it was as low as it could go. Low means very little effort to press, sorry I can't be exact right now, and this is becoming a recurring theme for me...

    After lowering the action I was frustrated by 1 string which buzzes. At some point I can bring to a LOCAL tech and this way there won't be a misunderstanding.

    Maybe I should find my flip camera and demonstrate, to prove I am not crazy lol. The mandolin (MD504) oval hole is almost perfect. Almost. Someday it will be.

    Sometimes face to face IS the best way, to avoid all this. Someday when the time seems right, I'll find a local repair person to address this minor concern. If they say "you're expecting the action just too low," and demonstrates why, I won't need to ask questions in cyberspace that are easily confused or could even potentially discredit a skilled persons reputation..

    I've got the action up higher than I'm used to, and the buzz is almost gone. If I raise higher it would disappear completely. The tech is a skilled one, no names are going to be mentioned. It's not a big deal.

    I'm going to practice a tune before work, which is why I own a mandolin, not b#### and moan about a $600 mandolin not being perfect. Sorry to the forum, and any toes I stepped on.

    As an aside, if anyone is seeking a nice mandolin in the spirit of the old Gibsons A's, this mandolin (Eastman 504) is very sweet. Bell-like. I made a good choice, I can address the action issue later.

  16. #15

    Default Re: If 1 nut slot is too low (cut to deep)

    Wait a minute before filing, especially if this is a new problem. Is your neck straight? On some instruments necks can move with a change in the weather. Does it need a little bit of adjustment. I've found fretting problems up the neck, usually around the 12th fret when there is excessive bow to the neck.

  17. #16

    Default Re: If 1 nut slot is too low (cut to deep)

    I am not going to file anything, not even my nails. I am going to use and enjoy and address a super low action later. By then I'll find it too low anyway probably.

  18. #17
    lonewolf
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    San Antonio, Texas
    Posts
    78

    Default Re: If 1 nut slot is too low (cut to deep)

    Every time you get a chance, see if you can check the action height on the instruments of good players you run across. Because of the way a string vibrates, there is a point that you can't go below without some amount of buzzing. If you could play the instruments of some of your idols, you might be surprised.

    Many of us play on our couch at home, and don't find the need for volume, so we play a little less aggressively than we find we have to, when we play with others. Action is not a "one size fits all" sort of thing at all. Only you know what you can live with, and it may take some experimentation to find the right compromise.

    By compromise, I mean that if you set it high enough to totally eliminate all buzzing when you pick at your strongest attack, then you will be working too hard, for the way you pick the majority of the time. Also, we are way more critical of every little thing about our instruments, than a fellow player or an audience member will be. I have many recordings by super talented pickers, where a little fret buzz can be heard, in places. Don' worry too much about a little buzz once in a while.
    Gene Warner
    retired repairman

  19. #18

    Default Re: If 1 nut slot is too low (cut to deep)

    Thanks Gene

    I have a Big Muddy that has ridiculously low action and is suprisingly loud. It is not necessarily the standard I should use for all mandolin actions. Weather, humidity, and all sorts of factors can change a setup right? People here have been very kind in their thought out responses, it has not gone unnoticed.

  20. #19
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Grass Valley California
    Posts
    3,727

    Default Re: If 1 nut slot is too low (cut to deep)

    Take a close look at the frets in the offending area, there may be one or two that are not fully seated and just need to be tapped down a bit. However, with a very low action your set up becomes more critical, the relief needs to be set, the strings adjusted as low as they can in the nut without buzzing, and finally adjust the bridge to the action you want. This is assuming the frets are all even. If the frets are seated well then they need to be leveled and recrowned.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •