It leaves a nice flat-bottomed slot. Securing a Loose Guitar Nut If a nut pops loose I recommend using a couple of drops Elmer's or wood glue to reattach it.
If the angle is too steep the string may actually rest on just a small portion of the slot causing premature wear as it is sitting on a small peak. The slot itself needs to be shaped in a way that it not only fits the diameter of each individual string, but also such that the string has firm contact with the nut at the very front of the slot. They can ruin your day.
Whether the string is coming from the top or the bottom of the string post, it will slide smoothly into the nut slot. How do you easily determine the ideal height of the string slot in the nut? Slot Depth The depth of the slots in the nut determine how closely the string comes to the frets, particularly the first fret. They also tend to bind and squeak. My method of raising the nut is to laminate matching material to the bottom of the nut.
The nut is in yellow, the fingerboard is dark brown. The sketch below illustrates how - and how not - to shape a slot for any string. The sketch above relates to fretted instruments, but the basic principles are no different for violin family and other unfretted instruments.
If the slot isn't properly angled back, several problems can arise. This defines the end of the vibrating string length, and if it's not right, intonation will be impaired at the very least, and you may well find your string sizzling like a sitar string. This is also bad: If you've ever had to lift a string from a nut slot when changing strings it's a sure sign the slot is too small.
Mandolin A's are always the most troublesome because they have to make compound bends from the nut: I use the term laminate and not shim because it is glued to the nut and can only be removed by sanding. Slot Angle The slots must also be angled correctly.
Adversely, nut slots that have not been cut properly can leave the strings higher than necessary above the first fret. It's as good as the original, and if done well, is quite invisible. Notice that the string connects with a smooth curved surface, no corner or edge. If it's too flat some repair books actually advocate this!
These slots are all too deep, but the B is still so high it doesn't play in tune, so someone shoved a piece of ebony under it to try and correct the intonation. The bell here is imaginary. And that annoying pinging sound when tuning up. If you hold any string down on any fret of a well set up instrument, you'll see that same preferred clearance at the next fret up.
Having the slot cut too high above the frets or an unfretted board of some type means that the act of pressing the string down to the first few frets actually stretches the string, raising the pitch and throwing the intonation off in the process. Anything more is just in the way. Avoiding hitting the first fret, assuming there is one, I cut down below the blown slot, sometimes almost to the board itself, angling the saw back a bit.
A small dab between the end of the fingerboard and the nut will do the trick and permit easy removal that does not damage the bottom of the slot when removing. The D's, being wound, tend to refine their own slots. A quick word about creaking guitar G strings: And being plain strings, they tend to bind if the slots aren't cut right.
I have seen the made from wood veneer, paper even pieces of credit cards.
Often it's wiser to gibson nut slots a blown slot than it is to replace the whole nut. If the slot is smaller than the string it may bind and create tuning problems. Install and cut final string depth Ivory nut being shaped The most difficult stage in making guitar nuts from scratch is probably spacing the strings properly. A poorly angled nut slot can create a buzz like sound that can often be silenced if downward pressure is applied to the string behind the nut over the peghead.
More on bridges in due time, but the principles here apply to bridge slots on the viol and violin families, guitars, mandolins, and so on. And with a poorly cut nut, when you tune up, the tension on the length of string between the nut and the string post is greater per unit of length than the part you actually play, that's between the nut and the bridge.
The string is a superb straightedge when it's under tension. Here's an idea of how it works on a bass: