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Overcut nut?

Postby jaminem » Wed Nov 30, 2011 10:33 am

Chums, I have a Musicman Stingray Classic 4.

Its lovely, but when I got it it was setup with a really high action - too high for me.

I lowered the action at the bridge a little, but this has caused the notes to buzz hugely around frets 1-4 - the neck looks pretty straight so not sure if the truss rod needs adjusting although it doesn't have the slight curve up to the nut of my Warwicks, but the strings are sitting really deep in the nut, and the slots look a lot bigger than the strings it is holding.

I wonder if the action was set so high as the nut has been over cut? (i'd be pretty annoyed if that was the case on a £2K bass)

Is there anything I can do to remedy this, or does it have to go for a setup/new nut or whatever?

If so can anyone recommend a decent guitar tech in Somerset/Wiltshire?
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Re: Overcut nut?

Postby zenguitar » Wed Nov 30, 2011 1:37 pm

Hiya Jaminem,

Without actually having the bass to hand to check it's difficult to be certain, but from your description of the problem and observations it sounds like you are probably right. Everything is pointing towards someone inexperienced getting a little carried away with the files.

If this was done as part of a set-up, then it really ought to go back. However, don't assume the work was done by the shop's guitar tech, it's not unknown for keen DIYers on the staff to take on these jobs themselves. Especially if the tech has a lot of work in and the shop staff are keen to complete the sale.

I can't help with a reputable tech in the area. But essentially there are 3 ways to solve this sort of problem. A replacement nut, a shim under the existing nut, or filling and re-cutting the slots.

Filling and re-cutting nut slots is really for where one or two slots have been cut a little too deep, but it can be very effective. However it's a lot of work to do all the slots on a bass nut. Adding a bone or hardwood shim to the nut is perfectly legitimate, the disadvantages are that it can look unattractive unless done very well and does need skill/confidence/experience to remove the nut cleanly if it's glued in place. A replacement nut is very easy for someone with the right skills, knowledge and tools.

It's worth reading my sticky post about making and fitting a new nut if you are interested. It might help you decide whether or not you have the confidence to take on the job yourself.

Andy
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Re: Overcut nut?

Postby jaminem » Wed Nov 30, 2011 4:19 pm

Hi Andy, thanks.

The more I look at it, the more I think its been done on a Friday afternoon by someone, who didn't have a clue!

I didn't have the Bass setup when I bought it, most notably for the fact that it just didn't occur to me - I've only ever bought used basses before and the last 3 have all been Warwicks that have the just-a-nut system so you can adjust the height of the nut without any problems.

I'd be interested in changing the nut myself so I will look at your thread, after my recent pickup change triumph my confidence levels are probably sufficient to tackle it, my only concern would be the fact the neck is lacquered on fretboard and back - will that cause a problem, I wouldn't want to chip it.

So I guess the next question would be, what kind of nut (Bone?) where do I get it, and if I bottle it, what should I pay a tech to have it done properly?
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Re: Overcut nut?

Postby Frisonic » Wed Nov 30, 2011 5:16 pm

As an aside to Andy's advice, do you know what the original nut was on the Stingray 4s? I have a MM '79 Saber bass, which had a brass nut on it when I bought it. I don't know if it was the original. I have since had the instrument refretted (it needed it - those old Music Man's are too nice to put down and my one had been played to death)! In doing that we decided to go for a new bone nut and the consensus is it sounds great. I can't say better because I never played the brass nut on the fresh frets, so no comparison.

Secondly I have a trusted bassist friend (builds his own basses) in the Frome area and I'll ask him tonight if he has a luthier recommendation for that (very beautiful) part of the world. He doesn't do any commercial work himself, being strictly an amateur at luthiery. But I'll pass on any recommendation later (got a feeling he may know someone around Midsummer Norton way). When I lived around there I relied on John Hillary at Madcap Music in Westbury. But he retired a few years ago and the shop is now gone...
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Re: Overcut nut?

Postby Jonesd90 » Wed Nov 30, 2011 5:41 pm

Hi Jaminem,

if you are located in Lacock then this shop http://www.vintageandrareguitars.com/ in Bath might help you.

I have not used it myself but I know they specialise in buying and selling top end guitars so even if they don't have an in house tech then they should know one locally!

I would have advised Duck son & pinker in Bath but they shut down earlier this year due to lack of sales! A very sad day!

Anyway, good luck!

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Re: Overcut nut?

Postby zenguitar » Thu Dec 01, 2011 12:57 am

Hiya Jaminem,

If you decide to go for it yourself you need a decent bone blank. Most guitar shops have them in stock, and if not can order them quickly. You can also get them from places like AxesRus online. Brass was very fashionable in the mid 70's and made it's way onto late 70's/early 80's production instruments. It was thought to have good sustain due to it's density, but it does damp high frequencies a little due to being so soft.

Basically, it's a generic Fender replacement. The only issue is whether or not the nut slot has a flat bottom or a radiused one. I've done replacements for Stingrays in the dim and distant past but can't for the life of me remember which version Musicman use So unless anyone can say for sure, you need to remove the old nut to find out. However, if in doubt, a flat bottom replacement nut is easy enough to shape to a round bottom. I mention the method in the thread...

You remove this style nut by gently tapping against the side of the nut with a hammer and drift. It's always a little nerve-wracking

Where you have a lacquered neck you need a very sharp blade like a scalpel or modelling knife to careful cut through the lacquer around the nut. Done cleanly it's near invisible, but if you need to do a little touch-up work to the lacquer you will find Superglue to be an excellent candidate. Apply with a cocktail stick/pin along the repair, leave to dry over night, and carefully sand back flush. Go for several applications rather than one big one.

A friend of mine is a brass instrument repairer with a workshop in Glastonbury, and he's always being asked about guitar repairs. And so far he hasn't found anyone there to refer people to.

Andy
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Re: Overcut nut?

Postby . . . Delete This User . . . » Thu Dec 01, 2011 10:51 pm

, you could always wander over again sometime..... if you do it in the next couple of weeks , you can droool over the stupidly expensive monitoring i've got on test,.... while i sort the nut out.
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Re: Overcut nut?

Postby zenguitar » Fri Dec 02, 2011 12:42 am

Off duty BBQ lighter AKA Idris wrote:, you could always wander over again sometime..... if you do it in the next couple of weeks , you can droool over the stupidly expensive monitoring i've got on test,.... while i sort the nut out.

You can't argue with a quality offer like that Jaminem. But I am obliged to provide a Health Warning. Top up on fluids before the visit and regularly while you are there. All reports elsewhere on the fora suggest you will drool a great deal

And at the end of the visit you will have a well sorted nut.

Simples

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Re: Overcut nut?

Postby jaminem » Fri Dec 02, 2011 10:35 am

Ah, he's a good lad that one...

I never realised buying a 2nd hand converter came with a free nut change!
next few weeks is possible, I'll see how quickly I can get a nut in, and then send you a PM!
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Re: Overcut nut?

Postby . . . Delete This User . . . » Sat Dec 10, 2011 3:17 pm

Job done, and i can report , no new nut required, just truss rod and action height and intonation adjustments.


instrument had too much tension on the rod, causing a slight back bow on the neck, not helped by being down tuned a half step .


so, reduce the truss rod tension, lower the height, tweak intonation, and slightly re-adjust the A string to correct arc of the strings with respect to the fingerboard radius....


all done and dusted....


J is once again a happy camper
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Re: Overcut nut?

Postby zenguitar » Sat Dec 10, 2011 5:39 pm

Nice job.

And a handy reminder that it's not straightforward diagnosing problems from online descriptions. I know sometimes people get frustrated when the first response to their question is 'more info please', but it really does make a world of difference.

You can't beat handing it to someone who knows what they are doing

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Re: Overcut nut?

Postby jaminem » Sun Dec 11, 2011 8:33 am

Yes, job done - what a thoroughly decent chap you are Idris! Most appreciated hope you enjoy your Xmas present. And I've learnt a new skill!
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Re: Overcut nut?

Postby jaminem » Sun Dec 11, 2011 8:37 am

P.S. quote of the day - "I've got a Jem, what sort of music do you think I play?"
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