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Thread: TL-1HA first build

  1. #151
    Member Groovyman32's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Simon Barden View Post
    Taking off from the bottom of the nut has exactly the same effect as deepening the nut slots.
    Thanks - I understood that about half of the string should be above the nut. So once I have a the right depth I should sand the top?
    Build #1 TL1-HA
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  2. #152
    GAStronomist Simon Barden's Avatar
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    As a minimum, the top of the nut should come to just above half the string height. I find this too low myself (I did try it) as the strings popped out of the slots when I was bending strings. So I file the nut down so the strings are level with the top of the nut.

    The main thing you are doing is to reduce the height at the ends where the slots are close to the end. A high nut height here creates a relatively tall narrow lever, which if caught on clothing or something hard, can easily snap the end off the nut. I have done this on a nut I hadn't got round to reducing the height.

    Reducing the height both minimises the risk of catching it in the first place and the lever effect, so there's less force on the base of the nut if you do. The inter-string sections are wider and stronger, but obviously you file/sand the whole nut down.

    You only get friction where the string touches the nut, so you aren't reducing string friction by doing this, but you are making the nut stronger. Bone nuts can be pretty brittle, and some of the plastic ones aren't much stronger.

    Some people like to use a small round file to file down the areas between the slots in the middle, but I prefer not to do that as it weakens the nut by the slots, increasing the risk of breakage and having to do a nut replacement.

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  4. #153
    Overlord of Music McCreed's Avatar
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    The top E and G vibrate in the nut but adding some tension behind the nut seems to fix it so string trees are in order.
    Not necessarily. Nine times out of ten string buzz at the nut is a result of improperly cut string slots in the nut. String trees will usually make the buzz go away, but it does not actually address what's causing the problem. Fender just whacks on a string tree as SOP because it's quicker and cheaper than paying for someone to finesse every B & E slot (or G) by hand on every single nut.
    The unwound G string is notorious for sonic weirdness, but that's another story...

    I have been guilty of this myself and a lot of my strats and teles have string trees. Cutting nut slots is not rocket science but it does take practise to get it right. As I have improved my "nut skills" I do re-work nuts on my guitars if I put one on the bench for more significant maintenance or surgery. On my last two strat builds I have successfully cut the string slots without the need for a tree.

    Further what Simon mentioned about string slot depth above (I also find the half depth principle too shallow) my general of thumb is 70% depth of string height for E-A-D; 80% on the G (unwound) and 100% (or flush) with the B & E strings.

    In regard to nut action (string action at the nut - slot depth etc) the standard procedure is to depress each string at the third fret and measure the gap from the bottom of the string to the crown of the first fret with a feeler gauge.
    The measurements I aim for are: .008" on the E/A; .006" D/G and .004" B/E. Some people set a different height for each string to create a more true radius (eg: .008; .007; 006 so on...) but my stepped method works for me. YMMV.

    Of course this step is done after string height from the bridge and neck relief has been set as Simon also pointed out.
    Making the world a better place; one guitar at a time...

  5. #154
    Member Groovyman32's Avatar
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    Thanks both - I do much prefer the treeless look. With your advice in mind I'll aim to adjust the nut as best I can. Time to order those nut slot files I think.

    So my next steps:

    - Shielding
    - Electronics
    - Scratch plate
    - Relief
    - Action
    - Nut
    - Intonation

    When setting up I normally do relief, action and intonation in that order. But quite often I'll need to do two or three iterations as things move around. It's like balancing a three sided see-saw. But I've not had to adjust a nut before - a four sided see-saw?
    Last edited by Groovyman32; 21-04-2021 at 08:42 PM.
    Build #1 TL1-HA
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  6. #155
    GAStronomist Simon Barden's Avatar
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    As I've said, I'm happy for you to borrow my nut files for a few days if you want. I don't need them at the moment. Obviously getting your own is a good idea, but only really if you plan to work on more guitars.

  7. #156
    GAStronomist Simon Barden's Avatar
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    And talking of nut files, if you use the double-sided V-edge shaped files, rather than the straight-sided individual files, you'd be best not reducing the nut height above the bottom of the frets by too much, as that V-angle will present less resistance to the string popping out when bending near the nut, so a bit of extra height is recommended.

  8. #157
    Member Groovyman32's Avatar
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    Thanks Simon - and for the offer. I have another guitar in the works and I'd like to make this a long term hobby. So I think it's probably sensible to buy some.

    GluedtoMusic do the Hosoc straight ones individually. E.g.

    https://www.gluedtomusic.com/product...ing-files-010/

    I use 9-42 on all my guitars so I was initially planning to buy these gauges of file:

    .010 .016 .024 .032 .042

    I think I can use the .010 for both .009 and .011?

    ~£80 for five seems more palatable than the full set of ten (~£150).
    Build #1 TL1-HA
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  9. #158
    GAStronomist Simon Barden's Avatar
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    0.010" may be a bit tight for a 0.011" B string, especially if the string is slightly over-sized. Saying that, I use a 0.016" file for my 0.017" G string without issues, so it may work. With the wider slots, you can normally get a folded piece of P400 or P600 in there to tidy things up and widen the slot if necessary, but you'd be hard-pressed to get anything coarser than a folded over piece of P2000 in a 0.010" slot, which makes any widening quite hard work. You don't want the string sticking in the slot because it's too narrow, as that will give tuning problems.

    If you always use 9-42s, then I'd go for this set of 6 Hosco files, which are £10 cheaper than your 5 files.

    https://www.northwestguitars.co.uk/b...ctric-guitars/

    Out of stock at the moment, but worth contacting them to see when they're expected.

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  11. #159
    Overlord of Music McCreed's Avatar
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    I use Uo-Chikyu by Hiroshima Files. The set I have are .010" - .056". They are double edge (same size each side - not V shape).
    FWIW, you can easily and safely gain up to a couple of thousandths on each size with the right technique. I will reiterate that practise and experience are important, as with all this stuff.

    IMO it's worth buying some cheap nuts off Aliexpress or Amazon just for the purpose of having a go and not worrying if you totally hack it up. And if you don't ruin it, you may just have a nut for another build!
    Making the world a better place; one guitar at a time...

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  13. #160
    Member Groovyman32's Avatar
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    Over the last couple of days I've shielded and wired:

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    The shielding was okay - I can see why some prefer shielding paint. If you don't get it to lie totally flat then it gets quite sharp! I did manage to cut my fingers to shreds trying to smooth it out.

    The wiring went okay though (it's not my first soldering rodeo). I did have to lengthen a couple of wires when loading the scratch plate but no biggie. I removed the shielding from the jack hole as I couldn't avoid the tip of the connecter shorting on the tape. It's such a short distance so I just wrapped the ground around the hot coming from the switch.

    <rant>Also, the position of the switch is completely stupid. I've play many LP style guitars over the years and it never occurred to me to think about the circuit. What was Les thinking? On the end of the headstock is the only other more inconvenient place! It makes no sense to put the switch there. It would make way more sense to have it down with the pots. At least someone sensible designed the SG </rant>

    Anyway, it all worked well straight away. There's no discernible hum - at least in my house connected to an HX Stomp into a computer. Although I don't think P90s are particularly susceptible to it compared to true single coils?

    I've been experimenting with the Graphtec nut. It's a much smaller nut (i.e. not tall) so the string height it is way better than the bone nut that came with the kit.

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    The slots for the unwound strings look deep enough. Although the break angle for high E string doesn't seem to be enough for it to track down the back of the nut (string tree?). The wound strings need adjustment but I'm not there's enough room to deepen them before they would be too low.

    My files have arrived and I've ordered a bunch of blanks to practice on.

    I do seem to have problem on the high E around the 12th fret. Only sometimes, there appears to be a bad rattle - like there's a high fret. I'm not sure what could be causing this to happen only sometimes? String tension perhaps? Having replaced the string it seems to happen a lot less frequently - but more investigation needed I think.

    The SD Phat Cats are awesome - really, well, fat! And I'd bought the wrongs knobs as they don't fit the mini CTS pots I have - doh!
    Build #1 TL1-HA
    Build #2

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