Dave Johnson is the founder of Scale Model Guitars and a Guitar Craft Academy faculty member.
For this month’s tech tip, I will show you a quick way to fill and recut a nut slot in order to raise it up.
A slot that is cut correctly should hold the string in place at a height that clears the first fret. Sometimes a guitar nut slot will wear down over time and cause the string to rattle against the first fret, causing the open string to sound a little more like a sitar than a guitar.
There are several ways to repair this issue. You can use dust or baking soda with glue, but I’ve found that a Q-Tip works very well too. You simply tape off the ends of the nut and then remove a small portion of the cloth and roll it up, then insert it into the slot that is too low. Then flow a thin super glue into the fibers using a thin whip tip. You can find thin super glue with whip tips on stewmac.com (the part number is #0010).
You can either drop super glue accelerator on the soaked Q-Tip or wait a few minutes for it to harden. Once it is cured and solid, you will then flush cut the ends of the hard fibers with a razor blade and then recut the nut slot to the appropriate height with a gauged nut file. This process would be included in any guitar setup and it’s a handy skill to have to ensure that your guitar plays and sounds great!
– Dave Johnson