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Thread: Adjusting the nut - Eastman mandolin

  1. #1
    Mandolingerer Bazz Jass's Avatar
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    Default Adjusting the nut - Eastman mandolin

    The nut is too high on my Eastman 515 - a common issue I'm told.

    Really feeling it in my wrist after prolonged practicing. Have been a gigging guitar player for 30+ years and never had an issue.

    Reading online, it's suggested 0.10" clearance between the E/A strings and 1st fret, and 0.12" between the G/D strings and the 1st fret is good. Mine are currently around .020."

    Have been looking for a good instructional video. I'm happy with set up work. I've adjusted the nut slots on my guitars using the Frank Ford "enough clearance just to hear a click" method.

    A feel I need to be a bit more precise with the mandolin - to make sure I'm getting the pairs exactly even in lower the slots. Is it just a matter of using a feeler gauge at the first fret and lowering the slot until the first fret clearance is exactly right? Or should I be marking the nut with a line that I file down to.

    Probably overthinking this, but would like to get it right

    Thanks.
    Last edited by Bazz Jass; Jul-26-2021 at 7:12pm.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Adjusting the nut - Eastman mandolin

    You may have seen this before, but rob.meldrum@gmail.com can send you his setup manual. It's worked for lots of folks, and, yes, he has you using feeler gauges.

    Getting the nut height down properly will not only make playing easier, it will save the frets because you won't have to clamp as hard!

    Besides feeler gauges, using your own fingers (and eyes, if they still work reasonably) can help you get the string pairs level, both "internally" and compared to the other strings. I do think there's some subtle difference that might need to be managed with a radiused vs. flat fingerboard, so go slow. I'm pretty happy with mine, but there's a little bit of issue with the spacing (D pair is a tiny bit closer to the A than the G) that I don't like, so may end up filling and moving a tiny bit when it cools off so I can spend some quality time out in the garage, again.

    Good luck!
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  4. #3
    Mandolingerer Bazz Jass's Avatar
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    Default Re: Adjusting the nut - Eastman mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by still_fiddlin View Post
    You may have seen this before, but rob.meldrum@gmail.com can send you his setup manual. It's worked for lots of folks, and, yes, he has you using feeler gauges.

    Getting the nut height down properly will not only make playing easier, it will save the frets because you won't have to clamp as hard!

    Besides feeler gauges, using your own fingers (and eyes, if they still work reasonably) can help you get the string pairs level, both "internally" and compared to the other strings. I do think there's some subtle difference that might need to be managed with a radiused vs. flat fingerboard, so go slow. I'm pretty happy with mine, but there's a little bit of issue with the spacing (D pair is a tiny bit closer to the A than the G) that I don't like, so may end up filling and moving a tiny bit when it cools off so I can spend some quality time out in the garage, again.

    Good luck!
    Thanks! Great info

  5. #4
    Orrig Onion HonketyHank's Avatar
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    Default Re: Adjusting the nut - Eastman mandolin

    Rob Meldrum ---- +1
    New to mando? Click this link -->Newbies to join us at the Newbies Social Group.

    Just send an email to rob.meldrum@gmail.com with "mandolin setup" in the subject line and he will email you a copy of his ebook for free (free to all mandolincafe members).

    My website and blog: honketyhank.com

  6. #5

    Default Re: Adjusting the nut - Eastman mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by Bazz Jass View Post
    I'm happy with set up work. I've adjusted the nut slots on my guitars using the Frank Ford "enough clearance just to hear a click" method
    Frank's method works exactly the same (and just as well) on paired strings as single strings. The only difference is you have to address each one of the pair while it's partner is temporarily moved out of the way (or muted with another fingertip)
    But Amsterdam was always good for grieving
    And London never fails to leave me blue
    And Paris never was my kinda town
    So I walked around with the Ft. Worth Blues

  7. #6

    Default Re: Adjusting the nut - Eastman mandolin

    0.020" yikes! My new Martin guitar came with the slots that high and I couldn't cut them down fast enough. On mando, I would classify that as "unplayable". When I set up a mandolin, I aim for 0.005" first fret clearance on the E and A string. 0.004" zings or buzzes (ask me how I know). 0.010-0.012" may be safe on the G depending on how hard you hit. Of course, I've built 5 mandos and set up quite a few more so I've had lot's of practice.

    Tolerances are critical on mandolin. I wouldn't tackle it without good nut slot files. I use a variation of Stew Mac's system utilizing an extra set of feeler gauges for the file to zero out on to avoid cutting the slot too deep. It's one job best left to the experts IMO.

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