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Thread: Correct nut files for different string gauges

  1. #1
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    Default Correct nut files for different string gauges

    I want to change the string spacing on a tenor banjo so my plan is to fill the existing nut slots with bone power and super glue then re-file the slots to where I want them. I've done this procedure before on mandolins with success.

    I want to use this set of strings on the banjo: .012, .020, .026, .038.

    My problem is, except for the .020, I can't find nut files in those widths.

    So for example, for the .038 string, I can find a .035 or a .042 file. Which one should I
    buy to make the slot for the .038 string? Should I get something a little smaller, or a little bigger? Does it matter?

  2. #2
    Registered User Mike Conner's Avatar
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    Default Re: Correct nut files for different string gauges

    You can rock the smaller size file slightly to open the slot for a perfect fit - I have done this many times. As usual, the goal is to have slot depth about one-half the string diameter.

    For larger strings occasionally I have opened the slot larger and glued in a sliver of bone. This holds up over time better than bone dust and superglue, and it is possible to achieve a nearly invisible repair.

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  4. #3
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    Default Re: Correct nut files for different string gauges

    Thanks for the reply Mike!

  5. #4
    Registered User Mike Conner's Avatar
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    Default Re: Correct nut files for different string gauges

    You are welcome, Bill. Consider that if you already have the nut files (or are going to acquire them), making a new nut really is not difficult at all. That would be my preference over filling or patching multiple string slots. There are lots of resources that show how to create the new nut on the web and here, and you would have the opportunity to adjust string spacing and any other improvements you might want.

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