Please evaluate this nut job

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Dadou, Aug 1, 2019.

  1. Dadou

    Dadou Well-Known Member

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    Hi all, long time no post but I sure have been lurking as usual!

    I'd like to get your opinions on the nut replacement job I got from supposedly one of the best luthiers in the Paris area (the guy owns the only PLEK machine in France, is a certified Santa Cruz repairman and all that jive..).

    I' ve never been happy with the stock nut on my no. 1 guitar, a 2011 Gibson SG standard limited. The strings started to get caught in the grooves quite soon after the purchase. I was still using your typical Ernie ball 10s at the time. The fact that I standardized to GHS Gilmour signature strings after a couple of years of owning the guitar only made the " ping" at the nut worse. The guitar wouldn' t reliably stay in tune for live usage.
    Long story short, I found myself at a point in my life where I was financially able and it made sense to give this guitar a proper setup (including a stock nut filing to accommodate my string gauge of choice) by a luthier. Luthier no.1 did an ok job but the G string groove became a little too deep and the string would occasionally buzz if hit too hard.

    Enter luthier no.2 (i.e. the superstar guy I mentioned in the opening). He talked me out of the nut replacement (as in the guitar' s fine, don' t hammer on the G string and you' re good to go etc) but eventually made me a new bone nut since I requested that" I would' ve preferred TUSQ XL but he doesn' t work with that. i was fine with the 60€ he charged me for the new bone nut and told him I wanted a state-of-the-art job for this guitar (which he should always guarantee anyway).

    Fast forward 3 weeks, I got my first disappointment, he tried to hand me back the guitar with some chips in the finish around the nut saying that despite the fact that he had scored the lacquer around the edges of the nut, a little chipping is impossible to avoid on Gibsons. I told him I found that unacceptable and that was the first and main reason why I brought him the guitar, since I' ve already replaced a nut on my Fender, but the Gibson with the painted nut is a different story.

    I came back a week later and got the guitar. It looks like an okay job to me but there' s some chipping on the headstock side and the nut joint is not clean on the right hand side. I will definitely do the next nut job on a Gibson myself. What do you guys think? 20190714_121316.jpg 20190714_121303.jpg 20190714_121223.jpg 20190714_121244.jpg
     
  2. Chuteboxehero

    Chuteboxehero Active Member

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    I've seen much, much worse. I don't know if it's possible to remove a nut on a Gibson and guarantee no surrounding finish damage. There's definitely a small gap at the right side bottom. I'm guessing he had to shape it a bit? Maybe took off a little too much? Hard to say. Like I said, I've seen much worse. Could it have been done better? Maybe.
     
  3. Chuteboxehero

    Chuteboxehero Active Member

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    Also, besides the situation with the nut that looks like a beautiful guitar. Any chance for some pics of the whole guitar?
     
  4. Norton

    Norton Well-Known Member

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    I mean...maybe?? Maybe with a magnifying glass I could see what you’re complaining about?

    But it looks fine to me. Actually the nut looks pretty awesome!

    And if there are no awesome luthier’s around you...the last thing you’re gonna want to do is alienate the best and only option you’ve got.

    Because honestly, if you were my customer and you told me that this guitar was unacceptable? I would straight up refuse to work on your guitars again.
     
  5. Colnago

    Colnago Active Member

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    looks fine to me.
     
  6. Biddlin

    Biddlin Well-Known Member

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    Wow, no one told you to rub graphite dust in the grooves?
    Hou la la! Personne ne vous a dit de frotter de la poussière de graphite dans les rainures pour les lubrifier?
     
    Lunacy the Faded likes this.
  7. DrBGood

    DrBGood Well-Known Member

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    How does it play blindfolded ?
     
  8. Huntroll

    Huntroll Active Member

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    I surprized that you stated that you would do the job yourself next time.
    Replacing nuts on Gibsons is about as difficult as it gets.
    One wrong move and disaster !
    The issue I would be concerned with is the string placement.
    Unless you specified the strings to be placed wider than stock or as wide as possible,
    compared to the newer stock SG I just looked at, they look to be a set a little wider and the high E too close to the edge.
    Although, if the frets have slight wear on them, the string placement might be perfectly centered on that wear.
    It could be that based on their experience, the strings are placed perfectly, just as they needed to be.
    With musical instruments, there's always a degree of artistic variation in manufacture and repair.
    I am certainly no expert.
    Be safe, send your prized SG to the authority, GIBSON.
    Although in the end, you may be confronted with the same original woes - your preferred strings not fitting right or whatever.
    Please, keep us posted !
     
    Lunacy the Faded likes this.
  9. plankton

    plankton Well-Known Member

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    Looks fine to me. How does it play?
     
  10. Dadou

    Dadou Well-Known Member

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    Wow, you guys are taking a huge weight off my mind! Thanks for your contributions.

    The guitar has a much better sound with open chords. It literally rings loud and clear particularly on the plain strings, while I used to get a more compressed and midrange-y sound with the old nut.

    I haven't noticed anything wrong with the string spacing so far. I'll see if it bothers me in the long run.

    Regarding the graphite/vaseline/nut sauce or what have you, I've never had much luck with any of those solutions. Graphite from a quite greasy pencil (4B classification in Europe -dunno if you use the same in North America) didn't give me any good result in the past. The luthier recommended it though so I'll probably have another go. I find vaseline to be messy and not very effective (I've used it several times under the string trees of my strat).

    I was concerned about this nut job because of the state I saw the guitar in when I first picked it up. He sure has touched it up good afterwards but I wanted to get some opinions from more experienced people as this is my first proper hand made nut replacement (first bone nut too). The other nut replacement I did was a drop in tusq nut replacement for a strat and it was just a matter of light sanding.
     
  11. Col Mustard

    Col Mustard Well-Known Member

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    To me, your guitar's nut looks very properly done...
    the string grooves look correct, and it's nicely polished and rounded.

    My concerns would be the depth of the notches, because this affects
    the action of the guitar and also can cause poor intonation.

    Since you have said that the tone of open chords is improved,
    and if you don't throw the guitar out of tune when you play,
    I would say the work is well done.

    alors, au finis, c'est bon.
     
  12. Col Mustard

    Col Mustard Well-Known Member

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    A bone nut is said to be self lubricating, so you may not need to fuss with
    lubrication as much as some others. Tusq also does not need much of this
    because of the composition of the material.

    What I do is to mix powdered graphite in Vaseline petroleum jelly. One large spoonful
    of this in a medicine bottle is enough for a lifetime IMHO. I use a toothpick to apply
    it. This is why it is not messy for me. One tiny dot of this mixture, applied with a toothpick
    into a nut slot is enough, or under the string tree of a Fender guitar. I also lube my
    bridge slots with it when I change strings. Just a tiny bit. Once a year seems to be
    enough.
     
  13. papagayo

    papagayo Well-Known Member

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    It' s very difficult to say something, the nut looks nice but the most important points are the distance between strings and the first fret and how easily the strings move when you tune the guitar.
     
  14. Dadou

    Dadou Well-Known Member

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    I've tried vaseline (w/out graphite) with a toothpick in the past with no luck, particularly on Fender string trees: the little dab of vaseline seems to be spread out by the string on the sides and the little amount of vaseline which is caught between the string and the string tree is dragged away by the string itself when tuning. (Is this explanation clear at all?)
    Graphite only never did the trick for me. I am hesitant to mix the two and apply it. As far as I see it (but I've been wrong before) one shouldn't need lubing the nut. I don't need to do it on my Strat which I have equipped with a tusq nut myself (I believe only the tusq XL version is self lubricating, mine is the regular type)
     

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