This Epiphone came in for a general check-up, cleaning, fresh strings and a bone saddle and nut. It had been in disuse for a number of years and now that the owner had time on his hands, he decided to make use of it by brushing up on his strumming skills.
Otherwise a solidly built guitar, I was surprised when I could not knock out the plastic nut installed in the instrument, using the usual means that I employ. I had to hold it with a pair of pliers and with much effort, prise it out of the slot. It came out, eventually, but in pieces. Take a look at the photo above and see if you can count the number of pieces it shattered into.
To my horror, I saw that some HII (high-IQ individual) had used epoxy to glue the nut in and there was enough residue in the slot to fill a gorge in the Grand Canyon! To my eyes it seemed as if I was the first repair person to have touched the instrument, and so, could it mean that people at Epiphone used the epoxy? There was no knowing.
Just cleaning the slot was a tedious 50-minute procedure, employing various means and tools. The problem was that I could not get too happy with the tools. Just a little extra sanding and I would be sanding away too much of the nut-end of the fretboard, which would mean reducing length of the fretboard, which meant reducing the scale length. When I was done, I had managed to work up a healthy sweat, not due to exertion but due to nervousness.
While replacing the nut, ideally, if the slot is cut correctly, one does not require glue. The nut sits snugly in its slot and is held in place by the strings. However, glueing it in place is not wrong either…BUT…only with two little dots of glue – NO MORE – on the side of the nut that will sit against the fretboard.
The cleaning, oiling and polishing of the guitar took me another hour, give or take a few minutes.
With a spanking new nut and saddle in place, I restrung the instrument with 0.12 – 0.53″ gauge strings.
A proper set-up and a string-stretching followed with the action reading 0.79″ at the 12th fret and 0.15″ at the 1st fret.
A mighty pleased owner picked up his instrument later in the day, bringing smiles my way too!