How hangs it with you folks during the lockdown? Yeah! It was pretty boring for me too till this beauty of an Ibanez (V50NJP) landed up on the workbench, buzzing worse than a mosquito in heat!
Thing was that the nut – and thankfully, it was a bone nut – on the otherwise beautifully kept guitar was REALLY low. I know everybody likes low action on their guitar, but often, if the person doing the set-up on your guitar knows his numbers and what he/she is doing, chances are you get a really low action without your guitar buzzing.
I must apologise for the photograph above. I was trying to show how low the first fret action was. I am holding a 0.16″ feeler gauge, wishing to show that I can’t slip it under the strings without lifting them. Ideally, it should slip in with the strings just touching it.
One thing that I forgot to mention was that this instrument belonged to a student who didn’t wish to swap the nut on the instrument with a new nut. Otherwise, I would just chuck out the old nut and throw in a new one, saving a lot of time and effort.
But mended it had to be. Loosen the strings, pull them out of the way and go to work on the nut.
So, out came the bone dust to fill in the nut slots. And then a drop of super thin cyno-acrylate glue to seal each fill in each slot. Don’t miss the special dispenser that would let just a drop drip.
After waiting for some time, it was time for the nut slots to be filed to the correct height. But before the filing process began, here’s where the action at the 1st fret stood: .018″!!!!!
Getting it down to .016″ is a painstakingly slow process. File, string it up, measure height, loosen strings, file. Repeat.
The problem with going to far in one go is that you will have to replace the nut – what we were aiming to avoid in the first place. Remember?
This is from the first filing. Five more followed before the strings sat exactly where I wanted them to.
And then all that filling and filing and super glue does leave the nut looking ugly and so the nut needs cleaning with sandpaper of different grits so that all the work done on it is not too apparent.
Finally, it was done and dusted and the action at the 1st fret stood at a very healthy 0.16″ – as you can probably see in the following photograph.
The young man was happy and I was oddly satisfied.