Fitting Nuts: Pre-Shaped Nuts Part 2 - Installation

Fitting Nuts: Pre-Shaped Nuts Part 2 - Installation

Installing a pre-cut/pre-shaped nut requires a lot of patience to do well. It’s easy to hack off some bits and glue it in but, doing it well and getting a good setup… that takes time and some Buddha-like levels of patience.

Most of the nut manufacturers don’t tell you that. Go figure.

Check out how to get a great result…

Brian May and the Zero Fret Controversy

Brian May and the Zero Fret Controversy

After the last article on fret wear, I was surprised to get some responses refuting my statement that a zero fret would (all things being equal) wear more quickly than other frets. 

It seems that Brian May is partly to blame for this. Well, not quite. Check it out…

Setup a Compound Radius Guitar

Setup a Compound Radius Guitar

While most guitars have a single radius along the length of the fingerboard, a compound radius instrument has a radius that gradually increases/flattens as you go further up the neck. 

Some players find these a godsend but they do require some different methods to set them up and to perform fretwork on them. 

Fretwork Scars and Integrity

Badly fitted and finished fret

Protect your fretboard when doing refrets, levels, polishing, etc.

The Problem

I worked on these guitars in order to put right the work that someone* had attempted and done a less-than-stellar job on. One had a lot of poorly seated frets that caused buzzing all over the place and the second problem is more 'visible'.

The first required a full refret and the second needed a fret level and some fret-glueing (although I'd dearly have liked to be able to refret again so I could do more with the scarring/scrapes). 

The Tip

As you can see, one of the problems is that the fingerboard has been scarred. This happened when the previous guy failed to protect the wood before working on the frets (with files or sandpaper). This stuff's not rocket science—you can buy fretboard-guards all over the place online but even a bit of masking tape will do the trick in a pinch. 

If you're ever using anything abrasive on your frets, protect the wood they live in. It's not as tough as the metal frets so spare it a thought. 

The Rant

*The person who did these jobs wasn't the owner having a go at some DIY. That'd be just fine. Nope. Someone charged for this work. 

This is something that gets me really, really riled up.

Weird, right? I mean, since it means more business for me, other repairers making a mess of things should make me happy.

It really, really doesn't, though.

Seriously—someone took a guy's guitar, mucked up a refret, and then charged for it. I can't get on board with that. Forget about running a business, life isn't about what you can get away with while hoping nobody notices. 

Integrity, dammit! Have some damned integrity. 

Turns out, there are tons of 'integrity' quotes on the web but I decided to go with mine. 

The middle word wasn't 'damned' in the first version.  ;-)

Integrity is what you do when nobody's watching. Or something. 

My hand-lettering needs some more practice. Letterers among my readers should feel free to run with this one. Let's call it 13% royalties for me. ;-)

Quality Control

Mistakes happen on any line. It's inevitable. That's why there's an inspection stage at the end of an item's production. If the product is inspected and found to be defective in some way, the quality control process should reject that item and feed back the information to hopefully ensure it doesn't happen again. Quality control feeds back to quality assurance. 

When quality control fails to catch problems, a product is shipped that is not up to scratch and which may impact the user's ability to use it as intended. There's a very good argument that quality control is the most important function in any production line—it doesn't matter what mistakes are made as long as they don't leave the factory. 

Fret-end bevel extends beyond 1st string

Too much fret-end bevelling - string slips off edge of neck

On a completely unrelated topic, the fret-ends of this guitar have been bevelled at too shallow an angle. The end of the bevel is actually past the first string. Playing pretty much anything on this guitar's top E-string causes it to slip off the side of the neck. It's impossible to play well. 

Mistakes happen. 

I've seen this particular mistake on more than one occasion over the last year or so, though. All new instruments. One repair guy's evidence does not a conclusion make but I suspect a process failure somewhere. 

As a bit of good news, I'm informed that the manufacturer of these guitars has taken feedback on board and is concerned about any lapses in quality. Fingers crossed that this will translate to improved axes.