Jay Scott Guitar

Private guitar and bass lessons, jam camps, guitar building and repairs in West Chester, PA

Two Teles, Part 12

On to the nut! This part is one of the aspects of the project I enjoy most and am proudest of. The steps are straightforward. One of the things I like about the Allparts necks is that they don’t waste much of the fret length. This means I can space the strings a little wider, which I think generally makes playing easier. Stewmac sells great Fender-type nut blanks, and those are a big timesaver.

A little sanding is all I need to get a clean, snug fit in the nut slot. Once that’s done, I locate the slots for the E strings. Then my trusty Stewmac slot ruler comes into play, and shows me where to locate the slots for the other strings. The filing that follows, though, requires a lot of care. It’s easy to start the slot (I use an X-acto saw) a little to one side of your pencil mark by mistake. I re-measure often, having learned the hard way what a good idea that is. I generally wind up filing through a bit more material than I’d need to to if sanded the top of the nut down further, but I like having the adjustment room as I go.

Once the slots are cut, I fine-tune the slot depths to make the guitar feel easier to play, and then remove the nut for final shaping. More careful measurement gives me the exact length I need, and then I sand the ends, round the corners a bit, and get to polishing. I use the same buffer boards I use to keep my fingerpicking nails in shape. I “run the grits” and am amazed every time how beautifully bone polishes up. And now on to final assembly so I can string this guitar up and play it!