Ironically after making probably a couple hundred nuts throughout my career, I get asked to make a brass one for the first time on a 5 string bass.  It has a zero fret and the customer stated that the previous string set was wider, so they moved in their slots.  I told him that as long as the strings sat on the zero fret, the nut was merely for spacing.  I also asked if there was any abnormal buzzing at the nut and he said no.  Regardless, he wants it replaced, even though he basically just admitted it doesn't have issues.  So, now to my question(s).  The supplied nut is pretty much ready to fit in, but the slots are square on the bottom, and i'm assuming not cut to depth.  I don't like when needle files are used for nuts because the result is often sloppy looking and not specific to the gauge of the string that will be in it.  What would be a common tool used for gauge specific slots?  Are my existing nut slotting files going to get eaten up?  What tools are proper for other parts of the job like shaping, cutting down a blank, etc?  I'm just gathering info should I get a similar request in the future.  Thanks in advance, it's somewhat of a new material for me.  

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I'm with you, Brian.... if there's a zero-fret, what difference does the nut material make?  Maybe the customer just likes the look of it?  I suppose that's a good a reason as any.

Brass, being relatively soft, cuts nicely with the usual nut files... never had a problem with them being worn by brass. I like to go in afterwards and "floss" with the Mitchell abrasive cord to smooth-out the marks. 

Brass wood ivory bone ,doesn't make much different with zero fret.

The width of the slot doesn't make much different. Make it look good. The depth of the string slot has to be deep enough so the string is resting on the zero fret.

Al the rest is the same.



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