I am needing to adjust the front edge of a strat's nut slot to accommodate an LSR roller nut. How do I make the cuts parallel and clean--I know where to cut, I am just really hesitant. Please offer specific methods and tool descriptions. I was thinking of a jig or mitre box arraingement, but so far I haven't found a mitre box with the precision and capacity I am looking for. Thanks!

i'm just hesitant.

Tags: Fretboard, LSR, Roller, cuts, install, nut

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Good Morning Jeff,

While I have never done that specific operation, I have had to make many crucial cuts that were most definitely preceded with fear.

A VERY sharp japanese saw with no set (maybe even a new one) a straight edge and a good eye should be all you need. Make you mark with a thin knife, and go for it. You could make a blank of scrap of the same dims and and practice. If you hit it right, you can even use the straight cut on the block of scrap as a guide. You'll be looking directly at what you're about to do again. You can always leave a hair and file back to the cut line.

And breathe.
Hey Jeff.
You've got good reason to be hesitant with that repair. I can't say we've got the cutting aspect figured out 1000% here either, but I will say this: We would have to be talked into that modification by a very informed customer who knew what he was getting into. Fender made their necks specifically for that nut, so if it doesn't already have it, then there's some risk involved in adding one. An old colleague once found a truss rod that was shallower than he was expecting - shallower than the nut required - shallower than his jig was set for - and wound up buying the customer a new neck. The moral of the story was - talk the guy into a well-made bone or graphite nut. Add a little nut sauce. It will work just as well if not better.
Isn't there a description of this or something similar in one of Dan Erlewine's books? I can't think of the title but it came out in the late '90s, early '00s and covers lots of acoustic and electric guitar repairs and mods. I've got a copy at the house and have given away a couple to friends over the years. Stewmac should have it and I'd get a copy and review the proceedures before I'd tackle this - and perhaps acquire a "beater' guitar and make a practice run as nothing subs for experience.


Dan Erlewine's latest nut making dvd from Stew Mac has some great stuff on it, but he never cuts into the fretboard. In fact, he shows how very precisely how to cut the lacquer line and avoid the fingerboard, to remove the old nut and fit a new one, for Martin, Fender and Gibson. He seems to make a point in his vids to show general work, and says even says a few times that certain repairs/ procedures are "beyond the scope of this video".

It would be awesome if he did a dvd with some verrry advanced work, but then he would be giving up some real trade secrets that he might want to keep to himself.
I don't understand how you could install an LSR where a regular nut was before and not cut into the fretboard. It has to come forward. ?
Please note that I wasn't referring to a video/DVD -but an actual paper book. Perhaps you remember them? Can't say that I've ever learned any skill I have from a television screen and I suspect that I won't in the future. When I get a chance I'll look up the book and see if I'm right about the information but let's not mix media here .

A librarian's proud son
Hi Jeff , I have done this a few times with no drama , I dont use routers on the neck , I used the dimentions specified by Fender , set my digital calipers to the right space and marked the cut line from the front of the normal nut slot , then I probably scored it with a razor blade , and made the cut with one of those hobby saws ( xacto ?) it cuts a 0.012" cerf if I'm not mistaken .I would have probably cut a few extra cuts behind this too , so as to easily chisel out the waste ( it breaks away in small chunks that way). Then level off the bottom and install the roller.Len
So how does that .012 kerf affect the measurement? should I add .012, mark and cut there? That seems like it would work.
with a router
Thanks all. It's good to get so many perspectives!
I'd mark the cut with a pencil, make a 2nd mark about .005" short (in red pencil) then use the saw and keep the .012" kerf to the scrap side of the cut. The first mark should barely be showing and you can flat-sand back until you're at the magic spot.
Mike, let's think through this. A 0.5mm mechanical pencil makes a mark ~0.020" wide. It's impossible to cut to the target tolerance using that wide a mark. Much less hoping that a mark in red pencil 0.005" shorter is going to be discernible. It would be much better to paint the end of the fingerboard with a thin coat of white-out and then scribe the line with a very sharp knife.

And, so that you know that you've made an accurate final cut, it would be good to measure the distance from the back side of the first fret to the end of the fingerboard BEFORE any cutting is done so that changes in that distance will relate to how much you've taken off the end of the fingerboard.

Sorry to sound a bit cranky, but this is one of those situations where the wood just won't grow back and tolerances are really quite small.



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