Hi,    I am a player, not an accomplished luthier, but I can competently handle small set up adjustments, (neck relief, bridge saddle forming and intonation etc etc).

I play a Taylor T5z 12 string classic that I have had professionally re-strung in the “Rickenbacker” fashion (ie octave strings below the concert pitch strings) and I have recently had a new graphite nut cut by respected luthiers Jaydee guitars here in the UK.

Here is the problem. I am having an issue with the octave A (in this case the 10th). binding and not tuning up or down smoothly.

This is an issue normally indicative of badly cut nut slots, but in this case, the nut is cut perfectly and the “ping” sound of the string sticking is definitely coming from the bridge area. I have checked and re-surfaced the bone bridge saddle to assure a smooth surface and replaced one or two loose fitting bridge pins to assure a smooth (but not tight) fit.

I have now exhausted all my ideas and was hoping you fine luthiers out there may be able to offer advice.

Thank you.......Brian

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Even though the sound seems to come from the bridge, I still think the nut is the culprit. If you lift the string out of the nut slot and see indentations in the nut material from the windings, there's your smoking gun.
+1 with Greg.

Thank you both.

I went back to the nut as you both suggested, checked it closely through a jewellers loupe, burnished it with a string .002 thicker than the fitted gauge and made absolutely sure it was smooth & clean, but still the issue persisted.

I have now trialed a plain 0.20 and whilst this has solved the issue, I am a little concerned about the string tension. 

Would you guys have any concerns about replacing the octave A (220Hz) WOUND 0.22 with the PLAIN 0.20 and assuming I can live with it, would you see it causing any issues in the future?

(Would anyone know these string tension differences, just as a point of reference)?


both a plain .020 and a wound .022 seem gigantic for an octave A string!

i don't think i've even even seen a wound octave A unless it was for some sort of extra heavy down-tuned baritone set, more normal is something like a plain .018. what sizes are the rest of the strings?

Was that nut cut specifically for that gauge? As having an oversized wound string might explain the binding issue. Don't think string tension would really be an issue unless you're changing the entire set. Changing a .22 wound to a plain .20 is the equivalent of changing a .13 gauge high E to a .12.

Rotosound Nickel 10-48. Good string that suits my style of playing which includes flat and finger picking. Tuned to concert pitch (A440), I have used these for a fair old time and never had any issues until this and also, they are always available at a fair price, fiscally making string changing a more regular option. As I said, the plain 0.20 has cured the issue, but should I be concerned regarding the slightly extra tension?

Love Roto bass strings. Never been too keen elsewhere. However, I'd just check with your luthier or guitar tech that the slot was cut for that gauge. Ordinarily, I wouldn't cut an octave A slot wider than a .20.

Cheers Keith, you seem to have answered my my concerns!


Use your loupe and look closely from the top at the nut slot for the string in question.  Sometimes they get cut so the string follows a very subtle "S" curve and binds on the side of the slot--particularly a wound string.  This was a problem on a mandolin I have from a very accomplished builder so it's not just a lack or care or skill on the part of the nut maker.  It's hard to see sometimes.  I've seen it on a couple of others instruments as well.

If the S curve is present, carefully file the side of the back of the slot so that the string flows straight from the front of the nut to the tuner, then polish.  That might do the trick.


Found out only yesterday that Taylor have one of their “open roadshow” nights on, at one of my local music stores this coming Tuesday.

I’ve never been to one before, but I beleive that there are not only demonstations and chats on new products, but also their guitar technicians are on hand to appraise your Taylor instrument and make any small set up adjustments or advice as necessary.

Couldn’t haven come at a better time.......!!!

try pulling the strings after tuning and this will seat the strings at both ends and that should solve the problem 

 the string is slipping at the bridge and until the strings is pulled tight at both ends it will never stay in tune . 

the pin dose not hold the string in but the ball end cant come out if the pin is there.

I teach every one to pull strings every restring job I do.



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