Aaaand THIS is how one gets into making your own nut.
I put all the jumbo frets in the guitar and leveled and crowned them. Lots of work because I’m not a guitar tech by trade – this is just a hobby. But I can see how people get addicted to it. It’s fun. Even when shit doesn’t go well. Actually, when you mess something up, that’s probably when you know whether you really like doing the work. Do you want to throw the thing across the room and quit? Sure. But if your next thought is “Wait, I can fix this,” then maybe you’ve found a new hobby.
Anyway, I don’t know why, but for some reason I thought a Tusq XL premade nut would be large enough, and if it wasn’t I’d be able to simply shim it. It wasn’t. And I couldn’t. Well, actually, I did shim it and it worked OK, but… but some tone and sustain was definitely lost when I shimmed the nut. You need a really, really solid connection. That means if I really want to do this right, I have to get a big old chunk of bone and carve it down and carve in the slots.
So today I will go on stewmac.com and order all the crap I need. I already have the instructional video, so I know what’s involved. I’m thinking I’ll order maybe 3 blanks because I expect to screw one up. Maybe I won’t.
With the shimmed nut on the guitar, I will say that the upper frets play really well. I think once I have the new nut on, I might have a little more fretwork to do. Hard to tell at this point. But I’m surprised jumbo frets on a Les Paul isn’t a more popular thing – it’s definitely made the guitar easier to play, especially at the higher frets.
Oh well. I’ll order the stuff and proceed. This is how we learn. Once finished, this guitar will be unique to what I want. Which is why we do this type of thing. Stay tuned!