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  • MichaelHorowitz 4:59PM

Lost my nut(s)? (or, rather, string guide)

I have a lovely Park Encore and apparently the string guide that fits in the slot above the zero-fret has gone missing.
Any suggestions how to replace this? Or, how to make my own?


  • JoseJose Minneapolis New DuPont MD 50
    Why don’t you just call Shelley Park and ask her for a replacement?
  • BonesBones Moderator
    Hey Paul, I'm not positive what you mean. Isn't that just the 'nut'? I'm not sure how the whole nut would go missing. Can you post a picture?
  • Thanks to you both. I certainly can contact Shelley, but luthiers are not always available to help. Re Bones' questions: as various threads on this forum have noted, zero-fret gypsy guitars use string-guides, not nuts, since the zero-fret performs most of the "nut" function while the string guide merely does what the name suggests, keep the strings from slipping out of place.
    I've attached a picture of another SP Encore with the string-guide intact. It's not that easy to see, a small "ebonized" piece that fits into a small (4 mm?) groove. That's what I need to replace.
    Again, any help on how to do this would be much appreciated.
  • BonesBones Moderator
    Hi Paul, yeah that is still a nut. The zero fret is just a fret and the nut is the nut. So if the whole nut is missing you will need to make a new one. Get a nut blank from Stew Mac or wherever, sand it carefully so it JUST fits into the groove, radius the top similar to your fingerboard radius but obviously sticking up above the zero fret, get the proper size nut files to slot each groove just a tad bigger than the string size, make the grooves just a bit deeper than the top of the zero fret so the string rests on the fret not the bottom of the groove in the nut. The tricky part is the string spacing. You want the distance from the outside of the high and low E strings and the edge of the fretboard to be the same. Also the distance BETWEEN (not center to center) of each pair of strings (E/A, A/D, etc) should be equal. I use a couple small dabs of Titebond (not a ton) under the nut before I put it in for the last time to keep it from sliding sideways. Good luck.
  • Thanks Bones. That's very useful advice that I'm sure I'll follow.
    Re the terminology, though, as I mentioned, a number of writers on this site insist that it is not a "nut" per se: e.g.
    "Ah... OK, there's the rub. On a GJ guitar, that's not a nut - it's a string guide.The difference is that the string path terminates at the zero fret just in front of that... all that 'nut-looking' thing does is make sure the string spacing is correct at the zero fret. The reason for the half-diameter rule of thumb is just generally to not bind the string at the terminus because when the bridge."
    Shelley Park, herself, said: "My guitars don’t use a nut as such, rather, it is a ‘ebonized’ wooden spacer that lays out the spacing of the strings at the nut end, with the zero fret setting the height."
  • BonesBones Moderator
    edited November 2018
    Semantics. Ok if you go to Stew Mac see if you can buy a 'string guide' blank. You will buy a bone nut blank. Make it into anything you want to call it. A nut, a string guide, a spacer, a pterodactyl. Whatever.
    BucoWim Glenn
  • paulgpaulg New
    edited November 2018
    Not just semantics. For example: you can play a GJ guitar (like my Park) that has a zero-fret without a "nut" or even "string-guide" because the zero-fret can do some of the function of the "nut." I know because I played my SP without a string-guide or nut before I realized that it was missing. But you can't play a non-zero fret guitar without a nut.
  • BonesBones Moderator
    Huh? Well I guess we can just agree to disagree. :-) Your zero fret is just that, a zero fret. The nut is still a nut regardless whether you have a zero fret or not. Not sure why we are even talking about it. But hey, I'll just defer to your expertise on the matter....
  • Did you even bother to read the excerpts from the other posts on this site? It's not my expertise, it's that of others, and luthiers like Park. We're talking about it because you keep insisting it's a nut when it's not, and according to the others here, it does make a difference.
  • BonesBones Moderator
    edited November 2018
    Zero fret
    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Zero fret on a Hopf Saturn 63 electric guitar.
    A zero fret is a fret placed at the headstock end of the neck of a banjo, guitar, mandolin, or bass guitar. It serves one of the functions of a nut: holding the strings the correct distance above the other frets on the instrument's fretboard. A separate nut is still required to establish the correct string spacing when a zero fret is used.

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