Nut Slotting Gauge

  • 67 Reviews
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A revolution in guitar setup! Precisely measures string heights, so you can cut accurate nut slots for consistent playability.

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Nut Slotting Gauge For guitar and most instruments

For guitar and most instruments

Item # 2003
In stock, ready to ship!


Nut Slotting Gauge For bass

For bass

Item # 2006
In stock, ready to ship!


Total: $0.00
Quantity: 20


Nut Slotting Gauge

Dan Erlewine uses the Nut Slotting Gauge: the most accurate measure of nut slot depth.

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A revolution in guitar setup! Precisely measures string heights, so you can cut accurate nut slots for consistent playability.

This device that will revolutionize the way you set up a guitar.
The Nut Slotting Gauge quickly and precisely measures string heights over the first fret. When filing nut slot depths, you see your results more accurately than ever before. No more guesswork or "eyeballing" the string heights, and no more searching for elusive combinations of feeler gauges. You can custom-tailor the playability with consistent, repeatable results.

At last! A precision tool for establishing string heights!

The Nut Slotting Gauge was designed by Don MacRostie here in our R & D shop. It features an easy to read dial indicator with adjustable zero point, and it's super accurate to .001". The machined brass base fits over the strings to rest on the fingerboard, and it works with most acoustic and electric guitars, mandolins and banjos. A larger brass base is machined to fit bass string spacings. Both have gently arched bottoms to follow most any fretboard radius. Instructions are included.

The Nut Slotting Gauge is included in this money-saving set: Nut Slotting Gauge and Neck Relief Gauge Set

Trade Secrets! Newsletter

Putting the new Nut Slotting Gauge to work on a "burn victim" guitar

Dan Erlewine shows a before and after of a 1958 Gibson that's (barely) survived a house fire. It needs a new nut, and he's using the Nut Slotting Gauge to get it right the first time.

Product Instructions

Nut Slotting Gauge Instructions

How to determine nut slot depth with the Nut Slotting Gauge.

Ratings & Reviews

Nut Slotting Gauge

  • Based on 67 Reviews
Displaying 3 of 7 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
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The perfect idea. Not yet perfected. 

By Congletone from Oregon
(Customer's Reviews) Thursday, November 22, 2012

True, this does change the way you slot a nut, and provides much greater accuracy than feeler gauges or other measures. However, don't expect it to work as simply as it should. Consistently I have to take the same reading on the same string about three times to gain real accuracy. Even with that though, it is a great tool.

A neat tool, works as promised

By ccutter from Crescent City Cal
(Customer's Reviews) Thursday, November 15, 2012

I bought this to accurately perform set ups and also to help when I was replacing a nut on my Gibson. I probably would have been just fine without it, but I must say it is a precise and pretty instrument and works very well for it's intended purpose. It will remain as part of my arsenal to keep my guitars sounding great.

Worthy tool in any workshop

By Gregory J from Australia
(Customer's Reviews) Friday, October 19, 2012

Great tool . Sits stable on fretboard , handy swivel dial and easy to use . Easy to get repeatable settings , I think the plunger is to heavy as I use it for relief and saddle heights but you need to be careful as plunger holds string lower than actual . If it had a lighter plunger it would be a perfect alround gauge
Still a worthy tool in any toolbox . To give credit it is sold as a nut slot gauge and not a jack of all gauge and with that in mind its intended purpose gets a 100%

nut slot gauge

By juanleggcraig from philadelphia
(Customer's Reviews) Thursday, October 04, 2012

this gauge is easier to read then a steel ruler, i also use it to measure sting action @ the 12 fret before i restring a customers guitar.

A great facilitator

By Kroeber from Japan
(Customer's Reviews) Friday, September 14, 2012

This tool makes the process of nut slotting a lot easier. A-must-have-tool for exact accuracy!

Perfect for accurate setups

By ReZone Guitar Works from Pasadena, CA
(Customer's Reviews) Thursday, September 06, 2012

This is the single most-used tool in my shop. I use this tool on virtually every guitar that comes in for repair or setup. It's perfect for setting string height at the nut, so you get good, consistently low action, with fewer intonation issues due to string deflection resulting from too-shallow nut slots. I also use it for setting action at the 12th fret, and it works great.

I use the nut slotting gauge to take measurements at the beginning of a setup, and then again after the setup is complete. This allows me to show quantifiable improvement - for my own edification, as well as to provide documentation for the customer.

I tried a similar tool from a different vendor, and gave my StewMac gauge to my brother, thinking I wouldn't need it any more. After a couple of days with the other brand, I quickly ordered a new replacement from StewMac. My brother wouldn't give back my old StewMac gauge!

If you work on guitars for a living, or even as a hobby, you'll save time and get better results with this tool. It works much better than feeler gauges, and is so much quicker!

No more guessing

By Hagbone from Montrose PA
(Customer's Reviews) Monday, August 20, 2012

For about a year I would look at the Nut Slotting Gauge in the catalog and think it would be cool to get one, but it was just too pricey. Finally, one day I said the heck with it and pulled the trigger and bought one. Now I'm kicking myself for not getting one sooner.

I've fussed with using feeler gauges, and would finally get to where I wanted, but always played it a bit cautious (we all know what it's like to over-file a slot and have to fill it, yada). And it just gets tougher using feeler gauges as the fretboard radius becomes more severe.

So when I used the gauge for the first time, it was like all the hassle went out of the process, cause there was no guesswork - just dead on accuracy.

But the really cool thing I found was that dialing in on accurate nut slot depth goes a long way towards good intonation. When I'd put the tuner on the rig after I was done, I definitely noticed that nut slots filed to real tight specs (I use Erlewine's specs of .015 to .009) pretty much eliminated "note sharpening" that occurs when the nut slot is too high, and the notes goes sharp as you press down on the first fret. The gauge is also handy for checking string height at the 12th fret as well. Plus, the dial indicator is removable - you can use it in custom made rigs.

If your waffling on whether to buy the gauge or not, just do it - you'll be glad you did.

Great But Poor Insructions

By axeshredder from mckinney, texas
(Customer's Reviews) Wednesday, August 15, 2012

This product is a great tool - a must have. A five star tool...

The only thing is that the micrometer used is meant to measure depth - not deflection. So, when the instructions tell you to read the dial, the number actually shown is the opposite of the number you need i.e. the deflection. The needle moves backwards versus the dial face. A simple correction to the instructions that tells you to count the amount the needle moves backwards across the dial wold correct the problem.

A must have if your making nuts.

By abilbay from Ft Worth, TX
(Customer's Reviews) Tuesday, August 14, 2012

After messing up 2 nuts using feelers, I sepnt the extra $ and glad I did. Now my new nut is spot on perfect and was so much faster to make. Easy to use and worth every cent. I also use it to measure my relief and fret heights. The only bad thing is when I mesured the nuts on all my guitars I found ever factory nut was sloppy and needs to be replaced.


By Dave Harper from Georgia
(Customer's Reviews) Sunday, August 12, 2012

Hands down, the best tool in my shop. Period.

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