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Nut Slotting Gauge

4.5
  • 72 Reviews
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Nut Slotting Gauge For guitar and most instruments

For guitar and most instruments

Item # 2003
In stock, ready to ship!

$63.06

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Nut Slotting Gauge For bass

For bass

Item # 2006
In stock, ready to ship!

$68.78

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Nut Slotting Gauge

About This Item

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

This device 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


Video

Trade Secrets!

Trade Secrets!

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.

Instructions

Product Instructions

Nut Slotting Gauge Instructions

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

Customer Reviews

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4.5
  • 4.64 average rating from 72 reviews
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1.0

Feels like a quality tool but comes up short

By
(Customer's Reviews)


At first glance these look really nice. However, the dial does not fit very well and comes loose easily. In fact the one I ordered arrived in two pieces. The post of the dial is 9.5mm but the hole in the brass base is 9.53mm. The sloppy fit is made worse by a taper on the ledge that dial sits on along with a dissimilar taper at the end of the post. I tried to fix the base myself and ended up trashing it. Totally my fault and I don't expect Stew Mac to replace it, however, it was a little disappointing that I never heard back after sending a message explaining the problem. I would not be surprised if many people have dropped their gauges because the dial slipped out of the base.

5.0

Two years later...

By
(Customer's Reviews)


I'm still using this tool for measuring action at the 12th, and up the neck, as well as at the 1st fret. I can't imagine working without it.

As someone else mentioned, please print the dial in reverse. It's just silly to have to count backwards all the time with a custom tool.

The real reason for the second review is... mine is falling apart! After a year of use, the face of the dial is no longer firmly connected to the knurled rim. When I turn it to set the zero point, the face doesn't move in tandem. I have to spin it several full rotations to get it to move a 1/4 turn. Like having REALLY loose steering in a car. Eventually it's going to stop working altogether.

Please make this more reliable.

Response from StewMac

Thanks for the great feedback! We have contacted you via email about replacing the dial indicator on this tool.

-Spencer, Customer Support

5.0

Awesome tool

By
(Customer's Reviews)


This makes measuring string height at the nut a breeze. It's so easy to use and very accurate. I was able to lower the nut action on my guitars, and they play so much better now. Plus, the intonation is spot-on playing in the first few frets. Stew-Mac rocks!!!

5.0

Great!!

By
(Customer's Reviews)


Never realized all my "cheap" guitars just need the nut filed to the correct and personal height to play as good as my "expensive" guitars. If even after you struggle with countless attempts to intimate and still have tuning problems, check your nut.

5.0

Nut slotting guage

By
(Customer's Reviews)


Also useful for measuring installed fret height when Fat Frets won't fit into the end slot in the digital caliper.

Use it over the fret and then on the fingerboard with no fret, difference is fret height

5.0

Great Tool

By
(Customer's Reviews)


I hesitated getting this for a couple of years. I kept going back and reading all the reviews but wasn't quite convinced that it would be accurate enough because a couple of reviewers were not getting consistent results. I should have gone with the majority.
I measured several guitars with it and double checked the results using feelers and I get the same results from both methods. I am confident that with this gauge I get the correct measurement every time within a fraction of a second. Far quicker than my old method.
It's a great quality tool which I use every day. Should have bought it a long time ago.

5.0

A go-to tool

By
(Customer's Reviews)


I use this all the time. I rely on it so much. I use it not only to set string height at the nut, but to check string height at all the frets, and at the 12th fret to set action height at the bridge - I can't imagine using a ruler to do that.

5.0

Highly Accurate. Requires Careful Use

By
(Customer's Reviews)


This is a beautiful tool. I've read the reviews here, and believe that those who feel it gives different readings may be seeing the effect of slight variations in the fretboard, more than the accuracy of this tool.

I noticed that while over the same string (1st fret of course), the dial would move by up to 3 mil depending on exactly where I placed it on the fretboard (Meaning, sliding it closer to the string above or below the one I was measuring.) However, if I was very careful about placement, so that the radius and/or unevenness of the fretboard would not be a factor, it gave very consistent results.

I give it 5 stars because it does what it claims well, and compared to feeler gauges... There is no contest. That said, if Stewmac wants to improve it they could:

1) Print the dial in reverse... Kind of silly to have a custom tool like this, yet the user has to count backwards to figure out the measurement instead of just reading the dial.

2) Lengthen the tube/support that holds the dial by maybe 3/8th inch so that one can get their fingers in and hold onto it better.

3) Or, alternately, look at how the brass block could be made slightly larger or reshaped so a person could more easily get a thumb on to hold it in place while depressing the strings. The main problem with getting consistent readings is that it is very easy to bump when pressing the strings around it. And bumping it even 1 mm out of position can effect the result. So being able to hold it down helps a lot. And that is currently difficult to do.

Anyway, great tool.

5.0

Good for neck relief, and action too

By
(Customer's Reviews)


It took a while to get used to, but now I can hold the guitar in playing position, and accurately meassure both neck relief and action. I prefer it to feeler gauges, and a ruler or string action gauge. It's easy to 'push' a string with a feeler gauge, and reading 64ths on a ruler is harder for me than reading the .001 marks on the gauge.

When using the gauge further up the neck, the notches in the brass base don't line up with the strings. But only one string is being measured, so I just push the other strings around so they fit, without pushing them too far aside that neck tension changes. Just ensure that the string being measured moves freely.

When used at the nut, especially on the treble strings, watch out that the heavy plunger on the gauge doesn't deflect the string, when setting the zero point. There's not that much deflection this close to the nut, but still, it's easy enough to adjust.

Further up the neck, this is the primary issue -- setting the zero point without deflecting the string. With the guitar in playing position, push the plunger so it's obviously deflecting the string. Release it, and set zero maybe .005 further up than where the gauge shows. Then, watching the string carefully (not the gauge), raise the gauge a tiny bit, until the string stops moving. Check it back and forth a couple of times. Set the zero point. I find it's within .001-2 of perfect, and the whole process of measuring relief or action on a string takes no more than 15 seconds. Since 1/64 is ~ .016, even .004+- is a big improvement.

1.0

clumsy and inaccurate (not me, the gauge)

By
(Customer's Reviews)


Over the years, I've bought many tools from StewMac and I'm really happy with most of them. Some, though, just gather dust in my toolbox. This is one of them.

For any setup job to be accurate, you need to have the guitar in playing position. Of course, the nut slotting gauge only stays in place when the guitar's resting on your workbench. So you have to put up with guesswork (horizontal position), or won't have enough hands (vertical position).

Furthermore, I find the measurement to be slightly different with each reading. And worse than that: when I use feeler gauges instead, the difference between the two measurements is substantial, regularly reaching .010"

Instead, I use the Safe Slot Nut Guard or just plain old simple feeler gauges.

Displaying 1 of 8
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StewMac PDF Catalog, page 6 See Nut Slotting Gauge
on page 6 of our StewMac Catalog PDF

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