Nut Slotting Gauge

  • 65 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 65 Reviews
Displaying 6 of 7 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
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Interesting tool...

By Dr H from Earth
(Customer's Reviews) Monday, April 18, 2011

...I'm still trying to figure out how useful it actually is. Given the instructions that come with the gauge it would make more sense to have the dial calibrated counter-clockwise to give a -positive- string height reading, rather than the negative reading that's the norm. But StewMac tells me that getting such a "reverse" dial would triple the cost (really?) of the gauge, and others here have posted adequate work-arounds, so I can live with this.

A couple of other points would perhaps make this device more useful:

1) The smaller dial on the gauge is essentially useless, since it can't be zeroed by the procedure given. If it -were- possible to zero the small dial with the large one, this gauage would have a wider range, making it useful for checking action in more places on the neck than the nut, and usable with more kinds of guitar-like instruments.

2) The feet on the brass block the gauge is mounted in appear to be level in the photos, but they are not. They're cut on slant, to more easily work on radiused fingerboards, StewMac says. OK, but what about those of use who are setting up classical guitars, cuatros, bajo sextos, and other instruments with essentially -flat- fingerboards? Seems like offering an option of interchangable flat- or radiused- bases with this guage would again make it more useful.

Still, it basically does what they say it does, and it does it well, once you get used to these quirks.

Great tool...very fragile!

By Tom O. from Fincastle, VA
(Customer's Reviews) Sunday, March 20, 2011

This is an awesome tool and a valuable piece for anyone who regularly sets up guitars. I didn't give it five stars because of it's delicacy. I hadn't finished setting up my first guitar when I accidentally knocked it off my workbench. The dial completely locked up and no longer works. CAUTION: Be careful when using this tool and put it in a place where you can't accidentally damage it. It's too expensive to replace on a regular basis.

Fantastic device

By J Larres from Finland
(Customer's Reviews) Thursday, March 10, 2011

A fantastic and time-saving device, use it all the time. This is my second Nut Slotting Gauge, as I managed to drop my previous one on my work bench. It must have landed somehow on the top end as it became very stiff and practically useless. So take care!

Do yourself a favor!

By JLondon from Owensboro, KY
(Customer's Reviews) Monday, March 07, 2011

Make this one a priority. Okay, I must admit I had my reservations. I know you have bought at least a couple of luthier trinkets that didn't turn out to be as handy as you thought they would be. BUT THIS ISN'T GOING TO BE ONE OF THEM!!! I'd give this one 10 stars if I could. I absolutely hate messing with feeler gauges etc., not to mention my eyesight isn't what it used to be.

It's just ridiculous how easy this tool makes measuring string height and nut/saddle set-ups. I just plotted, on paper to a .000 inch, the before/after string height on an acoustic at the 1st, 6th, & 12th frets and it only took a total of less than 5 minutes for both. AND THIS WAS MY FIRST TIME USE! My customer is somewhat of a techy and his mind is going to be blown.

Also, this will make an excellent general diagnostic tool for purposes I haven't even considered yet. How about for checking a newly pressed fret for consistency with the fretboard radius for just one example. No, not all diagnostics are absolutely necessary, but it sure helps one to "know" the guitar better. That 'has' to translate into a better job in the long run.

Nut Slotting Gauge

By Steven K from Columbia, Maryland
(Customer's Reviews) Sunday, February 13, 2011

This is one of those tools where I say,why did I not think of it! Well made, works every time. Makes nut making a joy.

A Wonderful Tool

By Mason R. from CO
(Customer's Reviews) Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Without a doubt one of the most useful tool I have ever purchased. Makes setup a breeze.


By Jleo67 from Cobden, IL
(Customer's Reviews) Saturday, January 29, 2011

As a guitar tech for a local music store I find the nut slot gauge to be a tool I can't live without. It makes for fast and accurate work and will always have one in my tool box.

Nut Slotting Gauge

By Pete Davis from Brisbane, Australia
(Customer's Reviews) Monday, January 17, 2011

This is an excellent tool, worth the money if you have several instruments.

I have checked and adjusted about a dozen guitars since receiving the gauge. Drop the gauge on and in a second you can see why its always been tough to play those bar chords! I caution people to be careful though, those thinners strings drop quickly if you are heavy handed with the file! I overcooked a couple of fine strings because I didn't have the right width file. I was measuring and filing not realizing I was filing a narrow groove and the string hung up and then suddenly drop (whoops). Have ordered more files from Stew Mac, so this wonÆt happen again! Its a great tool, my only suggestion for improvement would be a dial that was calibrated backwards as you are always pressing down and therefore deducting from the starting datum point.

The most precise way to adjust strings

By Michael Bush from Greenwood, NE
(Customer's Reviews) Wednesday, December 22, 2010

I've adjusted strings with feeler gauges and guesswork before but this takes all the guesswork out of it. It rests on the string. You zero it. You press down and you have the distance. It couldn't be easier. They do seem to have designed it to work the other way around, which would mean you'd have to zero it while you hold down the string and the let up to read it, but it's not that hard to read backwards and easier to set to zero while not having to hold it down as well.

Daily use tool

By Jacob Hawkins from Columbus, OH
(Customer's Reviews) Friday, December 10, 2010

Just an excellent idea and execution. Simple to use and makes me faster and more accurate, everything a tool ought to be! Thanks guys.

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