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Home : Tools : Special tools for Nuts and saddles : Nut Slotting Gauge

Nut Slotting Gauge

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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

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  Item# Description In stock Price Quantity
2003 For guitar and most instruments Yes

2006 For bass Yes

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Related items

Neck Relief Gauge and Nut Slotting Gauge Set

String Lifter

Double-edge Nut Files

String Action Gauge

String Spacing Rule

Neck Relief Gauge and Nut Slotting Gauge Set
String Lifter
Double-edge Nut Files
String Action Gauge
String Spacing Rule

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

Putting the new Nut Slotting Gauge to work on a "burn victim" guitar
A new nut on a "burn victim" guitar
Putting the new Nut Slotting Gauge to work on a "burn victim" guitar Read more

In this issue:
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.

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 Ratings and reviews
Nut Slotting Gauge
Nut Slotting Gauge
4.5 out of 5 stars
Based on 69 ratings Write a Review
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Displaying 51 – 60 < 1  ...  5  6  7 >
5 4-29-2011
String height gauge!

Great product, does the trick! Quality item! Thanks

hinckg  Dennisport, MA
5 4-27-2011
Fast and accurate height setting

This tool is great, it gives you ultra precise string height. If you just want to be accurate, it does that, but it also is so fast to use! If you do work at all for pay, this tool will make back it's money in no time!

Kevin Swaim  Heyworth, Illinois
4 4-18-2011
Interesting tool...

...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.

Dr H  Earth Read my reviews (10)
4 3-20-2011
Great tool...very fragile!

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.

Tom O.  Fincastle, VA
5 3-10-2011
Fantastic device

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!

J Larres  Finland Read my reviews (2)
5 3-07-2011
Do yourself a favor!

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.

JLondon  Owensboro, KY Read my reviews (13)
5 2-28-2011
Nut Slotting Gauge

This is an great tool, 
 I have checked and adjusted scores of guitars since receiving my gauge all with equal ease. Along with my other Stewart mac tools, nut setting is easy. The one drawback of this tool is the dial which is set up for positive reading clockwise only. A more appropriate scale would have been a 50/50 plus and minus of zero but this is only a minor discomfort.

I however have developed another method of reading the scale which I believe simplifies its use. First tighten the set screw that holds the outer ring so that it grips it without sliding about. Next with two fingers on the string you wish to measure press down either side of the first fret, place the gauge and adjust the outer ring to read Zero while continuing to hold down the string. Release the string and you can read off directly the gap between the fret and string. Note this setting.

Now place the gauge over the second fret and fret the string behind the first fret. The second reading will give you a good indication of the action you require at the nut allowing that the frets have been dressed and the bridge saddle are within normal range.

Using this method you can take direct readings and also evaluate a correct range of adjustment for a nut without much effort. As with many techniques the description takes longer to read and understand than it actually takes to do the job

Using this tool you can quickly evaluate a guitar for a client and set up according to there playing style and unlike other users who have found this gauge to be inconsistent I personally have had repeatability of .001” to be easily obtainable. These gauges are precision items and as such should be treated as so.

As with all setups you should follow a specific set of steps, checking each component in a specific order to eliminate having to repeat some of the operations a second time.

Phillip Murray  France
5 2-26-2011
Better way to use

I work in the acoustic set-up department at Collings and use this tool everyday. However, I find the instructions and Dan's video as the wrong way to use this tool. Instead of just checking to see the difference between pushing down on both sides of the gauge and an open measurement, you should be interested in the difference between what reading you get when pushing down on both sides of the gauge and what the gauge reads when fretting between the 2nd and 3rd frets. Because what you're really interested in is how much clearance you have over the first fret, when fretting the 3rd fret. The wound strings should have between .003 to .005, while the B string might need .004 or .005 and the high E could be as low as .002.

Billy Parks  Wimberley, Texas
5 2-13-2011
Nut Slotting Gauge

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.

Steven K  Columbia, Maryland Read my reviews (20)
5 2-02-2011
A Wonderful Tool

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

Mason R.  CO Read my reviews (6)
Displaying 51 – 60 < 1  ...  5  6  7 > /\ Top of Reviews

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