How to Fix a Low Nut Slot Fast

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In this video Dan shows you how to fill nut slots for a fast and permanent fix. These custom made powders are the right colors to match any nut material. With just a touch of powder and a few drops of super glue the buzz is gone!

Video Transcription

Dan Erlewine: I've got a buzz on this beautiful guitar. It's a 1937 Kalamazoo KG-11. That means it's pushing a hundred years old. I haven't really played it yet. I've had it two and a half years. I know I've been putting it off because it has a buzz. It's the B string. It's too low in the nut and it's an old nut made of ebony. I want to keep this original. I don't want to replace it. I don't even want to put bone on it, which I so often recommend, because I like the sweet sound of ebony.

The B string is so low that the string buzzes on the first fret. I'll raise this slot by filling it, then refiling it to the right depth. I've raised a lot of string slots in my life, starting when I was 17 or 18 in my first band and had borrowed a Harmony Rocket electric, 'cause I was a folk player, and one of the slots was too low like this and I raised it with a piece of tinfoil from a double mint gum wrapper.

The magic potion: Nut rescue powder

That kind of led me down the road to being a guitar repairman. So I have a fix that I can bring this nut slot up from the bottom and it's going to be easy because I have a magic potion. I'm going to fill this low string slot with nut powder: that's my magic potion [on-screen text reads: Nut Rescue Powder -]. Then add a drop of water-thin Super Glue to make a hard fill, raising the bottom of the slot. These nut powders come from Joe Glaser's shop in Nashville, Tennessee. Him and his guys down there are great repairmen and they've been working on this for 20 years. I'm going to fix this Kalamazoo's nut and show you how I do it. But black materials sometimes don't show up too well on a video. And this nut powder comes in light versions too. So I'm using a bone color on this strap nut so you can see it better.

Prepping and cleaning the nut slot

I do want to tape off a little something just in case I get sloppy. That is a low tack tape and this is a 16 thousandths nut file. Skinny little thing. That's what I'm going to clean this out with. I think I'll clean it first and get any dirt out of there. And then I'll probably clean it again. You could use lacquer thinner or isopropyl alcohol. This is decal, denatured alcohol. I want to get into some new wood. As long as I'm going to all this trouble, I'll go on a little slant like this and dig into the side wall. It could even be slightly mushrooming in the bottom, which I would like because then the powder sticks down in there. That's how the dentist fills your tooth. Clean it one more time. So I'd say that's clean.

Now, I'm using a little exacto knife. It's a good idea to add some roughness or some tooth as I call it to the wood. So it grabs onto the powder and super glue better.

Raising the nut slot

Set a little powder into the slot. Don't sneeze. Pack it down a little.

Now a water-thin drop of super glue. I have a brand new water-thin super glue, #10, with a whip tip on it. I'm not going to set it on the powder but right at the top, it leeches its way in. I used to do this with baking soda and super glue and that was always a temporary fix, in my opinion. And it doesn't look good with baking soda alone because the soda sort of turns gray. This powder has bone dust in it, so the repair lasts a long time and there's a lubricant in it that helps it too. While it's still a little bit wet, I'm going to drop some more on it, 'cause it won't be wet long 'cause it's going to harden up real fast. That's more than enough.

I'm going to leave that sit for five minutes, maybe 10. And by the way, there's other uses for this nut powder, I found out. For example, I put a new pearl inlay in a Gibson Les Paul peghead that was getting refinished. Inlaid it, glued it in. Then I had to fill around all the little gaps. I picked up the ebony nut powder, put it down in there here. It was super glue and it was filled and easy to file down. That was a new use for me.

Filing down the newly raised slot

Okay, we have been waiting really 15 minutes. I'm using my old, dull three-corner file just to knock off some of the scratchy looking stuff on the top so I can see a little better. I'm going to drop in there and just clean it. I'm straight and level there. Now I'm backfiling a little bit and I'm going to open it up on the backside a little bit. Just so the string doesn't catch up back there. And before I do anything else, I want to put the string in there and see if that is still sitting on the front or right on top of it. That's perfect. It didn't take a lot. I could completely fill that slot or all of these slots with this powder. That's how hard this stuff gets. I could cut a whole new set of slots.

And that's it, it's fixed. I wish I had more to show you, but that's how easy it is. And that's the trick. That's the magic potion. The nut rescue kit. If you like this kind of video, please subscribe to our YouTube channel because it helps us bring them to you.



Dan Erlewine

Guitar Repairman and Builder

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