String Spacing Rule

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Dan Erlewine shows how to use the String Spacing Rule to quickly locate the strings on a guitar nut. He also explains the problem with using equal spacing.

Video Transcription

Dan Erlewine: Hi there. I'm Dan Erlewine, and I'm here in my shop about to make a new bone nut for this Alvarez guitar. And I thought you'd like to see how I solve the problem of getting a good string spacing at the nut when I start out. I do it with the String Spacing Rule.

How to get a good string spacing at the nut

I've already installed the two E strings not to pitch just with enough tension that they'll hold their place on the nut and I'm moving them around until I get so far in from the edge of the fret board on each side, I'd say a 16th of an inch. So the strings won't fall off when played. With the sharp pencil I make a pencil mark on each side of the string, and then I'll come back in with my sharp file, I'll use this Diamond File and make a small nick dead center on those pencil marks. And bone is slippery so don't file too fast. Be very careful or you'll get off your spacing. There, that's my outside string spacing.

Problem with using equal spacing

When I first started making nuts, I'd measured the distance between the outside strings divide it by five and that gave me the location of the four center strings spaced equally. Which I didn't like because it crowds the base strings, they're wound and they're thicker. To make allowance for that. I started spreading the strings out by eye proportionally. Today. The rule does it for me in seconds. Bring the rule up against the front edge of the nut and slide it towards trouble or bass until I find six marks that match my outside marks perfectly. And then I come in and pencil in the other marks. Or bring the rule up onto the blank and scribe the marks into the bone through these slots. It's just that quick, I've got properly spaced string slots.



Dan Erlewine

Guitar Repairman and Builder

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