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Fern's Guitars logo

Topnut replacement

Fern's Guitars logo

Topnut replacement

There can be different reasons to replace a guitar or bass topnut:

  • Damage
  • After replacing the frets (refret)
  • Adjusting the string spacing
  • Adjusting for a certain string gauge
  • Change the material of the topnut (Graphtech, brass, bone)

Every topnut has to be made in a way the instrument plays comfortable, detunes as les as possible, makes no unwanted sounds and plays in tune around the open chord area (first three positions).

Gibson Les Paul topnut replacement

The topnut of this Les Paul needed to be replaced because of two reasons:
- The old topnut was a bit to low to match the height of the new installed frertwire.
- The old nut was made of an artificial material. The customer prefered a bone nut.

A bone nut makes a more bright tone at the open strings.

the old topnut and bone for a new one

After the new nut blank has the right dimensions, and roughly the right hight, the nut is glued in place with a drip of glue. The string spacing is marked at the nut.

fitting the new bone blank in the head

The slots for the strings are cut with special files. The height is controlled with a Peterson strobo tuner and the musicians playing style is taken into account.

cutting the string slots in the bone nut

After the slots are cut at the right depth, the total height of the nut can be adjusted. Also at this point, the playing style of the musician is taken into account. Sometimes people pull out the high E string out of the nut with a more aggressif playing style and the nut needs to be a bit more high.

the height of the topnut is adjusted

The topnut gets its final shape with sandpaper, to be sure it has no sharp edges. Playing low position chords with a sharp topnut can be particulairy annoying.

the new bone topnut is shaped with sandpaper

The nut gets a shiny polish finish with fine steelwool.

the new topnut is polished

The new bone topnut, custom made for this Les Paul electric guitar.

Les Paul guitar with a new made bone topnut