Thursday, 6 March 2014

A lesson in many things!

Stupidity!  Don't be hasty.  Leave it to someone who knows... etc.

Ok My Gibson Les Paul Custom, which used to on the old blog at least and maybe here for a while be my banner at the top, has had to go to the menders.

Why?  Cos I was daft that is why.  I've filed a few nuts in my time, normally on my cheaper guitars or on the kit build etc. and in those cases all has been fine, a success.  I took my time, carefully noting what I was doing.  So one day a little while back I thought may be if I lower the nut slots on the Gibson some of the intonation issues on the lower frets will be fixed.  Good idea I thought.  I remember laying it down and thinking "This is a pretty pricey guitar do you want to do this?"  I went at it.  Stupidly I went just one or two strokes too far on the low E string.  It buzzed it rattled.  I was mortified, how stupid.  I did a temp fix with superglue and some dust off a spare nut blank but frankly what a numpty.

Nevermind I thought.  Buy a new nut blank.  I ordered one made with Tusq XL - which is a great material for nuts and saddles, my home build strat has it fitted for example.  I liked that idea since another of the Gibbo's quirks was that due to the angle of the strings through and over the nut the G string had a habit of sticking sharp after bending... Friday night comic's paradise this - "Hey Mrs does your G string stick after bending? Eh? Nudge nudge".    Tusq XL has some clever material in it that is all self lubricating (PTFE - I looked it up) ... queue the cheesy comic again...

The new nut duly arrived and I was going to fit it.  Then I realised that Gibson don't make it easy to say the least.  The nut is in a deep groove and they have finished over the top of it.  I took a couple of looks at it and thought "Don't screw this up".  I called DW Guitars of Maidstone, little dusty workshop tucked away in a back street in town.  I explained my issue and Dave there was more than happy to fit the Tusq one I had bought for £20 - £30 depending on how difficult getting the old one out was.  Given I had all the strings already off it and the frets needed a polish I asked him to do a quick set up as well and all told it came to £60, which in this day and age is value for money frankly.  He's done a really good job, admitting to me that getting the old one out was a real pain requiring him to actually break it and then machine out the remnants.  How glad I was now that I'd got a pro to do it I could have really bodged this one up completely.

So - great job as I say. Intonation spot on at the 12th fret and better than before on the lower frets although the G string is still a very small touch sharp on the first couple, but it is liveable and no worse than other guitars in my stable.  Also the Tusq is very impressive over the standard Gibson melamine one.  Less sticking, better tuning stability and I can't determine any noticeable change in tone.

Here it is back where it belongs...

Here is a couple of close ups of the new nut


  1. The words "Gibson Les Paul Custom" and "superglue" should never appear in the same story.

    1. Indeed - I'm prepared to expose my stupidity so that others around me don't follow the same stupid path

  2. Replies
    1. Not the first time someone has remarked on how good my nuts look you know Wil... I'm blessed.... ;-)

  3. Beautiful guitars!

    Hey, guess what? I'm taking guitar lessons! I love them. I posted my 8 week grad video. I am in a second session now and I play every day. I'm finally able to do a B chord lol...I play very slwowy and my husband says everything I play always sounds goth.

  4. I hope you and your new nut (self-lubricating) are very happy together.