• Guys, we've spent considerable money converting the Les Paul Forum to this new XenForo platform, and we have ongoing monthly operating expenses. THE "DONATIONS" TAB IS NOW WORKING, AND WE WOULD APPRECIATE ANY DONATIONS YOU CAN MAKE TO KEEP THE LES PAUL FORUM GOING! Thank you!

String Spread "mod" for a narrow nut

latestarter

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 9, 2009
Messages
4,072
Well, not really a mod, but just a way of improving a situation.

I've mentioned it before so I thought I'd take a quick shot and show what I mean. This is a 66/67 ES-335. Narrow nut. The guitar sounds great but I wanted a bit more room to move at the head stock end.

Using my technique below I have the nut string spread at 36mm centre to centre E strings. My R9 is 36.5mm. I have no falling off the ends of the frets or the like. It feels great to play and I have used a tall-ish wire (StewMac 100/50).

1. Prep the fret board properly. Because we want to use as much width as we can you'll want to level out the nibs of any are left.
2. Do your standard fret slot clean and prep work.
3. Do a standard fret over binding (undercut) refret.
4. Cut the ends off the frets but do not angle inwards....just go flush.
5. Carefully with your single cut file level the edges almost vertically at the bottom end and eventually angle the file up as you head towards the pickup end of things.
6. You should end up with only a slightly angled end for the first 5-7 frets. Because some binding is very worn, this can be challenging. I would do each fret end piece by peice if that was the case. This guitar didn't have too much wear so it was relatively easy.

Hopefully this all makes sense...to me it's a great way to enjoy these later 60's ES's and SG's. I do recommend using string size 10 and up for this sort of set up...keeps things a bit tighter.

HQ6WN87.jpg

sLspewP.jpg

QaNOlzJ.jpg
 

garywright

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 17, 2002
Messages
14,134
Grant ..I’m considering having this done to my ‘69 SG standard ..can you please repost the pix.
btw..anyone else done this mod ?
 

Minibucker

Active member
Joined
Jan 12, 2003
Messages
6,340
A luthier I used to know modified a 70's L-5CES (IIRC) for a friend of mine to incorporate an original wider nut by removing frets, putting on wider binding and then shaping the binding to blend with the existing neck carve, but finish up top with slightly more overall width to the fingerboard, then refret. The luthier was Guiliano Balestra.
 

garywright

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 17, 2002
Messages
14,134
A luthier I used to know modified a 70's L-5CES (IIRC) for a friend of mine to incorporate an original wider nut by removing frets, putting on wider binding and then shaping the binding to blend with the existing neck carve, but finish up top with slightly more overall width to the fingerboard, then refret. The luthier was Guiliano Balestra.
did the rear of the nut protrude
 

Minibucker

Active member
Joined
Jan 12, 2003
Messages
6,340
did the rear of the nut protrude
As far as I can remember he was able to blend everything so nothing felt out of place or the ends the nut sticking out. Maybe he also redid the binding on the headstock to meet up. It may have been a '69, whatever model had a rounded cutaway and narrower nut. It formerly belonged to Eric Gale.

That’s a brilliant idea.
This luthier (whose son I was friends with, and got to know him, wonderful guy, RIP) was able to do some magic on arch tops especially, he did the restoration on this guitar, which was brought to him in pieces......


e248a522ac5d4e4ebda0e8b78f090f7c.jpg





Edit: Yeah, so the L-5CES was probably a 1969, like on this page. Was similar sunburst and had 1-9/16" nut width, modified to 1-11/16"....

https://www.jeguitars.com/pre-owned...rst/?continueShoppingPage=/pre-owned/guitars/



Yeah, but please post pics before Big Al comes in and tells everyone how f'in stupid they are for thinking this way.
 
Last edited:

latestarter

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 9, 2009
Messages
4,072
I’ll repost the picture. Only just saw it again now. You guys can PM me of course.....
 

Minibucker

Active member
Joined
Jan 12, 2003
Messages
6,340
Nice. Does it effect you having the strings closer to the fingerboard edge like that, or does just the extra fret width take care of that?
 

marshall1987

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 30, 2005
Messages
3,225
I'm sure some players might go for this re-fret method/technique. It kind of solves the narrow nut issues, but at the expense of playing comfort. :hmm
 

latestarter

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 9, 2009
Messages
4,072
Nice. Does it effect you having the strings closer to the fingerboard edge like that, or does just the extra fret width take care of that?

Extra width deals with it. The strings just feel normal, and there’s no falling off the edge.
 

latestarter

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 9, 2009
Messages
4,072
I'm sure some players might go for this re-fret method/technique. It kind of solves the narrow nut issues, but at the expense of playing comfort. :hmm

Not sure what you mean about comfort? Do you mean the fret ends? They feel normal. The only thing I would say is it takes a little getting used to having still a smaller neck but wider spread...mental thing as much physical.
 

Bluespower

Les Paul Forum Member
Joined
Feb 26, 2003
Messages
3,419
Not sure what you mean about comfort? Do you mean the fret ends? They feel normal. The only thing I would say is it takes a little getting used to having still a smaller neck but wider spread...mental thing as much physical.
I have "extra" nut for my '03 R9 and I'm thinking about simply installing it on my 1969 ES335 by simply sanding off the edges. The E strings will be almost to the binding but shouldn't be a problem for me. This should spread the strings out a bit without any permanent mods.
 
Top