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FDP Forum / FDP Unplugged - Acoustic Instruments / Violin Nut Help!

orrk01
Contributing Member
**********

USA / Saint Paul, MN

Jul 23rd, 2019 08:55 AM   Edit   Profile  

I picked up a violin shaped object because I have been wanting to give the fiddle a try.

The only issue with it is that the nut is poorly cut. The string spacing is way too cramped.

I have successfully worked on guitar nuts so I'm not afraid to try to reposition the strings.

Any words of wisdom from the FDP experts?

Peegoo
Contributing Member
**********
**********
**********
****

If irritation occurs

discontinue use.
Jul 23rd, 2019 10:02 AM   Edit   Profile  

How cramped the strings are depends on the size and shape of the fingerboard. You want at least 1/8" of fingerboard between the outside edge of the string and the playing surface of the fingerboard. Playing surface means flat wood; on older instruments especially, there's often a small radius between the flat surface and the outside edge of the fingerboard. This rolled area is unusable.

Traditional nut material is ebony, but you can use any hardwood such as rosewood, bubinga, maple, etc. When finished shaping and prior to installing it, you can color it black if you like with a Sharpie or leather dye.

You can also use bone, Micarta, Corian, Bakelite, etc.

Setting up a bowed instrument nut is the same as on a fretless bass; the strings need to ring clearly when played open, but not be so high from the fingerboard that they hurt the fingers when pressing them to the wood.

The only other consideration is string slot angle: a little less than 10 degrees back angle from the fingerboard is ideal.

orrk01
Contributing Member
**********

USA / Saint Paul, MN

Jul 23rd, 2019 07:06 PM   Edit   Profile  

Thanks Peegoo.

Rather than replacing the nut outright, I'm planning to try the super glue and hardwood dust trick first to fill in the existing string slots. If that goes awry, then I will have to replace the nut.

I borrowed my daughter's violin so I have a good reference for comparison.

Now I think the bridge could stand to be reshaped too. It's relatively flat compared to the other bridge and much harder to get string separation.

jefe46
Contributing Member
**********
*********

State of Jefferson

Jul 26th, 2019 09:29 PM   Edit   Profile  

Go to a violin pro.

orrk01
Contributing Member
**********

USA / Saint Paul, MN

Aug 17th, 2019 11:14 AM   Edit   Profile  

Well, I finally got around to tackling this project and I can confirm that both Peegoo and jefe46 were right.

I ended up removing the nut, which was much harder than I expected it to be, because the super glue trick I tried first failed miserably.

I fashioned a new nut out of some corian I had on hand, cut the slots for the strings, colored it black with a sharpie and glued it into place.

I'm certain a violin luthier would point and laugh at it but the new string spacing is a definite improvement over the original nut. Measurements appear to be within spec and it plays OK so I'm satisfied.

I decided to leave the bridge alone. I don't want to press my luck.

Yes, jefe, I should have taken it to a violin pro but it was a cheapie violin I picked up on Craigslist and I didn't want to spend the time and money to find a luthier who would take on the job. I kind of enjoy challenges like this anyway. It gave me something to do on a Saturday morning.





Peegoo
Contributing Member
**********
**********
**********
****

If irritation occurs

discontinue use.
Aug 19th, 2019 07:26 PM   Edit   Profile  

Outstanding!

Good work!

orrk01
Contributing Member
**********

USA / Saint Paul, MN

Aug 19th, 2019 07:59 PM   Edit   Profile  

Thanks for your advice Peegoo.

Honestly, I never would have thought to use Corian for a violin nut and I NEVER would have thought to use a sharpie to make it black.

Peegoo
Contributing Member
**********
**********
**********
****

If irritation occurs

discontinue use.
Aug 20th, 2019 11:12 AM   Edit   Profile  

Just passing along info that has put $$ in my pocket :o)

FDP Forum / FDP Unplugged - Acoustic Instruments / Violin Nut Help!




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