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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I came across this really interesting article about adjusting nut heights IBANEZ RULES!! tech - setup .

It corresponds to my impression, that Ibanez nuts seem a bit high.

However, the article dates from 2000, revised 2009. So the obvious question is whether this is still an issue.

Also, it refers to necks where the locking nuts are bolted from the back of the neck. Most of the RGs I've seen, bolt from the front (ie self-tapping screws into the wood). Do these RGs still use shims ? Does the information still apply ?
 

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You want to get the nut height right. what always applies is that the nut - if too high or low - will never allow optimum setup. In addition it won't allow proper intonation of fretted notes (F will pull seriously sharp vs open E due to excessive string movement required - but that also gets into compensated tuning sweetener convo).
 

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Setup from the factory in all areas is always an issue. These guitars sit in containers for sometimes months so if there was any setup at the factory little is left. Combine that with no factory setup is ever dialed in. I have had nuts both too high and too low, there is no hard rule, every guitar must be dealt with as a single entity in all the bugs or flaws it may have.

The 2009 update was to probably remove the information that from 2000-2009 Fujigen never cut the nut rout deep enough and to correct it required fixing the rout or taking height off the nut. I was going to write up another page and link them but obviously I never got that far. Today very rarely do you find a Japanese locking nut or rout needs to be worked, but from the last ones I handled Premiums were still a bad problem and one small part of the reasons I just quit handling non signature Premiums.

Fixed bridge nuts are usually not cut deep enough, or can be irregular with high and too low slots
 

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I've read this before but I've always wondered about the wisdom of having the string height at the first fret as low as possible without buzzing. Is there a technical reason for that or is it just preference?

I've found that when I set up guitars like that, it feels weird playing those notes since there's no give to the string before you contact the fret.
 

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If you want more resistance raise it all you like, but as mentioned above, it throws the intonation of any notes close to the nut sharp. You may not care or notice but that is the consequence of having the nut too high, besides the extra string resistance most would not prefer.

That said, it was written many years ago when I set nuts as low as possible, which I no longer do. I set them close to as low as possible but leave them a little cleaner playing [about .1mm higher bass and treble], at the same time I lowered the overall action at the bridge significantly from when those pages were written.
 

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How did it sound though? Maybe ignore the feel (you will get used to it) and measure/hear how sharp fretted F, F#, G are with a high nut. Insert a toothpick bit under the low-e string at the nut for a quick test.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
The tuning issue was what I noticed.

In some cases, I've ended up tuning at the 5th fret; and setting the intonation [saddle], so the 12th fret is correct. Which seems to have worked better.
 

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How did it sound though? Maybe ignore the feel (you will get used to it) and measure/hear how sharp fretted F, F#, G are with a high nut. Insert a toothpick bit under the low-e string at the nut for a quick test.
I think Rich and I are on the same page here. I'm not talking crazy nut height like something you'd pick up at a Guitar Center. I'm talking the difference between 0.1 mm and 0.2 mm. And let's get honest here, the tuning can go out for any number of reasons such as not holding the guitar perfectly perpendicular to the ground. We could also get into the the wisdom of jumbo frets. I'm not noticing anything off with my setups.

Back to one of my original questions, do modern [trem; nut bolts from front, into neck] RGs have shims ?
Yes, they should.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
While I'm sure there's no substitute for skill and experience; would the following be a reasonable metric to get into the right ball park ?

Hold the E6 string at the 3rd fret - so it's sitting on the nut & 2nd fret, but running over the 1st fret; then look at the clearance over the 1st fret.

[This is a roughly similar test to what the Ibanez manual says for adjusting the truss rod.]

If so, what sort of clearance over the 1st fret ?
 

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While I'm sure there's no substitute for skill and experience; would the following be a reasonable metric to get into the right ball park ?

Hold the E6 string at the 3rd fret - so it's sitting on the nut & 2nd fret, but running over the 1st fret; then look at the clearance over the 1st fret.

[This is a roughly similar test to what the Ibanez manual says for adjusting the truss rod.]

If so, what sort of clearance over the 1st fret ?
I just read an article on this, as a couple of my guitars need the nut height lowered... Here is the specs I read (for what it's worth):

"One by one, fret the strings at the third fret or place a capo over all of the strings at this position. Each string should have an extremely small amount of clearance between the bottom of the string and the crown of the first fret. This can be carefully observed through lightly tapping the string at the first fret with a finger and/or measuring using engineer's feeler gauges. Ideally you should have at least .002"/0,05mm of clearance under the thinnest strings and .005"/0,13mm under the heavier wound strings. Generally speaking, as long as the strings are not contacting the first fret the clearance is fine. If this measurement is close or dead on, move on to the next string. You may should jot down the clearances as you move across the fretboard to see the nut slot heights in relation to the fretboard as you progress, especially if you have a locking nut."

Solidbody Setup III - Nut height check and adjustment - Instrument Setup - ProjectGuitar.com
 

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So it turns out that I'm actually setting less clearance at the first fret than Rich is...huh.

That method for measuring clearance is not how I do it. I capo at the first fret and set the relief of the neck. Doing it this way takes the nut height out of the equation. Then I set the clearance at the first fret, then finally tweak the action at the last fret (changing nut height seems to affect this slightly).
 

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So it turns out that I'm actually setting less clearance at the first fret than Rich is...huh.

That method for measuring clearance is not how I do it. I capo at the first fret and set the relief of the neck. Doing it this way takes the nut height out of the equation. Then I set the clearance at the first fret, then finally tweak the action at the last fret (changing nut height seems to affect this slightly).
You've probably adjusted everything else to your liking and if you added any relief it would increase first fret action.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Bit of a datapoint.

I've got 3 RG Prestiges: A ~2008, knocked about, RG1570 - fairly cheap from a dealer; a ~2011 less cheap, ebay, used but tidy RG3250MZ; a new RG652KFX-KB.

On both the 3250 & 652, I would say the nut is way too high. In both cases, a tuner on the 1-5 frets says the intonation is all over the place [I've tried various intonation set-up schemes]. Tuning, esp on E6, needs to be something of a compromise.

[On the RG3250MZ, whoever had adjusted the bridge height, seemed to not understand the lock screws - which suggests a lack of clue.]

By contrast, the 1570 [which seems to have had a fairly hard, gigged life], has the nut height set in line with the article; and good intonation along the neck. I suspect it's been set up by someone that knows their stuff.

So, as you'd expect, this supports the view that an overly high, nut messes up tuning/intonation.

I reckon I'll shortly be looking at shimming the RG3250MZ nut; and probably have the local set-up guru look at the RG652 nut. [I don't mind gently twiddling things, but taking files to a new guitar is outside my comfort zone...] Though I might just take the RG3250MZ to the guru. He's friendly, and it's an interesting guitar.
 
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