How to File Down Nut Slots on a Bass

Filling Down Nut Slots

Bass strings that sit too high in the nut can cause intonation problems and make playing difficult. To remedy this, you’ll want to file down the nut slots. (The following procedure will work for any type of guitar with a wooden or plastic nut, including electric guitar, acoustic guitar and bass.)

1. Take out your nut files and get ready for some filing.

2. Loosen the string you want to file a slot for.

3. When the string is loose enough, move it away from the slot and over the side of the nut (like the photo below shows).

4. Keeping your nut file at an approximately 35 degree angle and make just a few passes on the nut.


5. Replace the string in it’s slot, and TUNE IT BACK TO PITCH.


6. Use a .006 feeler gauge, use the string height assessment method discussed in the assessment section of this tutorial to determine if the string is at the proper height.

7. Repeat steps 1 – 6 if necessary. (It’s better to file too little than too much. You can always file down a nut slot a little more.)

What if some of the bass strings sit too high, others sit too low and some are just right?

If you’re working on a bass guitar with this problem, just follow these two steps:

1. Shim up the nut and that will raise the strings that are sitting too low.
2. File down any strings that are too high using nut files and feeler gauge.

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