Filing nut slots on my own: bad idea?

I’m currently on holiday in Italy where I have a Squier mini. the nut slots are too small for my chosen gauge so that the strings don’t slide in properly and I have tuning stability problems —> see pic

Can I just take some sandpaper and enlarge them a bit, or is it something that could mess up the nut easily if done by an amateur? Thanks!

Shouldn’t be an issue, but the strat has a poor break angle, especially on the higher strings. If you are not careful you’ll get that sitar buzzing sound.

If you keep in mind the angle needed to keep tension on the strings it should work

You can use the lower strings themselves back n forth over sand paper.


like many things involving your nuts, it’s better if someone else does it


I know exactly what you mean. Shelling nuts is such a pain. Much better if someone else does that to save my finger tips and nails.

1 Like

I’ve done it despite not knowing much about it and it worked out fine. The most important thing is to find the correct quality nut files for the job, and they’re not cheap. Actually good nut files cost a pretty penny. So if you only have one guitar you want to slot a nut for, drop it at a guitar tech. If you have many guitars or plan to have many guitars, then you can buy a set of files.

Really and to me, it’s the cost of the good files that’s more of a deterrent than the handwork in shaping and sizing a nut to fit your guitar. It felt like a waste to me when I basically don’t really plan to have guitars without a trem in the future, as trem guitars don’t usually ever need any slotting.

1 Like

I’ve always used the adjacent thicker string to file down nut slots for the A, D and G strings without a problem. You’ll need a higher gauge E string to do the low E though, and this also assumes the B and e strings aren’t a problem.

Whatever you end up using to file it, it’s a good idea to mark the maximum depth so you don’t cut too deep and ruin the nut.

1 Like