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Wider nut upgrade on Variax Standard (with before/after pics)

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In common with others, I found the neck on my Variax Standard a little narrow for my tastes. I play mostly fingerstyle, and it was impossible to precisely sound individual notes with the very tight string spacing. I measured the neck at 41.2mm (1 5/8") precisely, but E-E spacing on the factory nut was a very narrow 33.8mm.

 

A quick search through Graph Tech's website found the Black Tusq XL PT-6225-00, a precut 41.2mm nut with a healthy E-E spacing of 34.9mm. Even though 1.1mm improvement sounds tiny, it makes a huge difference under the fingers. Heres a comparison of the nut widths:

 

post-2323291-0-61380600-1454243820_thumb.jpg

 

The factory nut popped off easily with a light tap with a plastic hammer. The new nut is a great fit, and only needed sanding on the base to bring the height down. I fixed the new nut with a single drop of CA glue, so that it can easily be removed in the future. The replacement looks better than the narrower factory nut, which didn't hide the truss rod cover:

 

post-2323291-0-57009600-1454243959_thumb.jpg

 

post-2323291-0-54012900-1454243972_thumb.jpg

 

Here's the finished upgrade - you can see the frets are JUST wide enough to accomodate the new spacing:

 

post-2323291-0-99956800-1454244018_thumb.jpg

 

The guitar is now far more comfortable to play, and despite the wider spacing the strings don't slip off the neck (which was the biggest danger of this upgrade).

 

For anyone reading and considering the upgrade, I recommend you measure your neck width and E-E spacing first. It could be that the factory simply cut the nut on my guitar too narrow. Also examine your fret ends - if the ends are finished with a shallow angle, you might suffer string slippage on the top & bottom E. However, this is a cheap & reversible upgrade - if you try it and it doesn't work out, just pop the factory nut back on.

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This was one of the more common complaints about the JTV69's, which lead lots of us to replace the neck entirely. I really don't understand why they're still keeping the string spacing so tight on a 1 5/8" neck, which is a pretty common width, and definitely wider than the 69's. They seem to be courting the tiny hands demographic...

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Nut replacement: after 10 yrs classic rock, 20 yrs fusion, I took up flamenco, which forces me to use absolute tips nearest the on my otherwise fat fingers. All my guitars are slim neck and nuts. But new trick for old dog has made a huge difference. Something to consider if u don't want to mess w replacing the nut.

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