What's the best tool to lower a cheap violin's nut action?
I've got a cheap Chinese VSO, and its nut action is too high. Can I lower it with just one tool, or do I need a few? Shall I just get a fine general purpose woodwork file, or is there something better? The end result will be given Helicores and be used for country music, so nothing fancy.
I’m non expert. Sandpaper?
You can use an ordinary hardware store file to lower the nut. For making the grooves you can get a single mousetail file like this:
Definitely no sandpaper. You'll ruin it. If you have a very narrow round file and you don't care much for the quality of the workmanship, I guess you can just use the same size tool for the lower strings and then cut the slot for the E with a knife.
thin triangle file, or better yet take it to your luthier, you'll probably screw it up if you try to do it yourself
VSO, "Country Music" - When is the last time you heard country music with perfect intonation?
As to intonation, I only need the nut to resemble the nuts on my better violins, so that playing it doesn't harm how I play them.
You will find this chapter by Michael Darnton useful, I believe:
One tiny needle file is sufficient. The string should not fit in the groove but on top of a depression, so fitted files are not necessary. In fact the string can be damaged in a fit slot that squeezes the winding from the sides.
Surely it's just a matter of making the grooves deeper? I find the right string height is crucial to tuning F on the E string. Too high and you've practically got your finger on the nut!
I agree with Darnton, in that a single "mouse-tail" file will be sufficient. This is a file which varies in diameter from one end to the other. You need to use the proper portion of the file to correspond with the diameter of the string.
I did some rough work by eye last night with flat and triangular diamond files. The nut turned out to be only cheap plastic. I've got a better bridge on order. When it comes I'll compare some nuts with a magnifying glass and finish off the job. Thanks for the advice everyone.