Violin Explained

The Nut

The Nut at the top of the fingerboard, where the strings lay spaced out evenly, is surprisingly critical.

If the strings do not fit and lay perfectly(!) in the tracks cut for them there are a few things that will make playing the violin uncomfortable.

    1. The intonation or harmonic of the instrument may be out.
    2. Buzzing may occur if there are bumps in the track that prevent the string from laying flush right to the end of the nut edge– where the fingerboard meets it.
    3. When the tracks/ grooves are cut too deep they may prevent the strings from vibrating freely and alter the sound and or responsiveness of the instrument.
    4. Worse, they may contribute to the strings breaking at the edge of the nut more frequently.
    5. When the tracks are cut with a slope down toward the peg box and a kink is visible at the point where the fingerboard and nut meet it is likely that the strings may get damaged at this point causing the winding to be undone. The edges and sides need to be filed in such a way that the string never comes into contact with any sharp edges.
    6. If the strings are more than 0.5 - 1mm above the fingerboard it becomes harder to press down on the notes – especially in the first few positions.

The nut should be made from a piece of hard wood with the grain direction laying horizontally across the neck.

If the grain is parallel with the neck, the strings have a tendency to cut through the wood and come too close to the fingerboard, causing buzzing. If the grain is correct but vertically placed it causes the strings to bite into it and possibly pulls the winding of the string apart.


TIP! One wise thing to do in the tracks is to pencil in a bit of graphite. It helps lubricate the strings movement over the surface smoothly. This helps preserve string life.

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