Did your guitar recently take a tumble and chip the nut? Did you or a well-intentioned repairman/friend/gorilla get a little heavy-handed while trying to get those nut slots smoothed out just so? Of course, if either of these things occurred, it probably happened just hours or days before you were due to use your axe in a session or a gig, as Murphy’s Law predicts. Here’s a quick fix that might just save your bacon – at least temporarily.
OK, MacGyver, here’s what you’ll need: a couple of toothpicks, super glue, a small utility knife, tweezers, and some thick paper or card stock. Remove your strings and mask the area above and below the nut. If the nut is cracked or chipped, apply as little glue as possible to the injury. If the chip interferes with a string’s ability to stay in its nut slot, try applying a gob of glue and a small piece of the card stock or toothpick to keep things in place. In the case of bottomed-out nut slots, cut a small enough rectangle of paper to fill the slot and apply the glue to it. Once it’s dry you can sand it to fit (with care, of course).
Keep in mind, this is no substitute for a clean, intact, and professionally installed nut. It’s intended to be a “band aid” until you can get the repair done properly. And make sure the glue is dry before you put your strings back on or you’ll have another interesting problem to solve!