You’ll hear plenty of complaints about this. First of all, it’s not a guitar, it’s a guitar bridge. The bottom nut of most ukulele models are fitted with a “fuzzy” plastic or aluminum nut, which may or may not have a little gold dust embedded in it. The bottom nut is more flexible than the nut fitted to a regular guitar. The rubber on the bottom of the guitar is too stiff, and doesn’t let the strings fit properly.
Some guitar manufacturers have taken to fitting their guitar models to accommodate this design choice.
A few years ago, I learned that for some models such as the Yamaha Fender Stratocaster, the bottom nut is not fitted with a small gold jewel, which is fitted in order to give it a better sound. It is fitted, however, with a steel core nut. The gold is so tiny you can still see it when the top is on and the top is off. The bottom nut is a good compromise – it is good enough on most ukuleles and can be hard to hear on some models.
The problem with the bridge is twofold. The first is that the top of the nut is not completely flat. This could lead to a bit of friction between the back of the nut and the side of the guitar. A small amount of play is a fine way to check this is working well: move your finger up and down the middle of the nut, feel the feel of the nut in your hand, and if the top doesn’t stick to itself, then it’s probably working. You can play a few notes while you test it.
If, over the years, the nut feels too easy to slide, it may need lubricant. There are three ways to do this. You can use a nut lubricant called Ola-Vitek, available for about $14 per gallon, or you can use a plastic lubricant called Saphir. You can also use an oil like petroleum jelly, which is available at any drugstore. It usually comes as a three-pound tin. Another alternative is to try to use the body of the ukulele as a little bridge to keep the nut in position.
It is possible to make a sound by pressing down with both hands and using the bottom of the nut to push the strings up. That may also work to keep the nut in position on ukuleles that need to be played in a variety of different tun
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