How To Resolve Nut Ping
by Rodrigo Sanchez, Feb 19, 2021 . 4 min read
It is important to know how to resolve nut ping. This issue can create tuning problems as well as audible clings or pings when you bend a string.
Needless to say, you want your guitar to be in tip-top shape. Trust me, a guitar that won’t stay in tune is a nightmare. This problem alone can take away much of the fun of playing music. After all, you will be sounding bad all the time. And although pings and unwanted noises are not as bad as an untunable guitar, it is still a problem. The good news is that with the right information you can take care of this problem yourself. And to make it even better, it is quite easy to do. Here’s how to resolve nut ping.
What is nut ping?
We need to know what the problem is before we can attempt to find its solution. Nut ping is when your guitar nut can no longer do its job properly. Besides stabilizing the strings in place, the nut is also partly responsible for your guitar tuning. If the nut in your guitar is too worn out or not well-calibrated, you might run into nut ping. This problem rears its ugly head when you tune your guitar and the string starts making audible clicks and ping sounds. When your guitar is suffering from nut ping, these unwanted noises tend to be present when you bend the string as well. Even worse, this problem can cause constant and bothersome issues with your tuning.
But what about the tuners?
A common mistake that many beginning guitarists make is mistaking nut ping for another problem. They might change strings or even replace the machine heads or tuners with more expensive and precise ones, while the tuning issues remain. That can be quite frustrating, time-consuming, and costly. Even though tuners, machine heads, and strings carry most of the responsibility for guitar tuning, replacing them will not solve nut ping.
What can I do about nut ping?
First, pay close attention to see if your strings are making ping or click sounds when you tune them. If they are, then your guitar is suffering from nut ping. Once the problem has been diagnosed, you have two choices: take the guitar to a luthier or fix it yourself. As you might imagine, taking it to a luthier will be more costly and time-consuming. Typically, I would recommend a professional to deal with most guitar problems. However, nut ping is not one of those. It is easy to fix. Think of it this way: would you have a luthier replace your guitar strings? If the answer is yes, you can stop reading now. If not…
Nut ping home remedies
A luthier will typically use a set of specific files to file each of the holes on your guitar nut and combine this with a specific lubricant. This usually takes care of the problem. However, I’m guessing you don’t have a set of finely tuned guitar nut files on your toolbox (or guitar nut lubricant). I’m also gonna assume you don’t wanna risk filing too much to the point that your string will be too loose (another problem altogether).
A great home remedy for nut ping is a mixture of pencil lead and chapstick. Nine times out of ten, this simple mixture will take care of the problem. As a matter of fact, just pencil lead should work. It might leave some stains on your nut, so beware. Too complicated? Try with vaseline. You don’t have that either? Try with just a little bit of olive oil. I have done that more than once and it worked fine. Just remember to use very little of it.
You bought a nice tuner, have new strings, a nice guitar, but are still experiencing problems with tuning and unwanted nut noises? You might have nut ping! Be very aware of your string gauge. If you play guitar with a set of 8’s or 9’s, don’t switch to 13’s and expect them to just fit your guitar. I actually did that one time. I did not work. So don’t be like me and follow the advice on this “how to resolve nut ping” guide. Feel free to leave us a comment with any other home remedies for solving nut ping.