• Paul's Gear


    Posted on March 18, 2010 by Paul | 3 Comments | Jump to Comments Box Below

    Randy photo

    No matter how precise you try to be, tuning a guitar is always an imperfect compromise.  You can tune the open strings of an “off the rack” guitar perfectly, but when you begin playing chords, certain strings will sound sharp. If you’re interested, you can read hundreds of pages of very interesting mathematical explanations on the internet of why this occurs.

    You can get much closer to a “perfect” tuning by replacing the standard straight nut on an acoustic guitar with a “compensated nut”.  I’ve had a compensated nut, designed and patented by my friend Steve Merkel, installed on most of my guitars.

    To get a compensated nut installed on most guitar models, consider contacting Randy Hughes. Randy is a brilliant craftsman who can install a a compensated nut on your guitar, significantly improving the tuning.

    Steve Merkel image blog

    Craig Pattenaude 11/10/10

    Where can I find Steve’s “compensated nut”? I would like to have my guitar tech install one.


    Dan 16/10/10

    It is interesting how much the shape of this nut differs from the Earvana nut.

    Merkel’s nut is shaped to make the open strings play in tune with the fretboard, in equal temperament. I don’t know why Earvana shapes theirs the way it is.

    I have written extensively on guitar intonation, and especially, nut compensation at Please take a look at what I have done to intonate my guitars.

    Louis Gagnon 25/07/11

    I like the updated look to your web site…well done and thank you for sharing news on your dad.
    We will keep praying for all of you road travelers.


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