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String clearance on weissenborn guitar

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Feb 16, 2020 - 7:46:57 AM
3 posts since 2/16/2020

Hey guys this is Matt I'm new here. So I recently purchased a gold tone sm weissenborn. I also purchased Charlie's slide pro capo which is awsome!! The problem I'm having is string clearance. From the 1st to 5th fret or so the capo runs on the fret board aggressively. Are there taller replacement nuts that fit this guitar or can I shim under the existing nut ? Anyone ran into this issue before?

Feb 16, 2020 - 8:45:34 AM

1955 posts since 8/3/2008

I suppose some may capo a weissie. I don't. If you go this route I'd recommend a new nut instead of a shim. The weissie has such a quiet voice and I'd think that a solid nut would transfer vibration more efficiently than a shimmed nut.

IF..the guitar will take the increased tension caused by a raised action. 

Maybe talk to Goldtone?


Edited by - hlpdobro on 02/16/2020 08:49:41

Feb 16, 2020 - 8:59:51 AM

956 posts since 2/2/2011

This is a common problem with the GT SM. And sometimes you just need to use a capo. The GT SM was my first Weissenborn.  I have a GT SM and a couple of other Weissenborns here now. String clearance on Weissenborns seems to typically be less than what you would see on a good dobro style guitar.  But it can vary.

I know of no ready made, pre-slotted nuts on the market for the GT SM. You could contact Gold Tone on that. They do offer, or have offered, their "zero glide" nuts for their dobros. Check with them to see if that might fit their Weissenborns.  You can check the nut out here.

Yes you could shim a nut.  The folks at Martin have done this as part of restorations on older guitars for many years.  I won't go into the exact reasons why.  There is a point of diminishing returns with using a shim.  You need enough of the original nut sitting in the slot to keep it in place.  So that method may not give you enough height for Charlie's Capo. Yes, you could pin and glue another piece of nut material to the bottom of the original nut.  But the work to do that would be more than making a new nut.  I would make a new nut.

Shaping a new nut is not a hard task.  It mostly takes patience.  A few specialized tools might be nice but a small file and sand paper could get the job done.  I used a set of files made to clean welding torch tips to do the slots before I got proper slotting files.  The torch files are cheap and effective.  They look like this. 

But mind you higher string height can mean more pull on the bridge.  My SM was not exactly built for the long haul.  So take that into consideration.

But wait, there is another option!  A friend of mine, and a member here, Tom Engleman (aka:Dobrotome), solved the string clearance issue by designing a capo for my GT SM.  The first ones were called Skinny Minny capos.  I believe a few members here, besides me, may have one. The latest model is called the Slim Jim. I just got one of those last week.  They look very simple but are deceivingly complex little devices. Tom has sold them here on the Hangout.  It should work on your GT SM.  They are also sold on eBay.  You could contact Tom through the Hangout ( or through eBay.   Here is a link to a Slim Jim presently listed on eBay.

Here is a picture.


Good luck.

Edited by - Slidennis on 02/16/2020 09:14:31

Feb 16, 2020 - 9:29:49 AM

956 posts since 2/2/2011

Here is a photo of the string clearance on my GT SM using the older SKinny MInny capo from Tom Engleman just to give you the idea of what we are talking about.  And welcome to the Hangout.

Edited by - Slidennis on 02/16/2020 09:31:02

Feb 16, 2020 - 9:41:53 AM

3 posts since 2/16/2020

Slidennis thank you for your time and all that information! Man I wish I came here before I bought Charlie's capo now cause it seems like the solution that makes the most sense would be the slim jim capo. Oh well atleast I know now and even if I purchase another capo I'm sure charlies will come into play at some point. It's a very well made tool

Feb 16, 2020 - 9:58:40 AM

956 posts since 2/2/2011

Well, Charlie's Slide Capo is a good device. Dobro players seem to love them. Weissenborns don't always have enough string height to use one. While most of us rarely use a capo there are still instances when you'll want to have a capo that works.

Oh, there is a search function here on the Hangout over on the left side of the screen.  It works pretty well.  If you type in something like "Weissenborn capo" it should give you some hits to read through.  We've probably talked about most topics that would come to mind and possibly solved what issues you may run into over time. 

Talk to Tom Engleman before you go buying a Slim Jim. Measure how much string height you have. He can tell you what might work.

Edited by - Slidennis on 02/16/2020 10:02:09

Feb 16, 2020 - 10:38:02 AM



153 posts since 4/27/2015

Hey Mattybee welcome to the Hangout. I had similar problems with my GT-SM when I bought it a few years ago. I already owned a Charlies Slid Pro and the slots in the nut weren't really spaced nicely so I made a new nut. I couldn't find a bone nut blank with suitable dimensions so I used micarta. Anyway, I have an extra blank that you could have if you want to try making yourself. I would offer to make you one but I would need very precise measurements to go by since I don't have the guitar to do a custom fit. If you're interested in the blank PM me and we'll talk. The blank is 2.07" wide x 0.74" high x 0.277" thick. Plenty big enough. The finished dimensions on the one made were 1.98" wide x 0.53" high x 0.245" thick. I think the thickness carried slightly across the width if I remember right. There ended up being about 0.30" above the frettboard. Let me know brother. 

Edited by - 2BUCKS on 02/16/2020 10:43:17

Feb 17, 2020 - 4:27:10 PM



145 posts since 1/24/2015

Matt, I have a goldtone sm same as you. I put a bone nut on it full height same height as my dobro and I have had no problems with it at all. But the highest I tune it is Open D. So as long as your not going to tune it higher than that, I don’t see it being a problem...Eddy

Feb 20, 2020 - 3:26:45 PM

3 posts since 2/16/2020

Thanks guys for all the advice pretty sure I hot the issue figured out. Hot one of Tom's slim Jim caps on the way!

Feb 20, 2020 - 3:50:21 PM

634 posts since 1/18/2012

I had a similar problem with my Iseman Weissenborn. I found that this cheap Goldengate funky capo works great on my weissie. I don't use any of the adjustable plastic shims, just the metal bar under the strings. It works and sounds great. If they're still available somewhere, they're cheap, worth a try.

Feb 20, 2020 - 4:43:39 PM

956 posts since 2/2/2011

Lounge Primate, does the elastic strap on that Goldengate capo fit around the hollowneck of the Weissenborn? 

Or are you just fitting it under the strings and letting the pressure of the strings hold it down? Just curious.

That capo looks similar in concept to the Jim Dunlop Slide Converter Capo.  The Dunlop might be more readily available.

Edited by - Slidennis on 02/20/2020 16:46:06

Feb 20, 2020 - 5:24:02 PM

634 posts since 1/18/2012

The elastic goes around the neck and the first grommet/bungee hole reaches the connecting pin.


Edited by - Lounge Primate on 02/20/2020 17:24:30

Feb 20, 2020 - 5:38:25 PM

956 posts since 2/2/2011

Ok! Thanks for that.

Edited by - Slidennis on 02/20/2020 17:38:59

Feb 21, 2020 - 6:10:32 PM



110 posts since 11/30/2019

Martin Gross makes a capo for Weissenborns, but he's in Germany so maybe a bit pricey shipping?

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