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View Full Version : In Search of a 12 String with 2/2+ Nut Width


Jesse Matthews
03-11-2010, 03:39 AM
Hi Everybody,

I'm interested to try out a 12 string with a 2 or 2+ nut width and wide string spacing at the saddle...the widest i have found is 1 7/8...are there at all any that are factory made or these days you have to go custom if you want that kind of measurements...?

Thanks,
Jesse

Howard Emerson
03-11-2010, 04:27 AM
Hi Everybody,

I'm interested to try out a 12 string with a 2 or 2+ nut width and wide string spacing at the saddle...the widest i have found is 1 7/8...are there at all any that are factory made or these days you have to go custom if you want that kind of measurements...?

Thanks,
Jesse

Jesse,
The only maker the used a 2" nut width that I'm aware of was Guild. I own a 1964 F-212 that has a 2" nut, and a flat fingerboard.

They changed over to a 1 & 7/8" nut and curved fingerboard in 1966.

Eventually I'll be selling my Guild as I'm having a much smaller 12 string made.

HE
http://www.howardemerson.com/

Chazmo
03-11-2010, 05:58 AM
Howard, I wonder if that was unique in the Hoboken Guild era. I haven't seen anything wider than 1-7/8" on a Guild. Haven't played 'em all yet, though I keep trying! :D

edit: I see you answered my question. I need more coffee in the morning!

Howard Emerson
03-11-2010, 06:14 AM
Howard, I wonder if that was unique in the Hoboken Guild era. I haven't seen anything wider than 1-7/8" on a Guild. Haven't played 'em all yet, though I keep trying! :D

edit: I see you answered my question. I need more coffee in the morning!

Hi Chaz,
Yeah, it did not last long at all. It's a handful, without a doubt. I have no idea why anyone would want one that wide, and I have pretty big hands.

This one was cheap on ebay, so I deal with it, but if I have one made it will be 1 & 7/8".

HE

alohachris
03-11-2010, 08:33 PM
Aloha,

So Howard? Can't imagine why anyone would want to play a 2" nut width, huh?

It's because of factory compromises once again setting the parameters for "acceptable" guitar measurements.

There are people with huge hands that require that one think outside the box that factories have put us in.

The reason I got into making instruments - especially steel string guitars - is because I could not find a single Martin, Guild or Gibson in the 60's that would fit my hands or allow me to comfortably play a first position A chord, or to be able to fingerpick cleanly a 12-string up near the bridge. Not enough space!

The guitars I've made for myself all have 2" or greater widths at the nut, including 12-strings. And I still can wrap my thumb over all of them. Flat or arched freboard, it doesn't matter. Neck profile does. I made my necks for my hands. I suggest the OP do the same.

Of course, classical necks at the nut are 2-1/8" standard and 12-frets clear. There are good reasons (for both ease of playing and tonal qualities) for those standards that can be applied comfortably to steel strings as well. I mean, look how long it took Martin & Gibson to get off 1-11/16" & 1-5/8" standard neck widths respectively, and to finally offer wider necks, right?

To the OP. I am sure that you could get whatever width you desire from an independent luthier - or even a custom neck alone. Or you could make your own 12-string from a kit.

I wouldn't let factory edicts, compromises or limitations prevent you from playing what you need. I sure didn't!

alohachris

jpbat
03-11-2010, 10:09 PM
Well, I don't have particularly big hands myself, but I go for wider and wider necks as time goes by.
I bought every guitar I could put my hands on with a 1"7/8 neck.
Macaferri's, resonators, name it.

Since I felt it was not enough, I had one custom made with 2" at nut and 2"3/8 spacing at bridge. Super comfortable. I'll not look back.

I was planning a 12 strings lately, and found that it should be 2"3/8 at nut.
No way to find that except custom made. Maybe one day.
(I'm gassing a National wood body tricone...)

So, to each his own.

Jesse Matthews
03-12-2010, 04:32 AM
Alhoa Chris :),

Seems like you and me have a lot in common...you see, im 6"7 with hands about double then any other human i met...only folks with huge hands will understand that 1 7/8' is OK but not ideal for "my kind" ;).

I wish one day i will actually feel that a guitar is too wide for me because until now i didn't experience it and i played also on classical nylon guitar but the profile is not for me.

Seems like in all my life i have to make custom orders...everything is a struggle...finding clothes, shoes, houses are too small for me...door ways...and no im not fat :).

I found a great Documentary on the Guild that Howard talked about but only 1 was made and it was made for Josh White, Brazilian Rosewood Back & Sides with 2" nut YUM :P. they canceled it because just as they wanted to make a production guitar in 1965 the Beatles came by and more rock oriented pushed the folk and with it this guitar has been canceled at guild because it didn't make money anymore cause folks started to buy more electric and going after rhythm acoustic rock guitar...and not fingerpicking oriented guitars...

HISTORY DETECTIVES | Josh White Guitar | PBS
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J2dXwZ5beQ0

very interesting well made doc specially for us guitar freaks...watch out for G.A.S...btw it sells in elderly for 17K$ go ahead mortgage your house ;)

http://elderly.com/vintage/items/20U-12559.htm

Cheers,
Jesse

Howard Emerson
03-12-2010, 05:08 AM
Alhoa Chris :),

Seems like you and me have a lot in common...you see, im 6"7 with hands about double then any other human i met...only folks with huge hands will understand that 1 7/8' is OK but not ideal for "my kind" ;).

I wish one day i will actually feel that a guitar is too wide for me because until now i didn't experience it and i played also on classical nylon guitar but the profile is not for me.

Seems like in all my life i have to make custom orders...everything is a struggle...finding clothes, shoes, houses are too small for me...door ways...and no im not fat :).

I found a great Documentary on the Guild that Howard talked about but only 1 was made and it was made for Josh White, Brazilian Rosewood Back & Sides with 2" nut YUM :P. they canceled it because just as they wanted to make a production guitar in 1965 the Beatles came by and more rock oriented pushed the folk and with it this guitar has been canceled at guild because it didn't make money anymore cause folks started to buy more electric and going after rhythm acoustic rock guitar...and not fingerpicking oriented guitars...

HISTORY DETECTIVES | Josh White Guitar | PBS
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J2dXwZ5beQ0

very interesting well made doc specially for us guitar freaks...watch out for G.A.S...btw it sells in elderly for 17K$ go ahead mortgage your house ;)

http://elderly.com/vintage/items/20U-12559.htm

Cheers,
Jesse

Hi Jess,
I saw that PBS show..........very interesting!

The nut width on any given guitar is only part of the equation, and is very often not the be-all, end-all that people think it is.

Several years back I was given a beautiful Flammang EL Majestic and recorded with it on my second CD, A Tale To Tell. It had a 1 & 3/4' nut, which many people espouse as the 'ideal' nut width for fingerstyle.

He's a picture of me playing it:

http://www.virtual-aide.com/25th_labor_day/sunday_gallery/hires/howie_002.jpg

As wonderful as the guitar sounded in the studio, it just was not comfortable to play, and that is because there was nothing for my palm to grab onto. It was a fairly low-profile, shallow V neck.

I returned it to my friend and shortly thereafter received the custom Flammang that I had ordered with a neck that I spec'd out entirely. Prior to David shipping the guitar to me, 3 different individuals had tried the guitar in his shop.

They all said, basically, "If Howard doesn't end up taking it, I'll take it as long as you make a smaller neck for it".

Anyway.....the amount of meat on the back of the neck, the depth, and the shape of the 'cheek's on the neck have as much, if not more, to do with how well the neck will fit your fingers and the way the spacing will feel.

I can do a thumb wrap on my Guild, and I am 5'4", so I have pretty large hands, but there's so much more to it than the nut width.

It's never a cut and dried thing.

HE

PorkPieGuy
03-12-2010, 05:39 AM
Hi Everybody,

I'm interested to try out a 12 string with a 2 or 2+ nut width and wide string spacing at the saddle...

Everyone welcome Shaquelle O'Neal to the forum! :D

My fingers ache with the thought of 2"+ at the nut.

Jesse Matthews
03-12-2010, 07:40 AM
Well im not near shak but anyhow ;).

many features depends on the playability of the guitar like bridge spacing fretboard radius and of course neck shape...

Howard thanks for the pic ! nice looking guitar is that a franklin?! :P i can see an F on the headstock.

well in conclusion i have 2 options :

a. to take a guitar building course, then build a guitar :).
b. find a good luthier and order me one Geetarrrr.

both are about the same price i presume...now it all depends if I'm lazy or not ;)

Howard Emerson
03-12-2010, 07:54 AM
Well im not near shak but anyhow ;).

many features depends on the playability of the guitar like bridge spacing fretboard radius and of course neck shape...

Howard thanks for the pic ! nice looking guitar is that a franklin?! :P i can see an F on the headstock.

well in conclusion i have 2 options :

a. to take a guitar building course, then build a guitar :).
b. find a good luthier and order me one Geetarrrr.

both are about the same price i presume...now it all depends if I'm lazy or not ;)

Hi Jesse,

"Several years back I was given a beautiful Flammang EL Majestic and recorded with it on my second CD, A Tale To Tell. It had a 1 & 3/4' nut, which many people espouse as the 'ideal' nut width for fingerstyle.

He's a picture of me playing it:

http://www.virtual-aide.com/25th_lab.../howie_002.jpg"

HE

Jesse Matthews
03-12-2010, 08:00 AM
ops must of jumped on that paragraph its pretty late here sorry...

grampa
03-12-2010, 08:34 AM
Hi Chaz,
Yeah, it did not last long at all. It's a handful, without a doubt. I have no idea why anyone would want one that wide, and I have pretty big hands.

This one was cheap on ebay, so I deal with it, but if I have one made it will be 1 & 7/8".

HE

Classical guitars have 2" nuts. A lot if people, including me, play them. My Gibson F-25 also has a 2" nut and is great for fingerstyle.

Howard Emerson
03-12-2010, 09:08 AM
Classical guitars have 2" nuts. A lot if people, including me, play them. My Gibson F-25 also has a 2" nut and is great for fingerstyle.

Hi Gramps,
Yes, I commented about your F-25 on another thread! Very cool guitar.

However it has a much, much different profile than the Guild 12 strings of the 60's. I actually owned the Epiphone version of the F-25. It was almost like a B-25-12string neck. Low profile, wide, fat frets, etc.

Because the Guilds had double truss rods, they could not cut the cheeks 'too early', or starting close to the center of the neck, or the neck would show hairline cracks where the rod pockets were cut.

Indeed I have seen several with this very problem over the years.

Again: It is not just the nut width that is at issue here.

Best,
Howard

grampa
03-12-2010, 10:10 AM
Double truss rods would indeed make quite a difference in the neck. My F-25 has a flat fingerboard just like a classical and not curved which makes a difference also.
I would love to see one of those Epiphones.

Howard Emerson
03-12-2010, 10:30 AM
Double truss rods would indeed make quite a difference in the neck. My F-25 has a flat fingerboard just like a classical and not curved which makes a difference also.
I would love to see one of those Epiphones.

http://www.vintageguitars.org.uk/graphics/epiphone66p8.jpg

The Troubador, although it is a dread body, is the 12 fret wide neck model shown here.

There was also a smaller body version, which would be similar to yours.

HE

Howard Emerson
03-12-2010, 10:39 AM
Grampa,
BINGO: http://www.rfcharle.com/HTML/PhotosInstruments/EpiphoneFolkster.html

Great shot of the Folkster FT-95, with the double pickguard!

HE

ljguitar
03-12-2010, 10:42 AM
...I can do a thumb wrap on my Guild, and I am 5'4", so I have pretty large hands, but there's so much more to it than the nut width.

It's never a cut and dried thing.
Boy Howard…
That is so true...

I've had people play one of my guitars and talk about how comfortable it is and rave about the action only to go on and tell me they cannot abide playing those 1 3/4'' fingerboards...which all three of my main guitars are.

I've played quite comfortable 1 11/16'' necks and disgustingly uncomfortable 1 3/4'' necks.

When a person is accustomed to a certain width nut/fingerboard, and doesn't want to change anything since what they have works well, they are often surprised that just finding a guitar with the same width neck may not please them at all.

So many other factors (including string spacing and radius of the fingerboard) which contribute to playability.

grampa
03-12-2010, 11:34 AM
Thanks Howard. That small one is indeed exactly like the Gibson except of course for the headstock. Gibson also made the jumbo sized one and the model was the FJN. I've never seen one in person but would like to play one. I got used to the wide neck because that's about all I played and always wished for a steel stringer with a similar neck and when I found it my life almost felt complete.

Howard Emerson
03-12-2010, 11:36 AM
Boy Howard…
That is so true...

I've had people play one of my guitars and talk about how comfortable it is and rave about the action only to go on and tell me they cannot abide playing those 1 3/4'' fingerboards...which all three of my main guitars are.

I've played quite comfortable 1 11/16'' necks and disgustingly uncomfortable 1 3/4'' necks.

When a person is accustomed to a certain width nut/fingerboard, and doesn't want to change anything since what they have works well, they are often surprised that just finding a guitar with the same width neck may not please them at all.

So many other factors (including string spacing and radius of the fingerboard) which contribute to playability.




Larry,
<sigh>

I learned a lot of this on my own, but boy did my skills get honed while working in retail!

Observational skills can always be improved, especially through the eyes in one's hands.

HE

gltr
03-12-2010, 02:05 PM
Goodall 12 strings are 2" as standard. I had one and it was a tone monster, but I prefer my Lowden at 1&7'8'" All my other guitars have a 50 mm nut but somehow with a 12 banger the extra nut width on the Goodall, in addition to all the extra strings made it seem unmanageable to me.