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  #1  
Old 12-20-2016, 01:49 PM
funkymonk#9 funkymonk#9 is offline
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Default Classical String Action Specifics, Please

Hi, I am curious after seeing typical string action specs for the 1st and 6th strings, how the inner strings might vary.

Since the guages progress in different ways from acoustic, how do the string actions vary.

Does the action move progressively lower from say 4mm (Low E) to 3mm (Hi E) or do they stagger because of the staggered string guages?

I realize player's feel is paramount to any standards.
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Old 12-20-2016, 02:46 PM
joinercape joinercape is offline
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Default Classic action...

Quote:
Originally Posted by funkymonk#9 View Post
Hi, I am curious after seeing typical string action specs for the 1st and 6th strings, how the inner strings might vary.

Since the guages progress in different ways from acoustic, how do the string actions vary.

Does the action move progressively lower from say 4mm (Low E) to 3mm (Hi E) or do they stagger because of the staggered string guages?

I realize player's feel is paramount to any standards.
As a typical classical saddle is flat, tapered perhaps toward th high E string, once the two E strings are set the other are where they are. I have never had a client complain or even comment on the variations in gauges. Most common in my experience is 2.5mm under the high E string to the top of the 12th fret, and 3 to 4mm under the low E string. The higher action is generally preferred by experienced concert players, as it is with players who prefer high tension strings. Electric acoustic instruments and of course Flamenco instruments are typically lower, 2mm under the high E and 3mm under the low (at the 12th fret). Another problem I found common was that players coming from steel stringed guitars often asked for the nut slots to be filed too deep, which is a mistake on a classical guitar.

Last edited by joinercape; 12-20-2016 at 02:54 PM.
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Old 12-20-2016, 03:16 PM
funkymonk#9 funkymonk#9 is offline
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Sounds good, now is that measurement of action with the 1st fret held or unfretted with 12th fret action?
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Old 12-20-2016, 06:00 PM
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Originally Posted by funkymonk#9 View Post
Sounds good, now is that measurement of action with the 1st fret held or unfretted with 12th fret action?
The measurement is taken with the strings to pitch but without fretting. Well trained players who do not use electronics sometimes prefer slightly higher action to produce the volume required for live performance.
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Old 12-20-2016, 06:40 PM
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Originally Posted by joinercape View Post
Another problem I found common was that players coming from steel stringed guitars often asked for the nut slots to be filed too deep, which is a mistake on a classical guitar.
Really ?

The conventional thinking on a steel string acoustic is that the floor of the slot on the nut should be on the same plane as the top of the first two frets.

Why should this be any different for a nylon strung guitar ?
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Old 12-20-2016, 08:24 PM
joinercape joinercape is offline
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Originally Posted by murrmac123 View Post
Really ?

The conventional thinking on a steel string acoustic is that the floor of the slot on the nut should be on the same plane as the top of the first two frets.

Why should this be any different for a nylon strung guitar ?
I would suggest that to be relative to the rest of the setup, gauge and tension of the strings, and most importantly the enthusiasm or strength of the player. Nylon strings are typically 30 to 50 lbs less tension than steel strings (per set), on an instrument that typically has no truss rod and fluctuates somewhat with the seasons. Some players have separate string nuts for summer and winter, others add or subtract paper or veneer shims under the nut to account for these variations. Too low at the nut with a strong technique and you will have some string buzz. Perhaps a player who relies on electronics and a light touch could be happy with a low action classical guitar but someone who needs to project acoustically would be unhappy with the string noise.
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Old 12-21-2016, 05:42 AM
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Originally Posted by joinercape View Post
Some players have separate string nuts for summer and winter, others add or subtract paper or veneer shims under the nut to account for these variations.
I am familiar with the practice of having separate saddles for winter an summer (leastways on steel strung guitars) ... this is because the soundboard swells or shrinks and the height of the bridge and the saddle varies accordingly.

I have never heard of the practice of changing out the nut according to the season , and tbh I cannot see why the change in humidity should have anything to do with the height of the strings at the nut.

Perhaps one of the classical luthiers could comment here.
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Old 12-21-2016, 10:54 AM
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I think you mean to say players change out string saddles for the season not string nuts. Nuts are almost always glued in. I strive to get the nut slot heights to the exact same height of the frets immediately in front of it. On some occasions I'll go higher on the bass strings only by a hair and that's almost always on steel string guitars. Some Pete Townsend style hard hitting players might benefit from a slightly higher string as would those who use a slide.

Seasonal change is of no concern regarding action at the nut. Just think of the nut as another fret, the zero fret or the very first fret in line. Then ask yourself why you would ever want it any higher then the frets?
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Old 12-21-2016, 02:39 PM
dosland dosland is offline
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Originally Posted by redir View Post
Nuts are almost always glued in.
I have nothing to contribute to this discussion, other than to say that in my experience many Spanish made guitars have a "floating" nut held down only by the pressure of the strings. I've had more than a few flop off the guitar during a hasty string change...yay me.
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Old 12-21-2016, 03:44 PM
funkymonk#9 funkymonk#9 is offline
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I don't believe in starting a thread and then becoming a "ghost" so i will thank everyone for their input.

I was mainly curious if anyone in setting up the action of a classical took the string gauges into account as they do not progressively get smaller like steel string.

But as far as the stream of conversation, I think steel strings have small variances in nut action so classicals and obviously flamencos would to. And by variances I mean thousandths of an inch.

Also I don't speak for anyone, but i don't see the positives of gluing in a nut, unless it enhances the bond/sound of the bone to wood. Like the previous poster stated, the tension of the strings is enough to keep in place.
Only in basses have i found the tension works against holding the nut in place.
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Old 12-28-2016, 01:48 PM
redir redir is offline
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Gluing the nut in has nothing to do with the sound of the instrument. Like dosland said, it's just annoying when you go to change the strings and they fall out or if it's a really loose fit and you start to tighten the outside strings and the nut slides over. If you are like me, and most people, when you drop something you watch as it falls, it hits the ground right where you saw it hit the ground and then it takes 5 days to find it.

I only put one dot of glue on the bottom of the nut for that very reason.
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Old 12-29-2016, 10:36 PM
CE Sobel CE Sobel is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by redir View Post
I think you mean to say players change out string saddles for the season not string nuts. Nuts are almost always glued in. I strive to get the nut slot heights to the exact same height of the frets immediately in front of it. On some occasions I'll go higher on the bass strings only by a hair and that's almost always on steel string guitars. Some Pete Townsend style hard hitting players might benefit from a slightly higher string as would those who use a slide.

Seasonal change is of no concern regarding action at the nut. Just think of the nut as another fret, the zero fret or the very first fret in line. Then ask yourself why you would ever want it any higher then the frets?
You want it higher than the 1st fret because on a classical guitar the open strings will buzz once the clearance to the 1st fret is less than about .4mm. Granted that is not much, but unless you play with a super light touch .5mm's clearance is standard for E-G and a touch more for D-E.
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Old 12-30-2016, 04:22 AM
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Originally Posted by CE Sobel View Post
You want it higher than the 1st fret because on a classical guitar the open strings will buzz once the clearance to the 1st fret is less than about .4mm. Granted that is not much, but unless you play with a super light touch .5mm's clearance is standard for E-G and a touch more for D-E.
So you achieve freedom from buzz at the expense of accurate intonation? .5mm ( = .020") is huge, and unless the nut is compensated, I would think the pitch at the first fret is guaranteed to be sharp. If the open strings are buzzing, then surely the relief need to be greater, or else the saddle needs raising?

Admittedly, my experience is only with steel strings, which is why I would like the opinion of a bona fide classical luthier.
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Old 12-30-2016, 09:39 AM
Roger1 Roger1 is offline
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I have never seen a nut that was not glued down
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Old 12-30-2016, 11:56 AM
CE Sobel CE Sobel is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by murrmac123 View Post
So you achieve freedom from buzz at the expense of accurate intonation? .5mm ( = .020") is huge, and unless the nut is compensated, I would think the pitch at the first fret is guaranteed to be sharp. If the open strings are buzzing, then surely the relief need to be greater, or else the saddle needs raising?

Admittedly, my experience is only with steel strings, which is why I would like the opinion of a bona fide classical luthier.
You're welcome to take my opinion or not, I am a classical guitar luthier. The excursion of nylon strings is huge compared to steel strings, partly because of the strings themselves and partly because the top is generally much more flexible which contributes to string excursion... there is not a classical luthier that I know that would set up a guitar with no clearance at the 1st fret because it will buzz regardless of how much relief the neck has. As an aside, the nut is usually compensated forward .5mm in classical guitars.

Typical concert level action on a classical guitar is 3mm high E to the 12th fret, 4mm low E to the 12th fret, and at least .5mm above the 1st fret for all strings. That enables a good player to dig in and not buzz too much, although many players will use a higher action than what I've listed.

Cheers,

Chris
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