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-   -   Our fingers are so senstiive! (https://www.acousticguitarforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=534510)

jaymarsch 01-14-2019 09:54 AM

I play both a guitar with a nut width of 1 and 11/16th and a couple with 1 and 3/4th. I can pretty much go back and forth between these with no problem but they feel very different due to one being a 14 fret and the other being a 12 fret as well as one being 2 and 1/8th at the saddle and the other 2 and 1/4th. They both have the same scale length (25.4) and neck shape. I find the smaller spacing at the saddle more problematic that the smaller nut width. I agree that all these little measurements can make an enormous difference to some of us.

A custom guitar that I currently have on order will have a 25" scale, 14 fret with 1 and 23/32nds at the nut and 2 and 1/4th at the saddle. So it will be different but in the range that I can easily adapt to. I enjoyed talking with the luthier about the various choices and what the compromises might be given the sound and feel that I was looking for. I even knew someone who ordered a guitar with a 1 and 47/64th nut width - now that is what I call really dialing in. :)

Best,
Jayne

mr. beaumont 01-14-2019 10:19 AM

I honestly didn't know nuts came in different widths until I started joining internet forums.

You had better believe I can feel the difference now. Maybe I could always feel the difference...now I just know what it is?

SouthpawJeff 01-14-2019 01:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mr. beaumont (Post 5948185)
I honestly didn't know nuts came in different widths until I started joining internet forums.

You had better believe I can feel the difference now. Maybe I could always feel the difference...now I just know what it is?

I think there’s a LOT of truth in the above statement. The difference of 1/16” is pretty minimal especially when you think about the difference between individual strings comes down to thousands of an inch. I never thought about it at all until I started playing a nylon string which is a whole different experience when it comes to string spacing. Now that takes me a little bit to get used to when switching back and forth. For my playing I find the nylon string, and the extra spacing allowed, really helped my fingerstyle playing. The SS acoustic works better for strumming chords.

Jeff

Dino Silone 01-14-2019 01:38 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JerryM (Post 5947239)
The most significant thing I have found nut width and spacing aside is scale length. I have some very nice guitars that I no longer play due to the increase in tension something in later years I find affects my hands a great deal. spacing and width I can adapt to on any guitar but not the added tension of full scale.

I would have agreed with you until yesterday. I had the chance to play a Martin 000-15M, which had everything “wrong”, according to my preconceived notions. It had 1 11/16” nut, and I thought I wanted 1 3/4”. It had long scale, and I knew I wanted short scale (for the same reason you talk about). But the neck profile and the setup on this guitar were so good, I never played a more comfortable guitar. I was surprised to learn, after I got home, that this guitar that I thought had to be short scale while I was playing it, was in fact 25.5”.

I’m wondering if maybe they had it set up with custom lights or something - it played like butter. But, to that point, if you run one of the string tension calculators, you find that going down one string guage makes much more difference in tension than going from long scale to short.

donlyn 01-14-2019 05:35 PM

When I go out to try guitars, I pack along a capo, digital tuner, and a carpenters retractable ruler. That way I can do physical measurements on the instrument, as well as answering those important questions, "how does it sound to my ears" and "how does it feel in my hands?"

My results are not exclusive. My fingers seem to slightly prefer the 1 11/16" neck width, but fortunately I'm also at home with the 1 3/4" Taylor necks on my 6 string Grand Orchestra and Grand Concerts. The 412e-R Grand Concert is a short scale model, which my fingers also like a lot.

Just my 2 cents.

Don

Skip Ellis 01-14-2019 08:05 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by J. Scott (Post 5947149)
Funny thing is that I just don’t care about any of it. I have played now for over 50 years. I have played a number of instruments ranging in size from mandolin to upright bass. I might notice the difference between nut sizes and scale length but it won’t affect my performance noticeably.

Same here - I just don't notice it and I don't care. Been playing for 60 years next June and play everything from acoustic guitar to bass to fiddle to pedal steel (which doesn't really count!)

Mandobart 01-14-2019 10:38 PM

No, some of you (not all of us) are very sensitive to the minutiae of neck width, string gage, fret size, radius or not, etc. Many of the previous posts echo my view - adaptability can be liberating! I have large hands (size 11 gloves). I'm a multi-instrumentalist; violin, viola, mandolin, mandola, octave mando, mandocello, 6 and 12 string guitar, bass....they are all different in nut width, neck length, neck taper from nut to body join, flat fretboard, radiused board, large frets, skinny frets, no frets, archtop, flattop, etc. If I limited my choices to one specific nut width I'd go from playing 20+ instruments to 2. No thanks, I like variety.

justonwo 01-14-2019 11:11 PM

I marvel at some of you that are playing such a wide variety of stringed instruments. Very impressive.

I agree that it’s remarkable how small a difference our hands can feel, though it should be noted there’s a commensurate change in the depth as well if the same type of profile is desired. That means there’s a change in two dimensions.

Regardless, I can tell the difference between 1 3/4” and 1 11/16” with ease, as the latter tends to crowd my fingers together when playing fingerstyle. That’s not to say I couldn’t adapt to 1 11/16” if I had to, but I have a strong preference for 1 3/4” and most fingerstyle-oriented guitars are built to this spec. Given the huge breadth of options available to guitarists these days, those of us that care about nut width can afford to have a preference.

Shortfinger 01-15-2019 08:45 AM

I thought this was a fun thread about Frank Zappa and penguins.

AndrewG 01-15-2019 08:56 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by donlyn (Post 5948597)
When I go out to try guitars, I pack along a capo, digital tuner, and a carpenters retractable ruler. That way I can do physical measurements on the instrument, as well as answering those important questions, "how does it sound to my ears" and "how does it feel in my hands?"

My results are not exclusive. My fingers seem to slightly prefer the 1 11/16" neck width, but fortunately I'm also at home with the 1 3/4" Taylor necks on my 6 string Grand Orchestra and Grand Concerts. The 412e-R Grand Concert is a short scale model, which my fingers also like a lot.

Just my 2 cents.

Don

This may be a silly question, but if you're more concerned about how a guitar feels and sounds, rather than what a spec sheet says (as we should be), then why bother measuring it?

donlyn 01-15-2019 09:50 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by donlyn

When I go out to try guitars, I pack along a capo, digital tuner, and a carpenters retractable ruler. That way I can do physical measurements on the instrument, as well as answering those important questions, "how does it sound to my ears" and "how does it feel in my hands?"

My results are not exclusive. My fingers seem to slightly prefer the 1 11/16" neck width, but fortunately I'm also at home with the 1 3/4" Taylor necks on my 6 string Grand Orchestra and Grand Concerts. The 412e-R Grand Concert is a short scale model, which my fingers also like a lot.

Just my 2 cents.

Don
Quote:

Originally Posted by AndrewG (Post 5949040)
This may be a silly question, but if you're more concerned about how a guitar feels and sounds, rather than what a spec sheet says (as we should be), then why bother measuring it?

Not a silly question per se. It's mostly a double-check thing. Think about it. The capo and tuner should be obvious, but not the ruler.

Especially when buying used guitars, there are usually no specs available. Most of my guitars are used. And even with new guitars, you can't always be certain, as manufacturers sometimes make changes within models, sometimes within the same year. Some like a 'short' scale guitar. Some a 'standard' scale, which length will differ because there is no true standard, sometimes even within a single manufacturer. (And measuring anyway is an inexact science.)

So for example, let's say I'm looking for a short scale guitar and, from experience, I definitely prefer playing 1 11/16" nut size instruments. Even to the point of retuning every 1 3/4" nut guitar I've ever bought. Doesn't mean I can't play one; just means I end up disliking playing them no matter how nice sounding. So I can look over prospective guitars, try them, and before I get too far with a given guitar, I can check for what I want. (And don't want!)

So a guitar passes the sound test, but is borderline on the feel. Checking the scale, returns 25.5" (not a standard, but common). Not what I wanted, but now I know I exactly why. (Warning: Your mind can play tricks with you.) Or let's say the scale is under 25", but the nut is 1 3/4". Again, now I know why. Don't feel you have to buy something. You may be sorry. Even if it checks off all your boxes.

It's all about being sure of as much as you can. Also won't hurt to carry an adjustable mirror on a long handle so you can check a guitars innards too. Just because you may have access to a spec sheet doesn't necessarily mean what you see is what you get.

Sorry for the longish explanation, but there it is. Just for the record, I prefer 1 11/16" nut size, but I can easily play 1 3/4" nut size.

Don
.

Davis Webb 01-15-2019 10:27 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mr. beaumont (Post 5948185)
I honestly didn't know nuts came in different widths until I started joining internet forums.

You had better believe I can feel the difference now. Maybe I could always feel the difference...now I just know what it is?

Yep. I cannot speed pick country and bluegrass with a wide neck easily. But I cannot do fingerstyle easily on a narrow neck. Its nice to have both.

AndrewG 01-15-2019 10:48 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by donlyn (Post 5949092)
Not a silly question per se. It's mostly a double-check thing. Think about it. The capo and tuner should be obvious, but not the ruler.

Especially when buying used guitars, there are usually no specs available. Most of my guitars are used. And even with new guitars, you can't always be certain, as manufacturers sometimes make changes within models, sometimes within the same year. Some like a 'short' scale guitar. Some a 'standard' scale, which length will differ because there is no true standard, sometimes even within a single manufacturer. (And measuring anyway is an inexact science.)

So for example, let's say I'm looking for a short scale guitar and, from experience, I definitely prefer playing 1 11/16" nut size instruments. Even to the point of retuning every 1 3/4" nut guitar I've ever bought. Doesn't mean I can't play one; just means I end up disliking playing them no matter how nice sounding. So I can look over prospective guitars, try them, and before I get too far with a given guitar, I can check for what I want. (And don't want!)

So a guitar passes the sound test, but is borderline on the feel. Checking the scale, returns 25.5" (not a standard, but common). Not what I wanted, but now I know I exactly why. (Warning: Your mind can play tricks with you.) Or let's say the scale is under 25", but the nut is 1 3/4". Again, now I know why. Don't feel you have to buy something. You may be sorry. Even if it checks off all your boxes.

It's all about being sure of as much as you can. Also won't hurt to carry an adjustable mirror on a long handle so you can check a guitars innards too. Just because you may have access to a spec sheet doesn't necessarily mean what you see is what you get.

Sorry for the longish explanation, but there it is. Just for the record, I prefer 1 11/16" nut size, but I can easily play 1 3/4" nut size.

Don
.

I take your point, but ultimately no amount of measurements can tell you what your hands and ears do.

woodbox 01-15-2019 12:16 PM

I agree with the OP, fingers are sensitive.

Yes, 1/16 of an inch is, on the surface, such a relatively small amount of space, and yet to some of us it's very important.
It may seem crazy, but it's a point of contention it seems, to some of us.

A while ago, my engineer buddy made an observation:
It's not just a matter of 1/16" over nearly two inches.. (1 11/16, 1 3/4, 1 7/8 etc)
It's 1/16 of an inch divided among the 5 spaces between the 6 strings.
Thank about that for a moment.
It's 1/5th of 1/16th we are talking about.. the space between the strings.

We could also look at it as 1/16 divided by SEVEN spaces if we wanted to take into account the space to the outside of each E string.
Yep, the five spaces between strings AND the two spaces to the edge of the fret board, all taking thier share of 1/16 of an inch.

Right now, I'm looking at cases that hold guitars ranging from just under 1 11/16 (my electric) to 2" (my classical) most of which are 1 3/4.
And there's the one I built with 1 13/16".. yep, when I had my choice, that's the nut width I chose.
I added yet another 1/16.
And the next one I build will have the same, 1 13/16.

Yes, nut width matters.
Scale length does too.
String spacing at the bridge is important.
As is string gauge.

My bottom line conclusion?
Leave the micrometer out of it, get my head out of the specs.

If you like it, play it.

Simple as that.

donlyn 01-15-2019 01:26 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by AndrewG (Post 5949153)
I take your point, but ultimately no amount of measurements can tell you what your hands and ears do.

I can't dispute your statement, because you are entirely correct about hands and ears.

But this whole thread is about people who can feel a difference between measurable things like nut width et cetera, and would like to avoid known issues/problems with that. It will help eliminate wasting time and energy (and maybe wallet) if you come home with the wrong thing. See examples in previous post.

Carpenter's axiom: Measure twice, cut once.

Don
.


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