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

KarenB 01-13-2019 08:18 AM

Our fingers are so senstiive!
 
I mean, really. The difference between a 1 11/16 nut and 1 3/4 nut is 1/16th of an inch! That's tiny. Yet it feels different. It's amazing!

Silly Moustache 01-13-2019 08:25 AM

You are, of course, correct.
Same thing for string spacing at the saddle, and neck profiles, and, of course 10 thousandths of an inch can be too high or too low when it comes to string action!


Methos1979 01-13-2019 08:32 AM

I agree. I notice string spacing differences even more. 2 3/16" feels too tight, 2 5/16" too wide, 2 1/4" is like Goldilocks' porridge - just right! I'm the same with neck shape/carves.

Another thing I'm noticing more and more as my fingerstyle playing improves and matures is just how the tiniest amount of dynamics and tone shaping is achieved with individual finger pressure and/or position changes. A string is a little too hot? Pluck just that one lighter. G string too boxy when capo'd there? Pluck that string at a slightly different angle. Annoying sympathetic vibration and tone on that string over there? Mute with adjacent finger. Things that I never would have even considered a year ago. Now I do it on the fly.

J. Scott 01-13-2019 08:41 AM

Funny thing is that I just donít 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 wonít affect my performance noticeably.

rogue3 01-13-2019 08:48 AM

I notice the spacing in 11/16 allows for some real subtle string dampening using adjacent fingers.It's a technique.

I also like the luxury of the 3/4 when i want strings to ring out...but adjacent string dampening becomes more of a stretch.

subtle,as the op says,but significant.Different technique.

joemcg 01-13-2019 08:48 AM

I wonder just how much difference this makes to a beginner? Yes there are definitely some measurements which will frustrate them (string height unplayable, small nut for big, beefy fingers) but in general I wonder if small differences like a 1 11/16 vs 1 3/4 nut makes a difference?

Iím thinking that these things will just lead to confusion for someone starting out.

llew 01-13-2019 08:51 AM

I have one guitar with a 1 11/16" nut...but only because that's the way they built the D-18 in '62. I manage just fine but it is a much bigger difference than seems possible at 1/16"...you're right!

AndrewG 01-13-2019 09:17 AM

I'm fairly easy to please where string spacing is concerned; obviously there are extremes, but 1/16th extra (1/32 each side), on a nut is insignificant to me.
Action, however, I'm very fussy about-I don't measure anything but adjust until it feels right, and I get the right balance between comfort and tone. I also can't get on with skinny necks; the fatter the better. My ideal is the Fender '51 Nocaster baseball bat. I once owned an '84 D-28 with a good chunky neck, but it seems consumer tastes have changed since, and necks today veer toward the shallower profile.

AndrewG 01-13-2019 09:22 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by J. Scott (Post 5947149)
Funny thing is that I just donít 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 wonít affect my performance noticeably.

I have also been playing for over 50 years; I didn't care about such stuff as string spacing back then, and I don't now. If it feels right, it is right and I don't scan spec sheets or take a ruler around with me when shopping.

AndrewG 01-13-2019 09:25 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by joemcg (Post 5947155)
I wonder just how much difference this makes to a beginner? Yes there are definitely some measurements which will frustrate them (string height unplayable, small nut for big, beefy fingers) but in general I wonder if small differences like a 1 11/16 vs 1 3/4 nut makes a difference?

Iím thinking that these things will just lead to confusion for someone starting out.

Yes, this is stuff a beginner doesn't need to know.

JerryM 01-13-2019 09:55 AM

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.

Davis Webb 01-13-2019 09:58 AM

Absolutely. My 1.8 inch Seagull is vastly different than my ordinary spaced J45. Like 2 different instruments.

I need to get a nylon cutaway though, the strings are either bashing my nails in or busting up my fingertips. The high E is like a cheese slicer. Now I finally realize why DiMeola is touring with a nylon string guitar now.

Davis Webb 01-13-2019 09:59 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by AndrewG (Post 5947202)
Yes, this is stuff a beginner doesn't need to know.

Well, I disagree. I hated my first guitar because the action was too high and I knew nothing about setups for the first 30 years of playing. I only learned about setups when I joined AGF. A bad setup can discourage new players, a lot.

Ozark 01-13-2019 10:11 AM

I am loving my J-15 with the shorter scale length and the minor difference at the nut. Both my Martin and Yamaha are 1-11/16" at the nut and the little bit of difference of the Gibson makes it much more enjoyable for me to play.

Goodallboy 01-13-2019 10:15 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by J. Scott (Post 5947149)
Funny thing is that I just donít 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 wonít affect my performance noticeably.

Thank you. Like you, these small differences donít matter to me at all. Additionally, when you throw in string tension as an issue with some, Iím speechless.

We need all kinds now donít we?

muscmp 01-13-2019 10:28 AM

you'll get used to it. only time i notice any difference is with a 12 string. other than that, any guitar i play is just that, a guitar.

play music!

raysachs 01-13-2019 10:39 AM

Iíve been playing on and off for 40 years and I never noticed or cared a bit about nut width or saddle spacing until I FINALLY started learning to fingerpick a few months ago. Now I definitely notice and have a clear preference when Iím fingerpicking. The only things I noticed earlier in my playing years was action and string gauge (and sound, of course). With electric Iím much pickier about stuff like fretboard radius (nothing flatter than 9.5Ē on a Fender type neck, but 12Ē is fine on a Gibson type) and string spacing (narrower on Fender necks). But on acoustic, itís a recent thing to even care...

Duck916 01-13-2019 01:03 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by joemcg (Post 5947155)
I wonder just how much difference this makes to a beginner? Yes there are definitely some measurements which will frustrate them (string height unplayable, small nut for big, beefy fingers) but in general I wonder if small differences like a 1 11/16 vs 1 3/4 nut makes a difference?

Iím thinking that these things will just lead to confusion for someone starting out.


I can say that for me (a beginner just about two years in), I cannot tell the difference between a 1 3/4 and 1 11/16ths nut. In fact, while I do notice a difference when switching from my 1 3/4 steel string to my 2 inch classical, after about 10 minutes the difference seems to fade away.

I think I'm just not consistent enough to identify a 1/16ths difference.

Brucebubs 01-13-2019 01:18 PM

I can handle a .055 E string OK but .056 is too thick.

string1399 01-13-2019 01:25 PM

Our fingers are so sensitive!

You're telling me! I told them they were rushing the tempo, and they shot back "Who's fault is that???" :D

Steve DeRosa 01-13-2019 03:51 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by joemcg (Post 5947155)
I wonder just how much difference this makes to a beginner? Yes, there are definitely some measurements which will frustrate them (string height unplayable, small nut for big, beefy fingers) but in general I wonder if small differences like a 1 11/16 vs. 1 3/4 nut make a difference?.

Although I've consistently seen otherwise in both my personal and teaching experience, the idea of a 1-3/4" fingerboard for beginners is far from new - FYI Epiphone marketed their circa-1955 Harry Volpe entry-level electric jazzbox (the very last new design to come out of the New York factory) with specific references to the ease of fingering afforded by the wider board. Similarly, as pickstyle virtuosity came into its own in the early/mid-1930's there was a move among some progressive makers to narrower fingerboards and slimmer neck profiles: while Gibson's 1-11/16" would emerge as the de facto standard until the late '50s, it's a little-known fact that Martin (the touchstone for the whole "1-3/4 or death" movement) was fitting their F-Series archtops with 1-5/8" necks, and more than a few upscale late-30's New York Epis left the factory at 1-9/16" - a specification that would not be revisited in their regular-production instruments for another quarter-century, during the Kalamazoo period. I came up in the early-60's on those ~1-5/8" Fender/Gibson speed necks, and while I own acoustic and electric instruments with various profiles/widths I'm still most comfortable (and a heckuva lot faster) on the narrower profile; frankly, it's a shame most of those mid-60's Fender acoustics sounded like total garbage, or I'd own a roomful of them - and I also suspect that, had the flattop acoustics of the 1955-1995 period been made to a standard of quality comparable to their prewar counterparts, there'd be a whole bunch of AGF'ers tripping over themselves for one of those "fast/easy-playing/comfortable" necks...

Of course, you could always score a pre-NT Taylor while they're still relatively affordable... :guitar:

stringjunky 01-13-2019 04:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Steve DeRosa (Post 5947596)
Although I've consistently seen otherwise in both my personal and teaching experience, the idea of a 1-3/4" fingerboard for beginners is far from new - FYI Epiphone marketed their circa-1955 Harry Volpe entry-level electric jazzbox (the very last new design to come out of the New York factory) with specific references to the ease of fingering afforded by the wider board. Similarly, as pickstyle virtuosity came into its own in the early/mid-1930's there was a move among some progressive makers to narrower fingerboards and slimmer neck profiles: while Gibson's 1-11/16" would emerge as the de facto standard until the late '50s, it's a little-known fact that Martin (the touchstone for the whole "1-3/4 or death" movement) was fitting their F-Series archtops with 1-5/8" necks, and more than a few upscale late-30's New York Epis left the factory at 1-9/16" - a specification that would not be revisited in their regular-production instruments for another quarter-century, during the Kalamazoo period. I came up in the early-60's on those ~1-5/8" Fender/Gibson speed necks, and while I own acoustic and electric instruments with various profiles/widths I'm still most comfortable (and a heckuva lot faster) on the narrower profile; frankly, it's a shame most of those mid-60's Fender acoustics sounded like total garbage, or I'd own a roomful of them - and I also suspect that, had the flattop acoustics of the 1955-1995 period been made to a standard of quality comparable to their prewar counterparts, there'd be a whole bunch of AGF'ers tripping over themselves for one of those "fast/easy-playing/comfortable" necks...

Of course, you could always score a pre-NT Taylor while they're still relatively affordable... :guitar:

I think "Fat Finger Syndrome" is mostly experienced by beginners because they tend to fret too hard and death-grip the neck. I noticed this in myself. Ten years ago I wanted a wider neck but now, with my next guitar, it's not high on my list of wants because I am much lighter on the fretboard, so my tips take up less room.

Wistah 01-13-2019 05:09 PM

It's getting to the point where I don't play my 1 11/16 guitars any more (Martin and Taylor), even though they sound great and are perfect otherwise. Yet I can play narrow nut electric guitars no problem. Weird.

paulzoom 01-13-2019 06:40 PM

Hey, the difference between Gold medal and Silver medal in swimming can be 1/100th of a second. I get annoyed when people say small measurements can't be significant. Obviously it varies with everyone.

J. Scott 01-13-2019 07:33 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Goodallboy (Post 5947269)
Thank you. Like you, these small differences donít matter to me at all. Additionally, when you throw in string tension as an issue with some, Iím speechless.

We need all kinds now donít we?

Or run out and neck dive. Learn to play the instrument, be creative, donít be pedantic. Wash, rinse and repeat.....soon you make MUSIC. If I recall correctly that is the point of this whole guitar thing. Not intended to offend, just my opinion.

DukeX 01-13-2019 07:54 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by raysachs (Post 5947281)
I’ve been playing on and off for 40 years and I never noticed or cared a bit about nut width or saddle spacing until I FINALLY started learning to fingerpick a few months ago. Now I definitely notice and have a clear preference when I’m fingerpicking...

There you go.

For those of you who don't notice or need the difference, God bless you.

bufflehead 01-13-2019 08:06 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Wistah (Post 5947658)
It's getting to the point where I don't play my 1 11/16 guitars any more (Martin and Taylor), even though they sound great and are perfect otherwise. Yet I can play narrow nut electric guitars no problem. Weird.

Agreed. That actually is weird. But not uncommon, I should think.

DenverSteve 01-13-2019 10:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Davis Webb (Post 5947242)
Absolutely. My 1.8 inch Seagull is vastly different than my ordinary spaced J45. Like 2 different instruments.......

Uh......... because they are two different instruments.......:D

Rpt50 01-14-2019 04:33 AM

Psychologists who study sensory systems have the concept of a "JND" (just noticeable difference), and it is true that in some cases our sensory systems are capable of rather extraordinary discriminations (e.g. pitch in the frequency range of speech, tactile discrimination in certain body regions--recall the "homonculus" drawings you may have seen in a psychology book). However, just because we can make these discriminations does not mean they are important in performance. My suspicion, like others above have suggested, would be that experienced guitarists would quickly adapt, even if they did notice the difference. I would not be surprised if someone has already published work on this topic, but I am not familiar with it.

AndrewG 01-14-2019 04:46 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Davis Webb (Post 5947245)
Well, I disagree. I hated my first guitar because the action was too high and I knew nothing about setups for the first 30 years of playing. I only learned about setups when I joined AGF. A bad setup can discourage new players, a lot.

I was referring to things like nut widths; I absolutely agree with you about poor setups though.


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