The Acoustic Guitar Forum

Go Back   The Acoustic Guitar Forum > General Acoustic Guitar and Amplification Discussion > Classical

Reply
 
Thread Tools
  #1  
Old 09-21-2019, 06:10 AM
rick_f rick_f is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Feb 2019
Posts: 10
Default New to both 12 fret and nylon guitars

Hi,
Investigating purchase of a nylon string
12 fret guitar. This is an online purchase.
Asked the seller about action. He gave me
The measurement of .10 inches at the 9th
Fret. So, is it normal to measure at the 9th
On a 12 fret? Also is this a fair measurement
For a nylon crossover?
Thanks
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 09-21-2019, 07:06 AM
charles Tauber charles Tauber is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 6,487
Default

The usual measurement is at the 12th fret. The "correct" string height is the one that suits your playing. It doesn't matter all that much what it is now. What matters is if there is sufficient room to adjust it how you want. Specifically, if you decide you want the string height lower, is there sufficient saddle projecting from the bridge to accommodate it? Most classical guitars do not have adjustable truss rods, though many cross overs do. Does this one? It might be desirable, depending on what and how you play. If not, you'll want to know that there isn't excess relief in the neck.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 09-21-2019, 10:22 AM
LemonCats LemonCats is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Mar 2019
Location: Catsville
Posts: 119
Default

Yay! we've got another one! (Screams to the army of 12 fret fanatics behind me)

btw .10" (2.54mm) is a nice action height... edit oops just read that was at the 9th fret, thats alittle weird idk why they would do that haha, id ask for them to measure at the 12th

Its likely to be a tad bit higher at the 12th that means but some people who are in the strictly classical vein even like 3.5mm at the 12th. And keep in mind even with a higher than usual action (for a steel string) the nylon strings are alot more flexible and 'softer' so it wont feel as harsh as how high action on a steel string would feel. I like really low action even on nylon string guitars personally.

Like the last person said just make sure if it is higher than what you would prefer- than there is enough saddle height to bring the action down while maintaining a decent break angle. Or if its the neck that needs to be adjusted than make sure it has a truss rod. But i suspect its the saddle
__________________
12 Fret-Slotted Headstocked-Wide Necked Fanatic
Harmony Stella, Cordoba, Doff, Republic

Last edited by LemonCats; 09-21-2019 at 10:35 AM.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 09-21-2019, 02:01 PM
Bunny64 Bunny64 is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: May 2014
Location: Birmingham UK
Posts: 597
Default Me too

If I could join the discussion. I have put a deposit today on a used Cordoba C5 CE which i think is a cutaway classical with slightly thinner neck. I usually play steel string acoustic. What struck me trying out guitars at the store was that many had poor intonation. Is this a feature with classical style guitars? There wasn't a Cordoba to try so hence they are bringing one from another store for me to look at. Its a hundred and seventy pounds cheaper than a new one. I normally play my steel strings with about 5-6 /64ths at the 12th low E with 13 strings. What would I get away with on a classical assuming that I play some Bach but also some Flamenco with High tension strings. Also how easy is it to set intonation on classical guitars? Any help greatly appreciated.
__________________
Guild D50 Bluegrass Special (Tacoma)
Cordoba C5 CE
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 09-21-2019, 03:56 PM
nikpearson nikpearson is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 538
Default Intonation and playing style...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bunny64 View Post
If I could join the discussion. I have put a deposit today on a used Cordoba C5 CE which i think is a cutaway classical with slightly thinner neck. I usually play steel string acoustic. What struck me trying out guitars at the store was that many had poor intonation. Is this a feature with classical style guitars? There wasn't a Cordoba to try so hence they are bringing one from another store for me to look at. Its a hundred and seventy pounds cheaper than a new one. I normally play my steel strings with about 5-6 /64ths at the 12th low E with 13 strings. What would I get away with on a classical assuming that I play some Bach but also some Flamenco with High tension strings. Also how easy is it to set intonation on classical guitars? Any help greatly appreciated.
Correcting intonation depends on how far out it is. You can move the contact point of the string on the saddle and adjust the intonation for each string. Nylon string saddles are often quite thin which gives less adjustment. I find it harder to achieve good intonation when playing nylon string largely because of my technique. Years of playing steel-string guitar mean I tend to over-press on nylon string which impacts on intonation. Worth checking your technique before looking at adjusting the instrument.

As for action at the 12th fret. Typical classical guitars are 4mm on the low E, 3mm on the high E. You can go a little bit lower if you play lightly and/or use higher tension strings, but I wouldn’t venture below 3.5mm and 2.5mm. If you are looking to lower the action then I’d suggest buying a new saddle to experiment with, that way you still have the original to go back to if things don’t work out.

In terms of repertoire flamenco guitars have deliberately lower actions to add some fret buzz and I suspect to facilitate the fast runs common in this music form; not so desirable with classical pieces.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 09-21-2019, 04:54 PM
Bunny64 Bunny64 is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: May 2014
Location: Birmingham UK
Posts: 597
Default

Thanks for that. Some very sound advice which I'll take on board. Good point about possible over pressing. I think if I could strike a happy medium around 3.5/3.00 ,that might work ok for me. Thanks again.
__________________
Guild D50 Bluegrass Special (Tacoma)
Cordoba C5 CE
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 09-21-2019, 05:02 PM
LemonCats LemonCats is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Mar 2019
Location: Catsville
Posts: 119
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bunny64 View Post
What struck me trying out guitars at the store was that many had poor intonation. Is this a feature with classical style guitars? Also how easy is it to set intonation on classical guitars?
Like most mass produced guitars at a good price from any brand: intonation will be just slightly off in varying degrees but also keep in mind the ones you've tried probably haven't had their strings changed recently..or ever.

Once you've got new strings on it and have given them up to 2 weeks to really really settle (nylon takes alot longer to stretch out and fully settle than steel) then check the intonation again to get a much more accurate measurement of how far off or how close to perfect they are.

I've been wondering about intonation on nylon stringed guitars aswell
Skip to 4:20 (4 minutes and 20 seconds) or if you want to hear alittle bit about how steel string intonation is set in comparison to nylon start at 1:15 (1 minute 15 seconds) instead
__________________
12 Fret-Slotted Headstocked-Wide Necked Fanatic
Harmony Stella, Cordoba, Doff, Republic
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 09-21-2019, 05:05 PM
LemonCats LemonCats is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Mar 2019
Location: Catsville
Posts: 119
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bunny64 View Post
I normally play my steel strings with about 5-6 /64ths at the 12th low E with 13 strings. What would I get away with on a classical assuming that I play some Bach but also some Flamenco with High tension strings.
My Cordoba GK Studio Negra was set with really low action for flamenco and it plays classical just aswell, I dont seem to have any problems with over-pressing perhaps thats something you would find on a higher action?
__________________
12 Fret-Slotted Headstocked-Wide Necked Fanatic
Harmony Stella, Cordoba, Doff, Republic

Last edited by LemonCats; 09-21-2019 at 05:20 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 09-21-2019, 06:41 PM
Bunny64 Bunny64 is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: May 2014
Location: Birmingham UK
Posts: 597
Default

Many thanks for all that useful information. I will keep you posted as to how it goes.
__________________
Guild D50 Bluegrass Special (Tacoma)
Cordoba C5 CE
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 09-22-2019, 07:30 AM
charles Tauber charles Tauber is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 6,487
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by LemonCats View Post
I've been wondering about intonation on nylon stringed guitars aswell
Skip to 4:20 (4 minutes and 20 seconds) or if you want to hear alittle bit about how steel string intonation is set in comparison to nylon start at 1:15 (1 minute 15 seconds) instead
The information on how to setup intonation, and the differences between doing so on steel string and nylon string guitars, is somewhat misleading.

Frets are positioned based on an assumption of an "ideal" behaviour of vibrating strings. The discrepancy between the behaviour of real strings and the behaviour of "ideal" strings results in a guitar playing out of tune - having poor intonation. Specifically, that strings are stretched as they are fretted, which increases their tension, and hence pitch, and that they have increased stiffness towards their ends. (Another discrepancy is inharmonicity, which I won't get into, and wasn't mentioned in the video.)

To compensate for these factors, which result in the pitches being sharp, one increases the vibrating string length. How much to increase the vibrating string length depends upon a variety of factors, including, the type of string, the string tension, the amount the string stretches when being fretted - which is related to how high the strings are above the frets - and so on. Since each of the six strings is different, each requires its own, individual amount of lengthening to counter the fretted notes on that string playing sharp. That is true regardless of whether or not the strings are nylon or metal.

Nylon strings have less tension than steel strings. Fretting a nylon string increases its tension proportionately less than that for a steel string. Consequently, nylon strings, overall, require less lengthening than steel strings. However, thicker strings, generally, require more lengthening than thinner ones. That is, the thinner treble strings require less lengthening than the thicker bass strings. On steel string guitars, the second, B, string requires more lengthening than its two neighbouring strings. On nylon string guitars, the third, G, string requires more lengthening than its two neighbouring strings. That is a function of the strings used.

Intonation on a guitar will never be "perfect". However, it can be made, through successive approximations, as "arbitrarily close" as one wants to go to the effort to achieve. Guitars are made with varying amounts of attention paid to the intonation. On many - most - mass-produced guitars, the intonation is fairly inaccurate, but "close-enough" for many players.

Virtually all guitars have all of the vibrating string lengths lengthened. That is, the saddle is moved further away from the nut than the theoretical distance upon which the frets positions are based - the "scale length". What varies is by how much they are lengthened and whether or not they are "individually" lengthened. On most steel string guitars, in addition to the overall lengthening of the strings, the saddle is slanted, making the bass strings longer than the treble strings. This is a first-order approximation, acknowledging that the bass strings required more lengthening (compensation) than the treble strings. It assumes that the amount of required additional lengthening of each successive string is linear, which it is not.

On most nylon-string guitars, the saddle is not slanted and all of the string lengths are increased by the same amount. This assumes that each string needs the same amount of lengthening (compensation), which is not true.

The next level of intonation improvement is to use the same saddle, but alter where on the thickness of the saddle the strings break over the saddle. This acknowledges that each string needs its own amount of lengthening (compensation). However, the amount of individualization of the string length is limited by the thickness of the saddle material, typically 3/32". This can be done on both steel and nylon strings. On steel string guitars, one usually sees the bass strings break over the saddle towards the pin-edge of the saddle and the treble strings towards the sound hole edge of the saddle, but for the B string, which is as far towards the pins as possible. On nylon string guitars, the same arrangement, but, instead, the G string, rather than the B string, breaks as close to the tie block as the thickness of the saddle allows. Regardless, the thickness of the saddle does not allow sufficient lengthening of the B string, on steel strings, and the G string, on nylon strings, to fully compensate that string.

The next level of approximation is to use a wider (thicker) saddle, or split the saddle, to accommodate fully the amount of lengthening each string requires. This allows the bass strings to be lengthened as much as they need to be while also allowing the B or G strings to be lengthened as much as they need to be. (What was done in the video is an example of this.) In this case, each string breaks over the saddle where it needs to be to provide the best intonation.

Ideally, one attempts to have the intonation as accurate as possible in the areas of the instrument that are most played. For a steel string guitar, that might be in the first few frets. For a nylon string guitar, that might be over the entire range of the instrument. It depends upon the player and what his or her demands are for the music he or she plays. Although the most common method of setting up intonation is to ensure that the 12th fret notes play in tune, that ensures only that the 12th fret plays in tune. Ideally, in setting up the intonation, one sets it so that the areas of greatest playing are targeted for accuracy. That could be the first few frets, or the entire range of the instrument. Usually, the amount of individual string lengthening (compensation) is determined empirically for a specific type and gauge of strings, string height, and so on.

Then there is compensation at the nut, the next level of approximation, beyond this discussion.
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 09-22-2019, 11:00 AM
Bunny64 Bunny64 is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: May 2014
Location: Birmingham UK
Posts: 597
Default Wow!

Thanks for that Charles. I think I am seeing the picture now thanks to all you guys. If I do go ahead with the particular Cordoba model(C5CE) correct me if I'm wrong but:

-It does have a truss rod which should be helpful in this regard?
-It may well not be as badly intoned s a traditional classical guitar?
-If some of the strings are sharp at the 12th fret I need to lengthen those strings over the saddle?
-This would possibly be done by removing material from the front of the saddle?
-Assuming I want to play all over the neck what deficit in intonation is allowable before it becomes obvious? Do i just trust my ear?

Finally i have done basic set ups on steel string guitars so should this be within my competence or would you guys recommend a pro set-up? If so how much would one expect to pay?

PS Thanks to Rick for initiating this thread which has been so useful to me a novice in the field of nylon string guitars.
__________________
Guild D50 Bluegrass Special (Tacoma)
Cordoba C5 CE
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 09-22-2019, 02:05 PM
charles Tauber charles Tauber is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 6,487
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bunny64 View Post
-It does have a truss rod which should be helpful in this regard?
The truss rod's one and only function is to adjust the amount of relief in the neck. If the relief if okay, it is irrelevant unless the relief increases and becomes excessive, something not usually a problem on a nylon string guitar. It can happen, but rarely.

Quote:
-It may well not be as badly intoned s a traditional classical guitar?
Chances are it is just the same.

Quote:
-If some of the strings are sharp at the 12th fret I need to lengthen those strings over the saddle?
Yes.

Quote:
-This would possibly be done by removing material from the front of the saddle?
Yes, but doing so will likely lower the string height in the process. Not much, but some.

Quote:
-Assuming I want to play all over the neck what deficit in intonation is allowable before it becomes obvious? Do i just trust my ear?
Trust your ear. A good ear can distinguish between pitches about 2 cents apart. Much more than that and it becomes obviously out of tune.


Quote:
Finally i have done basic set ups on steel string guitars so should this be within my competence or would you guys recommend a pro set-up?
The basics are the largely same. Preferences differ between the two. If you have never had a good setup done by a skilled professional you ought to have one done so you see what is possible.

Quote:
If so how much would one expect to pay?
It depends on the person, their location and what needs to be done. Likely anywhere from $50 to $150.
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 09-22-2019, 02:16 PM
Bunny64 Bunny64 is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: May 2014
Location: Birmingham UK
Posts: 597
Default Grateful thanks

Thanks for that Charles. Most helpful. I shall bear all those points in mind.
__________________
Guild D50 Bluegrass Special (Tacoma)
Cordoba C5 CE
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 09-24-2019, 01:19 AM
lodi_55 lodi_55 is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: The Coast between San Francisco and Santa Cruz
Posts: 1,700
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by rick_f View Post
Hi,
Investigating purchase of a nylon string
12 fret guitar. This is an online purchase.
Asked the seller about action. He gave me
The measurement of .10 inches at the 9th
Fret. So, is it normal to measure at the 9th
On a 12 fret? Also is this a fair measurement
For a nylon crossover?
Thanks
Have you played a 12-fret before? As a recent convert from 14 fret nylon to 12 fret nylon, I would suggest playing one if you can. Definitely a different "feel" in your hands, and my Taylor 12 fret definitely has a lower end "growl" I attribute the it being a 12 fret.
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 09-25-2019, 12:14 PM
Bunny64 Bunny64 is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: May 2014
Location: Birmingham UK
Posts: 597
Default Update

Picked up the Cordoba C5 CE today, I think I have been very lucky. It's like new and I paid 199. No problems with it. Put a new set of high tension strings on it. Action is 3.5mm/3.00mm. Very comfortable to play, no buzz. Intonation is extremely good and it sounds great plugged into my Marshall AS50D. Thanks again everyone for your invaluable help. A really nice introduction to the world of classical GUITARS.
__________________
Guild D50 Bluegrass Special (Tacoma)
Cordoba C5 CE
Reply With Quote
Reply

  The Acoustic Guitar Forum > General Acoustic Guitar and Amplification Discussion > Classical

Thread Tools



All times are GMT -6. The time now is 06:44 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, The Acoustic Guitar Forum
vB Ad Management by =RedTyger=