Why does a 1/16 make such a difference ?

Welcome to SCGC Players Forum Forums A General Discussion Why does a 1/16 make such a difference ?

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    • #4744
      Hank
      Participant

      During some recent back and forth emails and phone conversations with some of Y’all a recurring theme is Nut Width.

      The discussion almost always leads to …”I’d love to buy that guitar but I just can’t because it has a 1 11/16 nut……I’ve got to have a 1 3/4.

      Now I’m not the player that most of you are, and I broke my neck 25 years ago and still suffer from some lack of sensation in my fingers, but  I don’t see why a 1/16 of an inch should keep one from buying a guitar that has an exceptional voice and is (other than nut width) a wonderful instrument.

      Until I became aware of the finer points of luthiery I honestly could not of told you the nut width of any of my guitars.

      Is muscle memory that accurate that a 1/16 causes a missed note or screwed up chord ?  Hell, I miss place my fingers several time a song regardless of the nut size.

      Just wondering .

       


      1993 Martin HD-28 IR/Sitka
      2001 SCGC F Cutaway Maple/German (For Sale)
      2008 SCGC OT Madi/Italian
      2015 SCGC OM “The Tree” Hog/ European
      2016 SCGC 1934 D45 Braz/ Adi
      2016 Taylor K62 CE Limited Edition 12 string all Koa
      2019 SCGC FTC Granadillo/Redwood
      Life is a journey…not a guided tour,
      The Bay,The Gulf Stream , The Open Ocean are particular about who they share their secrets with.

    • #4750
      tadol
      Moderator

      Personally, I just can’t get all my fingers onto the fretboard when its 1-11/16 – which is kinda a problem, as the main reason I’m trying is because I want to get as many strings into play as I can, and frequently its just 2 or 3 that are needed – or even wanted –

      But I discovered a long time ago that while I can live with 1-¾,  I’d always rather have 1-13/16, and sometimes, 1-⅞ is truly luxurious. But when it gets to 1-⅞, neck shape and depth start to become much more important, and I’ve let a couple that wide go because of the shape, and it just plain hurt to play them for any extended period.

      But that low-profile, slim “C”  1-13/16” SC neck – a true thing of joy –

    • #4751
      Daniel
      Participant

      The 1 and 3/4″ nut width was standard on Martins for a long time, and then at some point they switched to 1 and 11/16″.  No one batted an eyelid when they did.

      Then along came the Internet and discussion of finer points among the general interested population.  Also acoustic music was making a massive comeback at the same moment.  Fingerstyle guitar became a thing.  The combination of the two events meant that 1 and 3/4″ came roaring back with a vengeance.    Now they are easier to find than 1 and 11/16″ nuts.  (Rainsong doesn’t make guitars with necks that have 1 and 11/16″ nuts)

      I have tried to like 1 3/4″ nuts, but I never get the sound I am looking for from them.  I also find chording more difficult.

      (Suite Judy Blue Eyes cannot be played properly on a guitar that has a 1 and 3/4″ nut width.  But it’s a bit easier to play 4+20 on one.)

      I maintain, perhaps self-interestedly, that 99% of players could go with a 1 and 11/16″ nut width.  They just need slight improvements to technique and a little more time practicing.

      Daniel

       


    • #4752
      Chrisakadigdog
      Participant

      I mostly notice the difference when playing the G chord using my index on 6g  Ring 5b &  pinky 1g fingering,  and on most bar chords  it causes me to overextend my messed up left wrist .  It’s the little things …   I think nut string spacing plays more into the mix for many .

    • #4753
      John Frink
      Participant

      It makes a difference to me. I habitually play from chord positions, so I usually have several fingers down on the board at any one time. If the strings are too closely spaced, one or more fingers will touch an adjacent string and either damp it or cause a buzz. Given the size and shape of my own personal fingers, I’ve found that 1-13/16″ is perfect for me, 1-3/4″ is OK, 1-7/8″ is OK, but 1-11/16″ is too narrow.

      One interesting thing I discovered is that some Santa Cruz 1-3/4″ necks actually measure 1-25/32″, which is 1/32″ wider than spec, and this is terrific for me; it’s a wonderful compromise between “OK” and “perfect”.

       


      SCGC OM
      SCGC OM/PW
      Collings OM1T
      Goodall TROM
      RainSong CH-OM-N2

    • #4756
      wbb90TR
      Participant

      My ’90 Tony Rice is spec’d at 1-11/32, however it measures 1-23/32 with calipers. It is comfortable to play, but much more so when I capo on the second fret as I do have a bit larger hands. It’s all about ergonomics.

      Walter

    • #4758
      Hank
      Participant

      Ok, Walter’s post brings up another question.

      WHERE do you measure the nut ? I’ve measured some of my guitars and they also vary from stated specs.

      If I measure top of nut it may be wider/narrower than measuring the bottom of nut at fingerboard.

      From this post and one I started on the AGF it appears that ONLY playing will matter.


      1993 Martin HD-28 IR/Sitka
      2001 SCGC F Cutaway Maple/German (For Sale)
      2008 SCGC OT Madi/Italian
      2015 SCGC OM “The Tree” Hog/ European
      2016 SCGC 1934 D45 Braz/ Adi
      2016 Taylor K62 CE Limited Edition 12 string all Koa
      2019 SCGC FTC Granadillo/Redwood
      Life is a journey…not a guided tour,
      The Bay,The Gulf Stream , The Open Ocean are particular about who they share their secrets with.

    • #4759
      wbb90TR
      Participant

      I always measure the neck width at the junction of the nut and fretboard using calipers. I also agree that it only matters to the individual player, as there are so many variables that determine comfort and playability.

    • #4762
      MajesticShaver
      Participant

      Strangely enough I do find that 1/16″ does make a difference, particularly when playing finger style.  I liken it to when you use a laptop that has a slightly more compact keyboard, it is useable but somehow not quite as fluid.

    • #4776
      Matt Hayden
      Participant

      For me, it has a lot to do with the rest of the neck.

      I mean, I can play on just about anything, in the sense that it’s within reach, and I adapt – if I’m at an open mic, I’ll play the instrument that’s there.

      But from a comfort-and-long-playing and general enjoyment perspective, a lot of the SCGC 1-3/4” necks have a particular profile – the soft V,  I think it’s called – that is as comfortable as it gets (for me, anyhow).   And I kinda hold out for that.

      The narrower necks are often C-shaped and a bit shallow front to back – on a Strat or Tele, sure, but the depth and shape of the soft V is my preference on an acoustic.

      So, while I can navigate on anything, I know what I prefer…

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