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Blind Dog

 

Posts: 37
Joined: Jul. 7 2020
 

Measuring nut width correctly 

Hi - what's the correct way to measure nut width, the nut itself or the neck width where it meets the nut? Might seem like a dumb question, but they are in fact two different numbers since the nut seems to overhang the edges of the neck just a little. I measured a Huipe guitar I am selling and the neck is exactly 53mm, but the nut is something like 53.65mm. Same thing with my Navarro, neck is 52mm, nut is about 52.4mm. Based on that, it seems the neck is the right measurement. I'm only asking because I advertised the Huipe as a 54mm nut width (rounding the 53.65 up) but I suspect it's really a 53mm. Thanks.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 23 2020 16:02:45
 
RobF

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RE: Measuring nut width correctly (in reply to Blind Dog

The measurement is intended to impart information about how the neck will feel in the hand, so the measurement should be of the neck, not the nut itself. Think about it as ‘ neck width at the nut’, rather than ‘nut width’.

The correct way to describe your Huipe would be 53mm at the nut.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 23 2020 16:16:14
 
Ricardo

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From: Washington DC

RE: Measuring nut width correctly (in reply to Blind Dog

Actually neither is any where near as important as string spacing AT the nut. Wider= better. It’s about how the space the slots.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 23 2020 17:01:50
 
Blind Dog

 

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RE: Measuring nut width correctly (in reply to Ricardo

OK, that's interesting. So, is it unusual that the strings on both my guitars are not spaced consistently? For example, this Huipe I'm selling is consistent at 7.7 - 7.9mm except between the 3rd and 4th strings, it's 8.8mm, a full mm wider. So, I looked at my Navarro and they are also not consistent. Starting at 6th and 5th strings, I get 7.4, 8.3, 7.9, 8.0, 8.4. I never noticed that on either one, but the ones that are most off you can see with your eye pretty easily. The Navarro is their student model and the Huipe would be the same based on the price. How much play would be considered ok? I just bought a set of digital calipers and measured everything 2-3 times to make sure I was getting it right. ??
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 23 2020 18:38:21
 
kitarist

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RE: Measuring nut width correctly (in reply to Ricardo

quote:

string spacing AT the nut


And should it be equal or proportional (centre to centre)?




At blinddog: what did you measure - centre-string to centre-string, or distance between adjacent strings?

Images are resized automatically to a maximum width of 800px

Attachment (1)

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Konstantin
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 23 2020 19:56:00
 
devilhand

 

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RE: Measuring nut width correctly (in reply to Blind Dog

My guitar has relatively consistent string spacing at the nut. Mostly 8mm. One is slightly under 8mm (between D and G string). I would say 7.8mm or so.
Overall string spacing at the nut is 44mm and at the bridge 58mm. Both nut and neck width is 52mm. Take it with a grain of salt because I measured it with a normal school ruler.

Look at the last picture. It shows how string spacing is measured at the bridge.

http://www.foroflamenco.com/tm.asp?m=324635&p=1&tmode=1&smode=1

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 23 2020 21:16:25
 
Blind Dog

 

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RE: Measuring nut width correctly (in reply to kitarist

I measured from string edge to string edge, not center to center. I would have to have a much steadier hand than I have to try to measure center to center, there's nothing to butt my caliper against.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 23 2020 21:53:46
 
RobF

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Joined: Aug. 24 2017
 

RE: Measuring nut width correctly (in reply to Blind Dog

Just supplying the neck width at the nut is sufficient for the ad, IMO. That’s a fairly standard level of information.

The nut can be changed to accommodate a user’s preference for string spacing and shouldn’t really be a determining factor in the sale. It’s not as extreme as someone passing on a guitar because it’s not sporting their favourite brand of strings, but it’s not that far off, either. For a 53mm nut, a string spacing of 44mm +/- a half mm or so is pretty normal. Again, minute differences shouldn’t cook the sale. I wouldn’t discount the guitar if the spacing doesn’t line up with someone’s ideal, that’s for sure, as it might be just fine for the next person.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 23 2020 22:30:24
 
Blind Dog

 

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RE: Measuring nut width correctly (in reply to RobF

OK maybe I misunderstood what is meant by string spacing. My Huipe is 46mm, the Navarro is 45.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 24 2020 11:20:18
 
RobF

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RE: Measuring nut width correctly (in reply to Blind Dog

It’s good to know, in case somebody asks you, but I wouldn’t put that level of detail in the ad.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 24 2020 13:09:57
 
Blind Dog

 

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RE: Measuring nut width correctly (in reply to RobF

Actually sold the guitar this morning!
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 24 2020 16:09:55
 
Ricardo

Posts: 14640
Joined: Dec. 14 2004
From: Washington DC

RE: Measuring nut width correctly (in reply to RobF

quote:

The nut can be changed to accommodate a user’s preference for string spacing and shouldn’t really be a determining factor in the sale.


I’m frankly confused why low end guitars have narrower spacing than top guitars. We changed a students Sanchis stock nut for one made with wide string slots, it suddenly felt like a $5000 guitar no joke. Unless it is a legit marketing ploy to convince students to upgrade.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 24 2020 18:09:26
 
Blind Dog

 

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RE: Measuring nut width correctly (in reply to Ricardo

quote:

I’m frankly confused why low end guitars have narrower spacing than top guitars. We changed a students Sanchis stock nut for one made with wide string slots, it suddenly felt like a $5000 guitar no joke. Unless it is a legit marketing ploy to convince students to upgrade.


So, how wide would the spacing be on a high end flamenco? With a 52mm nut with 45mm spacing, how much wider could it go? That doesn't seem to leave much space on either end.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 24 2020 19:22:59
 
mt1007

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RE: Measuring nut width correctly (in reply to Blind Dog

Regardless if guitar is hand made, machine made, high end etc... Nut width will help determine how wide to space the strings. If you make the string spacing at nut to wide then you risk sliding of the fretboard when fretting on 6th and 1st string, if to narrow then things get really tight for fingers to fret so you make mistakes and fret notes you dont want to. I like 4mm clearance minimum from fretboard edge to string, 5 is nice to. so for instance

Nut Width= 52mm then string spacing spacing max would be 44mm for me. Some luthiers like to give 5mm from edge of fret board to string, so 52mm nut= 42mm string spacing.

Hope this helps
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 24 2020 20:10:12
 
RobF

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RE: Measuring nut width correctly (in reply to Blind Dog

Basically, I think what mt1007 is saying is pretty well dead on.

I looked at the picture of the nut in question when it was posted in an earlier thread and what I saw was just a poor set-up, overall spacing had nothing to do with it. If anything, it needed more space on the treble side (so, less overall).

To me, 42.5mm would be fairly standard for a 52mm nut on a classical guitar, but for a flamenco guitar, due to its lower action, it can go a little wider. I think every maker has their own preferences so, of course, widths can vary slightly, but it will depend on a number of factors related to how they build their guitars, not just some catch-all dimension. It isn’t cookie cutter and there’s no one right answer, even with different guitars from the same maker. That’s why I cautioned against including that measurement in your ad.

Also, having the neck width bang on to a standard dimension shouldn’t be considered a reliable indicator of quality, either. Guitars are made out of an organic material that is subject to movement under varying climatic conditions and they are also subject to constant adjustment by the maker during their construction, so expecting an instrument to adhere to micron-level dimensional standards is simply unreasonable. It denies the instrument its soul.

Finally, it very well could be that the makers of some student guitars err on the side of caution by giving a little more edge clearance to their spacing than a higher end maker might allow. I would expect this is because the target level of player might be more prone to pushing or pulling the outer strings off the frets, as mt1007 has already suggested. The factory might be trying to avoid returns by people who blame their instruments for their own shortcomings, or maybe the dealers they sell to request it, for the same reason. I don’t think it’s because anyone’s trying to up-sell new nuts, the dealers don’t need that level of hassle, and most of the people buying student guitars will be perfectly happy to make-do with whatever they get.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 24 2020 21:59:17
 
Ricardo

Posts: 14640
Joined: Dec. 14 2004
From: Washington DC

RE: Measuring nut width correctly (in reply to mt1007

Disagree... wider like up to the edge of the board always feels better. I only pull down so if I pull the 1st string off the edge (when going fast) then I might offset the nut up toward the bass side. I do that with all my guitars actually. Here’s my measures from an old thread:

gipsy king cordoba nut=50.5 mm, string space=41.5 mm (yes it is skinny and sucks)
Hermanos Sanchis lopez nut=52mm space 42.5 mm (not so hot either)
Hauser II nut=52mm, spacing 45mm exact. (nice feel)
Conde nut= 53 mm spacing 45.5 mm. (perfect feel).

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 25 2020 16:02:19
 
mt1007

Posts: 162
Joined: Jan. 19 2011
 

RE: Measuring nut width correctly (in reply to Ricardo

Yo man disagree all you want, it's your axe, each has there preference. If you only pull down ole tu. Me, sometimes my middle finger slides off the fret board with 6th string, I just got long fingers man. Looking at your specs we are not off on preference in spacing, your 73 Conde has a 53mm nut with 45.5mm string spacing. My 72 Conde has a 52mm nut and 44mm string spacing. A difference of .5mm.

man i like them pretty in the face and thick in the waist, some just like them a little more fluffy hahahaha..

peace...
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 25 2020 18:51:42
 
RobF

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RE: Measuring nut width correctly (in reply to Ricardo

Thanks for posting the measurements, Ricardo, it helps to actually see the numbers.

One thing that occurs to me is we might be comparing apples to oranges. A maker will often talk about dimensions such as this in terms of centers, as that’s how the nuts will be marked to start the cuts. A player, on the other hand, is more likely going to refer to the spacing based on edge to edge measurements.

Assuming you’re measuring edge to edge, your Conde has 7.5mm of total edge clearance, which likely translates to 4mm of clearance on the treble side and 3.5mm on the bass. At 4mm, the treble clearance is pretty well the same clearance that mt1007 says he likes, so maybe there’s no disagreement at all. Also, the 44mm +/- 0.5mm spacing I mentioned earlier was based on a centre to centre measurement, which ends up being roughly 45mm edge to edge, so it doesn’t look like there’s much disagreement there, either.

But even if the numbers didn’t line up, I’m not sure the topic can be framed in such a manner that implies one person’s preference is more valid than another’s. There’s not really anything to disagree with. You like it wide, it works for you, so wide for you is better. If somebody else comes along and says it’s too wide for them, who’s to say they’re wrong?

Just an aside...why not get a new nut made for your Hermanos Sanchís Lopez that brings it more into line with what you prefer? It’ll be like getting a new guitar
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 25 2020 18:54:52
 
Ricardo

Posts: 14640
Joined: Dec. 14 2004
From: Washington DC

RE: Measuring nut width correctly (in reply to RobF

Here’s the old topic. Note Sr. Martins was skeptical and tried it despite all the jokes, and yes it makes a surprising difference in feel. I still believe it’s used to separate price brackets. I clarify about Sanchis as well, I changed it for my student but kept mine as is because I think the noticeable difference doesn’t affect overall playability really, Or rather, I like that my guitars feel different. So I enjoy the objective differences between guitars but can admit wider is better.

http://www.foroflamenco.com/tm.asp?m=133266&mpage=1&p=&tmode=1&smode=1&key=nut%2Cwidth%2Cstring%2Cspace

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CD's and transcriptions available here:
www.ricardomarlow.com
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 26 2020 15:51:09
 
devilhand

 

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RE: Measuring nut width correctly (in reply to Ricardo

quote:

Wider= better.

Is it meant for the right or left hand? In general, narrow neck is for flatpicking, and wider neck is for fingerpicking.
I believe the latter is true for the right hand and applies to flamenco and classical guitar playing.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 27 2020 18:23:06
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