Mollbarre wrote: ↑
Wed Mar 13, 2019 5:27 pm
In December I saw the cross-over Cordoba, 48 mm nut, radiused fingerboard, tried it, and it's perfect! I've been playing since then and coming along at a gratifying rate (*knockonwood*).
Guitar nut widths vary (from about 42mm to 52mm) depending on the type of guitar and the type of music it's intended for:
- Nylon strung guitars have wider nuts because the strings themselves are physically bigger in diameter than steel so they need to be further apart to allow the same space for fingering a string without touching adjacent strings.
- Acoustic guitars also need a wider nut (and bridge, ideally) because you need to pluck the strings harder to get volume (you can't just turn up the volume control) - meaning that the strings have to be higher off the neck (higher action) to prevent rattling. That means the stings have to be further apart because it becomes harder to avoid fouling adjacent strings if they're higher off the fingerboard.
- Classical guitars have wider nuts because classical music involves playing, for example, counterpoint, where there are two simultaneous threads to the music - so you need to make sure you don't foul other strings or it sounds terrible. Also classical guitarists use far more complex right hand techniques (like the rest stroke) which adjust the tone of the acoustic guitar by striking the string in a different way - which needs a higher action than for non-classical music, or you get rattling.
So you get electric solid steel strung solid guitars with 42mm nuts (and 52mm string width at the bridge) that have strings with a very small clearance of the fingerboard, which are fine for single string soloing or chords. And at the other end of the scale you get full classical guitars that have 52mm nuts (and 60mm string width at the bridge) that have a much higher action. But if you try to play classical music on an electric solid you'll find it's impossible - it's also very difficult on an acoustic steel strung guitar with a 45mm nut.
So there are good reasons why the classical guitar is designed the way it is. But I don't know why cambered fingerboards have never caught on with classical guitars. IMO they're easier to play (slightly) and the strings are cambered at the bridge anyway, so it does make logical sense.