Fretboard width on an 8 string guitar

Discussion of all aspects of multi-string guitars, namely those with 7 or more strings.
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isaacfe
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Fretboard width on an 8 string guitar

Post by isaacfe » Sun Aug 07, 2016 12:05 pm

Hi everybody.Those of you who play 8 string guitars. What is the width of the fretboard at the nut you prefer? I have seen variations between 63 mm and 70 mm. The narrow width is obviously easier to reach across the strings but harder to play cleanly. I know it is a very personal issue but after playing for a while would you rather prefer to have a narrow or wide neck?
:? :merci:
2012 Ramon Blanco Cedar/Rosewood. 650 mm.
2015 Ramon Blanco German Spruce/Rosewood. 650 mm.
2016 Edgar Perez Cedar/Rosewood. 650 mm.
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Altophile

Re: Fretboard width on an 8 string guitar

Post by Altophile » Sun Aug 07, 2016 12:48 pm

I have an eight string by Ibanez, and the fingerboard is pretty much in scale for what one would expect with two extra strings. It's a little too wide for my taste, and if I were to have an eight string custom made, I'd have the entire thing produced in the scale of a Cordoba C10 Parlor guitar, but with the two extra strings. I play a C10 now, and while some fingerings can get a bit tight, I have small hands and the smaller fingerboard makes other things so much easier!

I wasn't blessed with Segovia's salome sausage fingers;-)

~Sean

soltirefa
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Re: Fretboard width on an 8 string guitar

Post by soltirefa » Mon Aug 08, 2016 2:51 pm

Michael Thames once told me he adds 9mm for each additional string. So assuming a 6-string is 52mm, a 7-string would be 61mm, etc.

Jabberwocky
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Re: Fretboard width on an 8 string guitar

Post by Jabberwocky » Sat Oct 01, 2016 5:01 am

2.75" nut width. 2.4" between 1st string and 8th string, centre to centre. This is on a Ramirez 1a 8-string, 664mm scale length.

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Steve Ganz
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Re: Fretboard width on an 8 string guitar

Post by Steve Ganz » Sat Oct 01, 2016 5:59 am

70 mm nut
Steve

gilles T
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Re: Fretboard width on an 8 string guitar

Post by gilles T » Sat Oct 01, 2016 4:23 pm

Hello,

65 mm at the nut for my 8-string Orfea.
Cheers,
Gilles

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attila57
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Re: Fretboard width on an 8 string guitar

Post by attila57 » Mon Dec 26, 2016 9:47 pm

70 mm feels a bit too wide for me. It should be OK for bigger hands, though.
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jack_cat
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Re: Fretboard width on an 8 string guitar

Post by jack_cat » Fri May 24, 2019 9:03 pm

Old thread but important topic. I chime in two years late.
The low bass strings on an extended range guitar are typically fatter than the usual low E2 string.
A little more space between them is nice, also because in reaching to the bass side of the fingerboard,
the fingers come down at more of an angle, so it is harder to play cleanly on two adjacent strings in the
bass, with the fatter strings. However, I myself have not yet experimented with a graduated string spacing,
and if anyone has done so, it would be interesting to hear a report.

It is also a question of the string spacing at the nut (center to center in mm) which you are already used to playing on.
If this spacing is different on your 8-string than it was on your 6-string, it will be an added difficulty in
adapting to the new instrument. String spacings at the nut range from a very narrow 7mm or less used
on some electric guitars, to about 7.5 or 8mm for some "classic crossovers" built for steel string players, to about
8.5mm for many classical guitars. My own preference is for 9mm, which allows me to play more cleanly
without the sides of my fingers damping adjacent strings; this is good for folks with fat fingers.

The individual string spacing is far more important than the total width of the neck. I also was afraid of the total width
of the neck when I had one of my first ERGs built, but I made an expensive mistake when I had the neck made too narrow,
because it made it very difficult to play after playing on a wider string spacing. This was such an important lesson for me
that I must emphasize it.

While you are at it, consider the distance from the outside strings to the edge of the fingerboard. Many guitars only have about
2mm here, which allows the string to slip off the fingerboard when trying to reach difficult chords. My preference is for a full
4mm on each side. To reach the extreme treble and bass strings for chords spanning a 22nd (routinely possible on many 8-strings,
depending on your tuning) involves a stretch which you won't be used to yet, and it's nice to have that extra security so as
not to push the string over the edge of the fingerboard.

So: my formula for the neck width at the nut:
SS = desired spacing between strings center to center in mm
SS x number-of-strings-minus-1, plus 8mm for the edge spacing = total width of FB at nut.

By the way, I use an 11mm spacing at the bridge.

I'm playing nine strings and am very happy. My 6-string and uke are wall decorations.
jack

RussellFW
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Re: Fretboard width on an 8 string guitar

Post by RussellFW » Mon Jun 03, 2019 9:05 pm

I am considering fitting a floating 7th string to my guitar. Thanks for your interesting and detailed post.

soltirefa
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Location: Southern California

Re: Fretboard width on an 8 string guitar

Post by soltirefa » Mon Jun 03, 2019 9:19 pm

RussellFW wrote:
Mon Jun 03, 2019 9:05 pm
I am considering fitting a floating 7th string to my guitar. Thanks for your interesting and detailed post.
You may find this interesting.

http://www.rafaelandia.com/en/theorbure.html

RussellFW
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Joined: Mon Jun 04, 2018 1:13 pm

Re: Fretboard width on an 8 string guitar

Post by RussellFW » Fri Jun 07, 2019 9:42 pm

Thank you, I will give it a look.
---------------
Update :) very interesting, I may well have a go at this - thanks again for the link!

Conall
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Re: Fretboard width on an 8 string guitar

Post by Conall » Sat Jun 08, 2019 6:58 am

I too have an Orfea 8 string. At first I couldn't work out what felt different from my standard sized 6 string then realized the string spacing was narrower on the 8 string.

While theoretically it might seem to make sense to have narrower spacing on the 8 string to make stretches easier between strings 1 & 8 I found it unhelpful because of the unfamiliarity and that it made clearing strings slightly more difficult.

So when I subsequently ordered an 11 string I made sure the spacing at the nut was like a standard 6 string (but extended obviously to cater for the extra 2 fretted strings - the other 3 are floating). Yes the stretch is a bit harder between strings 1 & 8 than on my Orfea but the spacing between 1 & 6 of my 11 string is nicely familiar & I found playing 6 string music no harder than on a 6 string. It's not easy to bar all 8 strings but luckily it's rare I need to.

agfrag
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Re: Fretboard width on an 8 string guitar

Post by agfrag » Fri Jun 14, 2019 2:42 pm

Mine is 71. I built it myself, so the choice was probably arbitrary... though it works well for my short stubby fingers!

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