Can a smaller nut width be bad for technique?

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Orcas_
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Can a smaller nut width be bad for technique?

Post by Orcas_ » Tue Jan 16, 2018 3:01 am

I play both CG and flamenco often and I was just curious.

All my classicals have a 52mm nut width while my flamenco guitar, cordoba gk studio negra has a 50mm nut width I believe and feels much smaller to my hands

Would it be better for me to play on a 52mm nut such as a Yamaha cg172sf?

Or does it make no difference

Philosopherguy
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Re: Can a smaller nut width be bad for technique?

Post by Philosopherguy » Tue Jan 16, 2018 4:37 am

Well, I'm not sure a smaller nut is bad for technique, per se. It does make it hard to play music as it is written. Plenty of composers write music that lets notes ring when they need to and they mute notes when they don't need them to ring. It can be difficult to let notes ring with strings that are close together, especially when playing something like Bach. So, unintentionally you may not get the best sound and performance from a smaller nut guitar. Some people could likely do it without any problems, others may have a much more difficult time and it will be close to impossible because of wide fingers or trouble with precision. Plus this, there are plenty of times when you are playing notes on adjacent strings that may be difficult to manage with strings that are very close together, so you will not really have the opportunity to really master some of the pieces the way they should be performed.

But, then again, go and play a few older guitars from the 1800's and the nuts were very narrow on many of them. I played a Salvador Ibanez not too long ago that had a crazy narrow nut and it was very difficult to play. Add to that, the string spacing at the bridge was very close too. It would have been a very hard guitar to perform on!

Martin
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JohnB
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Re: Can a smaller nut width be bad for technique?

Post by JohnB » Tue Jan 16, 2018 12:18 pm

There have been many discussions on nut size and string spacing - with many different views, though too narrow or too wide a string spacing can pose difficulties.

There are two related aspects - the total width of the nut and the string spacing E-E

Out of interest these are the figures for various "historic" instruments, with one more recent guitar added. All apart from the last two are taken from Bert Eendebak's data on designofaclassicalguitar.com. The last (the Hermanos Conde 1968) is a guitar I own and although it has a wide nut and wide string spacing I find it very comfortable to play, at the very least as comfortable as other guitars I have with standard 52mm/43mm spacing - but there are other factors at play (apart from string spacing at the nut) in what makes a guitar comfortable to play.

Code: Select all

Guitar			Nut Width	String Spacing E-E
Antonio de Torres, 1864	49		42.5
Santos Hernández,1933	50		41
Hermann Hauser, 1931	52.5		43.5
Hernandéz Y Aguado,1963	52.5		45
Ignacio Fleta, 1968	52.5		43.5
Robert Bouchet, 1963	50.5		44
Daniel Friedrich, 1992	51.5		42.5
José Romanillos, 1973	52.5		43.5

Ana Espinosa 2014	52		43 (owned by me)
Hermanos Conde 1968	53		45 (owned by me)
Hermanos Conde 1968, Stephen Frith 2007 "Guijoso"

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bear
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Re: Can a smaller nut width be bad for technique?

Post by bear » Tue Jan 16, 2018 12:46 pm

There are some pieces that I can not play as well on a 50mm. I think it's individualistic. I do better with wider string spacing for some, it doesn't matter.
I've gotten rid of most of my cg's with less than a 52 because they don't work for me.
2013 Jeff Medlin '37 Hauser 640mm sp
2006 Michele Della Giustina Concert 10 string 650mm ce
2005 Jose Ramirez 4E 650mm ce
2005 Manuel Rodriguez Model C3F 650mm sp
2003 Manuel Rodriguez Model D 650mm ce

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prawnheed
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Re: Can a smaller nut width be bad for technique?

Post by prawnheed » Tue Jan 16, 2018 2:02 pm

I'd say the opposite. I think that playing different guitars with different characteristics helps you develop a more flexible technique with more focus on result than process and, for me, being able to play on different guitars is a good thing, not a bad thing.

JohnB
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Re: Can a smaller nut width be bad for technique?

Post by JohnB » Tue Jan 16, 2018 2:21 pm

Orcas_ wrote:
Tue Jan 16, 2018 3:01 am
I play both CG and flamenco often and I was just curious.

All my classicals have a 52mm nut width while my flamenco guitar, cordoba gk studio negra has a 50mm nut width I believe and feels much smaller to my hands.
How does the string spacing at the nut compare (E-E)?
Hermanos Conde 1968, Stephen Frith 2007 "Guijoso"

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Jim Davidson
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Re: Can a smaller nut width be bad for technique?

Post by Jim Davidson » Tue Jan 16, 2018 4:28 pm

I think that it depends on the player and the music. If you have large hands or even large finger pads, a narrow nut can cause problems just like very small hands with a wide nut can cause problems.

If the music requires you to have lots of separation between voices (like a fugue), then a wide nut can be very helpful. Thankfully, this isn't as big of a problem with flamenco.

In the end, I'd play it by ear (and feel). If it works, it works!
2015 Alan Chapman Test Friederich CD/CO
2009 Cervantes Concert Milenia SP/PE

Orcas_
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Re: Can a smaller nut width be bad for technique?

Post by Orcas_ » Tue Jan 16, 2018 10:52 pm

JohnB wrote:
Tue Jan 16, 2018 2:21 pm
Orcas_ wrote:
Tue Jan 16, 2018 3:01 am
I play both CG and flamenco often and I was just curious.

All my classicals have a 52mm nut width while my flamenco guitar, cordoba gk studio negra has a 50mm nut width I believe and feels much smaller to my hands.
How does the string spacing at the nut compare (E-E)?
I’m not sure of the exact measurements but it feels significantly smaller than my CGs

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