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Thread: those who have went with a wider nut width-your experience please

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    Default those who have went with a wider nut width-your experience please

    anyone who has went from 1 1/8" to 1 3/16" or wider, did it work well for you, what did you like or dislike about the wider width.

    did any of you go back to the less wide width?

    thanks
    d

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    Default Re: those who have went with a wider nut width-your experience pl

    Good question. For lack of one availble to try I've wondered that myself

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    Registered User Steve-o's Avatar
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    Default Re: those who have went with a wider nut width-your experience pl

    I went from 1 1/8" to 1 3/16". I really like the extra 1/16" for playability and always feel cramped on a 1 1/8" nut, but maybe that's due to my bigger hands. On the down-side, it's harder to fret two courses with one finger due to the extra real estate, but I seldom use that technique anyway. One of my mandos has a nut width of 1 5/32", which is a nice compromise. I have never turned back and all my newer purchases have the wider nut width.

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    Default Re: those who have went with a wider nut width-your experience pl

    Hope I'm not intruding on the OP, but can I open this up to also allow for comments going in the other direction? Any thoughts from experience in going from 1-1/8" down to 1-1/16", (or even to 1" like Bill Monroe's setup)? With my smaller hands, the smaller nut widths seem to be easier and faster. Of course, neck profile can factor into all if this.

  6. #5

    Default Re: those who have went with a wider nut width-your experience pl

    I've tried many different neck widths, and I find the nut width makes almost no difference. The only thing that makes a difference to me is the distance between the strings (both at the nut and the saddle), and the shape of the back of the neck.

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    Default Re: those who have went with a wider nut width-your experience pl

    Quote Originally Posted by renoyd View Post
    Hope I'm not intruding on the OP, but can I open this up to also allow for comments going in the other direction? Any thoughts from experience in going from 1-1/8" down to 1-1/16", (or even to 1" like Bill Monroe's setup)? With my smaller hands, the smaller nut widths seem to be easier and faster. Of course, neck profile can factor into all if this.
    no issue at all, I welcome the replies with interest likewise.
    d

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    Default Re: those who have went with a wider nut width-your experience pl

    Quote Originally Posted by OldSausage View Post
    I've tried many different neck widths, and I find the nut width makes almost no difference. The only thing that makes a difference to me is the distance between the strings (both at the nut and the saddle), and the shape of the back of the neck.
    thanks David

    being new to this, I have a lot of questions and I don't have exposure to a lot of mandolins to physically look at, play-attempt to play(lol), and measure. My next post was actually going to be about "are there standards for saddle string spacing total distance"?

    as I've found with all instruments, and as you've mentioned, we "play" the string spacing, not really the nut width.

    and I was wondering as a reply above mentioned, can you get too wide for those double course sets and create another monster.

    this is a going to be an excellent thread.

    d

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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: those who have went with a wider nut width-your experience pl

    I like std string spacing and a 1-1/8" neck when measured at the nut. I took in a few instruments for sale for a friend of mine and they all had 1-1/4" necks (at the nut). They were all right but I could move around easier on the narrower neck. I also play Embergher bowlbacks which have radiused boards but very narrow necks -- I think about 1" (27mm). The radius makes a difference there.

    I don't like very shallow necks tho the neck profile doesn't bother me too much as long as it isn't too wide or too shallow.
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    Default Re: those who have went with a wider nut width-your experience pl

    if on a standard factory brand, lets say weber or collings, if an instrument has the wider nut width( 1 3/16" is usually what both brands advertise as WN), does the fretboard widen more as it goes to the bridge versus the same model with 1 1/8" nut width?

    anyone out there with both, care to measure and report back(measure at the nut and the 12th fret, the board width), and then string spacing at the saddle from outside edge to outside edge-both mandos.

    thanks
    d

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    Default Re: those who have went with a wider nut width-your experience pl

    1st 1 1/8
    2nd 1 1/8 - .020
    3rd 1 3/16
    4th 1 3/16 +.020

    I just got rid of one with 1 1/4 and a 14 1/4 scale length

    All of them have different string spacing. I like them all. I used to think the 1 1/4 was a little large until I saw Sierra Hull get all over her octave. I have seen plenty of videos of some very nice mandola playing. The narrowest one has the same string spacing as a typical 1 1/16.

    Proper set up is the most important issue for me. If the frets are straight the relief right and the strings nice and low, I am happy.

    There was a Red Diamond in the classified a while back that was 1 3/16 with the strings spaced in 1/8 which gave it fairly narrow string spacing. It sold in about 2 minutes.

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    Registered User John Flynn's Avatar
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    Default Re: those who have went with a wider nut width-your experience pl

    Widths used to make a big difference to me. Ten years ago the neck of my Rigel which (to me) was fat and wide at 1 3/16" was so much easier to play than other mandolins I owned or tried. Now those distinctions don't seem to mean as much. I have a Parsons with a slim, 1 1/8" neck and I have had a travel mandolin with a really fat 1 1/4" neck, not to mention an OM with a really wide neck compared to a regular mandolin. Now I move from one to another and don't give it much thought.

    I took a workshop with Radim Zenkel, who is just amazing, and all his mandolins are custom, with 1 1/2" plus widths. It's all good.

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    Default Re: those who have went with a wider nut width-your experience pl

    nut width 1.09 1.1 1.18 1.21
    12th width 1.50 1.48 1.61 1.58
    string width at nut .90 .92 .92 1.06
    string width at bridge 1.73 1.55 1.67 1.59

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    Fingers of Concrete ccravens's Avatar
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    Default Re: those who have went with a wider nut width-your experience pl

    I went large and won't be going back.
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    Default Re: those who have went with a wider nut width-your experience pl

    Quote Originally Posted by renoyd View Post
    Hope I'm not intruding on the OP, but can I open this up to also allow for comments going in the other direction? Any thoughts from experience in going from 1-1/8" down to 1-1/16", (or even to 1" like Bill Monroe's setup)? With my smaller hands, the smaller nut widths seem to be easier and faster. Of course, neck profile can factor into all if this.

    I went down to 1" Actually I went down in steps -
    1 3/16" - 1920 Gibson A3
    1 1/8" - Collings MT
    1 3/32" - Lon Williamson F5
    1" - Bulldog F5

    What I have found (and this is of course quite personal - to each their own)
    with the slimmer nut width, my technique needs to be more precise, and I need to be more attentive to using the tips of my finger correctly. The only really hard place was using an open A string with the F or F# note held down.
    Many things are much easier for me now- playing in the E position up the neck, holding down two notes (A and E for example) is much easier. Also - certain passages where I am stretching and changing courses at the same time have become much easier to play.
    Generally speaking, I am much happier with a narrower nut width

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    Registered Muser dang's Avatar
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    Default Re: those who have went with a wider nut width-your experience pl

    My first "good" mandolin was a Gibson A9, and the tone was absolutely amazing - but after a few hours of playing my left hand would cramp up. I also have big hands. I think it was a 1" nut and I ended up having to let it go.

    Next "good" mandolin was a Weber Bighorn custom order so I got a 1 1/4" nut (after playing some wider fretboards) and I still have it and really love it. No hand cramping, I can play for hours and hours without left hand pain.

    I got a Collings MT gloss top with a standard width that again sounds amazing but after a few hours my left hand will cramp up. I just don't play it so I will have to let it go soon.

    Next custom order was an MT2O and I went with the 1 3/16th at the nut (Collings wide nut width) and again I can play for hours with no pain in my left hand. Definitely a keeper.

    Somewhere in there I had a Rigel A+ (as stated above wider at the nut) and I would have kept it if I didn't have so many mandolins, so I sold it to my best friend.

    So for me, I went with a wider nut width and have not been able to go back. It does cause me a little change in my right hand technique because of the spacing, but I barely notice it. I never have issues playing up the neck or fretting 2 strings with one finger. If needed I can play for short periods of time on a narrower fretboard but I will never buy another standard width instrument.

    You didn't really mention the radiused fretboard but I would say the wider nut widths benefit from a radius. Helps both left and right hand, comfort for the left hand and better access in the middle strings for the right. Something about the flat fretboard and wide nut width never really worked well for my right hand.

    Just my opinions, YMMV.
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    Registered User John Kinn's Avatar
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    Default Re: those who have went with a wider nut width-your experience pl

    I sold my Gibson A9, partially due to the nut closer to 1". I like the 1 3/16" on my A40 much better. I'm a guitar player first and foremost, so that may be a factor. Different strokes for different folks I guess.

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    Default Re: those who have went with a wider nut width-your experience pl

    I had a Weber Bitterroot with 1-1/8" and sharp V neck. My J Bovier has a 1-1/8" nut but not as sharp V which I like better. I owned a Skip Kelley A with a slightly over 1" loved the tone but it was too small. My main mandolin has a rounded neck profile and a 1 1/16" nut and is the most comfortable for me, especially when playing full four noted chords. So it is not just the width of the nut but the combination of nut and neck shape.

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    Default Re: those who have went with a wider nut width-your experience pl

    Both of my Breedloves have a 1 3/16" nut and I love it.

    It's probably not an asset but I've become so accustomed to that size that I have difficulty playing others. I can do it but it takes more concentration than I willing to do (or capable of doing).

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    Default Re: those who have went with a wider nut width-your experience pl

    So, Texaspaul, what is you main one? You didn't say.

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    Default Re: those who have went with a wider nut width-your experience pl

    Quote Originally Posted by dang View Post
    My first "good" mandolin was a Gibson A9, and the tone was absolutely amazing - but after a few hours of playing my left hand would cramp up. I also have big hands. I think it was a 1" nut and I ended up having to let it go.

    Next "good" mandolin was a Weber Bighorn custom order so I got a 1 1/4" nut (after playing some wider fretboards) and I still have it and really love it. No hand cramping, I can play for hours and hours without left hand pain.

    I got a Collings MT gloss top with a standard width that again sounds amazing but after a few hours my left hand will cramp up. I just don't play it so I will have to let it go soon.

    Next custom order was an MT2O and I went with the 1 3/16th at the nut (Collings wide nut width) and again I can play for hours with no pain in my left hand. Definitely a keeper.

    Somewhere in there I had a Rigel A+ (as stated above wider at the nut) and I would have kept it if I didn't have so many mandolins, so I sold it to my best friend.

    So for me, I went with a wider nut width and have not been able to go back. It does cause me a little change in my right hand technique because of the spacing, but I barely notice it. I never have issues playing up the neck or fretting 2 strings with one finger. If needed I can play for short periods of time on a narrower fretboard but I will never buy another standard width instrument.

    You didn't really mention the radiused fretboard but I would say the wider nut widths benefit from a radius. Helps both left and right hand, comfort for the left hand and better access in the middle strings for the right. Something about the flat fretboard and wide nut width never really worked well for my right hand.

    Just my opinions, YMMV.
    thanks for bringing up the radius, all that you said makes sense.
    i primarily play fingerstyle guitar and all my steel strings have radius boards, the Flamenco have flatboards-but those are very different styles of play.
    I play some Ukulele with the tenor size, i have one with radius and one with a flat board and neither are more or less an issue-course the uke strings are so easy to work with and its just a whole different animal than these double course outfits i'm knee deep in lately(lol)

    d

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    Default Re: those who have went with a wider nut width-your experience pl

    Quote Originally Posted by renoyd View Post
    So, Texaspaul, what is you main one? You didn't say.
    was thinking the same thing-we want to know TP
    d

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    Celtic Strummer Matt DeBlass's Avatar
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    Default Re: those who have went with a wider nut width-your experience pl

    I went to the Breedlove from narrower fretboard (the International Violin kit, which I think is the standard 1 1/8, and I do find it more playable for my big hands. It's not a night-or-day difference, and I'm sure I'd be fine if I went back to a narrower nut, but I find it's a bit easier to get a clean sound on stuff that puts my fingers close together with the wider nut and radiused fretboard. I can see it being a bit harder for some to play, say, an Em chord with only one finger on two courses, but with my hands it's not a problem, if anything it's a bit easier because I have a hair more room to not mute part of the next pair over.
    I actually have a little Hohner "Portugese Style" flat top that I use every now and then for a more classical sound, which ahs an even wider fretboard, and a shorter scale length, and I can play everything just as comfortably on that.
    If I call my guitar my "axe," does that mean my mandolin is my hatchet?

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    Default Re: those who have went with a wider nut width-your experience pl

    Take them as they are .. nice F5 is narrow and slim ,'22 A4 thick and wide .. not that fussy ..
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    Default Re: those who have went with a wider nut width-your experience pl

    I have 1 1/8" wide (Weber), & 1 3/16" wide (Lebeda) nuts & i have no problem with either.The string spacings are minutely wider
    on the Lebeda,but the difference is so small it's almost not there,
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    Default Re: those who have went with a wider nut width-your experience pl

    I have a custom Northfield with a 'Sam Bush' width neck (about 31mm), radiused... and Gibson Fern's with regular width (about 27mm), flat, a Silverangel with just slightly wide nut radiused (roughly 28.5mm), and an Ellis with radiused which is similar. No problem with any of them. On the whole though, I must say I find the radiused boards in the 28.5mm range the most comfortable, but you get used to switching between them...
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