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Thread: Should one be swayed by nut width??

  1. #51
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    Default Re: Should one be swayed by nut width??

    Quote Originally Posted by allenhopkins View Post
    I'm never suede by the width of any nuts -- pecans, macadamia, cashews (gesundheit!). I just hyde my naugas and keep pickin'...
    Ya gotta quit sniffin' the string lubricant.
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    The older I get, the less tolerant I am of political correctness, incompetence and stupidity.

  2. #52
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    Default Re: Should one be swayed by nut width??

    To clarify with a "DUH" response..

    The whole point of a wider fingerboard/nut width is to provide ample spacing between the strings. The goal being accurate finger placement which will prevent damping other strings. If this is not your goal, then wider nuts are a non issue.

    As to "coming from" guitar. I started playing mandolin and guitar at the same time. I quickly learned that my great aunt's marvelous 1910 ish bowl back which was built for ladies and folks with needle pointed digits. I quickly abandoned that mandolin in favor of a 1915 Gibson A-1 with a 1 1/4 nut width.

    My first guitar was a 1939 Martin 00-17 with a 1 3/4 nut. That 1 3/4 is still my MAS (minimum acceptable standard with a preference for 1 13/16ths-1 7/8ths for steel string and 42-44 for nylon) for guitar. For the mandolin 1 1/4 is MAS (with 1 3/16ths being barely playable) and I prefer 32-33 mm at the nut.(a scrid less than 1 5/16ths)

    Your choice is exactly that, your choice.

  3. #53
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    Default Re: Should one be swayed by nut width??

    So, to put the question more boldly -

    Is nut width a deal breaker? I mean, would you consider a nut width not to your preference if there were other things about the instrument that were just right?

    Is preferred nut width a "must have" or is it a "nice to" that gets evaluated and weighed along with everything else about the instrument?
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  4. #54
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    Default Re: Should one be swayed by nut width??

    " Is nut width a deal breaker? I mean, would you consider a nut width not to your preference if there were other things about the instrument that were just right?"

    Absolutely it's a deal breaker. Less than 1 3/16ths.. I won't bother to play it. I would road test such an NNS inflicted instrument , however, at 1 3/16ths must be a killer instrument and a screaming deal. .. nope.. I'll check that...1 3/16ths is still a compromise. I'll pass. I'm done compromising.

    EASTMAN.. take note. Your mandolins are unplayable. We have had this discussion many times.. Your arrogant response, .. "we sell all we make".
    You could sell and make more with an adult width nut.
    How many potential buyers would say no to 1 3/16ths ? Some.
    How many potential buyers would say no to 1 1/16th ? More.
    Simple decision.


    1 1/4 to 1 5/16ths.. (32-33 mm included). you'll at least get me to play it. Then I'll make a decision based on tone, design, material, workmanship, and playability. (not necessarily in that order but gold hardware is also .. "no sale" as are those grossly oversized, heavy and overpriced cast tailpieces)

    This is not unlike music book publishers printing an instruction/reference book without a spiral backing.. you're dead right out of the box. I have relayed this to Mel Bay and others dozens of times. Show some respect.
    One "famous" self absorbed banjo player/teacher has actually chastised buyers of his tutorials for having the audacity to have "his" books punched and bound with a spiral as they are unreadable as is, and bending them so they can be placed on a music stand breaks the back.
    He is suggesting they are ruining "his" original artistic effort. Pompous and disrespectful.

    This also applies to button accordeons without thumb grooves..no sale.. (Cajun accordeon builders take notice. )

  5. #55
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    Default Re: Should one be swayed by nut width??

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Hildreth View Post
    " Is nut width a deal breaker? I mean, would you consider a nut width not to your preference if there were other things about the instrument that were just right?"

    Absolutely it's a deal breaker. Less than 1 3/16ths.. I won't bother to play it. I would road test such an NNS inflicted instrument , however, at 1 3/16ths must be a killer instrument and a screaming deal. .. nope.. I'll check that...1 3/16ths is still a compromise. I'll pass.

    1 1/4 to 1 5/16ths.. (32-33 mm included). you'll at least get me to play it. Then I'll make a decision based on tone, design, material, workmanship, and playability.

    This is not unlike music book publishers printing an instruction/reference book without a spiral backing.. you're dead right out of the box. I have relayed this to Mel Bay and others dozens of times. Show some respect.
    Perhaps it's because you seem to show correspondingly little respect for others on the forum? You are perfectly well entitled to your wide-minded (not) views on "acceptable" wide nut widths, and to your expressed preference for spiral binding in music books. But you have been utterly dismissive of the views of others. You should realize by now that not everyone requires -- or even desires! -- a wide nut. Those of us with smaller hands find the standard Loar-size nut width (about 1-1/8") to be perfectly acceptable, and even highly preferable. Besides, I'd wager that nut width is not a "deal breaker" for the majority of mandolin players, who -- as we have seen in this and other threads -- don't find it to be such a big deal, one way or the other. And, for that matter, many of us own plenty of music books that don't happen to have spiral binding. We recognize that spiral binding costs more and is more fragile, reducing the lifetime of the bound pages, and so we're willing to accept the cost savings that come with standard paperback binding. (You could get many of these sorts of books rebound in spiral wire at your own cost, of course).

    As for me, I am grateful for all the options available to mandolin players of all shapes and sizes, and I don't seek to foist my preferences upon everyone. I am personally glad that narrower nuts exist. Besides, the market tends to decide these issues, not you or me.

  6. #56
    Registered User foldedpath's Avatar
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    Default Re: Should one be swayed by nut width??

    Quote Originally Posted by JeffD View Post
    So, to put the question more boldly -

    Is nut width a deal breaker? I mean, would you consider a nut width not to your preference if there were other things about the instrument that were just right?

    Is preferred nut width a "must have" or is it a "nice to" that gets evaluated and weighed along with everything else about the instrument?
    Preferred nut width (actually string course spacing) is definitely a "must have" for me, because I've come to rely too much on fretting two courses with my index fingertip. That's core technique for me now, since I'm playing mostly Irish/Scottish trad where that comes in so handy.

    Since the nut and neck width aren't completely unrelated to string course spacing (unless you like a lot of extra exposed fretboard at the sides), this would always make me choose a traditional or narrower neck, where the courses could be close enough together without looking ridiculous on a fat neck. This is just personal opinion and preference, not an indictment of anyone who prefers wider nuts and wider string spacing if it works for you.

    P.S. As proof that it isn't an absolute personal requirement, I can still pull off that single-fingertip/four strings fretting technique on my octave mandolin, which has much wider nut and spacing of the string courses. But it ain't easy! I don't see why it shouldn't be as easy as possible on the mandolin, with a neck that's narrower to begin with.

  7. #57
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    Default Re: Should one be swayed by nut width??

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Hildreth View Post
    To clarify with a "DUH" response..

    The whole point of a wider fingerboard/nut width is to provide ample spacing between the strings. The goal being accurate finger placement which will prevent damping other strings. If this is not your goal, then wider nuts are a non issue.
    That's the exact reason why some of us prefer (or almost demand) a wider nut. For example, on a narrow nut mandolin, I have difficulty with something as simple as a G7 chord. It tough to play the chord without dampening those strings on either side of the A string. Unfortunately, in country music, the G7 chord is almost as common as C, D or G.
    David Hopkins

    Breedlove Legacy FF; Breedlove Quartz FF
    Gibson F-4, (1916)
    McCormick Oval Sound Hole "Reinhardt"
    McCormick Solid Body F-Style Electric;
    Recording King Resophonic Mandolin; Slingerland Songbird Guitar (c. 1939)

    The older I get, the less tolerant I am of political correctness, incompetence and stupidity.

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    Default Re: Should one be swayed by nut width??

    Guess I opened the ol' canaworms...I have read every entry since my OP as this subject is of interest to me in my pursuit of a new mandolin. my present is 1 1/8" per the specs, the actual nut itself is 1 3/16" in width, I don't know if this is common practice? Being new to the instrument I don't want to purchase without knowing which would suit me best, so it's going to be a long journey to try and find some to try. Here on the Oregon Coast really tough, as no music stores
    My original question was due to my noticing when I play the A strings on some chords I was muting the E strings. I mark some of this up to inexperience on my part, but being a guitarist for 40 yrs. I have a good feel for grabbing chords properly, and it occurred to me that another 1/16" or so would be nice, helpful clearing my fingertips.
    I think after reading everything here the 1 3/16 or 1 1/4" would be helpful in many folks opinions. I notice 90% of the adds for shops selling that 1 1/8" seems to be the norm but 1 3/16 can be ordered. I am most likely going to buy a pre owned so will rely on the seller a great deal, and have from purchasing guitars over the years found most to be honest and reliable.
    Even though I have only been playing a short time I find it addicting and am enjoying it a great deal. Will continue to search and hope to find the one! Thanks everyone for the helpful information, Jerry OP

  9. #59
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    Default Re: Should one be swayed by nut width??

    sblock
    "Perhaps it's because you seem to show correspondingly little respect for others on the forum? You are perfectly well entitled to your wide-minded (not) views on "acceptable" wide nut widths, and to your expressed preference for spiral binding in music books. But you have been utterly dismissive of the views of others. You should realize by now that not everyone requires -- or even desires! -- a wide nut. "

    Please do not misquote , or mis- characterize my comments. I am not dismissive of those who prefer narrow nuts and have said so several times. I am dismissive of manufacturers who are not respectful of the many players who prefer a wider nut than the ridiculous 1 1/16th., which seems to be in the least favor with players. I am also dismissive of authors and publishers who have no respect for those who buy reference books and tutorials which are all but useless. There are many who prefer the spiral books and there are more that would object to "perfect" or other rigid bindings that fail with usage or are very difficult to use. Fewer, if any, would complain about spiral binding.

    I will repeat, I prefer 1/14" to 1 5/16" (or 32-33mm).

    If you can play other narrow nut widths , please buy and use them, I do not care. I do care that I, and others, are not able to buy wider nutted instruments.

    You may quote me; you may not mis quote or mis characterize my posts.

    Thank you.



    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Hildreth View Post

    "To clarify with a "DUH" response.."

    D Hopkins post
    "The whole point of a wider fingerboard/nut width is to provide ample spacing between the strings. The goal being accurate finger placement which will prevent damping other strings. If this is not your goal, then wider nuts are a non issue.
    That's the exact reason why some of us prefer (or almost demand) a wider nut. For example, on a narrow nut mandolin, I have difficulty with something as simple as a G7 chord. It tough to play the chord without dampening those strings on either side of the A string. Unfortunately, in country music, the G7 chord is almost as common as C, D or G."


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  10. #60
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    Default Re: Should one be swayed by nut width??

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Hildreth View Post
    sblock
    "Perhaps it's because you seem to show correspondingly little respect for others on the forum? You are perfectly well entitled to your wide-minded (not) views on "acceptable" wide nut widths, and to your expressed preference for spiral binding in music books. But you have been utterly dismissive of the views of others. You should realize by now that not everyone requires -- or even desires! -- a wide nut. "

    Please do not misquote , or mis- characterize my comments. I am not dismissive of those who prefer narrow nuts and have said so several times. I am dismissive of manufacturers who are not respectful of the many players who prefer a wider nut than the ridiculous 1 1/16th., which seems to be in the least favor with players. I am also dismissive of authors and publishers who have no respect for those who buy reference books and tutorials which are all but useless. There are many who prefer the spiral books and there are more that would object to "perfect" or other rigid bindings that fail with usage or ar very difficult to use. Fewer, if any, would complain about spiral binding.

    I will repeat, I prefer 1/14" to 1 5/16" (or 32-33mm).

    If you can play other narrow nut widths , please buy and use them, I do not care. I do care that I, and others, are not able to buy wider nutted instruments.

    You may quote me; you may not mis quote or mis characterize my posts.

    Thank you.



    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Hildreth View Post

    "To clarify with a "DUH" response.."

    D Hopkins post
    "The whole point of a wider fingerboard/nut width is to provide ample spacing between the strings. The goal being accurate finger placement which will prevent damping other strings. If this is not your goal, then wider nuts are a non issue.
    That's the exact reason why some of us prefer (or almost demand) a wider nut. For example, on a narrow nut mandolin, I have difficulty with something as simple as a G7 chord. It tough to play the chord without dampening those strings on either side of the A string. Unfortunately, in country music, the G7 chord is almost as common as C, D or G."
    I quit. I know why I like the wider nut and I don't need validation to back it up.
    David Hopkins

    Breedlove Legacy FF; Breedlove Quartz FF
    Gibson F-4, (1916)
    McCormick Oval Sound Hole "Reinhardt"
    McCormick Solid Body F-Style Electric;
    Recording King Resophonic Mandolin; Slingerland Songbird Guitar (c. 1939)

    The older I get, the less tolerant I am of political correctness, incompetence and stupidity.

  11. #61

    Default Re: Should one be swayed by nut width??

    I have owned more than my share of mandolins. The ones I can get around on best have narrow nuts and slim neck dimensions. I reckon that puts me in the minority.
    When I see "wide nut" in ads I don't bother to read any further. It is a deal breaker for me. Same with guitars(micro-fret Mosrite feels great to my hands).

    Have never played an Eastman mandolin(I do have an Eastman archtop guitar);but,look forward to trying out some of them since I hear they tend to have narrower nuts.

    Best mandolin neck dimensions for my hands are on a Gibson Bill Monroe model. Nut measures right at one inch on mine. The neck is pretty slim;have not measured the girth. Not the greatest sounding instrument;but,if the notes are hard to get to on time it doesn't really matter what it could have sounded like.
    The several original Loars I have played had pretty narrow nuts. Did not measure them. They may be a problem for somebody with bigger hands/fingers.

    I am an adult male. I have a medium sized hand with short fingers.

    Radiused or flat fingerboards;either is fine with me. The other dimensions matter much more to me.

    Thankfully,it's not one-size fits all.

  12. #62
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    Default Re: Should one be swayed by nut width??

    DHopkins
    "I quit. I know why I like the wider nut and I don't need validation to back it up. "

    Nor do I.

    Your preference is your business. However, your post is an illustration that others do prefer to play wider nuts, and your post for your preference, unlike mine, does not incur the wrath of others given your statement of that preference.

    Interesting.

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