I’ve hear it suggested to buy a guitar with wider spacing between strings to help with playing chords. They said sometimes you can even get just replace the nut on your current guitar and have it cut differently to allow for more space between the stings. Does anyone know if this is a worthwhile idea or if Justin suggests it?
I am no expert, but I doubt you really could adjust your nut for wider spacing unless it was made wrong to start with.
If you cut a new nut and widened the spacing the E and e strings would by necessity be closer to the edge and therefore not play well. Too easy to push off the side of the fretboard.
Even then, you would be going to a lot of trouble for a fraction of a mm spacing.
If you really feel you need wider strings, get a guitar with a wider nut to start with.
In my 1.5 year journey so far, I have played 40 mm, 42 mm, 44mm, 48 mm and 52 necks. I think they all were playable for my smallish hands, just different.
I am leaning to 44 mm and greater because I don’t like using a plectrum, and lost interest in electric guitars. Not because of the fretting hand.
As said, cutting a new nut with the E’s closer to the edge would make things tricky to play for its own reasons.
Aside from downsides of changing string positions on a new nut (which others have also covered), different neck widths do feel different and its a very personal thing. There’s also more than neck width in it.
I have 2 acoustics and a squier strat.
Strat has the narrowest neck and closet strings. Lightest strings too. Easier for some chords because the stretch isn’t as far and it’s easier to mute strings that need to be muted. I can get my thumb over the top sometimes. Harder for others because the strings are closer. Easier for picking arpeggios.
Acoustics are similar neck width. My more expensive one is much easier to play, generally. Easier to get all strings to ring out on a chord with close fingers (e.g. C7). Harder to get thumb around the back, I can do it for D/F# but not F.
My friend’s Les Paul is somewhere in the middle.
So your mileage varies.
Also, on electric guitars where the saddles are also slotted, changing the nut spacing may interfere with the intonation as well, so be careful.
When I first started playing it was on an acoustic with a 1 11/16 nut. I play mostly fingerstyle and an experienced friend suggested I go for a guitar with a wider nut. I got one with a 1 3/4 nut (and also wider at the saddle by about 5mm). What a difference it made for me. Now that I’ve been playing for 10 years, I can pick up a guitar with a narrow nut and make it work fine, but the wider nut is still my preference.
I agree with several of the earlier comments that cutting a new nut with the E’s closer to the edge could be problematic. However, it’s easy to go back to the old nut if it doesn’t work. So it’s low risk and cheap to try it.
Honestly a photo of your current guitars fretboard and nut would help - plus measurements
Good article on acoustic guitar nut widths by brand.
I need the widest available and got lucky with my 1st Seagull guitar coming in at 1.8 , 46 mm or 1 13/16 .
I recently bought a used Yamaha acoustic that had a 1.69 , 1 !!/16 , 43 mm nut
and that was not comfortable for me at all with my club ring finger tip so moved it along. I might be able to get along with a 1.75 nut but wider is better with my situation.
Good luck with it.
Thank you all so much for your comments. They were very helpful. Wish I knew about this before I bought my guitars (Electric- Fender Squier Standard; Acoustic -Yamaha FG700S in which the string spacing is fine). The problem so far is only with the A chord. The other open chords seem okay. I think I can manage the A chord using my 2-3-4 fingers. Not the way Justin prefers, but I think I can make it work.
Thank you all again .
Nut Width: 43 mm for the Yamaha, 40.6 for the Strat (which as has been said is a very narrow fret)
Dont worry about playing the A chord like Justin so much, I prefer the more traditional way myself