Mudcat Café message #991124 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #61506   Message #991124
Posted By: Don Firth
26-Jul-03 - 01:21 PM
Thread Name: guitar nut/neck size
Subject: RE: guitar nut/neck size
Well . . . I dunno about widening the string spacing.

I've played full-size classics since 1955, and I recently acquired one of the few travel guitars that comes in both steel-string and nylon string models (I got the GO-GW nylon). This turned out to be an amazing instrument. For all of it's small size and funky shape, it is surprisingly loud, and it sounds like a real guitar. I was amazed when I took it out of the shipping box full of Styrofoam peanuts and first tuned it up.   

Anyway, the string spacing is exactly the same as on my full-size classic, but the fingerboard is 1 7/8 inches rather that the full 2 inches. That's only 1/16th of an inch less freeboard on the outsides of the fingerboard and one would think that's negligible. Sam Radding says that he makes them that way because many of the nylon playing jazz guitarists he has sold them to like a slightly narrower fingerboard. But—I find it's very easy to fall off the edges of the fingerboard. I also find that something like Fernando Sor's Variations on a Theme from the Magic Flute by Mozart is very tricky to play on this instrument because it contains a lot of fast slurs (hammer-ons and pull-offs) on the 1st string, all up and down the neck. You're walking a tight-rope right along the edge, and it's a distraction to have to worry about staying on the fingerboard. And more than once, while accompanying songs, I've reached for the 3rd fret 6th string G and managed to push the string off the edge. Wonky sound! Damned annoying!

Sam Radding said that for an extra $50.00 above the base price ($262.90), he can build me one with a custom neck—full classic width. I like this little guitar so much that I think I just might. Too bad it didn't come that way in the first place.

That's my experience with unorthodox string spacing and neck widths. Really nice instrument, but tricky to play.

Don Firth

P. S:    Incidentally, Sam Radding is the guy who taught Bob Taylor (you know—Taylor Guitars) how to make guitars. The craftsmanship on these little canoe paddle travel guitars he makes is top rate, which is why they sound so good. Other than the neck width problem, I love the thing and play it all the time.