Nut width obsession

Sancho Panza

New Member
May 1, 2023
Nut width is one of the standard measurements of guitars as we know, but why? Surely the width between E strings is the key thing if, like me, you have clunky fingers and need the space.

I recently bought an S2 standard 22 new, and was a bit stressed as the nut width was billed as 1 21/32" as opposed to the wider 1 11/16" for the SE series. However after putting my propellor hat on I measured E to E as 36mm. My SE EG HSS, and my Soapbar ii both come in as 35.5 mm. Great news. But it does leave me puzzled about the universality of the nut width measurement, and how it is possibly a bit misleading for some people.
I can definitely feel the difference in the nut width on a guitar. I have played 1 11/16 nuts almost exclusively for many years. I have a few guitars that are a little narrower, such as the DGT and a couple of my P22 guitars, and I was a bit scared when I bought the first one of them, the DGT. I can feel the difference but the rest of the neck carve plays into it as well. I have had some guitars that I just couldn't get along with the narrower nut on and a few that I have been able to play with no issues. I think it all comes down to what you have become used to.
I read the thread title and immediately looked at my crotch. I really wish I had actually matured past age 13, rather than just aged (way, way) past it!
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I've narrowed Fender style necks that were too wide for me at the nut.

1 3/4" is just too wide for me and I've narrowed a couple of 1 3/4" after market necks down to 1 11/16".

A 1 5/8" nut is too narrow for me.

+ or - 1/16" either way makes a big difference to me.

A 1 11/16" nut works for most folks. Works for me.

That's the actual width of the nut...not the E to E string spacing.

I need a little room on either side so the string doesn't fall off the edge of the neck, but sometimes a factory nut gives more room than I need and the strings are closer together than I like.

My 2000 CE22 is like that. It's fine but not quite as comfy as my Bernies or SC58.
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