View Full Version : narrow vs. wide nut

chuck in ny
04-27-2013, 11:57 AM
is there any real difference finger picking a 1 3/8" nut ukulele as opposed to a 1 1/2" one?

Hippie Dribble
04-27-2013, 12:07 PM
hey Chuck, I think everyone's preferences are different. Personally I do notice a substantial difference in feel, fretting and picking and prefer the slightly narrower spacing you tend to get with the 1.3/8" nut. Of course others enjoy more room. But the difference in the playing experience is noticeable for sure.

04-27-2013, 12:15 PM
Yup. Makes a difference for me.

Example: Kanilea's are awesome, but I'll never own one. Combo of nut/neck shape just doesn't do it for me.

04-27-2013, 12:23 PM
I am finding 1/4 is a nice middle ground, but the spacing at the bridge seems to have an ever bigger difference. I am not sure if there is a "standard relationship" between the two.

04-27-2013, 03:24 PM
Yes it makes a tiny difference. The upside to a wide nut is you have a little more room to work with when fretting strings close together (especially fretting two strings next to each other with two fingers). The down side can be on occasion fretting two strings with one finger while stretching your hand. In this case, the strings can feel too far apart, believe it or not. Otherwise, I haven't found that they feel any different. It's something you can get used to very easily. I don't have any trouble going from one to the other. Changing scale lengths much is more noticable, and it seems everybody does that.

04-27-2013, 03:32 PM
Yeah - there's a difference - of 1/8th of an inch. Ho. :D

04-27-2013, 03:38 PM
A wider spacing at the bridge helps for claw-hammer.

04-27-2013, 08:35 PM
I think the important thing to recognise is that the fingerboard widens out from top to bottom, so that the spacing of the strings is different at the nut and bridge. So, what is a tiny difference allowing some breathing room at the nut, is a big space at the bridge. I have a custom MP which I had with an 1/8" wider nut. I have big hands and appreciate it for chording with the left hand, and even for some fingerpicking with the right, but I can hear a difference in strumming. It simply takes a tiny fraction of a second longer to get across all the strings, so there is slightly more separation between the notes. This is a double-edged sword, good for some techniques, not as good for others.

For my next ukulele, I'm going for a traditional spacing. I'm hoping I will adjust quickly. It's a Mya Moe and they're well known for playability, so I'm not too worried.

04-27-2013, 08:57 PM
My KoAloha is about 1.4 at the nut and my Kanile'a about 1.5 at the nut. However, the KoAloha is slightly wider at the bridge than the Kanile'a. (Both Tenors) I think I prefer the KoAloha spacing overall. My KoAloha Concert is slighter narrower on the nut and the bridge than both of the tenors. The narrow spacing at the nut means quicker chord changes for me, but I like it a bit wider at the bridge to give room for finger picking and claw-hammer style.

chuck in ny
04-28-2013, 01:56 AM
thanks all some very helpful and perceptive material.

04-28-2013, 02:12 AM
I'm glad you brought it up. It made me get out the measuring tape and contemplate why some ukes are easier to play than others.

04-28-2013, 02:22 AM
A custom made instrument can allow you to select the string spacing at the nut and at the bridge saddle, and that will govern the taper of the neck.
So if you like it narrow at the nut, but wider at the bridge for clawhammer style, then it can be done without an issue. Anything is possible.