36 vs 38mm Nut ?

captain-janeway

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Hmmmm my Kala soprano is 34.6 the concert is 35. I'm cleaner with the soprano, but I just dont like the sound of it vs my low g cedar concert. Yeah its a cheap Kala and ohta san plays low g soprano, but I don't know if I want to shell out major money yet. Tried a low g on it and it sounded godawful but its probably just the uke.
 

Cawes

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My favorite is the original 1 3/4 [44 mm] precision neck. I have a G&L sb2 with a Jazz neck and I wrote to G&L to see if I could get a different neck. It seems to me that these numbers should somehow intersect with this https://www.sunsigns.org/celtic-symbol-meanings/. However, the true meaning of their symbols is sometimes difficult to trace because the Celts did not rely on written records.
 
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Cadia

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I think this is the first time I've seen this term "roll-off". I have this problem because I use light gauge strings and I tune down to Low F and I like to do a lot of string bending. I'm learning my way around it (don't do it as often), but I was wondering...

Regardless of nut width (obviously would be easier to do this on a wider nut), has anyone ever looked at doing a custom nut with closer STRING SPACING, but a little more distance from the edge of the fretboard? It wouldn't take a lot to make a difference if you have a roll-off problem.

Personally, I don't think I'd be bothered by the strings being closer together, and I may even like it.
Yes. I like 29 mm from g to a, and I've finally discovered, about a 37 mm nut width. 38 mm is a tad wide, and many ukes with a 38 mm nut width have 30 mm g to a string spacing. When I did my custom I went with the 29 mm string spacing g to a, and a 30 mm nut width to prevent rolloff.
 
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Mo So

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I wanted an all-laminate instrument for playing outdoors and bought an Islander A-SC-4 super concert (concert body, tenor neck) and I have to say I love this thing. I like the size, scale and nut width (38mm, 29.5 mm string spacing), although, as a beginner, it does make it slightly harder to fret two strings with one finger (especially if it is the G or C string because of the reach). I can manage a two finger D chord (2220) on a concert or soprano, but it's 3 fingers on this. (Yes, I have largish hands for a woman.) That is just a time and practice adjustment, I think. We'll see.

I also had it strung with the Aquila Low G Nylagut wound string and I have to say I love that, too. My favorite uke, for tone, is still the Ohana CK-38 (low G, unwound fluorocarbon strings), but I am impressed with this relatively inexpensive all-lam ukulele. It's nice to have an instrument that can just sit on the wall next to me at 28% RH, without being in a humidified case.
 

merlin666

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An issue with "roll off" is generally one of unclean playing and not of nut width. Sometimes it can be associated with manufacturing issues when the nut is installed off center. I would guess that people who play so sharp as to roll strings off the board would also suffer from intonation problems. As for bending, this is properly done away from the fretboard edge.
 

OpihiMan

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Most imported ukuleles (e.g., Kala and Ohana) have 1.375" (34.9mm) nut widths. Most Koolau, Pono, and soprano and concert Kamakas also use this nut width.
My kala tenor is 35mm, but my ohana cutaway tenor is definitely wider.
 

clear

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For average sized hands ; does it make a meaningful difference ?

I used to think it might make a big different (well, big-enough that I wasn't sure if I want to buy a Kanile'a ukulele) ; but as it turned out (I decided to take a chance and buy a Kanile'a), the width differences aren't much trouble to switch between. Another thing that used to bother me more was different neck profiles, but now I'm not bothered at all. I think, with experience, these things become less and less of an issue.

So, I agree with many posts that mentioned you should buy the uke that you like. Don't worry too much about the nut width; they all work pretty well.
 

merlin666

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For average sized hands ; does it make a meaningful difference ?
Makes no difference. I have small hands and have ukes with extremely wide and extremely narrow nuts. So I just adjust the fretting technique a little bit. So for example on very wide nut I fret a D chord with three fingers, and on narrow nut with two fingers. People who are used to only one extreme end of nut sizes may take a few days to adjust to a size at the opposite end, but adjustments like that are part of learning and make you a better player.
 

BBegall

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Two of my favorite ukuleles to play, a Pono tenor and Mainland baritone have a narrower nut. The Pono gets slammed further for their "rounded" neck profile which seems to bother another subset of people. I always expect playability on my wider nut ukes to be better but for me, it never is.
 

Booksniffer

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Yeah, I'm not a huge fan of the wider nut / string spacing; it makes a lot of chords where you have to cover the width with different fingers (say, when doing 3223, which comes up in an Aaron Keim fingerstyle piece) much more difficult.

Even barre chords give me trouble on those wide necks!
 

IslandSounds

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Interesting question.

I think it may be one of the multitude of factors that affect how a uke feels in the hands.

I have a 36mm uke and a 38mm uke. I think out of the box I found the 38mm a bit easier for my hands, but there are a load of other differences too such as muck profile and types of strings. Not to mention how stiff my hands are that day. Whether it’s cold etc :)

to be honest once I warm up my hands end up just adapting to whichever uke is in my hands.

so - try a few different ones and see how they feel. But I don’t think I would ever choose one uke over the other solely on nut width. There are just too many variables
 

gillanubhav4

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I get why some people think it's not important to get hung up on the numbers, and I definitely get why some people have strong preferences about it. Humans are pretty adaptive, and barring (!) physical problems, can probably adjust to playing most sizes. But after a while, you start to get a feel for what suits you best.
hellodear.in

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Kenn2018

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Most imported ukuleles (e.g., Kala and Ohana) have 1.375" (34.9mm) nut widths. Most Koolau, Pono, and soprano and concert Kamakas also use this nut width.
My Martin Tenor 1T IZ has a nut width of 1-3/8" (1.375") with string spacing of 1-1/8" (1.125") Center Line to Center Line. If I use stretchy strings such as Fremont BlackLine Fluoros, I occassionaly push the A string off the edge of the fretboard if I don't fret cleanly.
My 2017 Ko'Aloha KTM-00 has a nut width of 1-1/2" (1.5") with string spacing of 1-1/16" (1.0626") Center Line to Center Line. This leaves plenty of space from the g & A strings to the edge of the fretboard.

To be honest, the width of the nut or string spacing doesn't affect my mediocre playing as much as the thickness of the neck does. I have somewhat short fingers for my height and I find that I enjoy necks that have a flatter curve.

The Martin has a "D" shaped neck that isn't as thick as the Ko'Aloha's. Yet the Ko'Aloha's isn't particularly thick. It's very comfortable to play.

I'll leave y'all to convert measurements to metric.
 
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Cadia

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My Martin Tenor 1T IZ has a nut width of 1-3/8" (1.375") with string spacing of 1-1/8" (1.125") Center Line to Center Line. If I use stretchy strings such as Fremont BlackLine Fluoros, I occassionaly push the A string off the edge of the fretboard if I don't fret cleanly.
My 2017 Ko'Aloha KTM-00 has a nut width of 1-1/2" (1.5") with string spacing of 1-1/16" (1.0626") Center Line to Center Line. This leaves plenty of space from the g & A strings to the edge of the fretboard.

To be honest, the width of the nut or string spacing doesn't affect my mediocre playing as much as the thickness of the neck does. I have somewhat short fingers for my height and I find that I enjoy necks that have a flatter curve.

The Martin has a "D" shaped neck that isn't as thick as the Ko'Aloha's. Yet the Ko'Aloha's isn't particularly thick. It's very comfortable to play.

I'll leave y'all to convert measurements to metric.
The KoAloha KTM-00 is 29mm g to a, I believe. Thats's my most comfortable string spacing.
 

Tin Ear

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Interesting question.

I think it may be one of the multitude of factors that affect how a uke feels in the hands.

I have a 36mm uke and a 38mm uke. I think out of the box I found the 38mm a bit easier for my hands, but there are a load of other differences too such as muck profile and types of strings.
I have just reread most of this thread and this is something I have been thinking about as my collection of Ukes evolves and changes.
For me it is just not the nut width - and I agree with IslandSounds - there is a multitude of factors how a uke feels in the hands. The neck profile seems to be the biggest factor for me personally as to what feels right, and sure the other things such as string spacing along with nut width are factors.

Some Ukes definitely feel better in my hands than others but so far there has only been one I really had any disdain for so I guess my comfort zone is pretty wide, but yes, some are better than others for any particular individual. I think the shape of your palm at the crux of your thumb area and how your hand bends probably has a lot to do with it. Also how you hold the uke, your fingers, string choice and so on.

Putting your hands on as many ukes as possible is a good thing. It just gets to be a little trickier when you start spending increasing amounts of money on Ukes if you can't get into a good Uke shop and haven't a particular brand in your hands. I think it takes awhile to figure out what you like too.

I don't think it's just a simple question of nut width - at least for me. Your mileage may vary.

I also want to thank some people here who have given me good information and insight about this and other topics, both generally in the threads and some through some very thoughtful messaging here. ;) You know who you are.
 

DJ Mango

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1 3/8 inches is 34.9mm, which is what Kala and Ohana use. 36mm is a noticeable improvement (to me), especially when paired with a nicely shaped neck.
Many Kala are listed on their website as : Fingerboard Width at Nut 1.4375 inches ( 36.5mm )
 

Patty

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Hmmmm my Kala soprano is 34.6 the concert is 35. I'm cleaner with the soprano, but I just dont like the sound of it vs my low g cedar concert. Yeah its a cheap Kala and ohta san plays low g soprano, but I don't know if I want to shell out major money yet. Tried a low g on it and it sounded godawful but its probably just the uke.
Maybe it’s the choice of G string. I play low G on my sopranos and like the Pepe Romero Wound low G. It doesn’t overpower the higher-pitched strings.
 

DJ Mango

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... so , any ukulele listed as 36mm nut other than the AnueNue's ? ( Hawaiian Dream C30 )


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bilbo56

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My Anuenue AMM3 is 37mm. Both my Cocobolo tenor and LoPrinzi MRC-C are 36mm. I much prefer the larger size of 37-38mm.