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Since Building Your Own Guitars, Have You Made The Just To A Wider Nec


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I'm working through my first guitar project right now, and one of the things I wanted to do on a custom guitar is make the neck pretty wide at the nut (I'm presently playing strat type guitars with 1 5/8" and I'm a pretty big dude with big hands so these necks seem tiny).

I was thinking of making it 2" at the nut, but that would require cutting my own nut and more investment in files (I'm already going broke on this project :D) . . . and cutting the nut seems a bit more daunting than most other tasks. I found a preslotted nut on graphtech's site at 1 13/16" wide so I'm thinkin of using that . . .

I was wondering if any of you made the jump to a bigger nut when making your own guitars and what you thought of it. What you use for a width? Did you make the neck thinner to compensate for the extra width? The problem is that I can't find any electrics to play with a nice, wide nut so I'm kind of playing a guessing game . . .

On an aside, how daunting did you find it to make your first nut? Did you have to get a whole set of 6 files, or can you do it with fewer??

Any info would be helpful. Thanks! :D

Edited by fyb
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if your making your own guitar there technically is no 'rules'

really you SHOULD make your own nut, thats the rewarding part; when you buy bone (5$) its oversized to prolly about 2'' so no problem there;and the nut files; what i have is stewmac s two thinest files and a jewerly file set that gives me all my widths; just cut even spacing to what your width is and you'll be fine;

the problem starts when you get to the other end of your guitar; i couldnt tell you where to find a bridge to accomidate your wide spacing; unless you want to have barely no taper in the width you might be screwed; espescially if your already having cash issues;

oh and if its your first nut; dont be nervous; but you might wanna buy some backup pieces, or practise on some wood first;

good luck


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I made a few guitars with wide necks, its hard to decide how wide to go. One was just over 2" and one was just under that. I dont like to go wider than 1 3/4" now. It may not seem like much extra width at 2" but it really does make your hand get tired quicker. The two wider ones were both for people that said they wanted a bit of extra room, they chose how wide we were going to make the neck, neither of them play the guitars live because it just aint comfy.

I would stick to around the 1 3/4" area, it will seem like a hell of a lot of room compared to the strat even if it doesnt look it on a ruler.

The taper isnt hard to work out, draw it all out full size with the nut and bridge string spacing, its easy to work out the dimensions of the fretboard from that

oh.. I make all my nuts from scratch. When i was starting i just used whatever saw or small file i had that happened to be close to the right size and tidied it up with sandpaper. Stew-macs nut slotting saws and files were a worthy investment

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This is exactly why I got into guitar building. My hands are slightly large, but I have really fat fingers. On my Strat, I trip all over myself when soloing.

I went with 1-13/16" nut width, I discovered this by playing a 12-string that was strung as a 6, you might give that a shot and see how you like it. That's all it took. I think 2" could be too wide.

Unless you're a big guy playing a lot of fingerstyle (i.e. Kevin Eubanks), don't worry about the bridge spacing. Once you widen out the bridge, then you're talking about custom-width pickups.

Playing-wise the biggest adjustment I had to make was in my selective left-hand muting of adjacent strings when playing (slashing) chords, but it wasn't too big of a deal.

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The guitar I made last year had a 1 7/8" nut. I love it. It's not the guitar I use for my fast thrashy power-chording bands, but in my regular band, I play a lot of weird jazz chords and such, and this makes it easier, as well as solo-ing lower down the neck. I didn't find I needed to make the neck much thinner (too thin and my hand cramps playing barre chords or anything where my thumb rest against the back of the neck) but I did change the back contour a bit. (I find the perceived thinness of a neck, for me, ends up being more dependent on the contour than the actual thickness, particularly any time I'm playing with my hand wrapped around the neck rather than my thumb on the back)

I used the double-edged nut files from Stew Mac, which ended up having all the sizes I needed for both guitars and the bass that I made. If you know exactly what size string slots you need, you could pick up just a few sizes at the Universal Jems store. I did the two highest strings with razor saws.

As far as getting an idea of what sizes feel good, have you tried playing any classical guitars? They tend to have wider necks, in my experience. (Although the fretboards are flatter and that may feel weird to you, it should give you a good idea.) Some baritone guitars I've played have had wider necks as well.

You could start by making a bolt on neck for the guitar you've got now, try some things out. If you don't like it, pull the frets and thin it down a little more and try it again?

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You could start by making a bolt on neck for the guitar you've got now, try some things out. If you don't like it, pull the frets and thin it down a little more and try it again?

If you're careful, you wouldn't even have to pull the frets. Just narrow the neck down carefully using a floor-standing belt sander, 80 grit will take down both wood and frets, then finish it out from there. Make your side dots extra deep and you wouldn't even have to re-do those either.

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