Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

Nut spacing or width

I have played only one mandolin and the strings are so close together it is hard to play . Yeah I know I got tree stumps for fingers but what I want is a good run down on nut width and where the tone starts to suffer from being to wide, if at all. I also imagine some of the chords would be harder to make if the width is to wide.

I have two wide neck mandos. I think one is 1 1/4" and the other is 1 3/16". I don’t think it starts getting harder to make chords. It just a little less elegant if that makes sense. The 1 3/16" also has a radiused fretboard where my bigger one is flat. The wider, flatter one just feels chunkier. I probably play a little better on the smaller, radiused one. I think it boils down to personal preference.

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I also imagine some of the chords would be harder to make if the width is to wide.

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I’m no expert on mandolins, but I think 1 1/8" is the most common or “standard” nut width. My two are both 1 3/16" which is what would commonly be called a “wide” neck. My Breedlove is thicker than my Copperhead and refering back to your quote above, I think the thickness becomes more of a problem with chording than nut width. The wider neck makes picking much more comfortable in my opinion.

BTW: My Breedlove’s still for sale if you’re looking for a mandolin. :slight_smile:

My MT2 is 1 1/8. I’m not a big guy so have never thought twice about that sort of thing. But sometimes our front man borrows it for a tune. He’s only doing simple runs and 2 finger chords, but he IS a big guy, 6-4, 260, and he’s never noticed a problem. Well, except from the ribbing he gets from us because the instrument looks so small in his hands.

Some chords you can’t finger the same way you would on a guitar. I know from watching Ben’s videos, that simple ones like that one finger A or E are alot easier once you get used to doing it more perpindicular (well more like a 45 degree slant anyway) to the nut instead of parallel to it.

Ken, I think any nut width on a mandolin is going to be a shock to anyone who has played guitar for years. I have a couple of guitar buddies with hands bigger than mine that thought they needed the widest nut possible when they started learning to play the mando but now prefer a narrower nut. The nut on my Bulldog (no pun intended) is 1 1/8" and the nut on an old Gibson F-5 copy I have is 1 3/16". I really don’t notice the difference in width when going from one to the other. What I DO notice is the neck shape. Unless you go from one extreme to the other in nut width I think neck shape is more of a concern. This is just my own personal opinion and experience, I’m no expert by any means!

Post are good thank all of you . yes they helped me out a bit . I may get one sometime and I may not, seems I have my hands full with guitar . It may be something I do later on .

I picked up a mandolin a few months back and I am really enjoying noodling around on it. It didn’t take too long to get adjusted to the width.

Just something else to get used to I guess. I had a cheap one but the strings were so close together I had a hard time not dampening adjacent strings. Traded it for a banjo. sort of wish I had never sold the banjo but oh well things happen for a reason .