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Thread: distance in between strings

  1. #1
    v6v6v6's Avatar
    v6v6v6 is offline Senior Member
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    distance in between strings

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    i just got my 12-string yesterday (guild/madeira) and noticed that the distances between the sets of strings are off. since i've never owned one before, i'm not sure if this is how it's supposed to be or not.



    this next image shows measurements i made in pixels (just for reference). the numbers in red show the distance between the sets of strings based on the grooves in the nut. (note: the nut is shifted to the left a bit--but i'm thinking this doesn't affect the distances?) when i look at my guitar from afar, i can especially see the wide gap running down the middle.



    examples of problems:

    - i slightly "undershoot" the B and G strings (2nd and 3rd from right) (e.g. when i play an open-D chord, my 1st and 3rd fingers don't quite cover both strings)
    - even though i've got skinny fingers, they buzz against the bottom-E and A strings (1st and 2nd from left) when i play the A and D strings (2nd and 3rd from left)

    i'm assuming the nut needs to be replaced or is this how it's supposed to be? thanks!

  2. #2
    onlyfingers is offline Senior Member
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    I think the pairs of strings on a 12-string are spaced as close as they can be without crashing into each other when you make a "normal" strum or pick a pair. Both strings rotate, and rotate the most in the middle, so that's where they will make the "clang." The wide-diameter strings need more space to rotate than the thinner strings, I bet. The spacing at the saddle (bridge) can be even, since we don't need to finger chords there.

    You are welcolme to count pixels on my 12 string (I would measure distance from the center of the string, not the edge):

    http://mintograde.heypix.com/albums/1

    I would vote against nut replacement. But maybe a set up and action adjustment. But maybe you should hold off a bit, to become familiar with the instrument and get a better idea about the nature of the problem. (I got a fret buzz fixed once by receiving the advice to finger the chords very close to the fret instead of the middle.)

  3. #3
    v6v6v6's Avatar
    v6v6v6 is offline Senior Member
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    hey onlyfingers,

    i understand what you're saying about distance between a pair of strings, but i'm concerned about the distance between pairs or sets. for example, if you take a look between the G and D strings (right down the middle) and A and E strings (1st and 2nd from right) in you may notice that it's wider here than between other sets.

    here's a measurement of your strings: . it's pretty much how you described it--the spacing progressively increases as you move from right to left to accomodate the thicker strings (with the exception of the space between the G and D strings).

    so compared to your guitar, i feel mine is really off. regardless, you're correct about getting it properly setup--i just wanted to have a clear understanding of what needs to be done.

  4. #4
    asulger is offline Junior Member
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    yeah, what v6 said - the spacing between the courses at the nut should be identical to each other
    Like here
    For some guits this is big, for others it's small, but for the guit itself it is the same for each pair.
    12-string tunes: CDBaby, iTunes, Rhapsody
    Blog: 12-string Musings

  5. #5
    onlyfingers is offline Senior Member
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    Right. Now I see the gap in the center, between the G and D. I have no idea why it might be that way, but I could see where it would cause a problem, and it may take a bit to get used to it. The string spacing on both guitars is pretty different, and between the two of us we might not be able to resolve right and wrong. Maybe you should take a trip to the store to check out a few others.

    I had a chip in my nut, and took it to a luthier to have a new nut made. It was to cost in the $75 neighborhood, I think. Turns out that the piece could be glued back in place.

    If this is the way all Guild/Madiera 12s are, then you probably have to pick up the tab for the new nut if you go that way. If you have a freak, the person/store might fix it for you or get you a replacement guitar.

    Good luck.

  6. #6
    v6v6v6's Avatar
    v6v6v6 is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by asulger
    yeah, what v6 said - the spacing between the courses at the nut should be identical to each other
    Like here
    For some guits this is big, for others it's small, but for the guit itself it is the same for each pair.
    thanks for the link, asulger. here's how the tusq 12-string nut measures up: . the string pairs and sets are almost perfectly equidistant from each other.

    i'm pretty surprised how bad mine turned out. is it safe to assume that it didn't come like this from the manufacturer? from what i know, it was built in the early 70's in japan. the last owner said that she never played it and that it's been in storage for a very long time. i can only imagine that someone replaced the nut and created the grooves themselves?

  7. #7
    asulger is offline Junior Member
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    could be. My 40 year old guitar has literally dozens of notches - I've always messed with making the courses narrow or wide (the 23's and 24's on your image)- but the pairs have always been equi-distant.
    Cool image, BTW
    12-string tunes: CDBaby, iTunes, Rhapsody
    Blog: 12-string Musings

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