You are currently viewing The Guitar Nut Width Explained – Does it Really Affect The Playability?

Last Updated on June 9, 2024 by Teemu Suomala

photo reveals owner of guitaristnextdoor.com

Author: Teemu Suomala

I first grabbed the guitar in 2009. I started this website in January 2020 because I couldn’t do window installation anymore due to my health problems. I love guitars and have played dozens and dozens of different guitars through different amps and pedals over the years, and also, building a website interested me, so I decided to just go for it! I got lucky and managed to get awesome people to help me with my website.

I also got lucky because I have you visiting my website right now. Thank you. I do all this for you guys. If you have any recommendations, tips, or feedback, just leave a comment, I would love to chat with you. I have also been fortunate to produce content for several large guitar websites, such as SongsterrMusicnotesGuitarGuitar, and Ultimate Guitar.

I spend my spare time exercising and hanging out with my wife and crazy dog (I guess that went the right way…).


Guitar terminology can get players confused fast. And nut width is definitely 1 term that can get people shaking their heads…

But don’t fret my friend. Understanding what nut and nut width means is actually really simple once you break it down. Even I can understand this stuff…and this means that so can you!

Let’s get started with the most definitive guitar nut width guide on the internet!

Also check this guitar nut article of ours: Different Nut Materials and Types Explained & Compared

The Guitar Nut Width Guide

What Is A Guitar Nut?

The nut is a piece usually made of bone, plastic, metal, or other materials and it supports guitar strings at the end of the fretboard, close to the headstock. The nut of the guitar is meant to hold the strings steadily at the end of the fretboard and it has small slots carved into it that guide the strings to the tuners. The guitar nut also works as a 0 fret for the guitar.

displays guitar nuts

What is Guitar Nut Width?

Nut width means the width of the nut of the guitar.

displays what Guitar nut width means

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How is Nut Width Measured?

Nut width is measured from the nut, horizontally from the low E strings side of the fretboard to the high e strings side of the fretboard.

How Does Nut Width Affect Playability?

Nut width determines how wide the neck of the guitar is. This of course affects the playability because different nut widths physically affect the size of the neck.

You should note that the neck shape and thickness of the neck are 2 other key factors that affect the playability of the guitar a lot.

Check our neck shape and neck thickness artricles:

Guitar Neck Shape Guide – Shapes Explained

Guitars With Thick Necks

Best Acoustic Guitars With Thin Neck

Electric Guitars With Thin Necks

What is The Most Common Nut Width for Guitars?

Usually nut widths of the guitars, both electric and steel-string acoustics guitars, wary between 1.65″(41.91mm) and – 1.75”(44.45mm).

Different Nut Widths

Let’s quickly run through the standard nut widths of the main 3 guitar types:

Acoustic guitar nut width

Image reveals Ibanez AW54CEOPN nut width
Nut width of Ibanez AW54CEOPN.
  • Standard nut width for steel-string acoustic guitar with 6 strings wary between 1.6875″(42.86mm) and 1.75″ (44.45mm).
  • 12-string acoustic guitars typically have a nut width of 1.875″ (47.62mm).

Electric guitar nut width

Image reveals Fender Player Stratocaster nut width
Nut width of Fender Player Stratocaster.
  • Common nut widths for electric guitars can vary between 1.65″(41.91mm) and -1.69” (42.9mm).
  • 7-string electric guitars typically have a nut width of 1.889″ (47.98mm).
  • 8-string electric guitars most often have a nut width of 2.125″ (53.97mm).

Classical guitar nut width

Image reveals Yamaha C40 nut width
Nut width of my Yamaha C40 classical guitar.

Common nut widths for classical guitars are usually between 1.875″(47.6mm) and -2.04” (51.81mm). Classical guitars have the widest nut width of the 3 main guitar types.

How To Choose The Right Nut Width?

First, I would recommend you test guitars with different nut widths out. That’s how you get a real idea of what kind of nut widths you should go after.

In general, narrower nut width works better for smaller hands and shorter fingers and wider nut widths work better for larger hands.

But there’s 1 thing you should also pay attention to…

String-Spacing

When nut size grows much larger or decreases a lot, this can affect the string spacing of the guitar. As the name suggests, string spacing determines how far each string is from one another.

String spacing is usually measured from the bridge from low E to high e or from the bridge between 2 strings next to each other. Most guitars still have the standard E to e string spacing of 2.05 inches(52mm). It should be remembered that even tho the nut widths of 2 different guitars are a bit different, they usually still have the same string spacing.

String spacing does affect the playability too. On the bridge end of the guitar, it determines how much room you have to pick or fingerpick. On the neck, string spacing determines how much room there is to fret strings and chords.

For smaller-handed guitar players, I usually recommend normal string spacing. For larger hands and fingerstyle playing, I usually recommend wider string spacing. But I should note that standard string spacing works best for most players.

Check our complete list of guitars with wider string spacing here.

Check our favorite fingerstyle acoustic guitars here and the best electric guitars for fingerstyle here.


FAQ

Is Nut Width Important?

As a small-handed guitar player, I do think that nut width is an important factor when trying the find the guitar with the right playability. Of course, advanced guitarists can tame any guitar, no matter the nut width, but for us mortals, it’s usually wise to pay attention to the nut width of a guitar.

But I also think that you should learn to play guitars with different nut widths. So don’t shy away from classical guitars or narrow-neck electrics either!

Is A Wider Nut Width Easier to Play?

If you like wider string spacing and have large hands, guitars with wider nut widths are usually easier to play for you. On the other hand, if you have tiny hands as I do, I would prefer a narrower nut.

If you are after wide neck guitars, check these articles of ours:

Are Guitar Neck Width and Nut Width the Same?

Usually guitar neck width and nut width are the same things since both are normally measured from the same point(nut). But sometimes neck width is presented in these kinds of formats:

  • 1.7″ (1st fret)
  • 1.75 (12th fret)

In these cases, the nut width and neck widths are not the same thing, since the spec information reveals that there’s a different measurement point (in this case, 1st or 12th fret).

What is the Difference Between Neck Width and String Spacing?

Neck width and string spacing are not the same things. Neck width indicates how wide the neck is (usually measured from the nut). String spacing reveals how much space there is between the strings (usually measured from the bridge, from low E to high e).

What’s The Best Guitar Nut Width for Small Hands?

If you got small hands as I do and you don’t have much playing experience, I would look for guitars with below 1.68″ (42.67) nut widths. So smaller nut width usually works better for small hands.

As you progress as a guitar player, it’s smart to go and play guitars with wider necks too, but when starting out, making things as easy as possible is a good idea.

If you have small hands, check these articles of ours:

What’s The Best Guitar Nut Width for Large Hands?

There are many players who have large hands that can easily play any normal-sized electric or acoustic guitar. But if you feel like the neck of a normal guitar is just too tiny for you, I would start trying out guitars with 1.68″ (42.67) and above nut widths.

Can You Change The Nut Width on A Guitar?

Basically yes, but you have to change the neck of the guitar too. So in reality, changing the nut width of the guitar is not a smart move.

What Are Nut Widths of ¾ Guitars?

  • The typical nut width of a 3/4-sized electric guitar is 1.6″ (40.64mm). For example, Squier Mini Stratocaster has this nut width.
  • The typical nut width of a 3/4-sized acoustic guitar is 1.653″ (41.9mm). Ibanez PF2MH 3/4 Scale Length Acoustic Guitars have this nut width.
  • The typical nut width of a 3/4-sized classical guitar is 1.889″ (47.98mm). Popular beginner classical guitar Yamaha CGS103AII 3/4-Scale has this nut width.

Martin Guitar Nut Width?

The standard Nut width for Martin acoustic guitar is 1.75″ (44.4mm). Martin manufactures guitars that nut widths wary between 1.58″ (40.13mm) and 1.875″ (47.62mm)

I got this info from the Martin guitars website.

Taylor Guitar Nut Width?

Taylor guitars usually have a nut width of 1.75″ (44.4mm). Taylor guitars have a lot of different guitars in their selection and nut widths can vary from the nut of a travel acoustic: 1.68 (42.67mm) to 1.875″ (47.62mm) nut width of 12-string acoustic guitar.

I got this info from the Taylor guitars website.

Gibson Nut Widths?

I got this info from the Gibsons website.

Fender Nut Widths?

  • Standard Fender electric guitar nut width is around 1.65″(41,91mm). Fender manufactures electric guitars that can have a nut width between 1.574″ (39.97mm) and 1.69″ (42.96mm).
  • Fender acoustic guitars normally come with a nut width between 1.615″ (41mm) and 1.692″ (42.97mm).

I got this info by analyzing different music stores’ Fender guitar selections.

Ibanez Nut Widths

  • The most common Ibanez 6-string electric guitar nut width is 1.692″ (42.97mm). Ibanez has a ton of electric guitar models in their selection. Nut widths of their 6-string models vary between 1.594″ (40.48mm) and 1.771″(44.98mm).
  • Ibanez steel string acoustic guitars have nut widths between 1.653″ (41.9mm) and 1.771″(44.98mm).

I got this info from the Ibanez guitars website.

Yamaha Nut Widths?

  • The most common Yamaha acoustic guitar nut widths vary between 1.675″(42.545mm) and 1.75″ (44.4mm).
  • Yamaha electric guitars normally have nut widths of 1.614″(41mm) or 1.649″(41.88mm).

I got this info by analyzing Yamaha guitar selections of different music stores.

Check our favorite acoustic guitars under $1000 and the best acoustics under $500.


Conclusion

To me, nut width is one of the most crucial things of a guitar that affect the overall playability. I would never buy a guitar without checking the nut width measurements.

I’m sure you are now comfortable with the popular guitar term “nut width”, and you can explain what it means to your buddies or a music store sales clerk who doesn’t know what he’s talking about. You are also able to make better buying decisions when it comes to guitars!

If you have any questions, just leave a comment, we at Guitaristnextdoor.com are here for you!

Keep rocking!

Teemu Suomala

I first grabbed the guitar in 2009. I started this website in January 2020 because I couldn’t do window installation anymore due to my health problems. I also noticed that most guitar websites don’t do a really good job, so I decided to just go for it! I got lucky and managed to get awesome people to help me with my website. I also got lucky because I have you visiting my website right now. Thank you. I do all this for you guys. If you have any recommendations, tips, or feedback, just leave a comment, I would love to chat with you. I have been fortunate to produce content for several large guitar websites, such as Songsterr, Musicnotes, GuitarGuitar, and Ultimate Guitar. I spend my spare time exercising and hanging out with my wife and crazy dog(I guess that went the right way…). Expertise: guitar learning techniques, electric guitars, and guitar amplifiers. You can connect with me on LinkedIn or just email me.
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