Custom Dreadnought - Newbie Seeking Advice And Information

Discussion in 'Guitar Building' started by ParNT, Jun 15, 2017.

  1. ParNT

    ParNT New Member

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    As of January 2017, I build guitars for fun or friends as a hobby. I'm an engineer in aerospace by trade. I've done kits and scratch builds. I've built a few dreadnoughts and a classical guitar so far, and I have this crazy (potentially stupid?) idea for my next project...

    I know someone who's been playing guitar for 50 years and loved dreadnoughts until an injury ruined his hands. He can't play a dreadnought anymore, but can play a classical with a 51mm / 2" nut. I want to build a dreadnought for him with a 51mm / 2" nut. I can't find any info on if it can be done, or has been done before. I'm curious if a D14 style, 25.5 scale dreadnought can be made with this nut size. If so, what should the string spacing be on the nut and the saddle/bridge? Same as a classical or something else? If it can't be done, I'd like to know why. Can anyone help?
     
  2. Atrum Kithara

    Atrum Kithara New Member

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    Hi ParNT. You could build any style guitar with a wider neck, allowing the wider nut/string width. I have built a few electrics with wider nuts to accommodate a more fingerpicking style. The way I do mine is to figure out the desired outside string width, add a quarter inch (1/8 for each side) for the total neck/nut width, and then use dividers to get equal spacing on the string centers. There are some people who use equal spacing between the strings, and I believe you can order a special ruler that helps with this. The saddle string spacing can be matched to the width of the classical with a slightly wider saddle than standard.

    Only problem I see is that it might be the lighter pressure that nylon strings of a classical require which allows your friend to play that comfortably and not a steel string dreadnought although that is just a guess as I don't know the nature of his injury.
     
  3. Marshall DeWitt

    Marshall DeWitt New Member

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    It could also be the fact that classical guitars have flat fretboards. As Atrum Kithara points out no issue with the width; however, for the strings I would propose the following:
    • Decide what strings you want on the guitar, diameter matters.
    • Define the width of the nut you want.
    • Strings are not placed on the nut evenly based on the centerline of each string. The should have equal spaces between adjacent strings: Example
    Nut:
    ____________________
    ||---||---||---|---|---|
    ____________________
    Note that the centerline would put these strings in other locations.
    • Place about 1/2 the space between the stings on both ends to allow for fretting without buzz on the E and e string.
    • Spacing will increase as you move toward the bridge. Just like it will on the classical; however, keep in mind the classical neck joins the body at the 12th fret and your new guitar's neck will join the body at the 14th.
    Good luck.
     

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