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Nut Width Sizes Chord Example

#1 User is offline   BluesKing777 

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Posted 19 February 2013 - 06:00 PM

Here is a verse and chorus from Fire and Rain by James Taylor, courtesy of Chordie.com....mostly correct...



Fire and Rain

James Taylor
A Em 7 D A Just yesterday mornin' they let me know you were gone, E Gmaj7 Susan, the plans they made put an end to you. A Em 7 D A I walked out this morning and I wrote down this song, E Gmaj7 I just can't remember who to send it to.<br style="line-height: 1.8em;">Chorus: D Bm7 E7 A I've seen fire and I've seen rain, D Bm7 E7 A I seen sunny days that I thought would never end, D Bm7 E7 A I seen lonely times when I could not find a friend, G Em7 A9 Asus A But I always thought I'd see you again.



Rotten forum setup has altered the spacing from Chordie, but her we go anyway...

So I have highlighted the A chord in RED in each spot where JT does a varying series of hammer-on notes on an A chord with say: 2nd finger/2nd fret/4th string; 1st finger/2nd fret/3rd string; 3rd finger/2nd fret/2nd string. JT does these totally beautiful sounding hammer-ons by using this chord shape, but lifting and hammering the 3rd finger.......you really need to hear it to know what I'm talking about.
I think he played it on his old Gibson J50 on the original recording - I don't know the nut width?
So for me to fingerpick this tune cleanly with my fat little fingers, I need to play it on a guitar with 1 3/4 inch nut width - I can play the hammer-ons with the third finger to the 2nd fret/2nd string nearly as nicely as JT....well, you know.
Now when entertaining a couple of friends on a standard Gibson 1 11/16 nut, I get my fingers in a real tangle and cannot do that hammer-on cleanly and after a first run through the tune, I usually do a few strums of the whole A chord instead.....
I don't know what I would do on a 1 5/16 nut - I think I would have do a very different arrangement. I have a EL-00 I can drag out later and try it, but.......


Does that make all sense?
I was just trying to make an example for people who are wondering what the talk about nut width actually means when they play a tune.


BluesKing777.



#2 User is offline   J200_2013 

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Posted 19 February 2013 - 06:13 PM

Why not try the old dog trick of tuning down a step and then capoing on the second fret? That'll get you a slightly wider effective nut PLUS lower tension on the strings to help with the bends and hammerons and what not. Of course, lower tension means less volume. But then...you play blues, so you know all of the truques.
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#3 User is offline   jedzep 

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Posted 19 February 2013 - 06:50 PM

View Postn9149j, on 19 February 2013 - 06:13 PM, said:

Why not try the old dog trick of tuning down a step and then capoing on the second fret? That'll get you a slightly wider effective nut PLUS lower tension on the strings to help with the bends and hammerons and what not. Of course, lower tension means less volume. But then...you play blues, so you know all of the truques.


Thanks for the reminder n9'er. My hands have been tiring lately and I remember tuning and capo'ing that way years ago to increase the pleasure of playing.
I may not be good lookin', but at least I ain't got no money.

#4 User is offline   BluesKing777 

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Posted 19 February 2013 - 06:51 PM

Apologies - I meant 1 5/8" which I have trouble fingerpicking on and I imagine 1 5/16" would be a beauty, wouldn't it?

I was just trying to give a real life example of why people say fingerpickers like a nut of 1 3/4" and I thought the JT hammer-on was a perfect example. A couple of recent threads mentioned buying an older Gibson with 1 5/8 nut - I have no idea why Gibson went to this size in the 60s, but I think it was to do with lead guitarists that were everywhere at the time buying LPs with skinny necks, again I don't know what the reason would be, apart from easier playing of bar chords perhaps?


BluesKing777.


EDIT: changed a few more typos - not concentrating - it is a most beautiful day outside here and I wish I could get an excuse to go out and leave work behind, but....

We have had dreadful, endless hot days for months and a cool change yesterday gave us a shock - really cold for the first time in months this morning!

#5 User is offline   zombywoof 

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Posted 19 February 2013 - 07:05 PM

While I prefer a wide nut I find that the string spacing at the bridge is just as important if not more. It can vary from say 2 1/4" to 2 3/8" with a 1 3/4" nut. I think I can adapt easier to a narrower nut like a 1 11/16" than a narrower string spacing.

Preference though is all in the hands of the player.
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#6 User is online   milod 

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Posted 19 February 2013 - 07:37 PM

I think here are more than a few variables involved here. For a time I was wishing to have 1.75 or greater.

Then I started using a single finger to fret two strings.

I dunno. In my olden days I knew a banjo picker who'd been a live radio pro. His fingers were shaped like my thumbs and could do stuff on a banjo with hammering on regardless of narrow neck that was unbelievable to me remembering it today.

m

#7 User is offline   BluesKing777 

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Posted 19 February 2013 - 07:38 PM

I didn't want to confuse the issue in my original post, but I snuck a quick play of said tune on my Gibson J45 Standard, which has a nut width that is two hairs more than 1 11/16" at what the Gibson specs say is 1.725".

Now those two extra hairs width give me enough left hand room to play the song quite nicely, and Mr Taylor himself would have thought he could himself playing......until I sang and ruined it.. back to blues picking.....

I didn't want to mention a blues tune that only 5 people had heard, in respect of nut width manoevres, so that is why I mentioned a pop tune that everyone knew.

I know string spacing is important, ZW, but I was trying to concentrate on a left-hand issue. (I see the Gibson site has no mention of the string spacing of my J45 Standard. Does anyone know, or do I need to get my measuring stick out?


BluesKing777.


P.S. My (2010?) J45 Standard is sounding really beautiful lately, new Masterbilts 12s, opening up a bit? Very hard to put down and go back to work.

#8 User is offline   L5Larry 

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Posted 19 February 2013 - 08:02 PM

View Postn9149j, on 19 February 2013 - 06:13 PM, said:

Why not try the old dog trick of tuning down a step and then capoing on the second fret?


You're on the right track......

The song is actually in the key of "C", and the chords as you've listed are the chord "forms" played above a third fret capo. Someone at "Chordie" robbed the chords out of a songbook, but missed the "Capo III" notation.

I have a great James Taylor songbook in my library (I have no idea where it came from), that explains his capo use, hammers, pull-offs and slides for each song (in the book) in great detail:


James Taylor
April-Blackwood Publications
Exclusive Distributor: Bradley Publications
a division of RBR Communications , Inc.
43 West 61 Street
New York, N.Y. 10023

There is no copyright date on the book, and the latest copyright date on any of the songs is 1971, so it's an oldie.

#9 User is offline   BluesKing777 

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Posted 19 February 2013 - 08:12 PM

View PostL5Larry, on 19 February 2013 - 08:02 PM, said:

You're on the right track......

The song is actually in the key of "C", and the chords as you've listed are the chord "forms" played above a third fret capo. Someone at "Chordie" robbed the chords out of a songbook, but missed the "Capo III" notation.

I have a great James Taylor songbook in my library (I have no idea where it came from), that explains his capo use, hammers, pull-offs and slides for each song (in the book) in great detail:


James Taylor
April-Blackwood Publications
Exclusive Distributor: Bradley Publications
a division of RBR Communications , Inc.
43 West 61 Street
New York, N.Y. 10023

There is no copyright date on the book, and the latest copyright date on any of the songs is 1971, so it's an oldie.


Larry has it - capo 3rd -here is the proof with JT himself:



#10 User is offline   jedzep 

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Posted 19 February 2013 - 08:18 PM

BK...I picture you doing a better job of JT's 'Steamroller Blues'. 'Fire and Rain' is an old fart song. ZZZZZZ...
I may not be good lookin', but at least I ain't got no money.

#11 User is offline   j45nick 

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Posted 19 February 2013 - 08:21 PM

View Postjedzep, on 19 February 2013 - 08:18 PM, said:

BK...I picture you doing a better job of JT's 'Steamroller Blues'. 'Fire and Rain' is an old fart song. ZZZZZZ...



And you got something against old farts? I resemble that remark.. But I agree on your song choice for BK. "Fire and Rain" is a bit squishy, even for me.....

#12 User is offline   jedzep 

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Posted 19 February 2013 - 08:33 PM

Nick...you're the one who posted a pic of yourself filing VW points. That used to be cool, just about the time NY joined CSN.
I may not be good lookin', but at least I ain't got no money.

#13 User is offline   j45nick 

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Posted 19 February 2013 - 09:05 PM

View Postjedzep, on 19 February 2013 - 08:33 PM, said:

Nick...you're the one who posted a pic of yourself filing VW points. That used to be cool, just about the time NY joined CSN.



True. Think I mentioned here once that just around the time that picture was taken, I sat about five feet in front of JT on the grass for a two hour concert, just about the time "Fire and Rain" was released, actually. He was mind-blowingly good at age 22, and had that long dark hair then. My girlfriend (later first wife) was drooling all over him. I was drooling all over his J-50, which was so similar to my own J-45.

#14 User is offline   duluthdan 

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Posted 19 February 2013 - 09:10 PM

Check out lesson #4 Fire and Rain, taught by the man.
http://www.jamestayl.../guitarlessons/
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#15 User is offline   BluesKing777 

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 03:02 AM

View Postjedzep, on 19 February 2013 - 08:18 PM, said:

BK...I picture you doing a better job of JT's 'Steamroller Blues'. 'Fire and Rain' is an old fart song. ZZZZZZ...




Thanks JZ.


But if my boss finally realises that I have blinded him with a little bit of science and it all results in unemployment, well you would be very surprised at what tunes come out of me to earn some cash......as far as I remember, blues gets an audience of approx. 3 people at a pub, but some soppy chord strums and vocals would, well........get about 5 people. There is alway the front of the shopping mall......


Every now and then I get a bit tired of blues picking and set myself to learn something else, from a Tab book with exact guitar bits, to Chordie.com where I do some singing/strumming to any old thing to apply my right hand fingerpicking and thumb strums to, well, anything that I have heard on the radio/tv.......


But my original post was about the difficulty in playing a simple 3 finger 'A' chord shape for fingerpicking on a thinner neck - I didn't want to use a blues tune as an example, so I picked a tune that everyone would know in their heads.

I have managed to confuse everybody and I was hoping to get more information about why fingerpickers like wider nut widths.....


BluesKing777.


P.S.

Dan, those JT lessons are great. I see the chord I mention above is played upside down by JT - looks unusual.

#16 User is offline   blindboygrunt 

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 03:07 AM

i've noticed his weird fingering on chords , as you put it 'upside down' seems to me thats where the little a chord flourish that many of his songs have in it comes from , he also plays a D chord in the same upside downy sorta way

#17 User is offline   flatbaroque 

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 03:31 AM

View PostBluesKing777, on 20 February 2013 - 03:02 AM, said:

Thanks JZ.


But if my boss finally realises that I have blinded him with a little bit of science and it all results in unemployment, well you would be very surprised at what tunes come out of me to earn some cash......as far as I remember, blues gets an audience of approx. 3 people at a pub, but some soppy chord strums and vocals would, well........get about 5 people. There is alway the front of the shopping mall......


Every now and then I get a bit tired of blues picking and set myself to learn something else, from a Tab book with exact guitar bits, to Chordie.com where I do some singing/strumming to any old thing to apply my right hand fingerpicking and thumb strums to, well, anything that I have heard on the radio/tv.......


But my original post was about the difficulty in playing a simple 3 finger 'A' chord shape for fingerpicking on a thinner neck - I didn't want to use a blues tune as an example, so I picked a tune that everyone would know in their heads.

I have managed to confuse everybody and I was hoping to get more information about why fingerpickers like wider nut widths.....


BluesKing777.


P.S.

Dan, those JT lessons are great. I see the chord I mention above is played upside down by JT - looks unusual.


i know exactly where you are coming from...even as a basic picker I'd love my LG-2 to be 1 3/4 rather than 1 11/16th.

#18 User is offline   jedzep 

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 04:10 AM

Yeah...I've got the shorter, fatter fingertip thing going, but I seem to have a decent 'piano player' spread to reach picked notes off a barre chord. Toughest to play was my electric Guild hollowbod, with the narrow inch and five-eighths nut. I noticed there was ample room at the edges for a wider nut and the Stewmac pre-slotted Gibson nut fit perfectly and spread my strings just enough to get a little more finger separation. Hard to fight the physics, BK.
I may not be good lookin', but at least I ain't got no money.

#19 User is offline   BluesKing777 

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 05:56 PM

View Postblindboygrunt, on 20 February 2013 - 03:07 AM, said:

i've noticed his weird fingering on chords , as you put it 'upside down' seems to me thats where the little a chord flourish that many of his songs have in it comes from , he also plays a D chord in the same upside downy sorta way


I have since watched a few more of the videos, which are great by the way, but those JT 'A' and 'D' chords could do you head in! Does he explain why he plays them like that anywhere? Using the index finger for the pull-offs and hammers does give it a lighter sound though - very interesting.


I don't mind his music room! (Though I would feel obliged to start filling it with Gibsons!) Speaking of which, I wish he would play a Gibson - his early tunes are just full of Gibson soul - while I am sure the Olson is the absolute best you can buy, well, .....am I alone in not liking it? There goes my Xmas card.



BluesKing777.

#20 User is offline   BluesKing777 

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 05:59 PM

View Postjedzep, on 20 February 2013 - 04:10 AM, said:

Yeah...I've got the shorter, fatter fingertip thing going, but I seem to have a decent 'piano player' spread to reach picked notes off a barre chord. Toughest to play was my electric Guild hollowbod, with the narrow inch and five-eighths nut. I noticed there was ample room at the edges for a wider nut and the Stewmac pre-slotted Gibson nut fit perfectly and spread my strings just enough to get a little more finger separation. Hard to fight the physics, BK.


I am glad, and a bit gleeful, cruel, mean to notice that JT has little fat sausage fingers in his video lessons!


I always thought he had the Robert Johnson elegant and long talons.



There is hope for us yet, JedZep!


BluesKing777.


Off the Xmas list for sure, now.....

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