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String Spacing - Not provided


pawlowski6132
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So, Gibson doesn't seem to provide this information on their website for their acoustic guitars, at leat not for their Custom Shop Historic series models (I haven't checked others).

I'm surprised because this plays a HUGE impact on playability right??

Does anyone know a source or, do I have to call Gibson? Should I assume that they have this information.

Very shocked.

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Can't say for sure but my guess is string spacing isn't a spec Gibson acoustic players pay any mind.  I can see how string spacing would be of concern when delicate finger picking is the technique, but I'd wager most Gibson acoustic players most of time use flat picks and do a lot of strumming......that's the heart and soul of the Gibson tone.  Could well be wrong, however....

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Well Buc, yes and no. I can probably play any string spacing on any Gibson acoustic. But, let me gtive some context.

I bought a "1934 Jumbo" form the Custom Shop Historic series. I also bought a "1942 Banner Southern Jumbo" from the same series.

  • '34 Jumbo
    • Nut Width 44.5cm
    • String Spacing at Bridge 61cm
  • '42 SJ
    • Nud Width 45.0cm
    • Stringt Spacing at Bridge 56cm

So, while the SJ has wider nut, the Jumbo has string spacing that is almost 10% larger!

As a relatively newer guitar player. I work hard to nail my chords clearly and expect that b string to be right there under my ring finger on one guitar.

Then I switch and I can't hit those chords cleanly 100% of the time.  Plus, my L7 has same string spacing as the SJ so, I'd like to replace the Jumbo with something that has similar string spacing so I can jump between guitars easily without having to "re-learn".

thanx

Am I really the only one that has issues with this????

Edited by pawlowski6132
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Surely you meant "mm".........not "cm"............ ( 44.5cm = 17.5")    That aside, one aspect of learning to play guitar is learning to adapt.  Not hitting a chord cleanly 100% of the time is great to strive for but in the world of us amateurs, we'll settle for 95% and be happy about it.  Much like playing a short scale guitar vs. a long scale..........you adjust.  Many of us have and play both and do just fine.....well.....95% of the time anyway.   Feels different, sure, but nothing to give up an instrument for..........right?

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The nut width and bridge string spacing on your 1934 Jumbo is authentic to the 1930s. It is the same as on my L-00 1937 Legend.

Likewise, the narrower spacing at the bridge of your '42 SJ is correct for that period.

The .5mm difference in nut width between the two is insignificant.  That's .02" (2/100") for non-metric folks. You may find that the two actually have the same string spacing at the nut. Both widths are nominally correct, given that nuts are essentially hand-finished to match a specific neck.

I don't have a modern "standard" Gibson model to check. I do have a custom 1943 SJ re-issue that is 56mm at the bridge and 45.28mm at the nut, but that is also what they call the Luthier's Choice neck.

My completely original 1950 J-45 is 55.5mm at the bridge and 43.3 at the nut  (1.704").

 

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6 hours ago, Buc McMaster said:

Can't say for sure but my guess is string spacing isn't a spec Gibson acoustic players pay any mind.  I can see how string spacing would be of concern when delicate finger picking is the technique, but I'd wager most Gibson acoustic players most of time use flat picks and do a lot of strumming......that's the heart and soul of the Gibson tone.  Could well be wrong, however....

I've always found the Gibson tone to be fingers on strings and the Martin tone to be picks on strings lol. I guess it's up to the individual. 

Edited by Sevendaymelee
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16 hours ago, Buc McMaster said:

I'd wager most Gibson acoustic players most of time use flat picks and do a lot of strumming

That's quite an assumption. Recently I've been playing with just my fingers and really loving the sound. As for string spacing, that would be a meaningless spec for me. All I know is that my 1965, 1974, 2008 and 2020 J-50's are all quite playable.

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If you guys really want whatever model you are pining for, is string spacing really a deal breaker for you? I can tell, but just barley, when I switch from my dread to my 00 and 000's that there is difference in tension and scale but after about 10 seconds I forget about it.

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49 minutes ago, Sgt. Pepper said:

If you guys really want whatever model you are pining for, is string spacing really a deal breaker for you? I can tell, but just barley, when I switch from my dread to my 00 and 000's that there is difference in tension and scale but after about 10 seconds I forget about it.

It's a deal breaker for me. I think unless you've experienced a 1934 jumbo with a super fat v-neck and the extra wide string spacing and then try jumping to a guitar with a smaller c profile and more traditional string spacing, we don't really have a shared experience.

 

 

 

Maybe you more seasoned pros can adapt but, as a bedroom banger, I work hard to nail my cords and I can't switch between guitars without things getting hosed up. It's just not worth the frustration.

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2 minutes ago, Murph said:

I play mandolin, which has 8 strings in a very small area, and bass, banjo, dobro, and many different guitars.

I have no idea what any of them measure.

Well, I guess you don't have to know what the measurements are. I don't care what they are either I just know one is bigger than the other and it makes it difficult to play them both the same way for me.

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4 minutes ago, Murph said:

I play mandolin, which has 8 strings in a very small area, and bass, banjo, dobro, and many different guitars.

I have no idea what any of them measure.

Plus, I think those instruments are fundamentally different. For example I'm not going to pick up a base and expect it to be like my acoustic guitar. But when I'm switching between two Gibson acoustic guitars, I expect enough consistency such that it doesn't distract

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22 minutes ago, pawlowski6132 said:

It's a deal breaker for me. I think unless you've experienced a 1934 jumbo with a super fat v-neck and the extra wide string spacing and then try jumping to a guitar with a smaller c profile and more traditional string spacing, we don't really have a shared experience.

 

 

 

Maybe you more seasoned pros can adapt but, as a bedroom banger, I work hard to nail my cords and I can't switch between guitars without things getting hosed up. It's just not worth the frustration.

I'm a bedroom rock star myself and, no I have never played an 1934 Jumbo with the super fat V neck. I did play a 2005 SJ-200 in Carter's Vintage several years back. That is the only Jumbo other than my Guild JF-30 I have ever played.  I used to play electric and had no problem going from my Gibson's to my Fender's to my acoustic Martin's all in the same day. Do you have great big sausage fingers where you have to have huge amounts of space between the strings?

Edited by Sgt. Pepper
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Just now, Sgt. Pepper said:

I'm a bedroom rock star myself and, no I have never played an 1934 Jumbo with the super fat V neck. I used to play electric and had no problem going from my Gibson's to my Fender's to my acoustic Martin's all in the same day. Do you have great big sausage fingers where you have to have huge amounts of space between the strings?

No, actually I have hands that are probably on the smaller side.

I I do think that general opinions here are correct, and if I was talking to somebody that was starting out I would give them that advice to learn to adapt.

I'm 54. At this point in my life I am looking for the path of least resistance. I don't need any additional challenges. I want everything to be as easy as they can be so I can just learn songs and enjoy playing them.

Anybody want to buy a 1934 Gibson jumbo?

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1 minute ago, pawlowski6132 said:

No, actually I have hands that are probably on the smaller side.

I I do think that general opinions here are correct, and if I was talking to somebody that was starting out I would give them that advice to learn to adapt.

I'm 54. At this point in my life I am looking for the path of least resistance. I don't need any additional challenges. I want everything to be as easy as they can be so I can just learn songs and enjoy playing them.

Anybody want to buy a 1934 Gibson jumbo?

So do I, I have little girl hands. I'm 55 and I buy the guitars I like and if its a 24.9" scale or 25.4" scale I deal with it. 

I do not what to buy a '34 Jumbo, but someone on this forum probably would be on it like Biden on a nap.

  • Haha 1
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15 minutes ago, Sgt. Pepper said:

I'm a bedroom rock star myself and, no I have never played an 1934 Jumbo with the super fat V neck. I did play a 2005 SJ-200 in Carter's Vintage several years back. That is the only Jumbo other than my Guild JF-30 I have ever played.  I used to play electric and had no problem going from my Gibson's to my Fender's to my acoustic Martin's all in the same day. Do you have great big sausage fingers where you have to have huge amounts of space between the strings?

Thanks for contributing to this thread. I appreciate it. I'm just pulling into the parking lot of Elderly Instruments in Lansing Michigan. It's a fantastic store.

They have an awesome reputation for all things acoustic instruments.

Let's see what they have.

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The specs which seem to be the most elusive are string spacing at the bridge and neck depth.  It is frustrating because both tell me a whole lot about the feel of a guitar.

The string spacing at the bridge on my 1932 L1 is 60.3 mm so 2 3/8".   That is pretty much the same as my 1920 L3 and my Fairbanks Smeck.  Based on j45nick's L00 Legend it would seem that Gibson had started to go with a skimpier spacing by the later-1930s.  I know once you hit 1942 a string spacing of 2 1/8" to 2 3/16" becomes pretty common.  

Edited by zombywoof
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5 minutes ago, zombywoof said:

The specs which seem to be the most elusive are string spacing at the bridge and neck depth.  It is frustrating because both tell me a whole lot about the feel of a guitar.

The string spacing at the bridge on my 1932 L1 is 60.3 mm so 2 3/8".   That is pretty much the same as my 1920 L3 and my Fairbanks Smeck.  Based on j45nick's L00 Legend it would seem that Gibson had started to go with a skimpier spacing by the later-1930s.  I know once you hit 1942 a string spacing of 2 1/8" to 2 3/16" becomes pretty common.  

Thanks for chiming in. Sounds like most acoustics from Gibson made in the last 50 years should all be similar in both neck, bridge string spacing.

That's good to know. I don't have to fret about this (see what I did there? 😃) When shopping online.

 

 

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19 minutes ago, pawlowski6132 said:

Thanks for contributing to this thread. I appreciate it. I'm just pulling into the parking lot of Elderly Instruments in Lansing Michigan. It's a fantastic store.

They have an awesome reputation for all things acoustic instruments.

Let's see what they have.

If you see a Martin M-36 grab it for me. I'm good for it.

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38 minutes ago, pawlowski6132 said:

Plus, I think those instruments are fundamentally different. For example I'm not going to pick up a base and expect it to be like my acoustic guitar. But when I'm switching between two Gibson acoustic guitars, I expect enough consistency such that it doesn't distract

The switch between guitars with different string spacing takes a few minutes for me, but muscle memory kicks in pretty quickly.

Your expectations may be a bit unrealistic. Certainly some guitars may be easier than others to adapt to. If you are that sensitive to this particular issue, I would suggest that you not buy any guitar without first playing it.

Likewise, your expectation of hitting chords cleanly every time is unrealistic. Not even pros do that in live concert. 

If you have one guitar that really does this right for you--and it sounds like you do-- stick with that one most of the time. That's what I do.

You might also consider a custom order through Gibson's M2M program, where you can specify the details you want on a guitar.

Different guitars are easier or more difficult to play for a lot of people. The big, fat neck of the '34 Jumbo is too much for many people, but it sounds right for you.

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5 minutes ago, j45nick said:

The switch between guitars with different string spacing takes a few minutes for me, but muscle memory kicks in pretty quickly.

Your expectations may be a bit unrealistic. Certainly some guitars may be easier than others to adapt to. If you are that sensitive to this particular issue, I would suggest that you not buy any guitar without first playing it.

Likewise, your expectation of hitting chords cleanly every time is unrealistic. Not even pros do that in live concert. 

If you have one guitar that really does this right for you--and it sounds like you do-- stick with that one most of the time. That's what I do.

You might also consider a custom order through Gibson's M2M program, where you can specify the details you want on a guitar.

Different guitars are easier or more difficult to play for a lot of people. The big, fat neck of the '34 Jumbo is too much for many people, but it sounds right for you.

Thanks. Good ideas. And you're half right. If I had to pick one, I might take three Jumbo. But, in the rotation, it's tricky.

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1 hour ago, Murph said:

I play mandolin, which has 8 strings in a very small area, and bass, banjo, dobro, and many different guitars.

I have no idea what any of them measure.

I’m with you.   So long as the instrument is comfortable to my hands and fingers I’ll be fine with it.   I mostly go by the nut width on a guitar.   Never considered that the string spacing might be different on two guitars with the same nut width.  If the nut width is anywhere near 1/72 to 1/75 I’m likely good with it.  Primarily a finger picker with a thumb pick…….  I can play a mandolin, but after a while my fingertips don’t like it…..lol…….  I’ve always been amazed at how guys like Roy Clark, Glen Campbell, Marty Stuart, etc. 

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