Acoustic Guitar Nut Width + Comparison Chart

In the following article, we’re going to discuss what nut width is on your acoustic guitar and how it affects playability. We’ve also included a handy comparison table showing the nut widths of some of the more popular acoustic guitars available today, so you can make a direct comparison.

Nut width refers to the width of the nut (the plastic or sometimes bone or graphite component that sits at the end of the fretboard adjacent to the headstock) and governs string spacing on the fretboard which affects playability of the fretting hand. Most acoustic guitars have a nut width of between 44.45mm (1.614″) and 43mm (1.75″). While classical guitars often have a nut width of 50.8mm (2″) as the strings vibrate more due to the lower tension.

What is Nut Width

Nut width is the term used to describe the width of the nut, the white plastic or bone component on your acoustic guitar that separates the fretboard from the headstock.

The nut is slotted at different depths to allow for the different string gauges in a set of guitar strings. The strings sit within these grooves and the distance between them dictates just how much string separation there is between the strings at the nut.

A wider nut offers more separation between the strings at the headstock end of the neck, while a narrower nut means the strings are closer together. This does not mean nut width dictates the string spacing of the guitar as a whole, as the neck tapers and the saddle is wider than the nut and therefore is spaced more widely at the saddle.

Is nut width the same as neck width?

Some incorrectly refer to nut width as neck width, but this is incorrect as neck width is a more general term that incorporates nut width, string spacing, and fretboard width.

If you look down the neck of your guitar, you will notice the neck taper increases as you continue along the neck toward the higher frets, as a result, nut width does not directly relate to neck width, although they are often used interchangeably.

Are nut width and string spacing the same thing?

No, nut width refers to the width of the nut only, string spacing refers to the distance between the strings. And, while a wider nut width often equates to a wider string spacing in the open position (the first four frets), specific nut widths don’t relate to specific string spacings. Both can vary, so the relationship between the two is more general. Indeed, guitars with wider nut widths will often also have wider than average string spacings but there’s no defined standard.

String spacing at the headstock end of the guitar is determined by the nut width but the string spacing gets wider (typically about 10% wider) the further along the neck you go and the closer you measure in proximity to the saddle, as the saddle of the guitar is wider than the nut.

String spacing, as a result, is measured directly at the saddle, or in other instances, and for different manufacturers, this measurement is taken at the 14th fret.

How is Nut Width Shown

Nut width is usually represented in inches, usually as a fractional measurement e.g. 1 3/4.

It is sometimes shown in decimals also e.g. 1.750 or millimeters e.g. 44.5mm (rounded up from 44.45mm)

Fractional Decimal MM
1 ¾ 1.750 45mm


Common nut widths on steel string acoustic guitars

There isn’t a standard nut width for steel string acoustic guitars. Manufacturers build guitars based on their own standards but an average nut width would be close to 1 11/16 or 43mm.

However, as you can see on the comparison chart below, nut widths vary across guitars, catering to a wide range of players with different preferences in this area.

The list below includes guitars of all price ranges, including the Martin D28 (RRP $3,599) through to the less expensive Epiphone DR100 (RRP $232). The different specifications have been listed as either fractional or decimal, depending on which makes more sense as a format for the given nut width.

Guitar Nut Width
Martin D28 1 3/4″
Taylor 414CE  1 3/4″
Epiphone DR100 1.68″
Martin LX1 1 11/16″
Yamaha FG800 1 11/16″
Taylor GS Mini  1 11/16″
Gibson G-45 Standard 1.725″
Seagull S6 1.72″ (may vary)
Fender Sonoran 1.69″
Blueridge BR-160 1 11/16″
Yamaha APX600 1 11/16″
Takamine GD93 1.6875″
Guild M120 1.75″
Fender Tim Armstrong Hellcat 1 11/16″
Breedlove Solo Concert (NYLON CE) 1.89″
Epiphone Hummingbird Pro 1.68″
Alvarez Artist Series AF30 1 3/4″
Washburn WCG55CE 1 3/4″

Classical Guitar Nut WidthClassical Guitar Nut Width

As the table above indicates, nut width for steel string acoustic guitars can vary. However, in the classical guitar world, the standard nut width is 2″ or 51mm. This is changing, however, as newer classical guitars from brands such as Cordoba, often referred to as crossover guitars, incorporate a narrower 1 7/8″ nut width.

How does nut width affect how the guitar plays?

Nut width is important but is typically only considered by more experienced guitarists, unfortunately.

If you are reasonably new to guitar and in the market for a new guitar, chances are you have preferences concerning the brand, body shape, tonewoods, particularly the soundboard, perhaps the neck profile, and of course how the guitar sounds and plays.

Nut width also plays an important role with regard to playability but it gets less focus than it should, which is a shame because it has an immediate impact on the playability of the guitar, particularly for your fretting hand.

e.g. if you are anything like me with larger than average fingers a wider nut width is useful, as your hand will feel less cramped, allowing you to play more cleanly, especially in the open position as you are less likely to fret unwanted notes.

On the other hand, many guitarists prefer a narrower nut width, especially those with a smaller hand span as it makes reaching the individual strings much easier. It just comes down to personal preference, your physical limitations, and your approach to the guitar.

Do different genres matter?

It’s commonly thought that nut width is important with regard to your approach to the guitar e.g. do you play mostly with a pick or play fingerstyle. But for the most part nut width is less important than string spacing as nut width mostly affects the fretting hand and not the picking hand. However, the two are often mentioned within the same breath as typically a guitar with a wider nut width will also feature a wider string spacing. However, the string spacing is not necessarily just wider because the nut itself is wider.

Unlike string spacing which refers mostly influences the picking hand, nut width relates most strongly to the fretting hand and dictates the distance between the strings closer to the nut only.


Most guitarists over time will have a preference when it comes to nut width, but there are other factors to consider if considering the playability of your acoustic guitar. This is why, If you are in the market for a new guitar, while it’s not always easy, it’s always best if you can test out the guitar by playing it before buying.

Nut width, string spacing, scale length, and neck profile are always included in the specifications but how these relate to another, and ultimately how the guitar then feels to play can only really be experienced first-hand.

5 thoughts on “Acoustic Guitar Nut Width + Comparison Chart”

    • I’ve played and owned a lot of steel string guitars, and I’ve never seen one with a 2″ nut width. They may exist, but I can say that would be very unusual. The widest I’ve seen on a steel string guitar is 1-7/8″, and that’s rare. The more common widths are 1-3/4″ or 1-11/16ths”. There are reasons for that: with the higher tension of steel strings, I think you would find a 2″ nut on a steel string guitar under full tension really hard to play.

    • use classical guitar and adjust lower the bridge shelf and nut to lower the action of the guitar to accommodate steel strings. sand off the backside of bridge shelf on the classical guitar and possibly at the nut cut the the groves a bit deeper until action height at 12 fret matches that of a steel stringed acoustic guitar. You may want to do this on a cheap classical guitar but the most it would cost you is a new nut and bridge shelf, like 20 dollars to replace both. be very careful doing this . Take only small amount then restring and test it. Good time to to check the neck as well with a straight edge if frets are even from 1 to 12 a slight bow is ok , an arch is bad. adjust your truss rod slightly if an arch , or bowing too much . wait 15 minutes check straightness. 1/4 turns on truss rod. restring check action height , and play ability. don’t cut to deep into nut or sand too much off of bridge shelf. or you may get buzzing strings
      better go through process multiple times to try to get it right rather then take too much from the start and cause string buzz. measure action height at 12th fret 3 mm for 6th large wound string and probably 2.5 mm for 1st small string. there are special rulers to check action heights but it can be done with a ruler as well. Your allowed to experiment with your guitar.

  1. Washburn’s Parlor model has a decently wide neck, and it sports steel stings.

    You can convert a classical IF you use a metal tail piece or trapeze. There are some lice light weight art deco style tail pieces that will hold the strings and carry the tension all the way back to end of the body and the tail block bracing (internal). Then the bridge and saddle only have to transmit the string vibrations to the top.

    Guitar should stay together for a long while. you can experiment with strings, maybe starting with silk and steel and working up … I agree that a craigslist used classical is a good candidate to experiment on : -)


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