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Yamaha NTX and NCX ranges of guitar - Neck widths and String Spacing

Many people ask about changing the string spacing on these guitars, particularly on NTX models.

To begin, here are the facts:

 
NTX
NCX
Difference
Neck width at Nut
48
52
4.0
Neck width 12th fret
56.5
62.5
6.0
String spacing at Nut
37
41
4.0
String spacing at 12th fret
45
49.5
4.5
String spacing at Saddle/bridge
53
58
5.0

NOTES

Measurements in mm
All measurements ours on new, standard stock instruments.
All measurements +/- 0.5mm
String spacing from centre of e1 string to centre of E6 string
NTX includes NTX700, NTX900, NTX1200
NCX includes NCX700, NCX900, NCX1200

On both guitars the strings are closer together than is typical on nylon strings, and particularly so on the NTX versions.

A customer with and NTX who was finding the string spacing a bit "tight" asked :

"Can I get away with just replacing the nut?".

We replied:

"If you are finding the string spacing "tight" for the left hand then you need to begin by fitting a new nut with slots cut further apart than the standard nut. Even after fitting the new nut you may still find either the string spacing is "tight" for the left hand further up the fingerboard or "tight" for the picking right hand. If either or both of these is the case then you need to redrill the string tie-holes in the bridge further apart. The width of the NTX bridge is the same as that on the NCX version of the guitar and so there is considerable scope for increasing the spacing here. (However you would need to be careful not to space so widely that the strings were in danger of slipping off the side of the fingerboard over the upper frets!)

Cutting new nut slots and drilling new bridge string tie holes both require a bit of maths to do properly as well as careful and accurate cutting/drilling. If you mess up a nut it is simple to start again with another but this is not the case when drilling the bridge so take advice if you are not experienced in this. "

The Yamaha NTX series are nylon stringed guitars designed to feel familiar to the steel string player.

In addition to the body shape, the critical features are

  • 14th fret neck/body join
  • Curved (radiused) fingerboard
  • 48mm nut width

Now a 48mm nut is about as wide as you go on steel stringed guitars but as narrow as you go on nylon stringed.

However, it can be argued that the spacing of the strings is as important as the width of the nut itself. And here some people have expressed a criticism: the string spacing (measured at the nut) is just 37mms leaving nearly 6mms between the outside of the strings and the edge of the fingerboard. This is a lot, not just by steel string standards but also by nylon stringed classical guitar standards.

So when asked we have replaced the standard nut with one with 40mm string spacing. While the absolute difference is not great, the change decreases the spacing between the strings and the edge of the fingerboard by about 25% which feels quite significant when playing. While we are at it, we use a bone nut in the expectation that this has better tonal qualities than the plastic nut fitted as standard.

This modification can be done on the following models -

  • NTX1200R
  • NTX900FM
  • NTX700 (Natural and Black)

Measurements taken by us on the NTX1200R we first modified in this way were as follows -

  mm
Nut width 48.3
Original string spacing 37.1
Original space between string and edge of fingerboard 5.6

(Please note that we only offer new saddles and nuts for guitars we sell ourselves and do not offer this as a general service for guitars bought elsewhere. Nuts are made and fitted for us by specialist luthiers and are more expensive that the saddles we make up and fit ourselves.)

Increased string spacing at the nut -

Nut width and string spacing on Yamaha NTX guitars - spacing.

New bone nut fitted -

Nut width and string spacing on Yamaha NTX guitars - bone nut.

Yamaha NTX1200R with custom nut -

Yamaha NTX1200R.
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15 December 2018