Being an older beginner, I can only play open chords. Have a bit of difficulty playing open chords, so don't even try to ask me to play Barre chord with the index across the fretboard, just don't have the strength/muscle, and NEVER will (unless I went the roid route, but I don't want cancer, so no).
And don't ask me to do the one-slanted-finger "A" chord, I need all 3 fingers to hold down the "A" chord. But it is hard for old guys with adult-size fingers to do 3-finger "A" chord on the standard guitar, unlike youngsters who have no problem with their thinner fingers.
So why is the standard guitar with 42mm (1-11/16-inch) nut the way it is, hard for older beginners. Could it be that, it is designed for young learners, and if you are old, you have to be a seasoned player to play it, b/c then you are able to do the tricks like slanted-one-finger "A" chord, Barre chords all the day long, etc.
Seen questions now and then people asking if they could put steel strings on 51mm nut classical guitar (answer is NO of course), because they have the same problem as me, adult-finger beginners. But why did they make classical guitars (which have nylon strings) 51mm nut? Could it be that classical players use open chords mostly?
Then why the hack don't they make 51mm-nut steel-string guitars for so many of us who are adult-finger beginners?
I can see, that even adult players who are experienced want a slim neck so they can Barre their way up and down the neck, but there are those of us too old to learn Barre or play it properly or for too long, give us our 51mm-nut steel-string guitar alrready!!! 44mm-nut "wide" guitar is NOT wide enough, even my custom 48mm-nut steel-string guitar sometimes felt not wide enough.
Do guitar maker CEO's live exclusively on Wall Street? Do they know their own market? Maybe in Asia (where nearly all guitars are made today) they all only have little fingers even for adults, but US is an important market...
This is maddening.
Well, thought I made the action SUPER low, but turned out they weren't which was why I got callus and finger tip pain. Just got a refurb Ovation Idea with the slot holes, and converting it to 5-string, this one I did made the action super low, any lower the strings would be touching the 1st fret. With it, very light touch needed to hold the strings down, seems like I can play for a long time without finger tip pain, maybe this will alleviate the finger stiffness too, who knows.
Just finished redoing the nut on my red guitar, and it too now require only a very light touch to hold the strings down. YUPPIE!!
Thanks to everyone for the encourage.
FIRST of all, DON'T give up!
NOW: making barres is NOT a matter of how wide your guitar neck is. No matter how wide the neck is, a barre is a difficult technique. If this brings you some confort, I started playing at 13, but it took me 4 years to make decent barres.
IMPORTANT: low string action makes barres easier; a flat fingerboard makes barres more difficult, a radiused neck makes them easier to achieve.
SECRET: Some classic guitars do have slightly radiused fingerboards. Most Hi-class European luthiers do make slightly radiused fingerboards. Jose Romanillos, to name one, taught me that, I made mine, according to his tuition, with a slight radiused fingerboard, barres are a piece of cake...
TIP: when making a Barre, DON'T aim to make all strings sound cristal clear. Some of them may very well sound muted. If you are fingerpicking, only the strings you are actually picking must sound clear. If you are strumming chords, you probably want to emphasize some notes (strings) - only those must sound very clear.
SECOND TIP: As explained above, you may exert more pressure at some strings and less at other strings. At each moment, you need different strings, that is, different parts of your index finger. So, you may ease, or increase the pressure at different parts of that finger, at dfifferent moments - thus sparing your energy, so that your hand doesn't get tired. Your left hand index is NOT a metal capo, it's made of flesh and bone!
ADVICE: if you think your fingers are too big, just have a look on a Andrés Segovia video or photo: look at his fingers. How could he play using fingers like those?
STRINGS: If you go for a classic guitar, you'll have a wider neck. Now, THERE ARE nice METAL STRINGS FOR CLASSIC GUITAR: Austrian-made , Thomastick brand, strings for classic guitar are Metal strings, and SOUND like metal strings, but were designed for classic guitars, with a total string tension of 41 kilos (Nylon medium gauge: 37 kilos, Heavy gauge: 39 Kilos).
FINGERS: Have a look at my page, see a Portuguese guitar: 12 strings in a 42 mm (or less) nut. No problem at all!
LAST, BUT NOT LEAST: Don't give up! Keep trying! You can do it !
Luckily I learned Barre chords before open ones because my first teacher was an electric rhythm guitar whizz.
I don't find flat or radius frets make any difference.
I would just save up and get a Taylor T5 and learn on it instead of these cheap acoustics that are junk out of the box anyway.
The T5 will give you nice acoustic sounds with the kind of pressure you would expect on an electric. The nut is wide enough for fingerstyle and frets are only slightly radial so you can learn some slide and do bends, even double stop ones for blues, etc. much easier. And the T5 gives you electric sounds too. I prefer a Fishman LoudBox mini for practice with the T5.
Get a good guitar first--most people start and never continue because they get a cheap piece of mass produced junk.
The Ovation VXT is not bad either for starters but the Taylor acoustic sounds are much better.
Once you learn positions and speed, then you can get a real nice acoustic like a Taylor or Martin and it becomes a matter of building pressure because you already have the chops.