I've got a Taylor 714ce which I love, and just got a 2012 Martin OM-21 as a way to add some nice variety to my guitar life.
The string spacing at the nut and bridge of these two guitars are identical. To confirm this I measured by placing an envelope along the nut and bridge of Taylor and marking on the envelope where the strings lie. I was able to match the markings up perfectly on the Martin. But the feel is quite different... Mission accomplished! :-)
One question - the Martin string spacing feels narrower when I play fingerstyle. The Martin scale is 25.4 and the Taylor is 25.5. The easy answer would thus be that the scale difference makes the string spacing difference. My (faulty?) logic tells me that if anything a longer scale would make string spacing narrower along the neck of the Taylor. Reality tells me that the string spacing matched up between the guitars at the 14th fret. I was pretty careful with my lines on the envelope experiment, comparing between the guitars several times and the spacing really did match up.
What is going on here? Is the difference in the guitar bodies and neck shapes playing tricks on my mind and fingers?
Thanks - Curtis
I am not a Taylor or Martin player, but if you have the same spacing at nut, 14th, and bridge... look at your neck shape. It may affect your spacing "feel". Also, possibly, string size and action (string height). Myself, I associate string spacing with ease of playing, and could easily get confused with the reverse.
Curtis, I also have a Taylor and a Martin and I like to alternate between them when playing. I've noticed the same thing as you have, there's a distinct difference in the feel of the two guitars. I have to agree with "Blues Agent", I believe it's the difference in the shape of the neck plus in my case the Taylor has medium strings and the Martin has light strings.
I recently purchased a Taylor 614ce. I too noticed right away the different feel from similar Martin and Gibson. I credit most of the difference in feel to the spacing of the strings relevant to the edge of the fret board. All are close to 1.75 in. nut width but the 1st e string on the Taylor is very close to the edge of the fretboard. A rough measurement with a machinist scale shows the Taylor around 3/32 from center of e string notch to the edge. The others are closer to 1/8 inch. In decimal it doesn't sound like much, but I definitly feel the difference and even with some chord positions, kill the high e. I have scheduled a visit to the repair center to have a blank nut custom cut to give more inset to the 1st string. Others have told me this method has been an improvment and gave the Taylor an excellent feel. Nothing short of trying!
Your idea about distance from the string to edge of fret board is intriguing. I think it assumes that this difference reflects a difference in the string to string spacing. I tried to account for this with my measuring technique, but your measuring technique is more accurate. I do wonder what the math is to describe how the different string spacing at the nut translates to a difference in spacing at the bridge.
Your repair center may be able to fill in the high e groove on the nut that came with the Taylor, but that would only move one string, obviously. Thought of doing something like this on the Taylor (before I got the Martin), but ended up not.
I did get the Martin string spacing widened at the bridge via re-grooving the saddle. Now the overall string spacing is at 2 5/16 and it feels wider than the Martin. What a difference 2/16 makes.
Thanks to both of you for the replies. I too was guessing neck shape and body style in my emails. Both of my guitars have medium gauge John Pearse strings. (I mostly play in slack/alternate tunings.)