For a while now I've been thinking about getting a lefty custom nylon crossover guitar built but was wondering what nut width would be best. Most crossovers have a 48mm or 50mm nut width and I wondered if I could use the same favourite 46mm I prefer on steel strung guitars. I knew that the Furch CW range had a 45mm nut but there were none I could find to try - even in right-handed form.
By chance I came across the LAG TN70A and ordered one from Allegro Music for £237 to try. This is a nylon-strung guitar with an auditorium body and a 46mm nut. With the help of ace Glastonbury luthier Alan Miller, who cut a new left-handed bone nut and saddle while I waited, I swapped these over with the black graphite ones originally fitted and - hey-presto, I had a left-handed guitar (like most classicals, there wasn't a saddle compensation angle to worry about).
To complete the job I tweaked the set-up to my liking and added fingerboard side dots to the left-handed players side, after first checking there was no degradation in the tone from switching the strings round, which, as in all other conversions I've tried, there wasn't. I also changed the strings to D'Addario Pro Arte Composite Core EXP46 (High Tension) and swapped the tuning machines with a rather nice set with wooden knobs I had hanging around, not that there appeared to be anything wrong with the set originally fitted.
The result is a nylon strung guitar which plays very nicely and sounds surprisingly good for the price. The action at the 6th string 12th fret is .085" - very low for a nylon-strung instrument but very comfortable and buzz-free.
The top is solid Canadian spruce and the back and sides laminated sapele. The neck is okoume - a light but strong wood which has a reputation of being difficult to machine and a bit ding-prone. The fingerboard is "brownwood" which a source describes as being a treated pine to give it a hardness and colour similar to rosewood. Luthier Alan confirmed that it has a classical bracing system and the top is also thinner than on steel-strung guitars - unlike crossover guitars from some major steel strung brands.
The only issue with the woods was that it was very difficult to drill the 2mm holes for the brownwood fingerboard side markers cleanly - whereas I'd never previously had a problem with ebony or rosewood.
The result has greatly surpassed my expectations. I'll still think about a custom built crossover but I'm in no hurry whilst I'm enjoying this one.
I'll post some photos when I get time.