New Martin models released with a new spec called the High Performance Taper.
And with it comes a new string spacing at the bridge, listed as 2-5/32″.
These new Martins will appear at the NAMM Show, next week in Anaheim, Califorina.
I wrote to various people inside Martin to get more information was told the following:
The High Performance Taper is the same thing as the Performing Artist Taper, or PA Taper, which has previously appeared on spec sheets.
Martin has simply changed the name to to avoid confusion now that more and more guitars are made with the taper but are not in the PA Series of modern acoustic-electric guitars, where this feature first appeared.
The change to 2-5/32″ string spacing applies to all models previously spec’d with 2-3/16″ string spacing, in addition to the new models coming out next week that have the High Performance taper.
“…the change is all about moving the E strings in a tiny bit, to further avoid the strings rolling off the fingerboard when a player pulls them too close to the edge of the a fret.” It should noticeable effect in terms of feel for the player.
In practical terms, this HP taper (formerly PA taper) means that the fingerboard measures 1-3/4″ at the nut, but narrows more quickly than traditional Martin necks, to only 2-1/8″ at the 12th fret – the same 12th fret measurement found on guitars with Martin’s traditional 1-11/16″ at width at nut.
This adds up to a sleeker, narrower neck overall, compared to earlier 1-3/4″ Martin necks, which measure 2-1/4″ at the 12th fret, while still allowing a little extra room out near the nut, where a guitarist’s wrist must bend at the most acute angles.
Martin has a copyright on the term High Performance Neck. It refers to ANY Martin guitar that has the High Performance taper (formerly called the Performing Artist taper.) Again, the taper only refers to the width of the fingerboard. So a guitar with a Modified Low Oval profile or a Performing Artist Profile (which is shallower and flatter) both have a High Performance Neck.