Nemaline myopathy (NM) is the most common non-dystrophic congenital myopathy. Clinically the most important feature of NM is muscle weakness; however, the mechanisms underlying this weakness are poorly understood. Here, we studied the muscular phenotype of NM patients with a well-defined nebulin mutation (NM-NEB), using a multidisciplinary approach to study thin filament length regulation and muscle contractile performance. SDS–PAGE and western blotting revealed greatly reduced nebulin levels in skeletal muscle of NM-NEB patients, with the most prominent reduction at nebulin’s N-terminal end. Muscle mechanical studies indicated ~60% reduced force generating capacity of NM-NEB muscle and a leftward-shift of the force–sarcomere length relation in NM-NEB muscle fibers. This indicates that the mechanism for the force reduction is likely to include shorter and non-uniform thin filament lengths in NM-NEB muscle compared with control muscle. Immunofluorescence confocal microscopy and electron microscopy studies indicated that average thin filament length is reduced from ~1.3 µm in control muscle to ~0.75 µm in NM-NEB muscle. Thus, the present study is the first to show a distinct genotype-functional phenotype correlation in patients with NM due to a nebulin mutation, and provides evidence for the notion that dysregulated thin filament length contributes to muscle weakness in NM patients with nebulin mutations. Furthermore, a striking similarity between the contractile and structural phenotypes of nebulin-deficient mouse muscle and human NM-NEB muscle was observed, indicating that the nebulin knockout model is well suited for elucidating the functional basis of muscle weakness in NM and for the development of treatment strategies.