Please note, the fret calculator will not convert scale lengths, you can use our measurement converter to convert your scale length. As a string loses its flexibility, it starts to exhibit less accurate intonation, which is once again why the thick low strings require greater compensation than the thin high strings. It’s easy to understand once you know but it’s also a bit of a confusing way to do it so if you don’t know it would be hard to figure it out for yourself. Sign up free! Much like the half-size, both electric and acoustic guitars are available in three quarter-size. Much has been written about scale length and how it relates to playability, but it seems that less is said about how tone relates to scale. Time to review some small acoustic guitars to see if you need to add one to your collection. Handcrafted beauty and excellence. A longer scale length will produce a brighter, stronger, more resonant, more defined tone. Such instruments have frets that are not parallel, which can be a bit intimidating at first glance, but this design is gaining popularity with players who appreciate the more even tension and response it can offer with extended-range tunings. HOW SCALE LENGTH AFFECTS TONE Fender One of the most common scale lengths is the Fender 25-1/2" guitar scale. Ask the Expert: Why Does My New Guitar Need a Setup? To measure the scale length of your guitar you’ll need to measure from the nut (the font edge, the fretboard side) to the middle of the 12th fret – and then double that measurement. Imagine how different the strings would need to be in order to make that range work with a single scale length! Among acoustic guitars, the most common scales are clustered around 25.4–25.5 inches and 24.75 inches. Both guitars look more or less the same, but the 000 is traditionally short scale (24.9") while the OM is long scale (25.4"). Guitar Maintenance: How to Check and Adjust Saddle Height, Guitar Wall Mounts, Floor Stands, & More—How to Keep Your Instrument Safe at Home, Acoustic Guitar Review: Gretsch G9520E Gin Rickey Is a Secret Tone Weapon, 5 Ways to Play C Augmented | Chord by Chord, How to Play E Diminished Voicings | Chord by Chord. 0; Total Length: 37 3/4" Body Length: 19 1/8" Body Width Yairi. Capoing a baritone back up to E will result in the same tuning as a standard guitar, but with a very different timbre and tone. 21 Guitar Playing Tips Every Beginner Should Know, Tips for Learning How to Play the Guitar and Sing at the Same Time, Acoustic Guitar Stands: Ways to Keep Your Guitar When Not Playing, Takamine Serial Numbers: What They Can Tell You and How to Decode Them. If you’re using light strings, this is a good thing as you’ll avoid fret-buzz. Martin Keith is a luthier, repair and restoration expert, and working musician based in Woodstock, New York. A brief look at how scale length effects acoustic guitars, bending strings and tone. Question: Reddit user theguitarman chimed in to the r/guitar forum this week with a questions that a lot of players have asked over the years: What scale length should you use if you’re a player with small hands?. Guitar scales are organized sequences of notes played in an ascending or descending order that help you build finger strength and dexterity. Masterworks Elite. Last updated: June 26, 2018 by Nate 1 Comment. Ask the Expert: Is Fingerboard Oil “Snake Oil?”. Guitar Guru: Can You Hear the Difference in Tonewoods? Why are there so many different variations, how is scale length measured, and how does it affect the tone of the guitar? Guitars can vary in scale length, and scale length has an impact on string tension. Ask the Expert: How to Minimize String Breakage—and What to Do When it Happens, Ask the Expert: How to Know When to Hang ‘er on the Wall, Ask the Expert: All About Slotted Headstocks and Dead G Strings. Your email address will not be published. Your email address will not be published. Stunning clarity and power. The most common scale lengths on acoustic guitar are as follows: This scale length is common on guitars specifically designed for children and for travel guitars. Grand Concert/0/00 shaped guitar, Grand Auditorium/Grand Performance/000/0000 shaped, Dreadnought shaped, Jumbo shaped guitars (and any other guitars that with medium to large sized bodies) will have a scale length anywhere from 24” to 25.5”. an acoustic guitar’s tone is influenced by the tonewoods of the guitar, the body shape , the bracing, even the tuners, along with the nut and saddle materials. This is a list of electric guitars that have a scale length of 24.75 inches, and I'm also including other brands and models all the way down to the 24 inch scale. Designed and developed in Andalusia. Typical scale lengths used today for the steel strung acoustic guitar range from 24.9 to 26.44 inches. And then maybe you’ve tried to measure the body of a guitar, from the bottom of the lower bout to the top of the headstock, only to find that it’s more like 41” – or maybe 36” for a smaller bodied acoustic. By contrast, a builder aiming for the bluegrass flatpicker market will likely use a longer scale to get the added punch and volume that the higher string tension can produce. The result is that the tension of .012s on the shorter scale will be very comparable to the .011s on the longer scale. Guitar designers often adjust scale length to optimize an instrument for a particular purpose—for example, jazz archtops with pickups often have shorter scales, which yield thicker, warmer sounding trebles and warm basses with a smooth attack. Cádiz. Of course scale length is only one factor that affects the tone and playability of a guitar. In the simplest terms, scale length refers to the length of the active/vibrating portion of the open string, between the nut and saddle. Guitars. Shorter scale length invariably translates to a shorter neck. Why scale length is measured between the nut and 12th fret. Thicker strings are less flexible, as are shorter lengths of string. Neither is better than the other, it just comes down to personal preference and the style or music/tone you are trying to achieve. 12 Fret - 6 String. For centuries luthiery was a craft art, there were no standards until the advent of the industrial production. Therefore, the builder and player must find the happy medium between clean, well-behaved bass strings and pleasant, musical trebles by choosing the best combination of scale and string gauges. The scale length of a guitar is, in common parlance, the distance from the nut to the saddle, and, more precisely, the distance from the nut to the 12th fret multiplied by two (don’t miss our post on measuring scale length if you need to take this measurement on your own guitar). Guitar Guru: Should I Put a Pickup on My High-End Instrument? Filed Under: Buying Guides, Guitar selection. Most acoustic guitars utilize this guitar scale length but lately a lot of people have noticed that they like bending the strings and if you have a short scale 24.9 inch, doing so can be done without bringing about early tendinitis. Among acoustic guitars, the most common scales are clustered around 25.4–25.5 inches and 24.75 inches. Here’s a chart of some common models and their scale lengths to help you along. A shorter scale acoustic guitar often produces a “woody” tone with an overall warm timbre, while a longer scale is perceived as having more power overall, with increased clarity and … This is because acoustic guitars are more holistic with regard to tone e.g. Artist Elite. While both the electric and acoustic three-quarter size guitars will be the same length, the body of an electric guitar will be thinner as, being an electric, it doesn’t need a big hollow body for sound to … Shorter scale guitars, though, tout that beautiful buttery tone which make Les Pauls and Jazz boxes such invaluable tools. Masterworks. Players specializing in purely classical technique value wide fret spacing, as it enhances the effect of traditional vibrato. martinkeithguitars.com. Firstly, a guitar with a shorter scale length will have less space between the frets – because they still have to fit 12 frets but they have to fit those frets in within a shorter amount of space. But since we're dealing with parlor guitars, we will lower the limit to less than 25\" to better separate the long and short scale parlor acoustics.Short scale parlor guitars (less than 25\") follow traditional designs and as such they reproduce the vibe and feel of old parlor guitars quite nicely. Select based on if you entered a scale length of inches or millimeters. This article originally appeared in the May/June 2020 issue of Acoustic Guitar magazine. At the extreme end of the scale spectrum are baritone guitars (see “Taking on the Tweener” in the March/April 2020 issue), which usually range from 27–30 inches in scale and are designed to be tuned down as far as a fifth below a standard guitar. If you’ve seen “scale length” in any guitar specs you’ve probably seen something like 25.5“ or similar or 23” for small body guitars. Many people believe the true scale length of a guitar is the length of the guitar strings that are able to freely vibrate, this is even how Wikipedia defines scale length but this is not entirely correct.. Although the guitar has considerably less range than the piano, there are still cases where a shorter scale is not ideally suited for the player’s needs—these might include extended tunings with low D or C notes, or guitars with more than six strings. The scale length also has sonic implications connected with acoustic instruments. If you’ll be experimenting alternate tunings, opt for a longer scale-length. The most common for larger bodies like Dreadnoughts and Jumbos is 25.5” but you can get these sizes with shorter scale lengths. Keeping this in mind when evaluating and comparing guitars allows the player to make more accurate judgments about which aspects of the guitar are impacting the playing experience—action can be lowered, but scale length is fixed, and if a guitar feels uncomfortable, it is useful and important to understand why. Treble strings, on the other hand, can sound thin, harsh, and unpleasant if the tension is too high, and many players favor the warm, thick tone of the trebles on shorter scales. Low bass notes, therefore, are better reproduced with long strings than with short ones, as the length allows a thinner, more flexible string to be used. Any questions or comments very welcome in the comments section below. Copyright © 2015 - 2020 - SixStringAcoustic.com - Privacy Policy. This Fret Scale and Fingerboard Length Calculator can be used to calculate fret scale and fingerboard length. Found on Stratocasters ®, Telecasters ®, and the huge variety of instruments inspired by them as well as the replacement, and custom parts available for them. The ideal example of this is the grand piano, which uses a much longer scale length for the low bass strings than the treble strings. It’s not uncommon for players to wonder how much difference a change of 3/4 of an inch or less really makes. Scale length. While scale length certainly affects the tone of an electric guitar it has arguably less of an influence on acoustic guitars. The basic rule of scale length is simple: For any given tuning and set of strings, longer scales have higher tension. This is one reason many fingerstyle players have gravitated towards 00- and 000-style guitars, as their shorter scale (24.9 inches) permits lighter bracing, which yields a more sensitive and dynamic instrument. Scale length is usually measured in inches. Truly eloquent professional guitars. When doing a setup, scale length is an important consideration. The fret-to-fret variation between different scales is fairly small—for example, between the two scales discussed above, the difference in distance between the first and second frets is only 40 thousandths of an inch. This principle applies to both acoustic and electric guitars, and can help you out if you need to describe your guitar specs with precision —for example, if you’re trading or selling your guitar with us and we need your exact specs. Alongside string tension, you must also consider string flexibility. On a standard guitar, the scale length (the distance from the nut to the saddle on the bridge) is … The shorter scale length of 24 in. The guitar scale should not be confused with musical scales. However, to determine the scale of a guitar, you can’t just measure from nut to saddle, since the bridge saddle positions are moved or compensated away from the theoretical scale … The longer the scale length, the higher the action will be. A shorter scale length is great for guitarists with smaller hands as it means there’s less of a gap to stretch between frets. I hope this post has answered your question. Therefore, a three-percent change in scale length can result in a six-percent change in tension. The 25-1/2" produces a rich, strong, bell-like tone, and defined low-end. If you want to warm up a 25.5" scale guitar, you can try tuning down a half step, which thickens up its overtones and makes it sound a little closer to a 24.75" scale guitar. I like them because they play great and don’t take up much room in my car when I go places. Commonly used short scales are 25, 24.9, 24.75, and 24.625 inches. Overall, classical guitars have longer scales than steel string guitars. I need your help to understand scale length. Understanding how it interacts with your setup, string choice, and playing style will make it much easier to properly adjust your guitar, and may help guide you towards an instrument that feels just right. However, to determine the scale of a guitar, you can’t just measure from nut to saddle, since the bridge saddle positions are moved or compensated away from the theoretical scale point to correct intonation. An article and video lesson on short scale guitars, string length, and smaller body guitars (sometimes called parlor or parlour guitars). A small difference in scale length can give a completely different feel while playing. Sign up! Digging into the features we can see this affordable acoustic guitar comes with some nice design features. A full-size guitar is 25.5 inches in scale length, meaning you’ll want to look for a guitar that is anywhere between 22-24.9”. Paying attention to scale length when shopping for a guitar can be very helpful. California luthier Ralph Novak is widely credited with proving and popularizing this innovative approach in the custom guitar world, and larger manufacturers are now following suit with production multiscale instruments. Stay tuned for the next video in the series, when Rob will go into the relationship between scale length and intonation. Typically 19, 21, 22, or 24 What is scale length? What gauge strings are best for different scale lengths? Baritone acoustic guitars typically have larger bodies than standard guitars, and have longer scale lengths so the strings can be tuned lower while remaining at normal tension. Now that you have a bit of neck length knowledge, get out and play some different model guitars to get a feel for what all of this means. There is still no fixed standard scale length for steel strung acoustic guitar and it’s not unknown for manufacturers to make the same model of guitar in a choice of scale lengths. Selecting your instrument also calculates the bridge position for proper intonation. With the standardization of the instruments, two standards have been established for the acoustic guitar scale length. if(!window.AdButler){(function(){var s=document.createElement("script");s.async=!0;s.type="text/javascript";s.src='https://servedbyadbutler.com/app.js';var n=document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0];n.parentNode.insertBefore(s,n)}())} var AdButler=AdButler||{};AdButler.ads=AdButler.ads||[];var abkw=window.abkw||'';var plc208206=window.plc208206||0;document.write('<'+'div id="placement_208206_'+plc208206+'">');AdButler.ads.push({handler:function(opt){AdButler.register(168183,208206,[300,600],'placement_208206_'+opt.place,opt)},opt:{place:plc208206++,keywords:abkw,domain:'servedbyadbutler.com',click:'CLICK_MACRO_PLACEHOLDER'}})if(!window.AdButler){(function(){var s=document.createElement("script");s.async=!0;s.type="text/javascript";s.src='https://servedbyadbutler.com/app.js';var n=document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0];n.parentNode.insertBefore(s,n)}())} var AdButler=AdButler||{};AdButler.ads=AdButler.ads||[];var abkw=window.abkw||'';var plc208209=window.plc208209||0;document.write('<'+'div id="placement_208209_'+plc208209+'">');AdButler.ads.push({handler:function(opt){AdButler.register(168183,208209,[300,250],'placement_208209_'+opt.place,opt)},opt:{place:plc208209++,keywords:abkw,domain:'servedbyadbutler.com',click:'CLICK_MACRO_PLACEHOLDER'}}) if(!window.AdButler){(function(){var s=document.createElement("script");s.async=!0;s.type="text/javascript";s.src='https://servedbyadbutler.com/app.js';var n=document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0];n.parentNode.insertBefore(s,n)}())} var AdButler=AdButler||{};AdButler.ads=AdButler.ads||[];var abkw=window.abkw||'';var plc208209=window.plc208209||0;document.write('<'+'div id="placement_208209_'+plc208209+'">');AdButler.ads.push({handler:function(opt){AdButler.register(168183,208209,[300,250],'placement_208209_'+opt.place,opt)},opt:{place:plc208209++,keywords:abkw,domain:'servedbyadbutler.com',click:'CLICK_MACRO_PLACEHOLDER'}}). A player accustomed to low action on a 25.5-inch fretboard may be comfortable with slightly higher action on a 24.625-inch instrument, whereas someone who usually plays short scales may want to choose a lighter string gauge if they buy a longer-scale guitar. Acoustic vs Bass Guitar: Which is better for Beginners. But it also tends to make it more difficult to fit your fingers into the higher frets – particularly if you have bigger fingers. Different scale lengths make for quite a different guitar in terms of playability and tone. The scale length of a guitar measures the distance between the nut and the bridge. This will also provide you with nut-to-fret and fret-to-fret dimensions. By using this tool, you can determine the length fingerboard you should purchase. Alvarez is one of the leading acoustic guitar brands in the U.S.A. and around the world. 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