Scale Length

Discussions relating to the classical guitar which don't fit elsewhere.
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Michael.N.
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Re: Scale Length

Post by Michael.N. » Wed Jan 04, 2017 6:27 pm

That's because there never was a standard, nor should there be one.
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Alan Carruth
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Re: Scale Length

Post by Alan Carruth » Wed Jan 04, 2017 7:08 pm

Some years ago I got a small book by Alicia Kopfstein-Penk, entitled 'The Healthy Guitar'. In the preface she said that she had a lot of trouble making the stretches, and people kept telling her that she'd get them with practice. Eventually she realized that, at 5' 2" tall she would never reach the top shelf in the kitchen without a stool, no matter how much she practices, and resolved to get a guitar that would fit her. The book is about the method she came up with to find the 'correct' scale length for your hand, based on the number of frets you can span between your index and pinky.

So far we've used this on several student guitars, with good success. I find that her method seems a bit conservative, in that it usually recommends a shorter scale than is, perhaps, necessary. On the other hand, none of my students has been an aspiring concert guitarist, so their needs are, perhaps, less stringent. At any rate, the method should work for large hands as well as small ones.

Joe de V
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Re: Scale Length

Post by Joe de V » Fri Jan 06, 2017 9:30 pm

Michael.N. wrote:That's because there never was a standard, nor should there be one.
Hello Michael N. When I used the term "standard" I was referring to the market habit of calling the overall size of the instrument as the model"size"...: 7/8 0r 3/4 etc. and Not referring to the scale length. I do greed that we need a variety of scale lengths to meet the specific player personal needs for a correct "FIT". As the market stands at the present very seldom the scale length of the instrument is indicated in their advertisement which often lead to buyers choosing the wrong instrument. For example there are quite a few 3/4 size CG that have a longer scale length than the small Yamaha advertised as a 7/8 size CG.

Laudiesdad69
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Re: Scale Length

Post by Laudiesdad69 » Sat Jan 07, 2017 5:00 am

Jim Davidson wrote:I think it has as much to do with nut width and neck profile as it does scale length. My Cervantes is a 660 scale with a 53.5mm nut and a pretty thick profile. To my feel, the main difficulty from the scale length is controlling my vibrato. Conversely, the wide nut and profile complicate things greatly when it comes to counterpoint and barre chords. Many of those Ramirez 1As have 54mm nuts.

There isn't necessarily a strict correlation between height and hand size. I'm 5'11" with a 9.2" reach, but look at someone like Eliot Fisk: He's not that tall, but his hands are huge. Measure your reach from the tip of your thumb to the tip of your pinky. From what I've heard, 9" is just about where a 650 scale should be.

I deal with the bigger neck for the bigger sound (as I suspect many Ramirez owners do), but I really want to try a 660 scale with a narrower nut for my next instrument to see if that makes the difference.
I have a reach of 7 inches from index to pinkie and 8 1/2 from thumb to pinkie. I played the 1a today and I know it's something that I just wouldn't get used to. And besides it doesn't sound as good as my 4NE.

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Jim Davidson
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Re: Scale Length

Post by Jim Davidson » Mon Jan 09, 2017 9:22 pm

Laudiesdad69 wrote: I have a reach of 7 inches from index to pinkie and 8 1/2 from thumb to pinkie. I played the 1a today and I know it's something that I just wouldn't get used to. And besides it doesn't sound as good as my 4NE.
I have a larger reach than you with a smaller neck. I couldn't imagine playing like that!
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RoadHazard
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Re: Scale Length

Post by RoadHazard » Tue Jan 10, 2017 11:58 am

I have small hands and I love my Ramirez 1A. I'm only 5' 6". I do have problems with some pieces but I like the feeling and sound of this guitar, so I continue to use it.

dory
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Location: Madison, Wisconsin, USA

Re: Scale Length

Post by dory » Tue Jan 10, 2017 7:33 pm

Does anyone know what finger length and finger spread (thumb to pinkie) is considered "average?" I know my hands are small so I guess I am just curious.
Dory

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hilm3g
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Re: Scale Length

Post by hilm3g » Wed Jan 11, 2017 4:00 pm

There is an Australian site that has a few charts. Smallpianokeyboards.org. Average male 1-5 span is 8.9 inches, average female span is 7.9 inches.
My span (male) is just shy of 8 inches. I play just fine on my 650mm guitar, struggle with some pieces on my 655mm guitar, which was my only guitar for 40 years.

dory
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Re: Scale Length

Post by dory » Wed Jan 11, 2017 8:28 pm

That is very jnteresting to me. My span is 7.9 inches. It seems to be about average for a woman. That is perhaps because although my fingers are very short my hand is relatively broad across the knuckles. I REALLY need to stop complaining now.
Dory

Laudiesdad69
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Re: Scale Length

Post by Laudiesdad69 » Wed Jan 18, 2017 6:42 am

dory wrote:That is very jnteresting to me. My span is 7.9 inches. It seems to be about average for a woman. That is perhaps because although my fingers are very short my hand is relatively broad across the knuckles. I REALLY need to stop complaining now.
Is your 7.9 inch span from index to pinkie or from thumb to pinkie?

pablus
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Re: Scale Length

Post by pablus » Wed Jan 18, 2017 6:23 pm

Shorter scale length will increase slightly the playability in the lower positions but will decrease the playability above 12th fret. Since for me it is more difficult to play above 12th fret I do not like the shorter scale lengths. There will be an optimal scale length for any player and this has to be determined individually. Note that other factors will also enhance/compromise playability, like the neck thickness or string spacing.
Look at some vids of Kyuhee Park. She has really small hands but manages to play quite well. Scale length should not serve as an excuse for the lack of proper technique.

celestemcc
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Re: Scale Length

Post by celestemcc » Wed Jan 18, 2017 8:12 pm

My technique got better once I started playing a 640 (from a 664). After 18 months of playing and practice on the shorter scale, I can now actually play the larger guitar more easily than before. But no matter how good one's technique, sometimes a stretch is just too much, which is why my main guitar is the shorter scale. I know several men with much larger hands than mine, guys with excellent skills and technique far exceeding mine, who just prefer a 640: less wear and tear on the hands, especially as we get a little older. It's all just highly individual. Classical guitar is hard enough to learn, no need to tough it out. :D
2015 Connor spruce/Indian rosewood
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