Short Scale Guitars

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StGeorge
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Short Scale Guitars

Postby StGeorge » Fri Feb 24, 2017 12:38 pm

I am in the process of having a new guitar built for me later this year, and I am considering a shorter 640mm scale. What I don't completely understand is if the shorter scale length will have an impact on other things like string tension, volume/projection or tone. Other than making the instrument a little easier to play, which is something I would like, what else can I expect as a result of a shorter scale?
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Michael.N.
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Re: Short Scale Guitars

Postby Michael.N. » Fri Feb 24, 2017 12:50 pm

String tension will drop a little, around 0.3 Kg per string. All other things being equal I doubt you will notice any volume/projection change.
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bear
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Re: Short Scale Guitars

Postby bear » Fri Feb 24, 2017 1:56 pm

StGeorge wrote:I am in the process of having a new guitar built for me later this year, and I am considering a shorter 640mm scale. What I don't completely understand is if the shorter scale length will have an impact on other things like string tension, volume/projection or tone. Other than making the instrument a little easier to play, which is something I would like, what else can I expect as a result of a shorter scale?


I use the same string on my 640 as my 650. I haven't noticed a difference, relative to scale, between the 2 sizes except that it is easier to play. My only complaint about my 640 is the 50mm nut (my fault). I should have gotten a 52.
2013 Jeff Medlin '37 Hauser 640mm sp
2006 Michele Della Guistina Concert 10 string 650mm ce
2005 Jose Ramirez 4E 650mm ce
2005 Manuel Rodriguez Model C3F 650mm sp
2003 Manuel Rodriguez Model D 650mm ce

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Re: Short Scale Guitars

Postby kdwiklund » Fri Feb 24, 2017 2:11 pm

Michael.N. wrote:String tension will drop a little, around 0.3 Kg per string. All other things being equal I doubt you will notice any volume/projection change.


Agree. I have 2 640s and a 650. I prefer the 640 because it fits me just that much better. Also, I can easily use higher tension strings and since I love the quality of Hannabach 815 blue trebles, this is a real plus. (I still use medium tension an the basses.)
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Pat Dodson
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Re: Short Scale Guitars

Postby Pat Dodson » Fri Feb 24, 2017 2:14 pm

bear wrote:
StGeorge wrote:I am in the process of having a new guitar built for me later this year, and I am considering a shorter 640mm scale. What I don't completely understand is if the shorter scale length will have an impact on other things like string tension, volume/projection or tone. Other than making the instrument a little easier to play, which is something I would like, what else can I expect as a result of a shorter scale?


I use the same string on my 640 as my 650. I haven't noticed a difference, relative to scale, between the 2 sizes except that it is easier to play. My only complaint about my 640 is the 50mm nut (my fault). I should have gotten a 52.


I agree on almost all those points but find the 50.5/42 mm nut/spacing on my 640 guitar to be just fine. Vive la difference. :wink:

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David_Norton
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Re: Short Scale Guitars

Postby David_Norton » Fri Feb 24, 2017 3:26 pm

I current have two 640s, and find them easier to play in lower positions. One has a 50.5 nut, the other is 52. Both are 42 sting spacing. I've owned several (many?) other 640s as well. I'm toying with ordering another 640 this year as well (teaser-trailer statement!!)

That said, I've found the 650s in general to have a slightly better timbre. This could just as easily be due to the overall skills of the luthier as much as any other aspect! But I prefer the trade-off of accurate fretting with .05% less quality of sound, over full quality and buzzy/rattly notes where I can't ~quite~ make the full stretch.
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souldier
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Re: Short Scale Guitars

Postby souldier » Fri Feb 24, 2017 4:52 pm

Scale length definitely impacts string tension and sound. The only way you'd really know however is if you had another 650 guitar made as close to the 640 as possible, but even then you can't be sure if the differences are due to the scale length alone. I remember having a guitar made for me that was 640 scale. When I went to pick up the guitar, the luthier happened to have another guitar that he had made that was 660 scale that I got to play and instantly heard an enormous difference in the power and deepness of the bass especially.

It's important to take all the other factors into consideration since you're having the guitar made. Consider nut width, string spacing, neck thickness, neck shape, string action... In my opinion these factors have a more noticeable impact on playability than 650 vs 640. I remember going to one dealer and he let me play two Kenny Hill Estudio guitars... one was 640 and the other was 650. He made me guess which one was 640 based on playability and I ended up guessing wrong.

One other huge factor that affects playability is the top compliance. If a guitar has a very stiff top, then the strings will be harder to press than on another guitar, even if you have the exact same string action, string tension etc. The thing with this factor is its really in the hands of the luthier.
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Re: Short Scale Guitars

Postby celestemcc » Fri Feb 24, 2017 5:53 pm

Good luthiers can make a 640 sound every bit as big as a 650... for that matter, my 640 is bigger sounding than my 664. My understanding is that you lose some sound ca 630 and smaller, is that true?
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Emil Krasich
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Re: Short Scale Guitars

Postby Emil Krasich » Fri Feb 24, 2017 6:20 pm

celestemcc wrote:Good luthiers can make a 640 sound every bit as big as a 650... for that matter, my 640 is bigger sounding than my 664. My understanding is that you lose some sound ca 630 and smaller, is that true?


I wouldn't say that. My Dominelli 630mm double top is incredibly loud and the trebles really sing out (basses are damn good too). It's going to depend on the luthier's skill of course.

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Michael.N.
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Re: Short Scale Guitars

Postby Michael.N. » Fri Feb 24, 2017 6:20 pm

You don't lose sound as such, you might lose a touch of bass depth. That's not necessarily a bad thing dependent on what your preferences are. Trebles don't seem to suffer at all.
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StGeorge
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Re: Short Scale Guitars

Postby StGeorge » Fri Feb 24, 2017 7:34 pm

I really appreciate all of the input I am receiving. I wonder if the fact that this will be a flamenco negra guitar has any bearing on opinion. I am somewhat causious of the lower string tention associate with a shorter scale, but I want to be able play without a capo, at least most of the time. Unfortunately, the higher tension effected when using a capo for much of flamenco is advantages. Thoughts? 8)
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StGeorge
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Re: Short Scale Guitars

Postby StGeorge » Fri Feb 24, 2017 7:41 pm

I am also assuming that the 52mm nut width will be maintained.
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celestemcc
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Re: Short Scale Guitars

Postby celestemcc » Fri Feb 24, 2017 9:21 pm

I found that I had to go to high-tension strings on my 640, where I'd been playing mediums on my longer-scale guitar. This is speaking pretty broadly, as not all "high-tension" strings are equal, as has been discussed elsewhere.
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simonm
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Re: Short Scale Guitars

Postby simonm » Fri Feb 24, 2017 9:55 pm

StGeorge wrote:I am also assuming that the 52mm nut width will be maintained.


David_Norton wrote:…. One has a 50.5 nut, the other is 52. Both are 42 sting spacing. I've owned several (many?) other 640s as well. …..


As David implies, it is the string spacing rather than the nut width which is the more important parameter. Naturally the wider nut gives a bit more space on the edges which may or may not be to your taste. Another thing to consider is whether you want a bit of extra space on the treble side edge compared to the bass side edge.

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bear
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Re: Short Scale Guitars

Postby bear » Fri Feb 24, 2017 10:05 pm

StGeorge wrote:I am also assuming that the 52mm nut width will be maintained.


I assumed, that's how I got a 50 instead of a 52.
2013 Jeff Medlin '37 Hauser 640mm sp
2006 Michele Della Guistina Concert 10 string 650mm ce
2005 Jose Ramirez 4E 650mm ce
2005 Manuel Rodriguez Model C3F 650mm sp
2003 Manuel Rodriguez Model D 650mm ce


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