Comparing Scale Lengths

KirkRedman
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Location: Denver, CO

Comparing Scale Lengths

Post by KirkRedman » Sun Jul 02, 2017 6:29 pm

I'm hoping to upgrade guitars in the next year or so and currently play on a 640mm scale, but I would like to switch to something around 630mm. I have played one maker's guitars multiple times and have been completely blown away. I also know that he makes a 630 scale, but I have not yet had the chance to try one of them.

Have you gotten the chance to compare, side by side, two different scales that are otherwise identical (maker, model, woods)? Preferably something significantly different (ie 660 and 640). The 640mm guitar that I currently own is the same model as my previous 650mm guitar, but has different woods. I don't think that I can tell a difference in sound because of the scale, but it's hard to tell when there are other variables at play.

I've heard that sometimes when builders get below a 640mm scale things start to go downhill. Can anyone vouch for this or the opposite experience?

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souldier
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Re: Comparing Scale Lengths

Post by souldier » Sun Jul 02, 2017 11:16 pm

Changing scale will always have an impact on the sound, even if it is minor. Going as far as 630 will have a more significant impact on sound since most makers will not only shorten the scale, but they will make the body size smaller as well.

At the end of the day it really just depends on the individual maker. If a maker is comfortable building at 630 and does so quite regularly, I'd imagine it is because they've been able to do so with positive results. Your best bet is to talk to the maker directly and ask them what differences in tone/sustain/volume they notice on their instruments at different scale lengths.
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oc chuck
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Location: orange county, ca.

Re: Comparing Scale Lengths

Post by oc chuck » Mon Jul 03, 2017 5:19 am

I believe Kenny Hill and company have a lot of experience making
short scale guitars. I have called them a couple times about
other issues and they are very good to talk with.

ben etow
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Location: Brussels

Re: Comparing Scale Lengths

Post by ben etow » Mon Jul 03, 2017 12:18 pm

KirkRedman wrote:
Sun Jul 02, 2017 6:29 pm

Have you gotten the chance to compare, side by side, two different scales that are otherwise identical (maker, model, woods)? Preferably something significantly different (ie 660 and 640).
Yes, several 650 and 630 plus one 640 made by Jean-Luc Joie, mostly cedar-topped and of the same model and fabrication period - including one spruce 650 and one spruce 630 but those ones not side by side.

The only significant difference as to sound is due to the slightly lowest tension with the very same action... But a shorter scale enables you to play with a much higher action and you can choose for higher tension strings too.

The other (little) différences were due to normal inconsistency (Jean-Luc has a very high sound consistency within the same model/period - he is also experimenting and changing some features with time).

ben etow
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Re: Comparing Scale Lengths

Post by ben etow » Mon Jul 03, 2017 12:22 pm

souldier wrote:
Sun Jul 02, 2017 11:16 pm
Changing scale will always have an impact on the sound, even if it is minor. Going as far as 630 will have a more significant impact on sound since most makers will not only shorten the scale, but they will make the body size smaller as well.
You're right but Jean-Luc Joie, for instance, uses the same body sizes on his 630 and 640 as on his 650.

I was tempted by a 630 John Price and I think he told me he would also maintain the same body size. I may be mistaken though.
Last edited by ben etow on Tue Jul 04, 2017 4:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.

tree-hugger
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Location: Wollongong, Australia

Re: Comparing Scale Lengths

Post by tree-hugger » Mon Jul 03, 2017 1:10 pm

I have a 640 and a 620 from the same maker. Different body sizes, 485 vs 475 mm, but pretty much the same sound.

George.

KirkRedman
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Location: Denver, CO

Re: Comparing Scale Lengths

Post by KirkRedman » Wed Jul 05, 2017 6:35 pm

Thanks for the input. I am currently fairly happy with my current scale (640), but a little extra room to breathe so to speak would be welcome. It sounds like the minor difference in sound (probably slightly darker if my thought process is correct) is a small price to pay for some additional ease in playing.

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