Question Regarding Guitar Scale Length

Construction and repair of Classical Guitar and related instruments
DaveLeeNC
Posts: 157
Joined: Thu Aug 04, 2016 3:31 pm
Location: Pinehurst, NC, USA

Question Regarding Guitar Scale Length

Post by DaveLeeNC » Sat Jul 15, 2017 9:49 pm

I am going to be making a trip to look at a number of nice guitars at an area guitar shop (may or may not make a purchase depending on what I experience here where experience in the CG world is slim in my case). I will be looking at used instruments and some will have a 660 scale (where I currently am playing a 650).

Obviously I will be able to play these longer scale instruments and will have some kind of reaction. My question is "what is the chance that my reaction after a few weeks with an instrument will be different than it is after a half hour (or whatever)"? I can imagine an initial reaction of "WOW - this is awkward" where after a bit of practice it just won't matter". Or I can imagine the opposite situation where it feels OK at first but after a period of time I realize it was something of of mistake.

Any help/perspective would be appreciated - thanks.

dave

ps. My hand size is pretty average for an American male. And I am aware of the resale implications of longer scale instruments.
1984 Jesus Marzal cedar CG
1971 Sherry-Brener (Cedar) Garcia No. 1 CG
1975 Gibson ES-175D Achtop Electric
2016 Eastman AR905CE-BD Carved Archtop Electric

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HNLim
Posts: 2179
Joined: Tue Jul 26, 2011 1:02 am
Location: Singapore - The City in a Garden

Re: Question Regarding Guitar Scale Length

Post by HNLim » Sat Jul 15, 2017 10:37 pm

My 1974 S.Yairi used to be a 6-string 665 scale until I converted it into a 10-string guitar due to several loose braces to the top. All my other guitars are 650 including my 1978 Yamaha GC30A. Frankly, I do not find any difference moving between the Yairi and my other guitar.
1978 Yamaha GC30A-S/BRW
2012 Esteve Adalid-S/BRW
2014 Sen #5-S/BRW
2016 HNLim-S/BRW
1974 S.Yairi 950-S/BRW-0-string-convert 2015
2017 HN Lim-14-string-S/BRW
HN Lim 13-string-S/NEW-WIP
1974 S.Yairi 800-Retired

ALL ARE FOR SALE IF PRICE IS RIGHT

DaveLeeNC
Posts: 157
Joined: Thu Aug 04, 2016 3:31 pm
Location: Pinehurst, NC, USA

Re: Question Regarding Guitar Scale Length

Post by DaveLeeNC » Sat Jul 15, 2017 11:06 pm

Interesting - when you switch from 10 strings to 6, I would have guessed that would be a noticeable change. :D :D :D

Sorry, just giving you a hard time. I understand what you mean and appreciate the input.

Thanks.

dave
1984 Jesus Marzal cedar CG
1971 Sherry-Brener (Cedar) Garcia No. 1 CG
1975 Gibson ES-175D Achtop Electric
2016 Eastman AR905CE-BD Carved Archtop Electric

Imbler
Posts: 260
Joined: Tue Nov 24, 2009 6:19 pm

Re: Question Regarding Guitar Scale Length

Post by Imbler » Sun Jul 16, 2017 1:08 am

After I had built three guitars, I became curious about compensation and measured my old luthier built guitar. I was surprised to learn it was a 660 scale guitar! I had switched back and forth between it and the 650 guitars I built as had my wife and neither of us noticed the scale length change.
A 10 mm scale length change is only 2 tenths of an inch change to the 12th fret.

When you think how much your fretting reach changes due to how stiff/ loosened up your fingers are, that amount of change is chump change.

es335
Posts: 1147
Joined: Thu Aug 30, 2007 2:12 pm
Location: Germany

Re: Question Regarding Guitar Scale Length

Post by es335 » Sun Jul 16, 2017 10:27 am

Hi Dave,

Both happened to me. After almost 30 years on a 667 mm guitar with a 54 mm neck the successor, a 52/650 Kohno, felt like a big relief until a 52/664 Yairi came and proved that comfort is not related to numbers. :shock:

Now a new acquisition came with 53/660 which initially felt a bit more difficult to play due to the actual string spacing of 44 mm opposed to 42.5 mm of my other guitars. All to my surprise it didn't take more than 2 days to discover that this feels much more comfortable under my finders. I don't have really big hands but the extra space at the nut is really something whereas the scale length doesn't seem to have the same impact ... at least in my case which might be linked to almost 30 years of socialisation on a 54/667 guitar!?

Lessons learn are, don't care too much about numbers. Supposed a guitar really strikes you but feels a bit "strange" at the beginning, keep playing and carefully observe if and how this changes over time. Make breaks, play other guitars and return to find out if something changes. Supposed the "strange" feeling maintains, then it's up to you to decide if the overall performance of the guitar justifies some risk or not! :wink:

Cheers es335

DaveLeeNC
Posts: 157
Joined: Thu Aug 04, 2016 3:31 pm
Location: Pinehurst, NC, USA

Re: Question Regarding Guitar Scale Length

Post by DaveLeeNC » Sun Jul 16, 2017 11:12 pm

IM - thanks for the very helpful experience.

ES335 - based on your nickname I would guess that you play some steel string guitar as well as classical (as do I). From what I know the scale length on a Gibson ES-335 is around 630mm. I wonder if that makes the difference between 650 and 660 on your classical a smaller thing or a bigger thing? It probably doesn't matter as the difference in string spacing and other things kind of overwhelms stuff (where I play my steel string guitars like I play my classical guitars). FWIW, I tend to keep my steel string repertoire separate from my classical guitar stuff (makes the transition simpler), That even applies to the exercises that I play on each instrument.

Thanks.

dave
1984 Jesus Marzal cedar CG
1971 Sherry-Brener (Cedar) Garcia No. 1 CG
1975 Gibson ES-175D Achtop Electric
2016 Eastman AR905CE-BD Carved Archtop Electric

es335
Posts: 1147
Joined: Thu Aug 30, 2007 2:12 pm
Location: Germany

Re: Question Regarding Guitar Scale Length

Post by es335 » Mon Jul 17, 2017 2:14 pm

Dave, the link is obvious of course but the conclusion unfortunately not because I have been playing classical guitar exclusively for many, many years now. :wink: :D

Anyway, good luck for your search!

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