Great guitar, great price, but 660 scale. Deal breaker?

wombosi
Amateur luthier
Posts: 98
Joined: Wed Jan 31, 2018 10:00 pm
Location: Great Barrington, MA

Great guitar, great price, but 660 scale. Deal breaker?

Post by wombosi » Sun Dec 23, 2018 2:50 am

I found an amazing deal on a guitar from a maker who's work I like a lot and have a played a few of their guitars.
They seem to be consistently excellent, and also consistently resell on this forum.

However, it is 660 scale, which apparently is why the owner is selling it.
The nut width is 54.5. I've been playing a 50.5 which is way too narrow for me so I think I'd like that, once I got used to it.
I do have large hands but would be a bit concerned about the 660, as I imagine certain stretches that are hard to impossible for me on the 650 (case in point Choro Da Saudade) would be just impossible.

Can anyone help allay these concerns? Or confirm them?

Thanks.

User avatar
petermc61
Posts: 6620
Joined: Sun Apr 08, 2012 12:11 am
Location: Sydney, Australia

Re: Great guitar, great price, but 660 scale. Deal breaker?

Post by petermc61 » Sun Dec 23, 2018 3:03 am

Part of the reason for the ‘amazing deal’ is because it is 660mm.

wombosi
Amateur luthier
Posts: 98
Joined: Wed Jan 31, 2018 10:00 pm
Location: Great Barrington, MA

Re: Great guitar, great price, but 660 scale. Deal breaker?

Post by wombosi » Sun Dec 23, 2018 3:09 am

I'm curious as to why anyone would build a 660 if it seems to be such a negative for most players.

Bill
Posts: 285
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2014 3:43 pm

Re: Great guitar, great price, but 660 scale. Deal breaker?

Post by Bill » Sun Dec 23, 2018 3:20 am

Great deals are a dime a dozen, but truly great guitars are very few and far between. If it truly is a great guitar (and not a total struuggle for you to play), I would go for it knowing I would need to make some work arounds.

So you may want to consider moving that e flat (you know the one I mean) up an octave.😁
Last edited by Bill on Sun Dec 23, 2018 3:31 am, edited 1 time in total.

wombosi
Amateur luthier
Posts: 98
Joined: Wed Jan 31, 2018 10:00 pm
Location: Great Barrington, MA

Re: Great guitar, great price, but 660 scale. Deal breaker?

Post by wombosi » Sun Dec 23, 2018 3:27 am

Thanks. Unfortunately the guitar in question is too far away for me to play first. Maybe I should find a 660 locally and see how it feels. I've heard from other players that they can't tell a difference...
This guitar is spruce/Brazilian in perfect shape and would normally sell for twice as much.

Philosopherguy
Posts: 1058
Joined: Fri Mar 29, 2013 12:40 am
Location: Niagara, Ontario, Canada

Re: Great guitar, great price, but 660 scale. Deal breaker?

Post by Philosopherguy » Sun Dec 23, 2018 4:21 am

I don’t feel any difference between my 658 and my 650 guitars. What you might find challenging is the nut width. However, if you feel it’s too wide just get a new nut made with some closer spacing on the strings to match the standard 52mm string spacing. The advantage with this is you get a little extra room on the fretboard at the edges so strings are unlikely to slip off!

I wouldn’t worry too much about the scale. Many things go into making a guitar that feels good to play. Scale is just one variable. People hype up the shorter scales too much. Look at Xuefei Yang and her small hands playing those older Ramirez and Khono guitars. If she can do it, you can too!

Martin
*************************************************************
2013 Ramirez 130 Anos - Spruce
2013 Ramirez 4NE - Cedar
1998 Dean Harrington - Spruce
1977 Kuniharu Nobe - Spruce
1971 Yamaha GC3 - Spruce

a human
Posts: 563
Joined: Sun May 04, 2014 1:37 am
Location: Raleigh, North Carolina

Re: Great guitar, great price, but 660 scale. Deal breaker?

Post by a human » Sun Dec 23, 2018 4:25 am

I've had a longer scale guitar since 1965 and have no plans to let her go. Of course, I'm only someone who enjoys playing classical guitar for personal enjoyment, so probably am oblivious to the scale length. I'm a tallish female, but manage the left hand stretches I need okay. I don't play for hours on end, either. If this guitar is already a good price and you have the resources to try it and perhaps rehome it later if you aren't happy, then give it a go. But it is only a bargain if it suits your needs and makes you happy.
1965 Krempel Classical (660ish mm)
The rest come and go.

wombosi
Amateur luthier
Posts: 98
Joined: Wed Jan 31, 2018 10:00 pm
Location: Great Barrington, MA

Re: Great guitar, great price, but 660 scale. Deal breaker?

Post by wombosi » Sun Dec 23, 2018 4:28 am

Thanks everyone.
Another question: Is is true that 660 will require using hard tension strings, always?
I tend to prefer medium tension, but I guess that's not a deal breaker, either.

Wuuthrad
Posts: 1004
Joined: Sat Oct 07, 2017 9:16 pm
Location: USA

Re: Great guitar, great price, but 660 scale. Deal breaker?

Post by Wuuthrad » Sun Dec 23, 2018 7:24 am

I've bought a 660 recently, and do like it for several reasons besides the fact it was cracked and available at a considerable discount. I was having a log jam of my left hand fingers on the higher frets while playing La Catedral on a 650, and this was the main reason. And Cedar top is nice for that built in Reverb pedal sound! (In small doses)

So I found that it is more comfortable to play at the higher frets for my left hand, and it's slightly wider neck is a bit more comfortable for my right hand. And it has a nice D taper to it's neck profile.

I have fat fingers and bit above average span, so that was also important.I wouldn't have paid full price for this scale length however (unless it came with free coffee for a year or something.)

I believe the 660 is more common in Flamenco, and also replicates Segovia's guitar? (I could be wrong about that)
One thing Flamenco players will do is Cejilla or Capo the first fret.

I like to tune my guitars down a bit- half steps or whole steps, and a longer scale helps in this regard when using higher tension strings. However, higher tension strings aren't a requirement by any means. In fact you could use lower tension ones just as well, and might be better off doing with medium or low tension if you tune A440.

A higher tension string on a longer scale will put more pressure (or is it stress, torsion or strain?) on the neck and soundboard. If it's a vintage guitar, that's certainly something to consider. I would personally hate to put too much tension on an old guitar and warp it's neck or soundboard too much.

If you have above average to large sized hands you probably won't notice a huge difference, but in fact might like the added width for comfort of both hands, while plucking and also while fingering.

That being said there is more to all of this than just scale length and neck width, as neck profile is also important, and is, sadly, more often than not, overlooked in Classical Guitars.

For example I could not comfortably play a wider 660 with a fat C shape neck, and prefer a D or U shape. Obviously to each their own, but as previously mentioned, you can always have a new nut made if needed.
"Pay no attention to what the critics say. A statue has never been erected in honor of a critic." -Jean Sibelius

Wuuthrad
Posts: 1004
Joined: Sat Oct 07, 2017 9:16 pm
Location: USA

Re: Great guitar, great price, but 660 scale. Deal breaker?

Post by Wuuthrad » Sun Dec 23, 2018 7:30 am

Another point worth mention is that I have noticed a side effect, or bonus, of finger stretching and strengthening when playing and practicing with different scale lengths.

Almost similar to cross-training I would imagine in an athletic endeavour.
"Pay no attention to what the critics say. A statue has never been erected in honor of a critic." -Jean Sibelius

User avatar
petermc61
Posts: 6620
Joined: Sun Apr 08, 2012 12:11 am
Location: Sydney, Australia

Re: Great guitar, great price, but 660 scale. Deal breaker?

Post by petermc61 » Sun Dec 23, 2018 8:08 am

Whether 660mm is a deal breaker for you will only be known once you have tried a good (well set up) one. If you can get a nice guitar at a good price then that is fantastic for you. Just don’t think you were ‘lucky’ getting a great deal and that you’ll be able to sell if for more later - that ‘great deal’ is probably the market price. But if that gets you lots of guitar and you love the sound resale value is not a major consideration.

RobMacKillop
Posts: 3198
Joined: Wed Jul 29, 2015 5:24 pm
Location: Edinburgh

Re: Great guitar, great price, but 660 scale. Deal breaker?

Post by RobMacKillop » Sun Dec 23, 2018 9:00 am

My ten string has a 664mm string length, and I easily shift between that and my six string with a 650mm length. I like the sound of big guitars too. But I'm a tall guy with big hands. Small guitars can be a pain.

UKsteve
Posts: 702
Joined: Fri Jan 04, 2013 2:48 pm
Location: St Albans, UK

Re: Great guitar, great price, but 660 scale. Deal breaker?

Post by UKsteve » Sun Dec 23, 2018 11:52 am

Like some others here, the 660 wouldn't bother me but I'd have more concerns regarding the nut width.
I find differences in nut width far more apparent than scale length.

celestemcc
Posts: 1129
Joined: Thu May 22, 2014 5:43 pm

Re: Great guitar, great price, but 660 scale. Deal breaker?

Post by celestemcc » Sun Dec 23, 2018 6:09 pm

If there are pieces that aren't otherwise terribly difficult yet you can't make them on a 650, likely you won't make them easily on the 660. That said, neck profile and action make a difference. Too bad you can't play it, but if you're not able to, it may not be worth the purchase.
Is is true that 660 will require using hard tension strings, always?
Broadly speaking, no. I have (and don't play anymore) a 664 Ramirez 1a. It always sounded its best with high-tension strings but played much more easily with mediums. The difference was not huge, though. And a 1a is set up with a high-ish action so it can easily accommodate medium tension strings without buzzing. Again, your mileage may vary.
2015 Connor spruce/Indian rosewood
1978 Ramirez 1a cedar

wombosi
Amateur luthier
Posts: 98
Joined: Wed Jan 31, 2018 10:00 pm
Location: Great Barrington, MA

Re: Great guitar, great price, but 660 scale. Deal breaker?

Post by wombosi » Sun Dec 23, 2018 10:51 pm

So I'm starting to understand that nut width, string spacing and neck profile are bigger issues than the 10mm difference in length.

So with that being said, why can't the neck/nut/spacing simply be reworked to suit the player? Even as far as making the entire neck a bit narrower and/or thinner if those are problems?

I'm not a luthier, but I have a background in woodworking and have started building a classical. I certainly have the tools and ability to make the neck 52 or 53 mm wide at the nut if I so desired, as well as make it thinner in profile.

But I think I'd welcome the 54mm width over the 50.5 that I'm currently playing, which is way too cramped for me.

Thanks everyone.

Return to “Advice on buying, selling or valuing a guitar”