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Scale length and playability

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  • Scale length and playability

    I've seen a lot posted over the years about preference regarding scale length. Many times people prefer one over another for playability and of these many speak of having more room on the fretboard.

    I have mostly 24.75" scale guitars and a Strat with 25.5." I suck equally playing all of them, but can't say that I notice a difference when it comes to "roominess."

    So today I measured the LP and the Strat at the 5th fret and the 12th, center of the fret bar to center of the next fret bar. At the 5th fret it was about a 1mm difference, the the 12th it was closer to half that.

    Does that really make a difference in feel or is this more of a psychosomatic thing? I'm the first to admit that a better player than I might feel a difference, so I'm not saying anyone out there is full of it. Just wondering what your experience is.

  • #2
    I play a les paul, strat and a tele, and honestly it makes no difference to me whatsoever.
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    • #3
      If you play a lot, you can feel things like this. You can also ignore it.
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      • #4
        i've found that the difference in scale length isn't how that 3/4" makes your fingers spread out. it's how it changes the string tension and how you respond to that change in string tension. it's just one more piece to the puzzle.
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        • #5
          I've two guitars 25.5 inch, and two 24.75 inch. Can't say I really notice a difference - or if I do it's not enough to cause problems. Neck thickness, string spacing & maybe radius are much more obvious.

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          • #6
            Vibrato seems more controllable on a smaller scale neck to me.
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            • #7
              I was just about to post how weird it is that a lot of retailers and makers seem to leave off something far more important imo, and that's the nut width...the difference between cramped, comfortable and too huge feeling is a way, way bigger deal than scale for me...

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              • #8
                Makes no difference.

                /thread

                (and can we not talk about scale length again until 2013 plox?)

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                • #9
                  i've found that the difference in scale length isn't how that 3/4" makes your fingers spread out. it's how it changes the string tension and how you respond to that change in string tension. it's just one more piece to the puzzle.


                  This. Bends/vibrato feel very different to me on the LP scale length and I adjust accordingly.
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                  • #10
                    If you play a lot, you can feel things like this. You can also ignore it.


                    This pretty much sums it up.
                    One MIA Fender Strat, one Gibson Les Paul, one Martin Acoustic, what more do you need?

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                    • #11
                      Sure, I can feel a slight difference in string tension, but it's never been an issue for me. I do try to equalize the feel by using a lighter gauge of strings on the longer scale guitars, though.
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                      • #12
                        I don't notice more room in the frets, but I do notice a slight difference in the string tension. I have .11s on all of my guitars and the shorter scale necks are a little easier on the fingers. It's not much, but it's there. A 24" neck on the other hand is very noticable to me. I over-bend notes like crazy on a Mustang or Jaguar.
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                        • #13
                          Makes no difference.

                          /thread

                          (and can we not talk about scale length again until 2013 plox?)


                          It definately makes a big difference. As in the ways described....string tension, tone. Some LP guys have a tough time bending on a tele or strat. It makes them wince.

                          I agree there is little difference in playability. But there is SOME...up high on an LP...gets a little cramped. But it is a small difference. I admit.

                          String tension def has an impact on tone, as well. Huge, even, and this does affect how an instrument is played.

                          Come back in 2013...and I promise we will have it all worked out!
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                          <img src="images/misc/quote_icon.png" alt="Quote" /> Originally Posted by <strong>GW348</strong>
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                          • #14
                            I play a les paul, strat and a tele, and honestly it makes no difference to me whatsoever.


                            same here. i switch between Strats, Tele, Les Paul copy and other electrics and it makes no difference.
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                            • #15
                              That you can hear
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                              <img src="images/misc/quote_icon.png" alt="Quote" /> Originally Posted by <strong>GW348</strong>
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                              <div class="message">I just let the pee flow. The places I play, no one notices or have peed themselves too.</div>

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