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valentsgrif

Best Strings For a Short Scale

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I have a couple of short scale (24") acoustics, namely a Gretch cowboy and a Yammie APXt travel guitar.

 

I generally play 12's, but I've hear talk that you need heavy strings to drive a short scale to sound good?

 

Since these two guitars are ultimately destined to be played by my 11 year old, I actually would prefer to maybe go even lighter, say 11's. Waddya think.?

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I've never owned or played a short scale guitar, so take this with a grain of salt, but I don't think you'd notice a huge difference by upping (or lowering) the string gauge. FWIW, I put some 13s on my Seagull the last time I restrung it in hopes that the heavier strings would give me better tone, and I like the 12s I usually use a lot better, both in terms of ease of playing and tone.

 

If I was you, I'd just use the 12s. That's a pretty standard gauge. Maybe go down to 11s, but learning to play on thicker strings isn't necessarily a bad thing. Builds finger muscle . . . and character too :).

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I have a couple of short scale (24") acoustics, namely a Gretch cowboy and a Yammie APXt travel guitar.


I generally play 12's, but I've hear talk that you need heavy strings to drive a short scale to sound good?


Since these two guitars are ultimately destined to be played by my 11 year old, I actually would prefer to maybe go even lighter, say 11's. Waddya think.?

The shorter scale should get a fatter string to get similar tone. It takes more tension to bring the heavier string to pitch - so that makes it harder to fret.

 

You might consider:

1. Silk and Steel from Martin. Others can correct me if I'm wrong. These strings are designed to tune with less tension to make life easier for older guitars that might have some structural failings. They're easier to play and sound good.

 

2. Get a full size classical guitar for the child (they don't need 3/4 size guitars at that age). They're easier to play, sound great and would be a good basis for lessons from a good teacher.

 

The lessons from a good teacher is the significant part to me. Trying to play Dad's steel string can be discouraging; the weekly or bi-weekly lesson with a cool teacher is a great foundation builder.

 

Greg

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I've played the silk and steel and like them. They have a soft folkie sound that's perfect for strumming soft folkie music. Is the Gretsch one of the cowboy collector series?

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i've got a couple Gretsch Americanas: D'Addario EJ15 (extra light) on one and EJ16 (lights) on the other.

 

i have heard of people using mediums; and others who recommend against them on these guitars because they can damage the bridge and/or saddle.

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I bought one of the Americana series for for my Grandson for $29.99 when Overstock.com had them. Wish I'd bought 100 of them.

 

Thats when I got mine. It was a mess, with string buzz, ect. A little fret, nut work and she's a nice player.

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My Larrivee Parlor has a 24" scale.

 

I found 12's to be too floppy. And it sounded like a uke when strummed.

 

Liked 13's much better.

 

Eventually went to a bluegrass mix (mediums on bass, lights on trebles), and I like that the best -- gives the trebles a little more zing.

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Your 24.0 inch scale guitar will have only 94 percent of the tension of a "long" 25.4 scale. That should make it easier to fret and bend notes, but reduce the top drive a little. However, the smaller top of a parlor sized guitar is normally lighter braced and that makes it easier to drive.

 

The difference in tension between 12's and 13's is 87 percent, so you would have considerably more tension that the equivalent long scale guitar with 12's. You are probably well within the design parameters of your guitars to experiment with different gauges - I don't see where going to 13's is going to hurt anything. And as far as either extra lights or silk and steels - try them and decide for yourself (strings are cheap)

 

fwiw - the 0 sized guitar that I built for my daughter is 24.4 scale and I put 12's on it. It is easy to fret and play, but still is remarkably loud for such a small guitar.

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i have washburn wp26sens (parlor, 630mm scale, i think):

- originally had .012 strings, bit hard for a beginner, or soft-handed like me, lol

- put silk&steel (d'addario EJ40), only available in .011 'light gauge': i loved the string, super playability, lovable sound; but after some time, i noticed 2nd string would sound 'off', when played on 1st fret - if same 2nd string would be tuned to 'b', 1st fret should be 'c' - that was not the case, 'c' was off

- i took the guitar to gtr service, best in our country (slo), and when i got it back, this trouble was still there

i also recently got sigma 00m-15s+, since she's got wider neck (i am fingerpicker, no strumming, and have learned on classical (49mm nut, 4/4) gtr):

- immediately put silk&steel on, and, voila! ... uuups, same problem! 2nd string, in tune 'b', rings 'c' on 1st fret off.

i am currently planning to replace 2nd string from silk&steel with 'original' from .012 set. in future, i will be looking for .012 set.

lessons learned :

1) do not use 'light gauge' .011 (or lower, i tried .010 once, replaced them immediately, way to 'soft') on short-scale guitars; if you do, guitar should be carefully set-up for those strings, ie i recently figured out my nut on wp26 was bit too high - this significantly influences the pitch of (all) strings on first frets (ie 1st-3rd fret)

2) learn basics of guitar servicing/repairing, get some basic tools, and fix your guitar by yourself - this goes for nut and saddle, since they are both replaceable / easy removable (at least it should be so); if one fails, there is still option to take her to service; majority of new gtrs from the store 'need' (and i mean badly need) set-up.

i also have cordoba (protege c-1m, 3/4, cheap as 150€), and i love it - shorter scale = less tension on strings, fret spacing is closer = easier chord fingering... i use high-tension strings on this lady. tried extra-hard-tension, didn't work for me.

 

have fun,

mario

s love nia

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2 hours ago, Backlashwire said:

Have a traveler CL3E travel size, and wondering if stringing with mediums will beef up sound without damage to guitar? Thanks

 

According to their website, that guitar comes stock equipped with D'Addario EXP-16 strings, which are gauged .012, .016, .024, .032, .042, .053. I'd consider those to be roughly light to light-medium gauge, and would recommend you stick with those gauges. If you wish to run anything heavier, I'd strongly suggest you contact the manufacturer first to see if they will be okay or not. 

https://travelerguitar.com/pages/contact-us

To answer your question - yes, heavier strings are generally going to beef up the sound of a shorter-scale guitar - but again, you need to make sure that they're not going to damage the guitar, and the only way to be certain is to see if the manufacturer approves of a heavier set for that particular instrument. 

 

 

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