25" scale length: "Best of both worlds" or "neither here nor there"

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by malabarmusic, Feb 21, 2008.

In general, my thoughts on 25" scale guitars are ...

  1. ... best of both worlds

  2. ... neither here nor there

  3. ... their own thing entirely

  4. ... impossible to generalizse

  5. ... don't know/don't care

Multiple votes are allowed.
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  1. malabarmusic

    malabarmusic Member

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    Not looking to debate whether or not scale length affects tone. There's already a long thread on that topic. :crazy

    For those who view scale length as a meaningful part of the tonal recipe ...

    A key element of the Gibson-esque tone equation is a "short" scale ranging from 24.5" to 24.75". This is found on the vast majority of actual Gibsons (Jonny A being an interesting exception) and was explicitly chosen by respected builders who mostly do longer scales for use on certain models. Reference the PRS SC245 and Santanas as well as the Tom Anderson Cobras and Atoms.

    Likewise, Fender-ish sounds are almost always based on a 25-1/2" platform. This is the de facto standard on practically every Strat and Tele -- and their derivatives -- ever built. AFAIK, some builders (Tyler, Suhr?) only do 25-1/2" even when building a guitar that strays pretty far from their Fender-like origins.

    Then there is the middle of the road. P.R. Smith deliberately chose a middle-ish ground of 25" when designing his original namesake guitar. In parallel fashion, T.C. McInturff split the difference at 25-1/8" when designing instruments to bear his name. There are builders for whom 25" is the default scale length.

    Obviously scale length is just one piece of the puzzle, but *in general* how do folks feel about the middle ground. Does it truly achieve the "best of both worlds" or does it surrender the best qualities of the original endpoints in exchange for a less than ideal compromise? Or something else? Vote in the poll and let's see how opinions stack up.

    - DB
     
  2. Dave Orban

    Dave Orban Gold Supporting Member

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    Generally speaking, I prefer the longer 25-1/2" scale length, But the 25" scale guitars I've owned/played have been very nice, and I would not hesitate to buy one again.
     
  3. atquinn

    atquinn Supporting Member

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    I don't think it's possible to generalize, as there are lots of factors that differ between, say, and LP and a PRS Custom 22 or Carvin DC127 (both of which have 25" scale lengths) and I'm not sure scale length is the most important one. I have guitars with the LP, Fender, and PRS scale lengths, they're all great, and I don't feel like any of them are tonal compromises, so IMO they're all good.

    -Austin
     
  4. skeeterbuck

    skeeterbuck Member

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    The one PRS that I had played more like a Gibson than a Fender which would make sense as the scale is closer to 24.75 than 25.5.

    I not that as concerned about scale lenght to turn down any guitar on that basis only.
     
  5. Chicago Slim

    Chicago Slim Member

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    I always liked the Fender sounds, but found that I could play a Les Pual well, eventhough I didn't like the sound or feel. The 25" scale just feels right for me.
     
  6. GuitslingerTim

    GuitslingerTim Member

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    Each of the scale lengths has its unique qualities, including tone. The 25" scale is the best of both worlds when it comes to feel, making it a little better for rhythm playing than a Les Paul, and a little better for lead work than a strat.
     
  7. gtrfinder

    gtrfinder Supporting Member

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    I think (per the OP comments) that Suhr has done 24.75 scale instruments.
    Don't know if this counts, but...
    Mark Knopfler's Pensa Suhr guitars were 24.75 scale if I remember correctly, but initially presented him with tuning problems. John Suhr said that a locking bridge and nut system was added to alleviate this.
     
  8. PFCG

    PFCG Member

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    i dont mind it, i have a prs and it plays nicely.

    I do however have very large hands and feel much more comfortable on a larger scale. I wish some makers would take more of the soloway route and make it a bit bigger for the guys with large hands.

    next guitar im gunna get i have a feeling will be somewhere in the 27-28 inch scale range.
     
  9. localmotion411

    localmotion411 Member

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    I have and have owned guitars of most of the typical scale lengths: 25.5, 24.75, and 25", and liked them all. They all have their own thing going on. I don't think any one scale length has better sustain, tone, chime, whatever, than any other, just different. I typically prefer the feel of the shorter length 24.75" scale for my particular playing style and the ease it provides me on bends, vibrato, etc., but I also love playing teles and strats and dig the additional "fight" of the higher string tension due to the longer scale length. I have played some PRS and other guitars with 25" scale length that I have liked and disliked just like any other. I don't feel that the 25" length is a tonal compromise over any other. The thing to remember IMO is that all guitars are the different, and for the most part, equal to the sum of their parts. Some guitars just plain feel better, regardless of scale legnth. Play the guitar and buy based on your hands-on experience with it, if possible.
     
    Desmond007 likes this.
  10. Tommy Tourbus

    Tommy Tourbus Senior Member

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    I don't know if I'd say it's the best of both worlds.

    25" doesn't have the 'sweetness' of gibson scale, or the 'twang' of fender scale.

    I have a mccarty soapbar, and would normally prefer to have a p90 guitar in gibson scale, except i love the rosewood neck of my mccarty.
     
  11. Tone_Terrific

    Tone_Terrific Supporting Member

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    My fingers are stretched in 1st position of 25.5's and really crowded above the 12th fret on 24.x's. 25 is a compromise but I give the edge to 25.5 for the extra room up top.
     
  12. frankencat

    frankencat Guitarded Supporting Member

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    I like the 25" scale myself but moreso on something like a Carvin or a Jackson than a PRS. My PRS feels more like a Gibson to me than say a Jackson or a Fender.
     
  13. c_mac

    c_mac Member

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    Scale length has never mattered to me at all. I can play any scale length without any problems or discomfort.
     
  14. Rosewood

    Rosewood Member

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    The longer scales intonate better but my fingers feel better with a short scale. It's always a compromise dang it.
     
  15. slipperyfingers

    slipperyfingers Member

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    I have three electrics, one with a 24 3/4, one with a 25 1/8 and one with a 25 1/2...I say variety is the spice of life. Sometimes I really like the sloppy feel of the 24 3/4 though...it just seems to give into ya a little easier.

    -SF
     

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