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How Important is Scale Length to You?

How Important is Scale Length to You?

  • I'll only play short-scale guitars

    Votes: 21 6.5%
  • I'll only play long-scale guitars

    Votes: 15 4.7%
  • I prefer short scale, but get along with long scale just fine.

    Votes: 83 25.8%
  • I prefer long scale, but get along with short scale just fine.

    Votes: 61 18.9%
  • I have no preference whatsoever, as long as it plays and sounds good

    Votes: 133 41.3%
  • Wait -- guitars have different scale lengths?

    Votes: 9 2.8%

  • Total voters
    322

scelerat

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
3,028
Short scale for finger picking
Long scale for strumming and twangy idiomatic telecaster stuff

But,, big scheme of things not something I think of directly when reaching for one guitar or another
 

Jim234

Member
Messages
1,101
I used to want play same scale guitars. I then realised that it is how the guitar hangs on the strap and its body position which dictates how comfortable the scale length feels.
 

Tone_Terrific

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
32,132
I prefer the frets to be a bit closer together near the nut.
I prefer the frets to be a bit further apart up high.
I have not totally worked this out.
 

tone4days

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
6,681
Just curious how much of a factor scale length is when choosing a guitar. What's your preference, and what kind of music do you play?

For the purposes of the poll, I'll define short scale as 24.75" or less and long scale as 25" or greater.
Very important to me ... when I want a strat or tele tone, its gotta be 25.5 ... when I want short scale, its gotta be my 2 PRS 245s ... I don't get on well with PRS 25" scale ... when it's neither fish nor fowl, i've no course for that horse
 

bigben55

Member
Messages
2,386
Extremely important to me. I only play 25.5" scale guitars, with a 12" radius, 11s and high action in standard tuning. I NEED the string tension. I NEED the guitar to fight me a bit. It seems stupid, but try as I have, I simply can't play Gibsons. Which sucks for me because I do like their tone. I dont see how guys can go between teles and Les Pauls mid set. Wish I could, but I can't, and I've accepted it.
 

Suhrtainly!

Member
Messages
247
I find nut width more important to me than the scale. Fingerboard radius more important as well. I prefer 10 - 14 overall....not compound though.
 

ripgtr

Member
Messages
8,869
Yes.

Yes.
Yea, I was being a bit sarcastic (or was it sardonic) but the truth is, I've never measured the scale length on any guitar, and though I know the strat is longer than the 335, I don't have the exact measurement memorized. I measured my string height for the first time in 50 years of playing recently for a thread on playing slide on a regular guitar.
So, yesterday I switched from playing my 335 to an acoustic and you know what? I have no idea what the scale length is on the acoustic, I imagine it is shorter scale but I didn't even think about it. I just played it. I did a gig last week, switched back and forth between the strat and the MM. Total no issue, I was more worried about the differences in output of the pickups than scale length.

So the answer to the OP question is zip. None. I play long, short, whatever. I adapt without thinking about it.
 
Messages
1,733
Fun this has come because I didn't think scale length was a problem until I learned to play Ratt's "Lay It Down" tune from the 80's.

OMG, that stretch on a Strat is brutal. Sometimes I can nail it no problem but it's not consistent. No matter how many times that stretch kills me.

If I still hade my Les Paul it would be no problem.
 

Gclef

Member
Messages
2,505
I used to be 25.5" or bust. Nothing else would do.

Then I got an ltd ec256 free from my old company's reward point system.

I now have 4 out of 10 gibson scale guitars, and I use them regularly. In fact, I would go as far as saying that I like them slightly better.

So, in the end, scale is a non issue for me.
Fret size and neck shape are more important.
 

markmann

Member
Messages
1,002
The only time I have a preference is with bass. Love the sound of long scale but I just can't play it well so I opt for short.
 

fjrabon

Member
Messages
3,803
There’s not really an option for “I like both equally, but it does matter a lot, some things really benefit from longer scale and some really benefit from shorter scale”
 
Messages
3,926
I’ve got three 25.5”, two 24.75” and two 25”.

I don’t have a preference really, but I do appreciate the differences in tone and especially feel, between the three.
 

prototype

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,580
i don't really like playing rhythm on short scale guitars. they are nicer for singing leads, but fender scale length to me carries so much more detail and complexity in the rhythm. the one exception i would say is big body gretsch guitars, but they are so funky and unique to begin with.
 

fjrabon

Member
Messages
3,803
i don't really like playing rhythm on short scale guitars. they are nicer for singing leads, but fender scale length to me carries so much more detail and complexity in the rhythm. the one exception i would say is big body gretsch guitars, but they are so funky and unique to begin with.
Yeah, unless it’s jazz comping or power chords, I prefer rhythm on fenders.
 
Messages
3,926
@Gclef Good point. Neck carve is a critical element.

But it’s also how everything works with everything else. I’d convinced myself that I didn’t like the Gibson Slim Taper. It’s not my favorite, to be clear, but since I went to 09s, it’s certainly workable. I can even see how some folks would prefer it.

With the right strings, almost anything works.
 

Drew66

Member
Messages
623
I have smaller hands and while I prefer 24.75 I have no problem playing longer scales (at least to a point, I have a baritone that I rarely play, probably as much because of the heavy strings as the longer scale).
 

beeswax75

Member
Messages
536
I don't care too much...own a Gretsch at like 24.6" or whatever they are and all the rest are fenders. Both are great. Tried a Jaguar at 24" and that wasn't pleasant. So I guess that's my cut off. But I can play a ukulele, so I bet I'd get used to a Jag if I gave it time. Anything over Fender scale seems obnoxious and pointless.
 

ErichA

Member
Messages
224
My LP (‘97 JPLP sig) and my old Japanese knockoff of an EDS 1275 (the six string neck, anyway) are 24&3/4. I love it! But it’s part of a package deal, with fret size and nut width. They’re very fast and fun to play.
My ‘98 Danelectro U2 reissue is 25” and also has a very fast neck with narrower nut as well (although the frets are smaller) and is the guitar I pick up the most (it’s easy to just have it around anywhere).

When I play anything with larger scale, it’s doable. But I guess what it comes down to is I’m not going to spend the money on a guitar that’s much more work, much less fun, and requires recuperation time.
I’d rather have tools that allow me to focus on creativity than exercise.
 




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