When does a guitar get too short ?

donnyb

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566
Is there a standard length for a solid body guitar from the bridge end strap button to the nut, born out of years of guitar making and experimentation ? Not just for playing comfort for average length arms, but also for aesthetic reasons.

I ask because with a current project doing a Les Paul Junior style flat bodied guitar, with just a neck pickup visible (and the neck pocket yet to be routed), there's a lot of wood there behind the bridge and tail piece. This LPJ shape has a large posterior, to use gentlemanly language !

I could give some of that space to the bridge and tail piece, if I glue the neck to body at say the 19th or 20 the fret instead of the usual 22nd or 23rd and make the body look more balanced, although that's a subjective matter. But then the nut is that much closer to the player, and playing in the highest areas of the fretboard becomes compromised.

Ive already taken a bit of that surplus 'rear' area by making the scale 25".

I suspect there would be an 'industry' standard measurement with a degree of tolerance that is the best of both worlds, weighted towards playability. Am I correct ?
 

AdmiralB

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3,060
I believe it is largely cosmetic, the result of the evolution of the solidbody from the acoustic. And there's also the "does it balance on a strap" aspect.

There are exceptions. Many contemporary Music Man guitars have somewhat 'shortened' bodies, aft of the bridge. Headless guitars usually have less material back there, both due to the need to access the tuners and because there's less neck mass to balance.

Steinberger GL/XL would be the extreme example.
 

cardinal

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5,657
You can cut away until you get to the Steinberger L series. I think what your asking is part aesthetic and part balance/positioning.

Aesthetics are purely personal. But balance and positioning depend on where the strap pins are.

For balance, the guitar can neck dive if the neck-side strap pin isn't positioned well. A long upper horn seems to help, or counter balancing with weight to the back of the guitar. Steinberger use to make an extension thingy to hook a strap to help.

For positioning, a guitar might be uncomfortable to play if it balances with the nut way out from the player (requiring the player to extend his/her arm and shoulder a long way). That's again based on where the nut is relative to the strap pins.
 

T Dizz

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51699.6a00d83451b05569e20133ecdec807970b-800wi.jpg
 

whoismarykelly

Oh look! This is a thing I can change!
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What you're describing is similar to what Gibson did with the 3/4 size LP Special, which at 22 3/4" scale was actually more like a 9/10 size guitar. It looks pretty goofy and isn't very aesthetically pleasing.

p1_u15qo41dj_so.jpg
 

AdmiralB

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3,060
See, I like that. With a full-scale and an appropriate lower cutaway, I'd have one.

Perhaps my tastes run to the guitar equivalent of 'fat chicks'?
 

swiveltung

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14,483
I have made a couple strat types with modified body hardware locations. I sunk the neck pocket, pickups and controls 2" deeper into the body. Now the nut is a full 2" closer to the player. A lot easier on the wrist dong say an F barre chord. On one I put the output jack on the lower bout like a Tele. It's pretty cool. The one thing I will say is with the bridge 2" further in the body, my right arm cramps a bit more as it's bent more when playing. This is the first one, a hard tail. The one I have now is a trem version.
 
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lostpoet2

Silver Supporting Member
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3,318
I could give some of that space to the bridge and tail piece, if I glue the neck to body at say the 19th or 20 the fret instead of the usual 22nd or 23rd and make the body look more balanced, although that's a subjective matter. But then the nut is that much closer to the player, and playing in the highest areas of the fretboard becomes compromised.

I suspect there would be an 'industry' standard measurement with a degree of tolerance that is the best of both worlds, weighted towards playability. Am I correct ?

If you have T-Rex arms and don't play above the 15th fret, your design would be excellent.
 

Tone_Terrific

Silver Supporting Member
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38,159
A Firebird bass built to the same proportions as the guitar wrt bridge position, would be hilariously huge.
 

donnyb

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566
The one thing I will say is with the bridge 2" further in the body, my right arm cramps a bit more as it's bent more when playing. This is the first one, a hard tail.

Interesting replies. Thank you. I don't have long or short arms, just average....

Good point about the cramps with the strumming hand swiveltung. Ergonomics vs aesthetics, in the context of the individual ? Would explain why there's no Luthier's formula for the subject, apparently.

I'm thinking now it may be worthwhile using a 3/4" thick neck template of the LPJ, screwed close to the headstock end of the neck pocket rout position, positioned where (say) the 19th fret would be. Fit the strap buttons and strap and see how the F barre position feels, repositioning it at different neck stations. Pencil mark where Id naturally prefer the bridge to be during the exercise. Then see how the 25" scale works (which is the fixed part of the equation) with that.

If all things mesh, see how it looks cosmetically. Fortunately, I have the time and ocd-ness to fool around with this stuff !

I wonder if Gibson, PRS , Fender etc ever did this sort of thing...or it just all evolved by trial and error ?
 

donnyb

Member
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566
I believe it is largely cosmetic, the result of the evolution of the solidbody from the acoustic. And there's also the "does it balance on a strap" aspect.
There are exceptions. Many contemporary Music Man guitars have somewhat 'shortened' bodies, aft of the bridge. Headless guitars usually have less material back there, both due to the need to access the tuners and because there's less neck mass to balance.

Steinberger GL/XL would be the extreme example.


Yes the balance aspect is important, if not major. Certainly more that cosmetics.
I love your dog Admiral B.
 

Tone_Terrific

Silver Supporting Member
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38,159
If all things mesh, see how it looks cosmetically. Fortunately, I have the time and ocd-ness to fool around with this stuff !
I would expect such design variations would have been drawn out and approved for prototypes if warranted.
 

donnyb

Member
Messages
566
I have spent a bit of time doing another trial set up with my neck pocket routing jig.

20170107_170526.jpg


Tried repositioning the neck to join at the body at the 20th fret. This puts the bridge 57/8 " from the tail end. The stop tailpiece would be another 2" further along, leaving about 4" of clear wood. It looks at least aesthetically balanced now, to me anyway.

The distance from the tail strap button position to the nut is 31". Then 7" of headstock. The overall length of the guitar would be 38 "

I rarely play above the 17th , doing most of my solos from the 8th to the 17th. I'm better at rhythm. As long as I could play a single note on the 19th on the 1st string, it would not matter much.

Before I rig up a dummy neck with those measurement parameters to see how the guitar may feel with balance and comfort, could I have some views on those dimensions please ?

BTW, the neck set angle calcs at 2.15 degrees, using Tundraman's website calculator.
 
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