Why not leave a comment below and join the conversation. Therefore, the standard method to determine a guitar’s scale I measure 25 3/8" or 25.375". Selecting your instrument also calculates the bridge position for proper intonation. For good intonation, the guitar's saddle will be placed so a little extra string length is added. This is because the difference in mass between the nylon high E and low E for instance, on a classical guitar is not comparable to he differences in mass of electric guitar strings. You can measure a guitar’s scale length by measuring the distance from the inside edge of the nut (adjacent to the fretboard) through to the 12th fret. When it comes to classical guitars, the bridge will be either completely straight or be seated on a slight angle. These instructions also apply to Bass guitar. Don’t despair, all guitars suffer from this flaw to some degree. Why is the Bridge Saddle Seated on an angle? Guitar scale lengths are usually between 24" and 26". When adjusted (by turning a spring-loaded screw at the rear of the saddle) the saddle moves closer to the nut or further away, ultimately changing the length of the string fractionally. However, this is not an accurate way to measure scale length because the saddle is often seated within the bridge of the guitar on an angle. YOUR “FEEL” STARTS HERE. But it is also the case that when the string is pressed against the fretboard the string stretches, unlike when playing an open string. My Taylor 12 String specs are Long Scale Length 25.5". Additional smaller screws can also be adjusted to raise the height of each individual saddle to compensate for the different thicknesses of each string. Why Your Acoustic Guitar has less frets than your Electric. Don’t Fret. Intonation (accuracy of pitch) is affected by a number of factors, but two of the biggest factors are the strings ability to vibrate and its ability to stretch, both of which are affected by the string’s mass. Keep in mind that guitar scale lengths are typically measured in inches. Bass scale lengths generally stay between 30" to 36". Short Scale Acoustic Guitars – Everything You Wanted to Know. These instructions also apply to Bass guitar. How to find your guitar scale or string length. As you may expect, the string’s ability to vibrate and stretch affects the pitch of the string, and as guitar strings come in different thicknesses (gauges) each string has to be compensated for individually. Do not include a tail strap pin in this measurement. The image to the left shows a typical Fender bridge. Fender has also built some 3/4-size student guitars with a scale length of 22.5 inches (570 mm) or shorter. How guitars are designed to compensate for the various elements that affect scale length. The scale length is the most important measure for a guitar because it impacts how a guitar feels when you play it. The way to actually get the scale length of a given guitar is to take a tape measure and measure from the edge of your nut to the 12th fret, then double it. Tone All things being equal, a guitar with a longer scale length will sound a bit brighter, with a quicker attack and more defined bass notes. Understanding how it interacts with your setup, string choice, and playing style will make it much easier to properly adjust your guitar, and may help guide you towards an instrument that feels just right. Gibson uses a scale length of 24.75 in (628 mm) on many of its electric guitars, including the Les Paul, Flying V, Explorer, SG, and ES-335. At the center of the saddle it will be closer to 24-7/8". This will also provide you with nut-to-fret and fret-to-fret dimensions. Like some flowers, animals, bugs, clouds, trees, (and musical instruments)… very easy to recognise, but to draw? Enter your email address below and we’ll notify you now and then when we publish something new. A compensated saddle is a saddle that has wedges removed so the point of contact for the string is adjusted, resulting in a fractional change to string length between the nut and saddle. Scale length is measured by taking the distance from the nut to the 12 th fret and then multiplying that by 2. No spam, nothing to sell,just sharing good info. I measure 25.5" if I measure at the G string, a little longer at the Bass E string. Even a small difference in scale length can feel completely different when playing. Pick up two guitars that are otherwise identically constructed – same neck profile, fretboard radius, pickups and hardware, same type and gauge of strings even – but which are made to a 24.75" and 25.5" scale length respectively, and you are likely to find yourself playing a little differently on each.IT SHAPES THE FUNDAMENTAL VOICE OF YOUR GUITAR. YOUR “FEEL” STARTS HERE. So again, like with guitar shapes and sizes, we often think of or look at the human image as a repetitive set of forms that when approached in mass is faceless, featureless and devoid of detail like identical yet shapeless silhouettes. Bob - Thanks for the simple scale length measurement method! Scale length affects the playability, feel and toneof the instrument. By using this tool, you can determine the length fingerboard you should purchase. Scale length affects two facets of the instrument that are of utmost importance to the guitar player; tone and playability. I measure 25 3/8" or 25.375". Key Points: The relationship between scale length and string length is best discussed in the context of the type of the instrument. However taking into account all the different factors listed above it is not an exact science, meaning your guitar is likely never 100% in tune. The scale length of a guitar is, in common parlance, the distance between the nut and the bridge, or the length that the strings freely vibrate, but if you try to measure this distance you’ll quickly notice you’ll run into some trouble. Many people believe the true scale length of a guitar is the length of the guitar strings that are able to freely vibrate, this is even how Wikipedia defines scale length but this is not entirely correct.. As the B and E strings are unwound, unlike the heavier bass strings the different thicknesses of these two strings has a larger bearing on the tension of the strings and is further adjusted by using a compensated saddle along with the angle of the saddle affecting overall string length. With a Gibson guitar, for example, we will get a measurement of 12 and three-eighths inches. Your guitar’s scale length matters because it can make a whole lot of difference to your performance. Enter your email address below and we’ll notify you when we publish something new. Pick up two guitars that are otherwise identically constructed – same … A typical Board Nut Offset (the distance from the end of the board to the nut slot) is .250″ (1/4) but it can be as little as .125″ (1/8). If you are measuring a Short Scale Length guitar (24.9"), you should measure around 25" or maybe a little less. How To Measure Guitar Scale Length. No spam, nothing to sell, just sharing good info. '04 Hommage is 270 mm '08 Holo Busato Derivative is 275 mm By the way, back in early May '08 when requesting you make me a guitar, I never specified a scale length. Even with two seemingly identical guitars; same construction, same neck profile, fretboard radius, hardware and pickups, the same type of gauge strings, you’ll still play differently on each if they’re made to 24.75’’ and 25.5’’ scale lengths respectively. The scale length of a guitar has a large impact on the sound and feel of the guitar. https://theacousticguitarist.com/how-to-measure-guitar-scale-length/#:~:text=%20Today%20we%20are%20going%20to%20cover%20how,accurate%20way%20to%20measure%20scale%20length%20More%20, https://www.soundpure.com/a/expert-advice/guitars/how-to-measure-scale-length-on-a-guitar/, https://guitargearfinder.com/guides/ultimate-guide-to-guitar-scale-length/, https://theacousticguitarist.com/how-to-measure-guitar-scale-length/, https://sixstringacoustic.com/what-is-scale-length-on-a-guitar, https://blog.andertons.co.uk/learn/understanding-guitar-scale-length, https://www.stewmac.com/video-and-ideas/online-resources/learn-about-guitar-and-instrument-fretting-and-fretwork/scale-length-explained.html, https://www.guitarmasterclass.net/guitar_forum/index.php?act=attach&type=post&id=1015, https://www.stringsdirect.co.uk/blog/how-to-measure-bass-scale-length/, https://guitargearfinder.com/guides/everything-you-need-to-know-about-guitar-sizes/, https://www.stewmac.com/FretCalculator.html, http://www.dontfret.com/guitar_scale_length.html, https://www.guitarplayer.com/gear/5-things-you-need-to-know-about-scale-length, https://www.djangobooks.com/forum/discussion/6373/how-to-measure-scale-length, http://guitarcareplayingtips.com/tip170.html, https://www.12fret.com/repairs/scale-lengths/, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scale_length_(string_instruments), https://www.lmii.com/blog/fret-scale-and-fingerboard-length-calculator/, Read Even a small difference in scale length can feel completely different when playing. The three major classes of instruments in this matter are those with unstopped strings such as pianos and harps, those with stopped strings but do … Acoustic Guitar Nut Width + Comparison Chart, Acoustic Guitars that Play like Electrics, Why Good Acoustic Guitars Are So Expensive. These unique guitar fretboard maps are designed to work on Acoustic guitars and Electric guitars that have a 25" to 25.5" scale length, and Bass guitars that have a 34" scale length. distance from bridge to nut or in the Brian may case the Zero fret to the bridge What's an accurate way to measure the scale length of your guitar? Hence, all good acoustic guitars feature an angled saddle which compensates for the properties of the guitar strings and differences in gauges. Select based on if you entered a scale length of inches or millimeters. Measure the overall depth of the guitar from the back of the guitar to the front, including the bridge. Tags: fret scale, fretting scale, guitar scale, scale, scale length The scale length of an instrument is the distance from the nut to the bridge . We’ve seen that scale length is not the same as string length and that the way to measure scale length is from the nut to the 12th fret, then double the number. Figure 2: Measuring the Scale Length of Jackson Soloist Note: When taking this measurement, the ruler should be You measure a guitar’s scale length by measuring from the bridge to the guitar’s nut as shown in the below diagram: Measure the width of the guitar's body at its narrowest point. Check out the link below for more on the scale length and why you might want to measure this. Gibson has used other scale lengths …. While this method has been used on a small number of acoustic guitars over the years, this isn’t the case for most acoustic guitars as adding metal in any form to the bridge of an acoustic guitar will affect the soundboard’s ability to resonate, which indirectly affects both tone and volume. To measure the scale length of a guitar, you simply measure the distance from the edge of the nut to the center of the 12 th fret and multiply that measurement by two. Let's think about how we look at height and hand size. Typically 19, 21, 22, or 24 What is scale length? Scale length is one of the fundamental building blocks of a guitar’s recipe, with a wide-ranging impact on the feel, tone, and performance. How The Acoustic Guitar Works (A SIMPLE GUIDE), The Best Acoustic Guitar Strings for a Warm Sound, The Difference Between Electric And Acoustic Guitar Strings. Why scale length is measured between the nut and 12th fret. When we talk about the overtones affected by scale length, we mean all the harmonic elements that make up the sound of any note, not just the harmonic nodes (or “natural harmonics”) you play by lightly touching a string above the 5th, 7th, or 12th fret.CHARACTERISTICS OF SCALE LENGTH CANNOT BE TRICKED OR CHEATED. Why scale length is measured between the nut and 12th fret. 2. There is no "perfect" scale length; manufacturers select an instrument's scale to achieve particular qualities for the guitar they are designing. So much so that we need to make this one a two-parter. This number is then doubled as it is half the distance from the inside of the nut to the saddle. describe? Select based on if you entered a scale length of inches or millimeters. So if you measure 12 ¾ inches from the nut to the 12 th fret then the scale length will be 25 ½ inches. I hate to break it to you but your guitar is probably never 100% completely in tune. I measure 25.5" if I measure at the G string, a little longer at the Bass E string. distance between where the strings contact the nut and where they contact the bridge eval(ez_write_tag([[250,250],'theacousticguitarist_com-medrectangle-3','ezslot_0',143,'0','0']));Many people believe the true scale length of a guitar is the length of the guitar strings that are able to freely vibrate, this is even how Wikipedia defines scale length but this is not entirely correct. The best way to determine the scale length of a guitar is to measure the distance between its nut and the centre of its 12th fret. What is the Scale Length and how to measure it; Bout Depth. The scale length of a guitar is, in common parlance, the distance from the nut to the saddle, and, more precisely, the distance from the nut to the 12th fret multiplied by two (don’t miss our post on measuring scale length if you need to take this measurement on your own guitar). Tune-O-matic bridges, as seen on many Gibson electric guitars look and work slightly differently, although the basic principles is the same. "It’s like spilling … Bob - Thanks for the simple scale length measurement method! Double that distance to get the scale length … Once you’ve discovered the value, double it. While scale length itself is simple to measure (from inside of the nut to the 12th fret) as can be seen through the use of angled and compensated saddles, not to mention other innovations such as multi-scale or fanned frets the scale length issue has long been a problem for stringed instruments and makes simply measuring the length of the string able to freely vibrate inaccurate. When a guitar is played, the entire length of the string vibrates between these two points of contact.eval(ez_write_tag([[300,250],'theacousticguitarist_com-medrectangle-4','ezslot_10',130,'0','0'])); Common sense would dictate that scale length could then be measured by measuring the distance between the nut and the saddle, rather than measuring to the 12th fret and then doubling the number. The inherent tonal character of different scale lengths is the main reason that it’s very difficult to “fake” one major maker’s tone with the guitar of another. If the properties of each individual string were exactly the same this would indeed be the case, but as can be seen when observing your high E string in comparison to the thicker, wound low E, this isn’t the case at all. In this video, Sound Pure's resident luthier Rob Sharer demonstrates how to easily and precisely measure the scale length of a guitar. To complicate matters the amount of stretch is affected by the length of the string, which as we know changes when we fret notes. Whether your guitar is hardtail or vibrato-loaded, set-neck or bolt-on, humbucker or single-coil, its scale length influences the character of its sound before any other components even get to join in the game.NO, REALLY, SCALE LENGTH HAS A MAJOR IMPACT ON TONE. Coupon for Are Acoustic Guitars Really Harder to Play Than Electric? Want to share a thought about how scale length is best measured? Scale lengths tend to differ between guitar manufacturers. On electric guitars, (at least in many cases) each string has an adjustable metal saddle. the E and B strings. The additional length the angle affords the lower heavier strings compensates for the additional mass of the strings. My Taylor 12 String specs are Long Scale Length 25.5". To further complicate matters, as each string is of a different thickness (gauge) the amount of stretch will vary based on each individual strings properties, even considering the changing length of the string when fretted. Basic physic principles of wavelength and frequency dictate that the 12th fret of a guitar, which marks a pitch one octave above the open-string note, falls at the halfway point of the free-vibrating section of the spring. Selecting your instrument also calculates the bridge position for proper intonation. Amazon and the Amazon logo are trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc, or its affiliates. This measurement not only determines the placement of the frets for proper intonation, but has a profound effect on string tension, tone, and in some cases, tuning stability. more ››. Scale length for bass guitars can be a rather grey area due to the huge variation of basses and strings on the market today. Theacousticguitarist.com also participates in various other affiliate programs, and we receive a commission from purchases made through our links. Compensated saddles are used to adjust for the differences between the high E and B strings mass. To compensate for these factors, your bridge saddle is positioned on an angle, which increases the length of the heavier, wound bass strings compared to the higher strings e.g. While you may believ… For example, if you measure the distance from the nut to the 12th fret on a Fender Stratocaster, you should get 12.75″ or 324mm. It is also true that the mass of each string also affects the strings ability to vibrate. Compensated saddles also fractionally change the length of a guitar string. Pretty close to 25.4 ! Measure the total length of the guitar from the tip of the head to the tip of the tail. You measure a guitar’s scale length by measuring from the bridge to the guitar’s nut as shown in the below diagram: Typically 19, 21, 22, or 24 What is scale length? This will also provide you with nut-to-fret and fret-to-fret dimensions. The scale length is the most important measure for a guitar because it impacts how a guitar feels when you play it. Theacousticguitarist.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. measure? If you are measuring a Short Scale Length guitar (24.9"), you should measure around 25" or maybe a little less. 3. A guitar’s (or any fretted instrument’s) scale length is the basic distance between the nut or zero fret and the bridge’s saddle. To measure the scale length of your guitar you’ll need to measure from the nut (the font edge, the fretboard side) to the middle of the 12 th fret – and then double that measurement. A guitar’s (or any fretted instrument’s) scale length is the basic distance between the nut or zero fret and the bridge’s saddle. Copyright © 2018-2020 All rights reserved. By using this tool, you can determine the length fingerboard you should purchase. As with all things strings and musical instruments, there’s often some idiosyncrasies that throw curve balls into the mix so we’re here to help clear things up and guide you as you navigate your way through the (sometimes) murky waters of scale lengths. Gibson has used other scale lengths … In a nutshell this means the actual vibrating length of each string must be adjusted for based on the physical properties of the string. How to find your guitar scale or string length. Pretty close to 25.4 ! Guitar strings are suspended between the saddle (the last point of contact for the strings on the guitar body) and the nut (the last point of contact on the neck) adjacent to the first fret of the guitar. Scale Length. Please note, the fret calculator will not convert scale lengths, you can use our measurement converter to convert your scale length. Gibson uses a scale length of 24.75 in (628 mm) on many of its electric guitars, including the Les Paul, Flying V, Explorer, SG, and ES-335. When notes are fretted on a guitar neck, the guitar string is pushed down against the fretboard, causing it to stretch. In general however, most guitarists with experience playing both short and standard scale guitars would consider a standard scale length to be 25.5 inches (648mm). This extra length is called "compensation," and it means the actual string length is longer than its 24-3/4" scale measurement. Please note, the fret calculator will not convert scale lengths, you can use our measurement converter to convert your scale length. Why the length of your strings between the nut and the saddle is not an accurate way to measure scale length by fretting a note and reducing the length that can vibrate, the pitch is raised. This measurement not only determines the placement of the frets for proper intonation, but has a profound effect on string tension, tone, and in some cases, tuning stability. These unique guitar fretboard maps are designed to work on Acoustic guitars and Electric guitars that have a 25" to 25.5" scale length, and Bass guitars that have a 34" scale length. eval(ez_write_tag([[468,60],'theacousticguitarist_com-box-3','ezslot_11',124,'0','0']));Today we are going to cover how to measure guitar scale length, including: 1. The definition of what a short scale guitar is, is therefore not strictly standard across all acoustic guitars. And voila – you’ve established the scale length. Due to the angle of the bridge, each string will be a slightly different length. Fender has also built some 3/4-size student guitars with a scale length of 22.5 inches (570 mm) or shorter. We know that when the string’s length is shortened e.g. '04 Hommage is 270 mm '08 Holo Busato Derivative is 275 mm By the way, back in early May '08 when requesting you make me a guitar, I never specified a scale length. The correct way to measure scale length As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. A typical Board Nut Offset (the distance from the end of the board to the nut slot) is .250″ (1/4) but it can be as little as .125″ (1/8).