As a long scale guitar needs more tension in the strings to bring it to pitch, it’s tougher on the fretting hand to work with. The reduced spacing can benefit players with narrow or short fingers, whereas if you have thick or long fingers you’ll want that bit extra space that a long scale will give you. You could cut a guitar string down to the length needed for the bowed psaltery. In this article, we’re going to explain what scale length is, how you measure it, the main differences between long and scale guitars, and finally scale length by manufacturers (because they differ from guitar maker to maker). Blake demonstrates the four key measurements necessary to get your guitar's action perfect. Some brands give general names to their packs like light, medium, or thick, respectively. That means you can’t just measure from the nut to the saddle, as each string will be a different length! How to make this illumination effect with CSS, How to change space between columns in matrix. From here, it’s time to experiment. A thinner set of strings would thus resolve this issue, as their tension would be lower when brought up to pitch. However, different brands will vary the thickness of equivalent strings. Strings are commonly made of stainless steel, nickel, cobalt or copper. If you have small hands, a short-scale guitar like a Fender Mustang (24″) will feel more comfortable to play than a hefty baritone! Action Adjustment Set for Electric Guitar, Find the proper fret position with the official Stewart-MacDonald Fret Calculator, Stewart-MacDonald is PCI compliant and validated for secure e-commerce. Helped me immensely when no other website could! Also, the measure of guitar strings go by their gauge size. For some guitarists, the details are everything when it comes to choosing the right instrument. If you're planning on setting up your guitar, there are a few tools that come in really handy to get the right measurements. Of course, a lot of brands convert these to metric measurements so that the rest of the world can interpret them more easily! For example, if a long-scale 27″ baritone guitar is fitted with a set of 10-46 gauge strings, then it might feel difficult to play. (I doubt anybody even sells "psaltery strings".). He's a multi-instrumentalist and loves researching, writing, and geeking out about music. What's the red, white and blue (with stars) banner that Trump was using on the stage in his election campaign? For instance, a lot of brands that create Gibson-inspired instruments will still adhere to their shorter scale lengths. Wind the wire tightly around some cylindrical object, measure the length of the coil and divide by the number of turns. Light strings take less effort to bend. Guitar string size, or gauge, is measured in thousandths of an inch. I found this link for a company that sells "12-gauge" bowed psaltery string wire in 20-foot and 100-foot spools. Thanks for contributing an answer to Music: Practice & Theory Stack Exchange! FREE Shipping with StewMAX is now available! The source of the instrument is unknown and it didn't come with spare wire or documentation. Making statements based on opinion; back them up with references or personal experience. Buy a T Shirt: So if you’re worried that the strings on your Les Paul feel too floppy, don’t fret! As we mentioned in the introduction, a guitar’s scale length plays a big part in its overall playability. Blues styles favour a lot of string bending. Something approximately like this: One needs to make sure the coil is wound tightly with no gaps or overlaps, which can get tricky for a thin wire. Obviously, it would be best to physically compare instruments in order to gauge which scale lengths personally suit you. They also may want to tune their guitars down to a lower pitch (a job well suited to heavier strings). Best Online Guitar Lessons in 2020 – Reviewed & Ranked, Guitar String Spacing – What You Need to Know, Firefly Guitars – Budget Versions of Legendary Guitars. Does the scale length of a guitar affect its playability and tone? The rest is history, as they say. It’s worth stating that string gauge is extremely subjective and you could potentially use almost any gauge for any genre. Neck vs Bridge Pickup on a Guitar – What’s the Difference? Baseball batters have it easy. Thicker strings certainly help build up both picking strength and endurance in your fretting hand. And lets face it, us guitarists are very particular about our gear – so scale length definitely matters! String gauge also plays a big part, and different gauges of strings can be used to compensate for certain scale lengths. A .056 is very thick and would be the thickest on a six-string. So, we take our String Action Gauge - - I'm going to get down, level with the guitar, and look at our low E string. A long scale guitar can sometimes lend itself more to flatpicking (though not always). The long scale guitar also tends to have more volume, especially strumming. String gauge refers to the thickness or diameter of the string – the smaller the number, the thinner the string. But we’ll do our best to describe them! 5 Main Types of Guitar Saddles – Main Differences including Materials Used, The Guitar Volute Explained – Why its Required on Some Guitars, ©2020 - It turns out scale length – whether it’s a long scale or short scale – plays a big part. It’s measured in 1/1000th of an inch. Biggest Acoustic Guitar Kit Sale of the Year! All Rights Reserved Registered Address – Dramatik, c/o Wesley Offices, 74 Silver Street, Bristol, BS48 2DS, How to Measure Guitar Scale Length Correctly, Long Scale vs Short Scale Guitar – Key Differences, Guitar Scale Length Charts by Manufacturer, Guitar Scale Length Chart (Miscellaneous), Most modern acoustics (J-45 Legend, etc. odd one out by 00abstrahiert99, Attribution 2.0 Generic. By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy. He's also got an unhealthy obsession with vintage VW Campervans. Do I need HDMI-to-VGA or VGA-to-HDMI adapter? PRS has joined the conversation. But what if I told you that scale length has just as big an impact on the tone and playability as many of the above. To learn more, see our tips on writing great answers. For example, a .008 string is extremely light and would generally be used for the thinnest string on an electric guitar. Why doesn't a mercury thermometer follow the rules of volume dilatation? A long scale guitar can sometimes lend itself more to flatpicking (though not always). Micro-Practicing: The Most Underrated Way to Practice Guitar. Great if you’re playing lots of notes in quick succession. With his flagship Custom 24 and 22 models, Smith pioneered a 25″ hybrid scale length that could give both Fender and Gibson users a familiar feel and sound, while also creating something completely new and original of his own. 03/09/16 11:59am - 6 min read | 21 min watch. The downside is they don’t sound quite as chunky or produce as much power as their thicker equivalents, especially on the lower-tuned strings. Can you store frozen dinners in the refrigerator for up to a week before eating them? Asking for help, clarification, or responding to other answers. Use a ruler graduated in 32nds or 64ths of an inch to measure the height of the top and bottom E strings. For example, a shorter scale guitar like a Gibson Les Paul (24.75″) will have frets that are slightly closer together than those on a Fender Stratocaster (25.5″). It’s that simple! The Les Paul is a Les Paul Classic & the Strat is a modded Squier Classic Vibe. Privacy Policy. Problem: what gauge? If you ever needed or wanted to measure strings, you’d probably need to use something like this digital micrometer which would be able to measure this for you but be careful to use the inches number not fractions or millimeters. You’ll see some guitars with relatively short scale lengths, and others that appear to be a bit longer. You’ve played through your current set of guitar strings. You essentially get the best of both worlds – a meatier tone for riffing with the bonus fretting ease on the thinner, upper strings. Guitar Calluses: How long does it take to get them? How to break the cycle of taking on more debt to pay the rates for debt I already have? Why is that? And if you look closely enough, you’ll see that some guitars will have scale lengths that are different to others. A pack of 12's might often have the following gauges: Some players prefer a heavier string on their acoustic guitars. That means, in general, they’ll be easier to play for many beginner guitarists because they require less finger strength. We use cookies on our website to make sure you get the best experience. They standardised string gauges with their all-purpose nickel-wound Slinky string packs. This is because, in most cases, a guitar bridge will feature individual string saddles which can be adjusted to move forward and back. Andertons Drummers YouTube Channel: Don’t be afraid to switch brands, as one company might have a couple of strings with different gauges in similar packs you prefer. Generally, if you pick a heavier gauge of high E string, than you're going to get heavier B, G, D, A, and E strings. As the world’s largest guitar brands are American, and for the most part, the USA still uses the older imperial system; measuring in inches has remained the industry standard. Radius gauges usually come in a set, so if you’re unsure which one to use, try a few and pick the one that best matches the arc of your fretboard. Acoustic guitarists generally favour thicker strings as they provide more volume, warmth and resonance – key requirements for an acoustic instrument. Otherwise, a cheap micrometer can be had for $10-15 from any number of auction sites. With more string tension present in a guitar with a longer scale length, this means that it should produce a strong and focused sound with great low-end clarity. When Should You Change Your Guitar Strings? Here’s a super simple guide to what’s ideal for your musical style, so you can cut the faff and get playing. This is to cater for some players that like the tightness of the low strings but want to relieve the tension on the high strings, and vice versa. This is easiest to achieve using thinner strings. Must I bring those other passports whenever I use the BNO one? With that in mind, let’s use the Les Paul vs. Stratocaster scale length example again. So in other words, a guitar’s scale length is determined by the gap between the two main components that seat its strings. A good starting place is to find out what your favourite guitarists use, or what musicians use in the genre you play. The high E string, for example, can be .010, .011, or .012 inches wide. Bear with me. Scale Length. Pop music suits lighter strings, too, as the sound is more focused on higher middle and treble frequencies than they are bass. Guitars are deemed as either having a long scale or a short scale based on the length, which as we’ll see plays a surprisingly significant role in the overall playability of the guitar. How do I measure the scale length of my guitar? Whether you're looking for something traditional or exotic, StewMac has the fingerboards for you. A guitar-shop repair person ought to be able to compare the broken string to strings they have in stock to determine the correct diameter. Cheers It’s measured in 1/1000th of an inch. Other popular brands include D’Addario, Elixir, Rotosound, Fender, Dunlop and newcomers Curt Mangan. Having studied Music and Music Technology, his interests lie equally in both performance and production. For more information on the other topics mentioned in this guide, check out our related articles: © 2020 Andertons Music Company This is part of the reason why Les Pauls are known for sounding thick, harmonically rich and generous in sustain. Lightest gauge strings for a 12-string acoustic? Body shape, color, pickups, neck shape, pickups? pitch as a function of tension. This is to cater for contemporary players that perhaps prefer punchier and more articulate guitar tones, especially if they’re into metal. Each company has a different take on string gauge combinations. But what difference does scale length make? What are the typical things you consider when buying a guitar? A pack of10's would have the following gauges: This set of string thickness is more common for players who really beat the crap out of their guitars and want the strings to last: 11's are considered a light gauge for acoustic guitar strings, though I'm sure you can find lighter ones if you searched hard enough.