Sunday, May 10, 2009

Quick Music Fact...Neck Scale Length Affects String Tension and Feel

Did you know the same gauge string can feel floppier or stiffer on another guitar with a different scale length!.009's will feel stiffer on a longer scale neck just as .010's will feel floppier or looser on a shorter scale guitar neck.
Gibson generally use a 24.75 scale length. Fender normally use a 25.5 scale length. Martin, PRS and several others use a middle scale length of 25. Fender Jaguars and Mustangs, and Gibson Byrdlands, have shorter-than-average scale lengths. A short scale length means that the strings are under less tension at a certain tuning, giving them a looser feel.You can put heavier gauge strings on a short-scale guitar to get a similar feel to a long-scale guitar (ie 10s or 11s instead of 9s). Longer scale lengths produce tighter string tension.


Jol said...

It's not just the scale length that affects the tension either. The overall length of the string enters the equation as well. This is why when you string a Stratocaster upside down the low E achieves more tension.

Like most things, the more you learn, the more there is to learn.


G said...

Good point on string length Jol.And the upside down makes since since the gears are now reversed!

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