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Scale Differences?

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this is probably a stupid question but I've never built a guitar, but I'm looking at an sg style body and they say its a 24.75 scale with a 57mm neck pocket, from my understanding scale refers to the distance between the nut and the bridge. someone tell me if im wrong... which is why i dont see how a body can have a scale... so is it possible to add a neck of a different scale a 25.5 scale 24 fret neck onto that body? and the neck is listed as a 56 mm does the 1 mm difference really change anything? thanks for any help

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They're probably referring to the placement of the bridge.

If you put a neck with a different scale on there, you'll most likely have to move the bridge. That means filling holes and drilling new holes. Not a big deal---but only if you're moving the bridge BACKWARD.

And yeah, one mm is a lot in a neck pocket...you want the neck to fit as tightly as possible.

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As you stated yourself, the scale is the distance between the nut and the bridge.

If a guitar is constructed for a 24.75" scale, that means that the neck falls in a specific position to then work with the bridge. If you now stick a 25.5" scale neck in the same neck pocket, the bridge will not be in the right spot anymore.

If you're building a guitar from scratch, and you're in the early stages of building, "minor" changes like that are not really catastrophical. If you're fixing up a guitar, or building from various parts, it will be more involved.

Possibly even impossible, depending on the guitar....


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I have no idea of your skill level or how much research you have done on your project. That being said, if this is you first build you may want to keep it simple. If you understand that putting a neck on a body it is not supposed to be on will definently(sp) make more work for you - and if you are reasonably sure you are up to the challenge - then have a go at it. However if you are unsure about exactly what is going on, ie where component placement will have to be modified, you may want to try to stay more mainstream. I think that you would be very well informed to follow Setch's advice about the neck pocket and neck being different by 1mm. Nobody likes a squirrely neck, that won't stay put.That is unless you have an unhealthy relationship with your tuner, and never want to play the same instrument twice! Do a little more research and see what informed conclusion you come to. Good luck, and welcome to the forum!

Nate Robinson :D

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I suspect I'm not fully addressing the specific question, but a general response:

The reason a different scale neck has a tricky time working is that there's a third factor. If it was just the nut and bridge, you could theoretically put any neck on any body. But you can't. Why? The third factor is the neck pocket.

Because the neck pocket creates a constant and unchangeable distance from the bridge to the 'end' of the fretboard, changing scales means that something has to give. The nut's not going anywhere, which means you MUST modify either the pocket or the bridge location.

An example to illustrate:

You have a 25.5" scale guitar, with 22 frets. Let's say the end of your neck is where fret 23 is in "theory" but of course there's no actual fret there. After calculating, you discover that the end of the neck is exactly 6.75" away from the bridge (well, the high E saddle of the bridge).

You want to switch to 24.75" instead, and you figure, "Hey, this should work. After all, it's only the distance from the nut to the bridge that's changing." HOWEVER, you haven't modified the neck pocket or moved the bridge. That means that from the end of the neck to the bridge, you STILL have 6.75", right? Trouble is, when you calculate a 24.75" scale, the end of the neck WANTS to be 6.55" away from the bridge, instead.

0.2" (a fifth of an inch!) is a lot, when it comes to intonation. A whole lot. Most guitars won't let you adjust the bridge that much forward in the first place. If you were lucky enough to squeak it in (I highly doubt it), you would screw up your trem's action, or might end up bumping into your bridge pickup.

I just don't see any way it would be possible.


Now, going in reverse and not bothering to do the math: if you go for a longer scale length instead, your bridge wants to be FURTHER away from the neck pocket. Most of us already back up that low E string almost as much as it will go when intonating.


OK, so that's why a body DOES have a scale. I'm sure there are some ways to work around this, though. If you calculated all 3 of the factors and custom-made a neck, you could find a way to work around it. It's just math, after all. Seems like a lot of work, though, and probably for an unsatisfactory end result.


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