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Scale length?


patd
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What is Scale length? I mean i know it has to do with the length of your neck but what is the scale length of my guitar if the distance from the nut of my guitar to the end of my fretboard is roughly 19 1/2 inches?

I'm building the neck of my guitar right now and need to know what scale length i need to use for my fretboard so i can place the frets as accurately as possible.

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The scale length is the average length of your *STRING* (not neck) from the nut to the saddle.

I say average length because due to intonation your strings will probably not have exactly a 25.5", 25.75" or whatever scale.

Honestly the length from the nut to the end of the fretboard has no determination whatsoever on your scale length except for the fact that your bridge has to be longer than that. So to answer your question. The scale is anything over 19.5". In other words you have to decide yourself.

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The distance from the nut to the 12th fret is 1/2 of what the guitar's scale length is. Most Gibsons have a 24 3/4" (actually a bit shorter but I won't go into that now). Typical Fender is 25 1/2 ". Paul Reed Smith is 25". I had to replace the fret-board on a Chandler Jackson copy neck and as long as I was doing that, I thought I should do something a little different, so I bought a fret-scale ruler from Stew-mac and made the new fret-board have a 25" (Paul Reed Smith) scale, by using a zero fret. The zero fret is just a half an inch closer to the body than the original nut location, then I had a locking nut at the original nut location. I prefer the zero fret after using it. Only problem is that I scalloped the fret-board on this guitar and I found my heavy left hand doesn't work so well with scallops (I'm left handed but play guitar right handed). Then I took the floyd off that guitar and replaced it with a WD that didn't come with a nut, so the guitar is in limbo now. 25" scale was a nice way to tame the metallic sounding locking trem, though. Made the guitar warmer and quite "Gibsonish" sounding.

I had a Squire strat with a 24 3/4" scale that was VERY Les Paul sounding.

That's cool because a strat body is so much more comfortable than a Pauls.

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The scale length is the average length of your *STRING* (not neck) from the nut to the saddle.

You can always measure the length from the nut to the 12th fret and double it to get the length of the string. :D

Of course, if you don't have frets at all, there's a bit of math to do there. B)

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You can always measure the length from the nut to the 12th fret and double it to get the length of the string. B)

Of course, if you don't have frets at all, there's a bit of math to do there. :D

Yeah, since he hasn't fretted the board yet, the scale length is still totally up in the air. Really all he has to go on is where he wants to put the bridge.

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  • 3 years later...

Soapbar just did, but here it is again:

Most Gibsons: 24.75"
Most Fenders, Ibanezes, ESPs, Jacksons, Etc. etc.: 25.5"
Most PRSs: 25"

Different models have different scale lengths, and googling the model + 'scale length' should get you the answer you need very quickly. Honestly, pick one you like, and stick with it.

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Only I add so much garbage (as I often do), that the little bit of important info in my post gets lost in the mess.

Fender Mustang, Brian May and quite a few others : 24" scale

Danelectro : 25" scale.

You could go to StewMac and check out their expanded line of fret-scale rulers. A+ to them for going into more detail on an old tool like that. Hope they're always willing to do that with any tool they have. See, the garbage started pouring out.

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I have decided to make all my guitars 25.5 inch scale

I feel that this is the most comfortable for me as I find the shoter lengths to crammed up when I am playing

I am building a gibson style guitar with 25.5 scale

so I should make sure that the distance from the bridge to the 12 fret

and 12 fret to nut are the same

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[quote name='wildchild247' post='270019' date='May 23 2006, 08:39 AM']
so I should make sure that the distance from the bridge to the 12 fret

and 12 fret to nut are the same
[/quote]

No, you should make sure the distance from the nut to the high E saddle fits the scale. It's not exactly the same thing.

Use [url="http://www.stewmac.com/FretCalculator/"]StewMac's fret scale calculator [/url] to determine the exact placement of the bridge you're going to use. For a TOM, for example, the treble side post is placed slightly longer than scale--and the bass side post gets placed slightly farther back than that.

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1) Click on the link to StewMac's fret calculator

2) Type in the various things, hit the caclulate button

3) Witness details on bridge placement.

Basically, you've got compensation to contend with, which will place your saddles for all strings a bit further back than the scale length mark (0.5-1mm for the high E, about 3mm for the low E, ish). The StewMac calculator tells you where to drill the posts relative to the nut/fingerboard for a variety of common bridges. Diagrams are unnecessary, just the ability to use a rule and measure.

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