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pcalia davegross GypsyBassGuitar Sultan_of_Swing

A guitar thats easy to play

I have heard that a longer scale length has a higher string tension than a shorter scale. Does anyone know if that is true? ANd what are the advantages of getting a guitar with a longer scale length? I am trying to find a gypsy guitar that is easy to play. Thanks.

Comments

  • KoratKorat NetherlandsNew
    Posts: 51
    As I understand it the loudness of the oval hole is in part due to the longer scale. However, several luthiers state that sthe sound itself can be achieved starting at a 24 inch scale, albeit not as loud. Selmers comes from an era where there was no amplifiction, so having an intrument that was very loud was essential. As far as I know all oval holes produced today have a scale of aprox. 26.4. scale., though one of my friends has an old Sage with a 26 scale, he bought it new about 10 years ago. If you want a shorter scale I think the only option is to have one built. This is expensive however. I know Dutch luthier Gerrit van Bergijck builds shorter scales on a more or less regular basis for Japanese customers. In Holland His intruments start at 2500 euro (this price does include tax a non-european does not have to pay), so I am not sure what it will cost for a non-european.
    If at first you don't succeed, skydiving is not for you.
  • BluesBop HarryBluesBop Harry Mexico city, MexicoVirtuoso
    Posts: 1,378
    My two cents:
    Longer scale does make for higher string tension.
    One advantage of this is that you can attack the strings with more force.
    Also depending on the size of your hands it can be more comfortable to have a wider space between frets.
    A different scale lenght produces a different sound, it's been suggested that a long scale D-hole would have more in common in tone with an oval hole than with a short scale D-hole.
    I'm not sure the longer scale really contributes to volume, though.

    Most D-holes are short scale 648-650mm. though recently they have become also available with the longer 670mm. scale. On the other hand, it's not easy to find a short scale oval.
    Another thing to consider is that most times a shorter scale neck will meet the body of the guitar at the 12th fret as opposed to the 14th on long scale models.
    In my personal experience, with the smaller distance between frets you have a better playability in terms of stretches, and the softer string tension promotes legato, bends and vibrato as well as being easier to fret, but you have a more limited reach to the higher frets.

    If your looking for a not too expensive guitar that's loud and easy to play I'd recommend a Gitane D-500, I've played several and they all have been consistently loud and with a good setup they play well and sound cool.

    Good luck!
  • mmaslanmmaslan Santa Barbara, CANew
    Posts: 87
    Keep in mind that the longer scale guitars are usually strung with lighter strings, which offsets the difference in tension. The challenge is not the string tension but the increase in distance between frets. I don't find this bothersome for playing lead myself, but I do sometimes wonder whether some gypsy chord voicings might be easier to play on the shorter-scale d-hole, especially when the thumb is supposed be higher on the fretboard than the other fingers.

    On the other hand, traditional d-holes have very wide necks, and this can pose its own challenges. The narrower width of the traditional oval hole neck is likely to require less adjustment for those switching from a flattop steel-string guitar or an electric. If you play a classical guitar, the d-hole's neck will probably feel more familiar. Keep in mind the clearance issue too. It was above all the extra two frets clear of the neck that decided me on the oval hole.
  • Posts: 33
    Thanks for the replies. So then what would be the string gauge to use for the longer scale guitar? And what is the neck width at the nut for the longer scale guitars? Are they narrower than the D-hole style?
  • mmaslanmmaslan Santa Barbara, CANew
    Posts: 87
    Gages: 10-45 for the oval hole, 11-46 for the d hole. Appropriate strings are for sale on this site: http://www.djangobooks.com/archives/2004/01/12/gypsy_jazz_strings.html#000179

    Nut width: The Gitane 500 (d hole) is 1 7/8" at the nut; the 255 (oval) is 1 3/4, which is what you'd find on a standard Martin OM. I don't know about string width at the bridge. But I think others will agree that the eight of an in makes a notable difference.
  • KoratKorat NetherlandsNew
    Posts: 51
    A different scale lenght produces a different sound, it's been suggested that a long scale D-hole would have more in common in tone with an oval hole than with a short scale D-hole.
    I'm not sure the longer scale really contributes to volume, though.

    Most D-holes are short scale 648-650mm. though recently they have become also available with the longer 670mm. scale. On the other hand, it's not easy to find a short scale oval.
    Another thing to consider is that most times a shorter scale neck will meet the body of the guitar at the 12th fret as opposed to the 14th on long scale models.
    I tried a long scale D-hole with a neck that me the body at fret 14. I found it (a lot) louder than a shorter scale D-hole, but the sound was more or less standard for a D-hole. But being very loud may have something to do with the quality of the intrument itself, as it was an expenseve handmade Boonstra. Like I stated in a previous post, some builders claim the scale itself contributes to the output. But as you pointed out yourself a shorter scale oval hole is very difficult to find so a direct comparison will be difficult. I for one have never seen or played one but for a 66cm scale. I did not find a big difference in output So maybe the claims of the builders are a bit over the top.
    If at first you don't succeed, skydiving is not for you.
  • djadamdjadam Boulder, CONew
    Posts: 249
    Thanks for the replies. So then what would be the string gauge to use for the longer scale guitar?

    I've started using Silk & Steel type strings for my long-scale guitars and I quite like them. They have a nice relaxed tension, are silvered like gypsy strings, and sound great without a break-in period. They don't last quite as long as standard strings, but are generally cheaper. The Martin S&S strings are my faves of the three I've tried and seem to last a little longer.
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