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Need opinions

MarcdMarcd Westport, CTNew Bernabe M15, Martin OM28 MD

I am new to this site and to the genre of Gypsy Jazz Guitar. I have played classical guitar and steel string acoustic for decades.

I've ordered Michael Horowitz book on Gypsy picking and I am contemplating a gypsy guitar as well.

Why is the 670 mm scale the standard with Gypsy guitars? Is there a sonic trade-off for the 650 mm scale? What are the characteristics differences between the 14 v 12 fret neck? In the case of a 650 scale is it important to have a 14 fret design?

I welcome and appreciate any advice and opinions , thanks!0


  • TwangTwang New
    Posts: 235

    There were no amps when these guitars were first built so the longer scale helps with the louder volume. Longer string length means more tension in the strings so you can dig in more and the extra tension is probably making the top vibrate more.

    You can get 12 and 14 fret guitars in shorter scales. Long scale 12 fret guitars are uncommon but makers will build you anything you like.

    A short answer for you, if you are not sure what to buy, is start with a long scale 14 fret oval hole and take it from there. Buy from somewhere reputable where you can get specialist advice such as this website.

  • pdgpdg ✭✭
    Posts: 159

    Selmer went to 14 fret necks because the players wanted it. But they only minimally redesigned the body (particularly where the bridge goes), so they had to extend the string length. At the time, the sound from a longer scale length wasn't a factor, I believe, just the extra two frets access.

    The tone with the longer scale seems to be more piercing ("cutting"), less overall warm (an overgeneralization). Not sure about "volume"-- it may depend on which frequencies you're measuring.

    Short scale for these guitars is typically 640mm, not 650mm. More like many Gibsons, shorter than most Fenders or Martins (650mm).

    Some people say you can typically play more complex fast things more easily with a shorter scale. But many top players make that claim seem ludicrous!

    Bireli Lagrene played a Hahl (14 fret) short-scale guitar (but 650mm) for years.

    BucoBill Da Costa Williams
  • TwangTwang New
    Posts: 235

    I suppose when I said volume I meant compared to other non gypsy guitars. The first time I went to Samois I only had a dreadnought. I felt pretty inadequate volume wise (and in every other guitar playing respect for that matter). People are always telling me I'm too loud 😥😁

  • MikeKMikeK Asheville, NCNew Altamira M-10, Altamira M-01D, Epiphone Joe Pass
    Posts: 99

    If it's too loud, you're too old!

    BucoBill Da Costa WilliamsBonesTwang
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