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  #16  
Old 04-29-2019, 01:08 PM
charles Tauber charles Tauber is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trevor B. View Post
What I'm really trying to find out is what scale length is preferable for achieving a bell like tone in the trebles. It may well be that tone woods, top thickness and bracing have more to do with creating bell like trebles than scale length. That said, I'm still interested in "gathering info" that goes beyond ease of playing with regard to scale length.
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Originally Posted by Trevor B. View Post
Another and perhaps better way to ask the question might be, "What are the factors that produce bell like trebles on a steel string acoustic guitar?".
Just as you stated: the tone of the instrument is determined by many factors of which scale length is only one.

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Does that mean the bass strings on a short scale guitar will be muddier than on a long scale instrument?
As a gross generalization, the shorter bass strings get, with the same diameter strings, the "muddier" they sound. The tone of the treble strings as they get shorter is less obviously influenced but, perhaps, "sweeter" sounding vs. "harpsichord-like".

As Alan stated on another thread, the shorter/lower tension the strings, the more susceptible they are to being pulled/pressed out of tune. That can influence the percieved sound.

I'd interpret "bell-like" to describe "purity" of sound and duration of sound. That is, less overtone content and of longer duration. Longer strings can favour that but 1/2" difference in length doesn't make a huge difference, subtle at best, and overshadowed by the many other factors that can be changed in the design/build of the instrument.


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Originally Posted by Trevor B. View Post
I have a solid wood Crafter GLXE 3000sk with a 25.6" scale length (Engelmann over EIR) and the trebles are bell like in the lower register but thin out noticeably higher up the neck, especially at the octave.
My PRS Private Stock Angelus (Adirondack over Cocobolo) has a 25.25 scale length and the trebles are more consistent all the way up the neck.
That is a function of the individual instruments, rather than the change in scale length of .35" (doubt 3/8"). The challenge, particularly with classical guitars, is to create an instrument that is uniform in response over the entire range of the instrument. Many steel string players are less, uhm, "demanding" of the requirements of their instruments. There are lots of steel string guitars that do achieve "bell-like" trebles pretty consistently all the way up the neck. Depending upon the player, that's part of the definition of a "good" guitar and is always something that I include as part of my assessment of a guitar's quality of sound.

Last edited by charles Tauber; 04-29-2019 at 01:16 PM.
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  #17  
Old 04-29-2019, 01:19 PM
Mr. Jelly Mr. Jelly is offline
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As of late when I hear a long scale guitar I hear a tauter almost restricted sound. When I hear a shorter scale I hear more vibration or a freeness in the string vibration. As for a bell like high e string sound that doesn't do it for me. Or what it implies to me. I like a rounder almost relaxed high e string sound.
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  #18  
Old 04-29-2019, 01:39 PM
mercy mercy is offline
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I agree, long scale sound choked to me with short scale more of the guitar gets through. But what you hear in a guitar it is the builder not the scale. And then there is the playing style. I find Howards example while lovely the bass strings are more muffled so on that guitar the bass strings scale wouldnt matter in that style, I call that Travis picking which Chet Atkins popularized. Another factor for the bass strings is the string brand. Treble strings seem to be the same no matter what the brand.
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  #19  
Old 04-29-2019, 01:47 PM
musicman1951 musicman1951 is offline
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There are many factors in guitar tone, but I don't find scale length to be a major factor.
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  #20  
Old 04-29-2019, 01:59 PM
Jaden Jaden is offline
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Between my OM-21 and former 000-18, with identical body size and bracing but different back wood and scale length, I noticed significantly greater compression/ midrange prominence on the 18, and significantly more expansive frequency response (deeper lows, soaring trebles) on the 21. Whether that is a result of different back wood, the particular instrument, or scale length, I’m not sure.

Short scale may be more comfortable on the fingers due to less tension but sonically more limited in my opinion.
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  #21  
Old 04-30-2019, 08:47 AM
Trevor B. Trevor B. is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Howard Emerson View Post
Hi Trevor,
I have no clue as to what you're actually hearing in your head, so I'll give you an actual audio w/video example, and you put your best adjectives forward. Dead, strident, tinny, fat, round, etc, whatever.



I think it's the best place to start a real conversation.

Best regards,
Howard Emerson
Hey Howard, Your trebles sound bell like in this video, however; the piece you're playing doesn't include notes on the top strings in the higher register (from say 7th fret to the octave or 14th fret, given the capo on II). Perhaps I should have been more specific about looking for a bell like tone in the trebles all the way up the fretboard. That said your trebles sound full and bell like in this video.
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  #22  
Old 04-30-2019, 10:24 AM
tadol tadol is offline
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Tone is much more the combination of design, materials, and builder. Scale length is more about relative tension, and the energy the string is able to carry and transmit at a given pitch, which has variables like materials and diameter. You can make a few generalizations, but I think those are more likely generalizations based on traditional design/scale length decisions, and once you start changing the parameters on the traditional designs, you are almost entirely relying on the knowledge and skill of the builder to achieve tone and playability -
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  #23  
Old 04-30-2019, 01:25 PM
jrb715 jrb715 is offline
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I have a short scale Collings OM2 with adirondack bracing and a German spruce top; my son has the regular scale Collings OM2 with identical woods and bracing. When played back to back for a song or two the two guitars are tonally indistinguishable for both player and audience. The longer one plays each the more as a player you can hear the slightly more rounded bass and treble of the short scale and the slightly more focused bass and treble of the regular scale OM. (A listener would have to be totally obsessive to notice.)

There is nothing about the sound of the regular scale OM you can call restricted. It's not only articulate but also full with great bloom. The principal difference for me is the feel in the playing--but that also is slight. The short scale is slightly easier to bend and create vibrato and slightly easier for me to play cleanly faster (much of that undoubtedly is the easier reach to notes.)

The treble on both is full and articulate (I'm not at all sure what bell-like means).
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  #24  
Old 04-30-2019, 01:29 PM
Trevor B. Trevor B. is offline
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Originally Posted by jrb715 View Post
(I'm not at all sure what bell-like means).
Round, full and lots of sustain!
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  #25  
Old 04-30-2019, 02:48 PM
gfspencer gfspencer is offline
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I have 8 short-scale Martins and 4 standard-scale Martins. I don't notice any tonal differences that would be due to scale length.
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  #26  
Old 04-30-2019, 03:16 PM
Howard Emerson Howard Emerson is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trevor B. View Post
Hey Howard, Your trebles sound bell like in this video, however; the piece you're playing doesn't include notes on the top strings in the higher register (from say 7th fret to the octave or 14th fret, given the capo on II). Perhaps I should have been more specific about looking for a bell like tone in the trebles all the way up the fretboard. That said your trebles sound full and bell like in this video.
Hi Trevor,
Sorry I couldn't answer sooner.

My Flammang is 24.9" scale if that helps you at all.

When I had David build it in 2005, I was very specific with most of the specs, including "I want more pop, less sustain, more fundamentals, less overtones".

It has tapered braces, and it's red spruce & curly maple.

I do play a lot of compositions capoed on the 4th fret, but as far as stuff that will demonstrate the higher notes, not much. Maybe this one will give you more of an idea:


Hope this helps you in some way, but I really don't believe that the scale length will make a difference in what you're looking for.

Best,
Howard Emerson
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  #27  
Old 04-30-2019, 03:25 PM
jrb715 jrb715 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trevor B. View Post
Round, full and lots of sustain!
Both have those qualities: the scale doesn't seem to include or preclude them.
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  #28  
Old 04-30-2019, 04:06 PM
jwellsy jwellsy is offline
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FWIW, the strings don't have to have the same scale length.
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  #29  
Old 04-30-2019, 05:23 PM
Trevor B. Trevor B. is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Howard Emerson View Post
Hi Trevor,
Sorry I couldn't answer sooner.

My Flammang is 24.9" scale if that helps you at all.

When I had David build it in 2005, I was very specific with most of the specs, including "I want more pop, less sustain, more fundamentals, less overtones".

It has tapered braces, and it's red spruce & curly maple.

I do play a lot of compositions capoed on the 4th fret, but as far as stuff that will demonstrate the higher notes, not much. Maybe this one will give you more of an idea:


Hope this helps you in some way, but I really don't believe that the scale length will make a difference in what you're looking for.

Best,
Howard Emerson
Hello Howard,
Thanks for posting the video of your Flammang guitar. It sounds great!
My background is classical guitar so I tend to gravitate to wider and longer necks. That combined with all the altered (read lowered) tunings I use on steel string acoustic points to a natural inclination for longer scale length guitars.
There was a very tempting Beneteau M Model for sale in the AGF classifieds that piqued my interest but for the short scale length.
Thanks again for your input and informative contribution to the thread.
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  #30  
Old 04-30-2019, 05:56 PM
Howard Emerson Howard Emerson is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trevor B. View Post
Hello Howard,
Thanks for posting the video of your Flammang guitar. It sounds great!
My background is classical guitar so I tend to gravitate to wider and longer necks. That combined with all the altered (read lowered) tunings I use on steel string acoustic points to a natural inclination for longer scale length guitars.
There was a very tempting Beneteau M Model for sale in the AGF classifieds that piqued my interest but for the short scale length.
Thanks again for your input and informative contribution to the thread.
Hi Trevor,
I play almost exclusively in open tunings: C, C’vestapol, G, G w/low C, D and dropped D. D’Addario EJ16 with .017 & .013 plains.

The neck on my Flammang is 1 & 13/16” at the nut, 1”+ deep, and 2 & 3/8” at the saddle, so I’ve been using large neck guitars since 1972 or so.

You may get what you need with a long scale. You should check out Larry Pattis, as his technique may echo yours, and he plays a 24” scale.

Best,
Howard Emerson
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