Short scale vs long scale

Discussion in 'Extended Range Guitars' started by 8nexus8, Oct 20, 2011.

  1. 8nexus8

    8nexus8 SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    58
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2011
    Location:
    israel
    I know this has been discussed alot, but I (and maybe others also) want to settle this once and for all, what consequences do short scale and long scale have on the tone? I know that generally short scales are better for the treble strings but muddier for the bass, and on long scales its the opposite and you get clearer brighter bass sounds, but to what extent? Does anyone have any examples of the same pitched notes played on different scale lengths?
    from my experience, as an owner of a hellraiser 8, i can say that 8th string is very muddy and blurry when using powerchords, will it be the same with longer scales?
     
  2. Explorer

    Explorer He seldomly knows...

    Messages:
    6,544
    Likes Received:
    1,087
    Joined:
    May 23, 2009
    Location:
    Formerly from Cucaramacatacatirimilcote...
    Out of curiosity... what gauge was your lowest string, and to what note was it tuned?

    Also, what gauge and what note was your highest string?
     
  3. 8nexus8

    8nexus8 SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    58
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2011
    Location:
    israel
    I tune standard (low F#) and my 8th string is 0.076, the guitar came with 0.74 but it was too loosened for me, i also tried 0.080 but the buzz was unbearable, a 0.090 worked well too but the different string gauges between the 7th and 8th fret was also annoying (0.058/0.064 and a 0.090)
     
  4. Perplexed-Perception

    Perplexed-Perception SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    138
    Likes Received:
    10
    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2011
    Location:
    chittaway bay,Australia
    this is why people get fanned fret guitars i think a 24/25 treble and 28/30 bass would be good:agreed:but i am quite happy with my 28.625 intrepid i do notice that the treble side is pretty twangy but i like that:yesway:
     
  5. Qweklain

    Qweklain SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    867
    Likes Received:
    81
    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2011
    Location:
    Minnesota
    Yeah, 25 to somewhere between 28 and 30 would be great, but when you hit the 3" fan, the angle of the frets starts getting really out there. May not be as bad on an 8-string though, but I would say 25.5-28.5 would be more than enough depending on what tuning(s) you plan on using.
     
  6. nightflameauto

    nightflameauto SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    118
    Likes Received:
    27
    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2010
    Location:
    Sioux Falls, SD
    There's not really anything that will be settled by a thread like this, but I'll play along 'cause why not?

    So long as we're talking the same tuning the following applies:
    Shorter scales:
    1. Will need higher gauged strings to remain playable.
    2. Will sound bassier/deeper due to 1. (Sometimes called muddy.)
    3. In my personal experience, sounds fuller clean, sounds looser dirty.

    Longer scales:
    1. Doesn't have to have bigger strings to remain playable. Will be tighter (tension wise) with lower gauges.
    2. Will sound more treble oriented/thinner due to 1.
    3. In my personal experience, sounds thinner and brighter clean, sounds tighter and more edgy dirty.

    And in the end, it still boils down to preference. If I had all the money in the world, and could buy whatever I wanted, I'd like to keep my 25.5" 8 string and add a 30" 8 string to keep in the same tuning because I'd think the interplay of the two different tones would sound amazing in stereo recordings. But I'm a weirdo like that and don't like to lock myself in to one thing at a time.
     
  7. Jessy

    Jessy Banned

    Messages:
    391
    Likes Received:
    16
    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2008
    Location:
    NE Ohio
    I personally like the sound of every string at as long a length as possible. High strings at a long scale have the most beautiful, full harmonics, to my ears. (Long scales do not remove low end. I consider them the very opposite of "thin", as all harmonics are stronger, which I'd call "full".) As such, I get instruments as long as possible, while still being able to achieve the high notes I want with the thinnest strings available. Long scale are great for playing chords high on the neck. They're not good for playing chords low on the neck. However, if you get an extra low string, you can move five frets higher and one string down, and get the same tone as playing on a shorter scale, in the position you would have played, otherwise.
     
  8. nightflameauto

    nightflameauto SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    118
    Likes Received:
    27
    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2010
    Location:
    Sioux Falls, SD
    To clarify, I didn't intend "thin/thinner" as some sort of slam. I intended it to indicate more high focus, less deep/low end. That doesn't mean I think it's a bad thing, just different.
     
  9. GuitaristOfHell

    GuitaristOfHell The Optimist Prime.

    Messages:
    5,051
    Likes Received:
    713
    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2010
    Location:
    US
    I don't think short scales are "Muddy" Hell I had an LP in drop B with 13-66's on it and all notes were clear as day. I think some people are forgetting that "muddy" sound may also be from pickups as well. I mean what's going to sound tighter a duncan designed POS or a BKP Aftermath? Also depends on the player as well. If you think a smaller scale is muddy you can do many things
    A) Use thicker strings
    B) Play tighter
    C) Have a tighter sounding amp
    D) Put in better pickups.

    The LP was clearer 24.75" scale than my friends 7 string 26.5".
     
  10. 8nexus8

    8nexus8 SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    58
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2011
    Location:
    israel
    As you said it depends on a lot of things, but on this thread im focusing on the scale part of controlling the "muddiness". Does anyone have any recordings that compare these scale lengths? I think it would explain the best. Generally, I'm interested in shred compatible 8 string.

    shorter scale 8 strings are kinda problematic, you need a very thick string for the 8th string to be not too loose (as I mentioned earlier, I went up to 0.090) and on these thicknesses fret buzz is inevitable (even my current 0.076 is buzzing a bit) the string is just too thick so you need to adjust the truss rod for the action to be high and its just uncomfortable and "unshredable" :agreed:. At least that's my experience with my hellraiser. So I would assume that on longer scale lengths this does not happen, the only compromise shredding-wise is longer frets which would make it tough to play big streches.
    I think fanned frets would solve this, but i never played one so I dont want to spend 800$ just to try one.
    For all the 30" and fanned owners out there, what is your experience with these topics?
     
  11. nightflameauto

    nightflameauto SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    118
    Likes Received:
    27
    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2010
    Location:
    Sioux Falls, SD
    That sounds like you had a setup issue. I have .080 as a low string tuned to either F# or E (for drops) on a 25.5 scale and don't really have action that's very high at all. The only time I get any fret buzz is if I really beat down hard on it. And I mean harder than is practical to play for more than an accent here or there.

    Also, don't use the truss rod(s) to adjust action. That's what bridge height is for.
     
  12. 8nexus8

    8nexus8 SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    58
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2011
    Location:
    israel
    I guess i would need it to be setuped by a pro, i tried raising from the bridge but it didnt have any effect, only the truss rod had
     
  13. MarcHxC

    MarcHxC SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    13
    Likes Received:
    7
    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2011
    Location:
    Keokuk, Iowa USA
    My 25.5 esp has no fret buz with a .90 in tuned to E, and my action is extremely low. I would like to have a 27 though.
     
  14. Explorer

    Explorer He seldomly knows...

    Messages:
    6,544
    Likes Received:
    1,087
    Joined:
    May 23, 2009
    Location:
    Formerly from Cucaramacatacatirimilcote...
    The reason I asked was because it sounded like you were blaming the scale length alone for the lack of tension on your lowest string... when string tension is one of the factors for string choice, along with pitch, scale length and gauge. You can *choose* to go with a specific tension, and thereby find the correct string gauge to have that tension at that pitch for that scale length.

    I have no problem tuning to E1 on all three of my 25.5" 8-strings. That annoying change between the string gauges of your two lowest strings (.090 and .058/.064)? I use .074 for my low A1, which is quite a bit larger than your highest choice.

    You may have had your reasons for choosing such light strings, as well as choosing such uneven tensions... but I suspect the reason your guitar was strung in that way is the same reason I mistrust a lot of assertions about scale length, tension and tone: a lot of people don't know what they're even looking for, don't know how to do accurate string tension/pitch/length calculations, and then post their results from doing it wrong. And, of course, a lot of others don't even get to the point of trying it, and just repeat the "common wisdom."

    I'm not going to debate whether my preference for the 25.5" scale length is superior to another person's preference for a longer scale length. It's all a matter of choice, in the same way a lot of us prefer more strings than just six. However, whatever choice you make, be sure to do it with the best information possible, rather than following a haphazard approach and then deciding that the correct way would fail just as badly as the uninformed way.
     
  15. 8nexus8

    8nexus8 SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    58
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2011
    Location:
    israel
    I "blamed" the scale cuz i needed really thick strings for a good tension on the 8th string, and cuz my guitar scale is 26.5 which is pretty short for an 8 i needed strings above 0.074 which are not so common. I was just wondering how much it differ from longer scale guitars tonewise and tensionwise (and not just for the 8th string, for the whole guitar) cuz my 8th tone is pretty muddy when playing powerchords
     
  16. vansinn

    vansinn SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    2,928
    Likes Received:
    171
    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2007
    A proper setup depends on the string's tension and softness/hardness (strings are build differently), nut height, bridge height, and truss adjustment.

    I too have a Schecter, where the standard D'Addario 074 didn't work, nor a 080 Rotosound or D'Addario 085, both modded bass strings. They all sounded weird.

    I'm currently using an 070 and 050 Ernie Ball from a Power Slinky Bass set.
    However, I now tune A...G.
    The fun things is that the EB 070 feels fairly slinky, and yet still sounds quite good. I could desire a Bit more tension, though it's still better than the other three I tried.
    The EB 050 D string is likewise slinky, but with better tone/sustain.
    I should mention that I deliberaty went for a so-so slinky setup (though not über slinky), to suit my playing style, including lots of bendings on all strings.

    And to make things even more funny, the .135 string from that bass set feels less tensioned and more slinky than the former Olympia .125 low B on my 35" bass, to the point of feeling unusable (to my preferences), though still sounding decently better.

    My point is that different strings behaves differently at different scales and tensions.

    I might suggest you try a DR DDT or GHS Boomer, which both, as I hear/read it, are designed to be have a more rigid feel.
    I don't know if those are available in guitar gauges and lengths, not can I advise on which gauges might fit you tunings.

    If those aren't available for guitar, you may need to mod bass string versions, which includes replacing the larger ball for a smaller guitar ball (I get my balls off used strings), and depending on gauges, may need unwrapping some of the outer wrappings.
    However, by the sound of your distaste for fat strings, you'll likely choose gauges that'll fit in your tuners ;)
     
  17. All_¥our_Bass

    All_¥our_Bass Deathly Chuuni

    Messages:
    7,612
    Likes Received:
    464
    Joined:
    May 9, 2006
    Location:
    The Internet
    I know the feeling all to well.

    That low F#/F/E not quite sounding how you want it to.
    I use a 100 gauge for F at 25.5"

    I'm looking into one of these...

    It's 25.5" on the treble side, 27" on the low side, perfect for this kinda thing.
    Relatively cheap too.
     
  18. 8nexus8

    8nexus8 SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    58
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2011
    Location:
    israel
    I don't like too fat strings cuz It's harder to play fast on them (i.e. galloping which i fairly use) and i also like them with a fair tension, i don't mind unwrapping a string or use a bass string but i feel like they would be more problematic and they're also alot more expensive.

    I'd like the sound of the 8th string to be very tight and have alot of attack and be less muddy, that's why i thought of longer scale guitars, I think that's the only solution, i just want to ask the people that already own such guitars what other impliciations would it have on the overall playability (shred, sweeps, chords, streches, etc) and by how much would it tighten the tone and make it less muddy (if at all).

    the thing that i would like to fix the most is that open F# power chord, on my guitar it sounds really muddy and dissonant to the point where it doesn't sound like a power chord at all, and i've been wondering how is it on longer scales, i know it mostly depends on the amp and pick-ups but i just want to know what can i do guitar-wise to get the desired tone (guitar-wise lol). The best example i can give is meshuggah's Rational gaze, it has lots of attack and clarity.
     
  19. TemjinStrife

    TemjinStrife Power Metal Cellist

    Messages:
    5,118
    Likes Received:
    477
    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2007
    Location:
    Manhattan, NY
    The midrange on shorter scale guitars is sweeter, longer scale guitars are more "spanky."

    I've been gravitating shorter myself, with a 24.75" scale Warmoth and a 24.5" scale PRS SE.
     
  20. All_¥our_Bass

    All_¥our_Bass Deathly Chuuni

    Messages:
    7,612
    Likes Received:
    464
    Joined:
    May 9, 2006
    Location:
    The Internet
    For getting a certain size of string from a particular company, sometimes bass strings are your only option. I have a bass 100, and a bass 65 string on my guitar. However I am an admitted elixir nanoweb "whore." They sound nearly new for quite some time so they make up for being pricey.

    A longer scale tends to sound better for these kinds of tunings.
    You don't even need to go super long to get results, even a 27" or 27.5" guitar will not feel much different in terms of fret spacing and playability, but makes those low F#/F/E notes sound soooo much better.

    Are you using a ts-style boost or any before amp eq to cut the murky bottom of the guitar and accent the midrange?
     

Share This Page