How Much of a Difference is 26.5 Scale vs 25.5

CanserDYI

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If you get a guitar set up just right, and use a nice firm but "plucky" pick, like a .88mm dunlop, a .056 standard slinky set sounds AMAZING in drop A on 25.5". Just bright and bendable and frankly I have zero idea how I used to use .070's and .068's for A , that sounds insane now. I use a .074 for Drop E now. While yes this made my tone better, you guys realize how much easier finding strings is for me now? Its a breath of fresh air to actually enjoy grabbing a standard set of 7 string strings and have it be exactly what I'm asking for.

I realize what I'm saying equates to "just get used to using strings you don't like" but I'm not saying that, I'm saying work on your set up and your picking hand and in the end you'll be rewarded heavily.
 

bostjan

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I switch between 25.5", 27", 28.6", 26-28", and 24-26" all of the time. Personally, I just prefer the guitars I prefer. Scale length is just one part of that. You can make an extended scale guitar with good balance and ergonomics that plays way better than a short scale guitar with shitty ergonomics and balance. But, of course, the longer the scale length, the more thought needs to go into ergonomics. Longer strings sound quite a bit brighter and feel only a little tighter, since the added length contributes positively to tension, but negatively toward stiffness.

If you tried a 26.5" guitar and didn't like it, then rule out that specific guitar and move on. Like I said, scale length is just one parameter out of a score of things. You wouldn't try an entree that had 20 ingredients and decide that you didn't like each individual ingredient if you didn't enjoy the entree, would you? But, if you try a dozen guitars with different scale lengths and similar other options, and notice a pattern, then you can say with confidence that you don't like extended scale lengths. And that's fine.
 

CanserDYI

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@bostjan brings up a great point, I played 3 baritones the other day at a music shop, one 28incher, a 29.75 incher, and a 30 incher. The 30 incher was designed as a baritone and had the bridge back farther on the instrument like a bass, where the 29.75 and the 28 incher was set farther forward, almost like a conversion neck added, but both were designed as baritones. Guess which one was the easiest to play and felt the "shortest"? The 30 incher. It was absolutely crazy to feel and play something borderline bass length but have it feel like a regular ass guitar.
 

cardinal

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FWIW I definitely feel the difference in tension and stretch between 26.5" and 25.5". Whether it's manageable for you probably depends on your hand span.
 

ConnorK

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My 2 cents is that a 1-inch-longer scale length means just enough of an increase on tension that it is whatever (still relatively low) percent better for lower tunings and clarity therein, but there isn't enough extra length across the whole scale to tell a difference in where the notes/frets are once you get used to it (until you get to around the 20th fret and higher) imo, but the added tension is more noticeable. I don't think the added tension feels bad, I just know it's there. I also have kinda fat fingers and my 27" 8 is what I play the most almost strictly due to those slightly wider higher frets being so much more comfortable. I think it's all advantages. I would go with the HR because I don't think switching between scales is a big deal, but if you really don't like that extra inch, remember that it will be your guitar and you shouldn't have to play a guitar that you don't enjoy playing.
 

Hoss632

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@bostjan brings up a great point, I played 3 baritones the other day at a music shop, one 28incher, a 29.75 incher, and a 30 incher. The 30 incher was designed as a baritone and had the bridge back farther on the instrument like a bass, where the 29.75 and the 28 incher was set farther forward, almost like a conversion neck added, but both were designed as baritones. Guess which one was the easiest to play and felt the "shortest"? The 30 incher. It was absolutely crazy to feel and play something borderline bass length but have it feel like a regular ass guitar.
I'm with you on that. Last baritone I played was a chapman Ml1 which they have the bridge moved back. It felt just fine. Then again I grew up playing bass guitar first, so anything under most guitar scale length's feel comfortable for the most part. Unless I try to do a huge stretch chord, which due to lack of hand flexibility is hard regardless of the scale length for me.
 

Dayn

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In my experience, it definitely makes a noticeable difference, but the overall impact is rarely worth worrying about so long as you can do what you want.

I've had standard-tuned instruments across 27" straight scale, 25.5-26.25", 25.5-28.3", and 27-30". Anything 0.2" and below is difficult for me to tell the difference in tension by feel. So 1.0" is certainly significant for tension, which affects the tone. I greatly prefer the 25.5" for the plain strings.

As for feel and fret spacing, I've never really felt limited on my 27" straight scale guitar. Some very long stretches across the neck, such as 7th to 12th, can feel a bit awkward. It's pretty apparent when I go from 27" to 27.5". Going to 27-30" though, the difference is really pronounced.

So while it makes a big difference, it's not worth worrying about beyond the guitar being sufficient for what you want. And tuning to B standard is hardly anything crazy these days.
 

TheBloodstained

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The problem with this question is that it really boils down to personal preference and playing style :shrug:

For me personally, I prefer 26.5" for B standard any day of the week. I currently have a 25.5 and 26.5 equipped with the same brand of 10-59 sets and both tuned to B standard, and the 26.5 feels WAY better (to me) than the shorter scale one. When chugging the low B just feels more tight and controlled, and I find it easier to play the faster riffs on that guitar.
Soloing - and in particular bending - requires a little more getting used to, but I have no problem doing so today.

If 25.5 works for you then stick to that. If you feel like you need something "more", then give 26.5 a try.
 


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