Results 1 to 5 of 5

Thread: Scale length consistency

  1. #1

    Default Scale length consistency

    Hi folks - perhaps a very basic question. If two tenor guitars each have a 23" scale, would the note to note and chord to chord reaches be pretty similar? I ask because I really love GDAE tuning and although I have a Fender Tenor Telecaster and a recently acquired tenor banjo, it wasn't until i got (today) a cheap Recording King tenor that I thought, 'Oh yeah, these reaches just feel easier" and I'm not sure if it's the neck or maybe even that it's acoustic. It's strange because this RK is not set up well, has rough fret ends, etc. But, I see some real potential.

    I could spend a hundred bucks and get a good set up (though not sure the neck is even straight), or I could return it, without a problem and get something a little better. Unlike six strings, or mandolins, it's just not that easy to test drive much, especially in these times. I almost had a tenor built last year and now I'm kicking myself a bit.

    So any feedback on that question greatly appreciated and if there's a model in the $500-$1500 range that is viewed to be great and highly playable, of course, I'd be interested to know. My experience with vintage instruments has often been that while they are cool and look great, I find that neck shapes seem to have really evolved and that's where it all seems to come together most. Therefore, I lean to something more modern. That may be a false position though.
    Girouard A5
    Eastwood Mandocaster
    Fender Tenor Telecaster (GDAE)
    Collings O1A
    Martin OOO17-SM
    Paramount A Tenor Banjo
    Recording King Tenor Guitar

  2. #2

    Default Re: Scale length consistency

    Two instruments with the same scale length will have identical reaches, assuming the neck width is also close.

    Other things can affect feel, of course. I have identical mandolas, same company and model, with some variances on bridge saddle height, affecting string action height at the twelfth fret. When the high A string is at a height of 1mm, I can play effortless chord melody all the way to the final 19th fret. The ones at 1.5mm or higher, definitely not so much. I tend to be conservative on filing down the non-adjustable one-piece bridge, so only two have been thoroughly set up and have settled in to perfection.

    I'm lucky to have had a really great technician do the initial setup on my oldest and personal favorite, enabling comparisons with a dialed-in exemplar, and to had very few fret issues to deal with. The nuts also have been consistently well cut.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Scale length consistency

    I am still a beginner. So, you can weight my opinions with that.
    I wanted to try mandola tunes, hence the inexpensive tenor for me.
    I bought the Recording King because, the mid-century vintage
    tenor guitars did not satisfy me.

    I expect someone with tell us how good the Blueridge, or similar, is.
    I did listen to more expensive guitars online. For myself I decided
    this is going to be like mandolins. Adding $1000 to the price is not
    going to get me the tenor guitar I like the sound of. It takes a lot
    more than that to get a good one.

    I like the recordings of the old Gibsons and Martins, but I am not
    going to take the chance on an antique. If my skills and budget
    could justify it, I would choose some great sounding 6-string
    guitars. Then I would ask the makers until I found one who
    wanted to make a tenor guitar. Collings makes them for off
    the rack, but I would be inclined to go with an independent
    luthier. There are a lot of really good guitars out there. I think
    you will find there are choices.

    I expect it might not cost much less than a 6-string, but the
    maker might reduce the price some because the tenor would
    be a little smaller.

    Well, that is what I would do if I could justify buying a good guitar,
    but I am going to keep practicing for now.
    Thanks,
    sounds_good

  4. #4

    Default Re: Scale length consistency

    I don't have the experience with your instruments, but the Recording King has
    the same nut width as my mandolin. The guitar neck is slightly narrower than
    the mandolin neck. It doesn't look like it, because there are only half as many
    strings. I have no trouble putting my fingers on the strings.

    Of course, the frets are farther apart on the 23 inch scale. I definitely find that
    a reach. As you know the fret distance depends on the scale length. Two 23 inch
    scales must have the same fret distances (in the 12 note music scale).
    Thanks,
    sounds_good

  5. #5

    Default Re: Scale length consistency

    Thanks for these late night responses - much appreciated. Yes, I think I'll just put cash on the barrelhead and get a god setup, then play for a while. If I'm really taken with it, then I can consider something better down the road. Going back and forth between mandolin and a 23" scale is becoming less of a shock :-) Thanks again, stay safe.
    Girouard A5
    Eastwood Mandocaster
    Fender Tenor Telecaster (GDAE)
    Collings O1A
    Martin OOO17-SM
    Paramount A Tenor Banjo
    Recording King Tenor Guitar

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •