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Thread: is 17" scale adequate for electric OM?

  1. #1
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    central VA

    Default is 17" scale adequate for electric OM?

    Getting woods together for a 4 string solid body octave mandolin thing, the time is coming to decide on a scale length. I'd like the shortest scale possible without causing a floppy G string.

    I used to be under the impression that 19" was the shortest scale for OM, that is until I saw Wayne Benson with his 17" scale electric 4 string OM in a video.

    If 14.5" is the shortest for a 5 string electric mandolin C string (info from old MC threads), the 17" OM scale doesn't seem unreasonable.

    So I'm trolling for opinions and experiences here. And what about string gauges? What say you?

  2. #2
    '`'`'`'`'`'`'`'`'`'`' Jacob's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002

    Default Re: is 17" scale adequate for electric OM?

    It should be workable. A 17 inch scale may require a rather thick G string. For a 19 inch scale electric, .050 works for me. Increased compensation at the bridge may be needed. On several solid body electrics this has required removing the spring from the saddle and shortening the bolt so the saddle very nearly touches the end of the bridge. My 19 inch scale has a mandocello pitched low C string at .070. For 15 inch scale five strings, low C is a .052. You may prefer lighter strings that are easier to compensate.

  3. #3
    Registered User urobouros's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2020
    Sunny PNW

    Default Re: is 17" scale adequate for electric OM?

    My 5 string emando from Jonathan Mann has an 18.5" scale and, though it isn't floppy, it's loose
    2020 Northfield Big Mon
    2016 Skip Kelley A5
    2019 Weber Bitteroot F17
    2011 Weber Gallatin A20
    2013 Collings Mandola
    2021 Northfield Flat Top Octave Mandolin
    Richard Beard Celtic Flattop
    And a few electrics

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