Do you know the scale length of your guitar?

You may ask yourself: “Is guitar scale length important?” Well, after reading this blog you will be able to know why your guitar feels different to other guitar. In this case string tension wise.

Guitar scale length in short:

Reading the specifications of guitars, you will always see “scale length”, but what is it and is it important?

In fact, scale length is nothing more than the length of the strings between the guitar’s bridge and its nut.
Guitar bridges have several string saddles that can be adjusted. See it as more of general measurement.

As the string saddles can be adjusted to move back & forward, they allow you to intonate each string.
These saddles mostly are adjusted differently, because each string needs a slightly different scale length due to its thickness or gauge.

Measured in inches mostly

Scale lengths are usually measured in inches. Most (older) guitar brands come from the USA, where this still is the standard for measuring.

Is guitar scale length important

If you want to know what the scale of your guitar is, just measure the distance between the nut and the center of the 12th fret. After that, double it.

Is the scale length of a guitar important for you?

Yes and no in my opinion;
If you’re a fan of a Gibson Les Paul, you might want to buy a Les Paul related guitar and the same situation will appear when, for instance, you want to buy a Fender Stratocaster related guitar.

That said, there is a significant difference between these 2 guitars.

Les Paul vs Stratocaster

The scale length of a Gibson Les Paul is 24.75-inch, while a Fender Stratocaster’s scale length is 25.5-inch.
This also means that the frets of a shorter scale guitar are slightly closer to each other. This is different for the longer scale guitar.

The longer the scale, the higher the string tension and that may feel different when you play both guitars.
So, in fact, the shorter scale guitar (i.e., Les Paul) strings seem easier to bend than the strings of the Stratocaster, when using the exact same strings on both of them.
The strings on the Strat would feel slightly tighter and more rigid.
To compensate this, Fender usually uses a smaller radius for their fretboards than Gibson guitars does, but this is something for another guitar essentials episode.

Effect on the string gauge

In general, you might consider heavier strings on a Les Paul than on a Stratocaster, but of course, this should always fit to your needs.
Please note that, for instance, Billy Gibbons, lead singer and guitar player for the band ZZ-Top uses 0.07-inch (high E) strings, which is incredibly thin for such a short-scaled guitar.

Although the type of wood and pick-ups affect the tone of the guitar, the scale length is an important factor of tone as well.

While the string tension on a longer scaled guitar is higher, it should produce a more focused sound with a nice low-end clarity. Is guitar scale length important
For this reason, Fender style guitars will give you that snappy and nice bright tones.

That said, Gibson style guitars sound a little warmer, rich and fuller, related to the shorter scale of these guitars.
The shorter scale provides less tension, which allow the strings to vibrate more freely.

Best of both worlds?

With 25-inch scale guitars, PRS (Paul Reed Smith) offers great guitars that have filled the gap between Fender and Gibson.
But the question is if you like a guitar that is a bit of both. That is up to you.

These are some famous guitars and their scale lengths

  • Brand
  • Fender
  • Fender
  • Fender
  • Gretsch
  • Ibanez
  • Ibanez
  • Gibson
  • Gibson
  • Gibson
  • Gibson
  • Musicman
  • Musicman
  • model
  • Jaguar
  • Stratocaster
  • Telecaster
  • G6120
  • JEM
  • RG models
  • Les paul
  • Flying V
  • Explorer
  • ES 335
  • Luke
  • John Petrucci
  • Scale length
  • 24.00 inch
  • 25.50 inch
  • 25.50 inch
  • 24.60 inch
  • 25.50 inch
  • 25.50 inch
  • 24.75 inch
  • 24.75 inch
  • 24.75 inch
  • 24.75 inch
  • 25.50 inch
  • 25.50 inch

Manage your sound

There are many ways to improve your sound, like the type or brand of guitar and amp we use. Besides that, the pedals you’re using may have a lot of impact on your sound as well.
But also think about what guitar pick you are used to play with. Different guitar picks deliver a variety of sounds to your playing.
Thinner guitar picks create a thinner sound, where heavier guitar picks deliver a fuller sound with more mids- and bottom-end tone.

Guitar essentials:

In guitar essentials we will write about interesting things every guitarist should know a bit of, especially when you’re new to (electric) guitar.
We definitely don’t dig deep into theories or technical aspects, as we are specialized in boutique guitar picks.
You will find many scientific documents about anything somewhere on the internet.