What is the difference between 24&3/4" and 25&1/2" scale length?

Posted by M. David Petrella on Tue, 11/23/04 - 13:58:29.


I want to replace my 21-fret strat neck w/ a V-neck that happens to have 22-frets. I know that the 25&1/2" scale works w/ either; but for me to accommodate that scale length, I'd have to re-drill the bolt holes in the neck (which I can do... I'm handy w/ power tools, and I take very good care to measure PRECISELY).

However, it seems to me that a smarter move, a move which would actually line the bolt holes up better, would be to route the neck heel cavity further and re-seat this neck lower.

I do not know, however, if this will result in intonation nightmares. Hence my question about the difference between a 24&3/4" scale length versus a 25&1/2" scale length.

Does anyone know where I can read up on why and when a player should want one versus the other? And what all the considerations regarding scale length are that should be taken into account?


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Re: What is the difference between 24&3/4" and 25&1/2" scale length?

Personally, I wouldn't do it; but I can offer the following. First do a google search for {"scale length" guitar} which will turn up a bit of reading including the following link.
I would put it this way:
The 12th fret is theoretically half way between the nut and saddle. In practice the distance from 12th fret to saddle is slightly longer, because a little extra tension is put into the string by being pushed down onto the fret. If the scale length of a guitar is being increased by 3/4" the 12th fret will move about 3/8 " away from the bridge saddle. Dividing the longer sacale by the shoreter, we get 1.03, so it's like we are scaling up the whole guitar by 3%

Why have a longer scale? The distance between frets will be slightly greater, which may help if you do lots of playing past the 12th fret, or if you have big hands. Obviously the width and taper of the neck can also vary. Using the same guage of strings will obviously result in a higher tension, since the same note is to be attained from a longer string.

Re: What is the difference between 24&3/4" and 25&1/2" scale length?


Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! :-D

I had completely forgotten about the twelfth fret measurement... <doh!>

That will surely help me strategize better; I now know that my string length above must match my string length below. This will help me come up with the correct vertical placement of the neck against the body.

Again... thank you! thank you! thank you! ;-) MDP

Re: What is the difference between 24&3/4" and 25&1/2" scale length?

But remember it's not exactly half way in pactice.
Another approach would be to measure the present distance from (where the string leaves) the bridge to the twelth fret, then multiply that by 1.03 ( ie scale up by 3%) and make that the new distance when lining up the new neck.
Take great care, get other opinions.

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