25.5 inch Vs 27 inch scale on Solo/Lead

Discussion in 'Beginners/FAQ' started by Willtato, Jun 2, 2018.

  1. Willtato

    Willtato SS.org Regular

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    I'm sorry, I know each guitar forum already has many threads on scale lengths, but I don't find such the amount on lead aspect of things.

    Everyone knows that the 27 (probably objectively) is better for rhythm, but what happens if you want to also do solos? People say that you get a more shrill and less 'creamy' highs, especially high e string because of the tension, and I can see what they are getting at.

    How much does this sound change?

    Note: I don't care about fret spacing/tension of lower strings.
    I dislike the feeling of super thin e strings.
    I would get a multiscale if it weren't for the fr bridge which I'm so immaturely attached to.
     
  2. Winspear

    Winspear Tom Winspear Vendor

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    -Tension is not really a factor. It's something that changes, but you change string gauge to equal your usual tension. This is the benefit of longer scales - thinner strings for the same feel in the same tuning = greater clarity. Anyone who says the trebles are now too tight is just using the wrong strings (unless they are using a 30" at which case no thinner E string is available to reduce tension into a regular range).
    -Fret spacing is 1 fret lower than 25.5. It's like you added a fret behind the nut, then removed the now 25th fret to get 24 again. Everything feels '1 fret lower'.
    -The tension difference is 1.06x. You should use 1.06x thinner strings. This means going down 0.5 gauge set, basically. 10s to 9.5s. 9s to 8.5s. 46 to 43. Unless that would result in what you consider a 'super thin E string', not a problem.
    -As for the tonal change, you can know what to expect by thinking about how strings a 0.5 set thinner sound, and the brighter sound of playing one fret lower (tuning aside). It's subtle. Beneficial when you are already struggling to achieve a clear rhythm tone - any extra brightness is a godsend. But the change is overplayed when talking about shrill leads, in my opinion. Just one fret up the neck and you are back into 25.5 territory, and it's not like anyone complains about players using 0.5 thinner a string gauge having shrill leads.
    -Multiscale does lessen the tonal difference between the low and high strings by closing the gap between string gauges, and is always a tonal upgrade, but really not necessary in this case in my opinion.
     
  3. cardinal

    cardinal Strat 7 Guy

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    A 27” scale is like one extra fret on 25.5”.

    So take your 25.5” scale guitar, tune up half a step, and play some leads on the bridge pickup to get an idea of how it would sound different.

    I use to obsess over things like pickup placement and scale length. But in the end I’m not sure I even can tell other than different guitars just sound different. If one 27” scale sounds shrill, just try another one.
     
  4. Willtato

    Willtato SS.org Regular

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    What I'm really scared about is if I will still be able to bend. I remember snapping a .10 on a 26.5 scale with just a standard full step bend.
    What I'm happy with is with a step and a half (3 semitones) bend safely.
    Will that be possible with a .09? I'm not willing to go any lower than that.
     
  5. cardinal

    cardinal Strat 7 Guy

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    So I’ve been playing a 26.5” with .009s and they do break somewhat often. I’ve just had to find peace with the prospect of having lots of spare high E strings around.
     
  6. BearOnGuitar

    BearOnGuitar SS.org Regular

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    Check this vid here out which includes a comparison on both rhythm and lead:



    I kept reading about the same things, like baritone 28" scale lengths being harder to bend until I played a guitar with it and I was surprised about what a non issue it really was. It also depends on the setup, of course it will be harder to bend if you use the same gauges that you use on your regular scale length guitar with a baritone scale length guitar.
     
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  7. Flappydoodle

    Flappydoodle SS.org Regular

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    Generally yes, a 27 inch scale guitar will be a bit brighter. But it's also down to the rest of the guitar construction, the pickups, your playing style, your amp/effect settings etc.

    It's not going to be an unconquerable problem either way.

    And yes, a 3 semitones bend is absolutely fine. If you are really breaking a lot of strings, there's probably something amiss like a rough bridge saddle causing them to break.
     
  8. jephjacques

    jephjacques BUTTS LOL

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    Tbh I’ve never noticed a difference, if bending is harder it means you’re getting stronger
     
  9. diagrammatiks

    diagrammatiks SS.org Regular

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    It should be almost impossible to break strings from just bend tension alone unless you are at the upper upper range of tension.
     
  10. The Mirror

    The Mirror SS.org Regular

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    If you snap a string while doing a single bend, it is probably not the fault of the string tension. It's most certainly because of a not-optimal setup, older strings, or any other influence.

    Despite how fragile strings might look, they are quite hard to break.

    Just look at guys like Stevie Ray Vaughan, who played in E-flat with .013 - .058 strings.
     
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  11. Hollowway

    Hollowway Extended Ranger

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    Yeah, I agree with what everyone has said here. I like .009s on 27". .010s are WAY too high tension for me. And, FWIW, I actually like the "roominess" of the 27" on the upper frets. It's barely noticeable, but I do find my fingers don't get jumbled up as much.

    That being said, it's super easy to transition between 25.5" and 27" inches, so I like to keep 25.5" sixxers and 7s on hand, and then also have 27" 7s and 8s. At the very least, it's an excuse to have more guitars!
     
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  12. gienek

    gienek SS.org Regular

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    There is more to add to the tone but yes, usually 27 comes with a shrill high upper strings, but there is nothing you cant conquer with proper setup, amp settings etc.
     
  13. Mwoit

    Mwoit SS.org Regular

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    You may notice some differences, but I wouldn't worry about breaking strings due to the difference in scale length. It's not a huge deal.
     
  14. gujukal

    gujukal SS.org Regular

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    Tone difference is very subtle, and a 27" might be cutting through better in a mix on leads than a 25.5" so it's just not cons.
     
    I play music likes this.
  15. KnightBrolaire

    KnightBrolaire despair ahead

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    depends on the guitars and how they're set up. In an ideal scenario (ie all the woods are the same, the hardware is the same, etc) it's a little bit brighter with the longer scale, but that's easily mitigated through pickup choice/amp eq/string choices. Every guitar will feel different though, with some being more difficult to bend on due to fretboard radius or string tension/action height.
    I'm used to playing heavy strings with high tension on my 25.5" scale guitars, so switching to a slightly lighter string on a longer scale wasn't a big deal for me.
    I find I can solo just as easily on a 27" scale guitar as on my 25.5" scale guitars, hell I play wheedlywheedly wankery on 30" scales :lol:
     
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  16. 7 Dying Trees

    7 Dying Trees Forum MVP

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    I've had 2 1077xls and one 7421xl, 2 rg2228s, 1 rg8/area51 body 228 hybrid thing and in the case of all of them they just sounded shrill. Now, for rhythm, yeah, great, awesome for lower tuned stuff, greater definition. Soloing, no problem, not noticeable higher up the fretboard at all whatsoever.

    However, in comparison to all the other 25.5" guitars, it was lacking in midrange fullness for leads. It just felt a bit hollowed out. And it's ultimately why I ended up selling all of the above. Great playability, but just didn't have the lead sound. I'd go so far as to say that I'd get one again maybe for rhythm tracking, but even then, I don't tune lower than A so I am really not fussed about it.
     
  17. chopeth

    chopeth SS.org Regular

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    ^yeah, but regardless you don't need to downtune you might have giant hands, and there it is also confier to have 27 or even more. There's my dilemma... sacrifying solos for the sake of comfortability and better sounding rhythm lines.
     
  18. chopeth

    chopeth SS.org Regular

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    ^yeah, but regardless you don't need to downtune you might have giant hands, and there it is also confier to have 27 or even more. There's my dilemma... sacrifying solos for the sake of comfortability and better sounding rhythm lines.
     
  19. Dayn

    Dayn silly person

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    My only electric is 27", and I've never had any problems with anything. It sounds great. My high E string is a .009, and I can bend it 3 semitones. Never broken a string on it, which has been over 8 years. That's more to do with your guitar. But yes, because the string is longer, upper overtones will be a bit louder. That might make it sound brighter to you, rather than 'creamy'. Solution: roll off your tone knob or adjust your EQ. It's easy enough to remove unwanted frequencies.

    But consider this question. You say you don't care about fret spacing. But do you already have a 25.5" guitar? I ask because I have a 25.5": a classical. It doesn't have fret markers. I can play it perfectly fine, but my muscle memory is tuned to 27". Before I put inlay stickers on it, I was frequently playing everything a semitone lower, because that's what I was used to. Just consider this if you're going back and forth between instruments. Fret markers or side dots will help alleviate this.
     
  20. 7 Dying Trees

    7 Dying Trees Forum MVP

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    I have tiny hands, not large ones at all. No sacrifice on playability, but literally, for me, the sound of everything except low riffs just meant I ended up selling all the guitars with scale lengths over 25.5"

    Multiscales are awesome, as they literally solve the whole conundrum, but then, I just cannot live without a floyd rose, which i know is retarded, but also the reason I don't own anything with fanned frets as I know i just wouldn't play it.
     
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  21. 7 Dying Trees

    7 Dying Trees Forum MVP

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    having said all this, i've just bought an iron label multiscale to try out
     

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