Guitar/bass MultiScale Design Questions to think about.

Discussion in 'Luthiery, Modifications & Customizations' started by odibrom, Sep 27, 2017.

  1. odibrom

    odibrom .

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    Disclaimer:
    This thread is about clearing some ideas I've been having about multiscale designs. Please don't take this to seriously, the purpose is just to test them, pros and cons and the stuff. I am not thinking in building no guitar in the near future, but I like the exercise of designing and that is enough for me, for now.

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    Question #1:
    When designing a multiscale guitar, most speak of the position of the perpendicular fret and its importance to overall playing ergonomics. What if there is no perpendicular fret? Meaning that the perpendicular line is between frets? As I see, there is no problem whatsoever, instead of having it at fret #9, let's have it at #9.5, meaning that fret#9 is tilt towards the nut and #10 the bridge. I see no problem, what say you?

    Question #2:
    This is a rhetorical one regarding neck/scale axis and may also apply to single scale designs. So, the scale/neck axis is always centered, from which the strings span away symmetrically. What if the treble string was aligned with the axis and all the others spanned away from it? Or the opposite, the bass string aligned? I speculate that the previous could be beneficial to soloing up high and the later more to riffing on the lower notes, however, this would have significant impact in full bridge systems (versus single string systems) and in pickup positioning for pole alignment. I think it would be impractical and this idea is just stupid, but here it is open for discussion.

    Question #3:
    Where should one measure the multiscale range: parallel to treble and bass strings or to the axis? Difference is minimal and irrelevant for the overall design, but for rigor sake... where should one do the measurements?

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    Last notes on this thread.
    Please feel free to post your own questions, may you think of them as stupid (like #2 here) or not and to extend this thread for other problems related to multiscale design: calculating string span/spacing, methods for doing the design without resourcing to Fretfind (good resource, btw), software to use, fret distance formulas and methods and so on.
     
  2. Winspear

    Winspear Tom Winspear

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    1) Absolutely fine yes, it's a constant scale of slant from nut to bridge - doesn't need to be stepped by the frets.
    2) So you're talking about a side-to-side neck angle. Again perfectly fine idea. Really, if you think about it, you're just talking about the body design. In the end you can rotate your drawing to have the middle string as the center line still, the body balance may just be a bit skewed. Perfectly fine idea to play with but I'd just simplify it and draw as usual but with offset body weights. Unless I'm missing something, there's no complications here like you said.
    3) Good question. You'll want to do it along the actual string else with more extreme bridge>nut tapers, the fret spacing could become more noticeably off. If you study this close enough though, you'll notice a multiscale with a bridge>nut taper isn't actually possible with the fret intersection points perfect on every string - the frets would curve slightly. But we are talking fractions of a mm. Just measure the length of the outer strings, along their length, regardless of the angle, and draw their fret points. Connect the outer strings and you are good.

    I tend to use Fretfind as a quick planner to get the overall look and reference right.
    Then I go in and fine tune graduated nut and saddle spacing and redraw the frets, as you need to with fretfind anyway (they are constructed of partial nonconnecting lines)
     
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  3. odibrom

    odibrom .

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    @Winspear thanks for replying! I'm not sure you got the 2nd question correctly, or as I understand it. It is not about body design per se, though it will have its impact on it, the question is aimed at the scale design and strings layout regarding the central axis. The thing is what if the treble (or bass string) is parallel to the axis and all the others are not? As I see it, for a full system bridge, the more away from the axis the string is, the bigger problem on consistent string support at the saddle, since the string angle there gets to be sharper as the string's angle to axis raises. So this is not about neck angle per se, but string angle and layout. The final layout could them be moved to a more convenient and aesthetic position regarding the body design...

    Regarding the 1st question, yeah, that's what I thought also, it becomes a matter of personal taste/ergonomics.

    Regarding the 3rd question, I've read somewhere, can't remember where nor when, someone saying that multiscale frets are not convergent, meaning that if one extends them, they won't intersect each other at the same point. My multiscale designs have been made by the measurements parallel to strings, as you have suggested, but I have also tested with these parallel to axis... it was more than 2 years ago, so I can't remember what my conclusion was. I have to test that fret convergence and straightness someday.
     
  4. KnightroExpress

    KnightroExpress Guitar Nerd Vendor

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    The Novax Fanned Fret(tm) system actually depends on the strings being exactly parallel (to each other and the centerline of the instrument), with the fret positions all converging on a central point somewhere waaaaay off the treble side of the neck.

    The way that Fretfind works is totally different- as Tom already said, it's essentially defining scale lengths for the bass and treble sides and connecting the dots between, with the parallel position acting as a way to figure out the way the nut and bridge sides interact.
     
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  5. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    1. Yes, that is absolutely perfectly fine. You could also have the perpendicular fret be <0 or >infinity, although it'd be more for aesthetics than for practicality. IMO, it all depends on the other specs.
    2. I have no idea. Why not?
    3. I believe it is always measured from string to string. There may well be exceptions, though.
     
  6. odibrom

    odibrom .

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    Ormsby is putting out multiscale guitars with the perpendicular at the bridge, so they can use floyds...
     
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  7. diagrammatiks

    diagrammatiks SS.org Regular

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    the bridge technically needs a little bit of compensation. the bridge on that guitar is custom made.

    you can put it at the nut as well like strandberg.
     
  8. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    I have heard about this before, but from another brand, although I have never come across photos of any guitars built this way. From a theoretical standpoint, it's perfectly workable, as I said, you could even place the perpendicular fret beyond the bridge, although it would pose no advantage other than looking weird.

    But, then again, you can do this as well... (?!)

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
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  9. diagrammatiks

    diagrammatiks SS.org Regular

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    It depends on which side you think is more ergonomic to have straighter frets.

    The parallel at the bridge angles all the frets as you get closer to the nut...
    the parallel nut makes everything near the bridge angled.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The other thing is that I think you can technically doubelock the strandberg design with just a standard locking nut. The ormsby design requires a custom angled locking nut that they are working on.
     
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  10. odibrom

    odibrom .

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    The problem with the strandberg (as I've been reading here and there) is that the bass string stretch with the trem is far greater than on other strings (bigger lever with the trem's pivot), which should not happen on the Ormsby...

    As far as ergonomics and aesthetics, I prefer the strandberg (not considering the neck profile), though I've never played any of these and doubt I'll ever will, in the near future at least. These are the kind of guitars one should play at least once, just to get the feeling, it's almost a cultural obligation. :D
     
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  11. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    If that's the case, though, does that mean it's a problem?

    I tend to think that it's not truly a problem...because, well, why would it be a problem? Does it really matter if the bass strings detune 5% more rapidly in a dive-bomb than the treble strings? Do these strings detune in a uniform way anyway on any extant mechanical trem system? :shrug: I think it's concern over a calculation affecting something no one cares to measure anyway. :2c:

    But, even if it does bother you...what's the alternative? I think every design has a drawback of some sort. Some drawbacks just really aren't that much of a cause for concern, IMO.

    YMMV, of course.
     
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  12. ixlramp

    ixlramp SS.org Regular

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    Not sure, the bass side saddle is moving downwards more than backwards while the treble side saddle is moving backwards more than downwards, so the stretch may be fairly similar.
    The Strandberg fan makes more ergonomic sense as it more closely follows the angle of your wrist and forearm. Perpendicular nut seems optimum to me.
     
  13. LiveOVErdrive

    LiveOVErdrive SS.org Regular

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    Angled bridges screw up my palm muting. I kind of want to try one with a straight bridge and angled nut.
     
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  14. odibrom

    odibrom .

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    Luky you to know that. The best I can is to catch (when possible) a multiscale Ibby on a shop to try out. Where I live there isn't much choice... :wallbash:

    @bostjan, i said the trem thing with the strandberg as a problem by memory of reading it as so. Having no experience with such thing...
     
  15. Hollowway

    Hollowway Extended Ranger

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    That caught my attention, because it's one of my huge pet peeves with the Kahler for ERGs. (Not fanned, just thick strings.) The nature of the cam, and thickness of the string, means that the lowest string on an 8 string drops to completely slack when you press the bar about a 1/3 of the way. Meanwhile, the high E drops a semitone. So it ends up being a huge problem, because I can hear the low F# rattling around with virtually any trem use at all. I've worked out ways to compensate for this, with a right angle bend at the ball part, and a much higher tension on the bass side strings. But, it's still a pain in the ass. (Though, the high E only goes down to C# with the bar pressed all the way to the body, so that's probably the bigger issue). FWIW, Floyd 8s perform much better, because of the nature of the design.
     
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  16. LiveOVErdrive

    LiveOVErdrive SS.org Regular

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    I guess we just need the pivot points running along the axis of the bridge. Which means we probably need bearings. So some kind of multiscale Ibby ZR bridge.

    It would feel SO WEIRD to use though.
     
  17. diagrammatiks

    diagrammatiks SS.org Regular

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    I think it depends more on the bridge design and compensation then which end of the fretboard is the parallel.

    The middle also works if the fan isn't that big. The prog has the .75 fan and the parallel is at the 7th. There's actually very little compensation in the design of the trem.
     
  18. rockskate4x

    rockskate4x rockskate4x

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    In response to the first question, I will mimic what others have said that the perpendicular location can be literally anywhere. IN MY OPINION, the best perpendicular location is the one that allows the nut and the bridge to be at equal opposing angles, like the equal sides of an isosceles triangle. This location will be different depending on which string spacings the builder decides on for the bridge and the nut. On fretfind I usually find this between the 8th and 9th frets.
     
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