Foro Flamenco
Posts Since Last Visit | Advanced Search | Home | Register | Login

Today's Posts | Inbox | Profile | Our Rules | Contact Admin | Log Out



Welcome to one of the most active flamenco sites on the Internet. Guests can read most posts but if you want to participate click here to register.
This site is dedicated to the memory of Paco de Lucía, Ron Mitchell, Guy Williams, Linda Elvir, Philip John Lee and Craig Eros who went ahead of us too soon.
We receive 12,200 visitors a month from 200 countries and 1.7 million page impressions a year. To advertise on this site please contact us.





640 mm scale length guitar   You are logged in as Guest
Users viewing this topic: none
  Printable Version
All Forums >>Discussions >>General >> Page: [1] 2 3    >   >>
Login
Message<< Newer Topic  Older Topic >>
 
rombsix

Posts: 7607
Joined: Jan. 11 2006
From: Beirut, Lebanon

640 mm scale length guitar 

Hello y'all,

I am seriously considering buying a luthier-made guitar. There is one point though that I am thinking of having done custom for my needs, which is a scale length of 640 mm instead of the usual 650 mm. This is because I find I have quite small hands, and I really suffer trying to play say an F add9 chord with barre on the first fret (where the pinky has to make that long stretch to the G on the fourth string, while still making that F on the first string sound clean barred with the base of the index finger). That is not the only chord I suffer playing, but many other similar chords or positions on the same area of the neck are hard for me. And I really think I have small hands (when I compare to other male friends' hands). Maybe a measure of my hands from the base of the wrist to the tip of the middle finger will help? Or a photo of my hand on the top of my standard 650 mm scale length guitar (for comparison's sake) will help you determine whether I TRULY have small hands, or if I just suck at barre technique or something else.

So, the thing is that ordering a 640 mm scale length guitar is a very CUSTOMIZED option, which will naturally make the luthier have me commit to buying the guitar once he begins building it. It will be very hard to sell a 640 mm scale length blanca if I decide I don't want it / like it after trying it.

If I were to ask for a 650 mm scale length, then the luthier has no problem allowing me to try the guitar, and NOT buy it if I don't like it (as it can easily be sold to the "next" customer in line).

Therefore, the issue is: do you think I should go for the 640 mm scale length? Do you think it's a problem that my hands are really small, or that I just stink at playing certain positions due to improper technique / posture, etc.? Do you think I should just go for a 650 mm scale length (so the luthier will allow me the luxury of a "return policy" if I don't like the guitar), and accept that maybe my hands are too small for certain first-position stretches, and find a way around this? Or should I just "go with God," and commit to a 640 mm scale length guitar, and hope for the best?

Might a 640 mm scale length guitar not sound as good? Are there any risks in getting such a guitar?

Do you think measuring my hand / taking a photo of my hand on the top of a standard 650 mm scale length guitar (to allow for perspective / comparison to be made) will help you answer my question?

Many thanks!

_____________________________

Ramzi

http://www.youtube.com/rombsix
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 8 2010 18:53:24
 
Ramon Amira

 

Posts: 1025
Joined: Oct. 14 2009
From: New York City

RE: 640 mm scale length guitar (in reply to rombsix

Lay your hand flat on a table, palm down, and measure it from the center of the tip of your pinky to the center of the tip of your thumb, and let us know what it is. However, this is only a rough guide, as anatomically there are always variations, such as someone's thumb might be a little longer than usual etc. Ask a doctor about this!

Anyway, if in general you feel you have somewhat smaller hands, and are struggling a bit to play certain chords, I would definitely recommend a 640. But you will also have to consider the nut. Frequently a 640 is built with a 50 mm nut, which can make for slightly narrower string spacing, though in truth the difference is quite small. A luthier will be happy to build you a 640 with a 52 nut.

Any 640 guitar built by a competent luthier will sound every bit as full as a 650, so I wouldn't worry about that. And I think that if you pick your luthier carefully, you should just trust your judgment – you will get a fine guitar that you will like and keep.

_____________________________

Classical and flamenco guitars from Spain Ramon Amira Guitars
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 8 2010 19:08:30
 
Ramon Amira

 

Posts: 1025
Joined: Oct. 14 2009
From: New York City

RE: 640 mm scale length guitar (in reply to rombsix

P.S. Another option to at least bear in mind and consider, is the possibility of getting a 650 and just using a cejilla on the first fret. I believe that's roughly equivalent to about a 613 scale, so that takes care of reach problems. But then of course you lose that great open string sound in palos such as Granadinas, where the E Minor and B7th both use open strings in the first position.

And by the same token, if you get a 640 and want to use a cejilla at any time, that brings the scale down quite short, so think about that as well.

_____________________________

Classical and flamenco guitars from Spain Ramon Amira Guitars
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 8 2010 19:21:53
 
Paul Magnussen

Posts: 1753
Joined: Nov. 8 2010
From: London (living in the Bay Area)

RE: 640 mm scale length guitar (in reply to rombsix

Is it worth it? By my calculations, the difference in the distance from the 1st fret to the 5th is less than 2mm.

Attachment (1)

_____________________________

  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 8 2010 19:39:50
 
rogeliocan

Posts: 811
Joined: Nov. 23 2009
From: Canada

RE: 640 mm scale length guitar (in reply to Paul Magnussen

quote:

Is it worth it? By my calculations, the difference in the distance from the 1st fret to the 5th is less than 2mm.


Good point.
Rombsix, how about adding 2 strings to a ukulele.

_____________________________

  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 8 2010 19:50:39
 
beno

Posts: 881
Joined: Nov. 3 2006
From: Hungary

RE: 640 mm scale length guitar (in reply to rombsix

hey Romb!

I think You should go for the 650. You may like it, and find it very comfortable! I think it depends more on the action/feel of the guitar rather than 3mm or whatsoever distances....
I played 650 wich felt huge, and played 660 that I had to measure to believe it-it was so easy like butter.
Also I don't think that's noticable difference, as Paul says it.
M.Sanlucar's fingers look quite short on some videos yet he can do everything he wants...
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 8 2010 20:40:26
 
Ramon Amira

 

Posts: 1025
Joined: Oct. 14 2009
From: New York City

RE: 640 mm scale length guitar (in reply to Paul Magnussen

quote:

Is it worth it? By my calculations, the difference in the distance from the 1st fret to the 5th is less than 2mm.


While it's true that the difference is not great, it is still a difference. Over the years I have discussed this with a good number of guitarists with smaller hands, who switched to a 640, and every one of them said that they felt it was easier for them to play.

How much of a psychological factor is involved, I couldn't say. But in any case, they felt they were better off, and played better.

_____________________________

Classical and flamenco guitars from Spain Ramon Amira Guitars
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 8 2010 20:50:13
 
Morante

 

Posts: 1893
Joined: Nov. 21 2010
 

RE: 640 mm scale length guitar (in reply to rombsix

No tocas nunca al cante? Es raro que la guitarra flamenca se toca al aire y el tiro de la guitarra no tiene importancia. Tengo las manos pequeñas y toco hasta 670 facilmente. Mi única guitarra es de 660. Cómprate la de 650.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 8 2010 20:57:18
 
XXX

Posts: 4400
Joined: Apr. 14 2005
 

RE: 640 mm scale length guitar (in reply to rombsix

In my opinion, when you play guitar, even 1mm can be a huge distance when you plant your finger, be it right hand or left hand. It affects the tension in your fingers if you overstretch them... especially if you have not so big hands. If you really isolated the problem to the scale then cool go for a 64 scale. But also check out if its not other factors like neck width/thickness that might influence your stretches. Narrower necks are easier for me to play. Even 1mm neck width makes a big difference in this case. My first guitar had 54.5 now i am at 51, but i would prefer 50mm they are just not available anywhere...

_____________________________

Фламенко
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 8 2010 21:12:48
 
rombsix

Posts: 7607
Joined: Jan. 11 2006
From: Beirut, Lebanon

RE: 640 mm scale length guitar (in reply to rombsix

Here are some photos of my right hand (assuming it is the same size as the left).



Images are resized automatically to a maximum width of 800px

Attachment (1)

_____________________________

Ramzi

http://www.youtube.com/rombsix
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 8 2010 21:13:04
 
rombsix

Posts: 7607
Joined: Jan. 11 2006
From: Beirut, Lebanon

RE: 640 mm scale length guitar (in reply to rombsix

Measurement 1.



Images are resized automatically to a maximum width of 800px

Attachment (1)

_____________________________

Ramzi

http://www.youtube.com/rombsix
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 8 2010 21:16:40
 
XXX

Posts: 4400
Joined: Apr. 14 2005
 

RE: 640 mm scale length guitar (in reply to rombsix

I just measured mine too
Same size: 17cm

_____________________________

Фламенко
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 8 2010 21:20:47
 
Ramon Amira

 

Posts: 1025
Joined: Oct. 14 2009
From: New York City

RE: 640 mm scale length guitar (in reply to rombsix

Based on these photos my conclusion is – your thumbnail should be longer! Just kidding. What you should measure, though, is not that vertical distance, but rather the pinky to thumb span.

Deniz makes some good points here. Yes, the thickness of the neck can be a factor, as well as it's width. Since a luthier will do pretty much whatever you want – within reason – then very possibly a total combination of a thinner neck, narrower nut, and shorter scale, could make a big difference.

_____________________________

Classical and flamenco guitars from Spain Ramon Amira Guitars
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 8 2010 21:32:51
 
rombsix

Posts: 7607
Joined: Jan. 11 2006
From: Beirut, Lebanon

RE: 640 mm scale length guitar (in reply to rombsix

Measurement 2.



Images are resized automatically to a maximum width of 800px

Attachment (1)

_____________________________

Ramzi

http://www.youtube.com/rombsix
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 8 2010 21:43:32
 
rombsix

Posts: 7607
Joined: Jan. 11 2006
From: Beirut, Lebanon

RE: 640 mm scale length guitar (in reply to rombsix

Whoops!

_____________________________

Ramzi

http://www.youtube.com/rombsix
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 8 2010 21:47:06
 
Ramon Amira

 

Posts: 1025
Joined: Oct. 14 2009
From: New York City

RE: 640 mm scale length guitar (in reply to rombsix

Where's the span measurement?

_____________________________

Classical and flamenco guitars from Spain Ramon Amira Guitars
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 8 2010 21:47:55
 
rombsix

Posts: 7607
Joined: Jan. 11 2006
From: Beirut, Lebanon

RE: 640 mm scale length guitar (in reply to rombsix

Measurement 3.



Images are resized automatically to a maximum width of 800px

Attachment (1)

_____________________________

Ramzi

http://www.youtube.com/rombsix
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 8 2010 21:48:28
 
rombsix

Posts: 7607
Joined: Jan. 11 2006
From: Beirut, Lebanon

RE: 640 mm scale length guitar (in reply to rombsix

So, the span is about 18.5 cm with full-stretch, as shown in the photo. With my fingers tightly brought closer against each other, the span is about 9.5 cm from the middle of the thumb to the middle of the pinky.

_____________________________

Ramzi

http://www.youtube.com/rombsix
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 8 2010 22:02:04
 
Ramon Amira

 

Posts: 1025
Joined: Oct. 14 2009
From: New York City

RE: 640 mm scale length guitar (in reply to rombsix

Yes, that span traditionally has 640 recommended for it. It's not that you can't play a 650 - you can, and have. But all things considered - in particular if you plan to buy a luthier guitar, which will allow you to customize some other factors discussed here - I personally feel that you will be very happy with a 640, and will find playing easier and consequently more enjoyable.

Ramon

_____________________________

Classical and flamenco guitars from Spain Ramon Amira Guitars
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 8 2010 22:03:15
 
mark indigo

 

Posts: 3324
Joined: Dec. 5 2007
 

RE: 640 mm scale length guitar (in reply to beno

quote:

M.Sanlucar's fingers look quite short on some videos yet he can do everything he wants...


his fingers look short but i have been told his palm is wide, so the distance from pinky tip to thumb tip is still quite big enough
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 8 2010 22:36:39
 
rogeliocan

Posts: 811
Joined: Nov. 23 2009
From: Canada

RE: 640 mm scale length guitar (in reply to rombsix

Now I can see that mm makes a difference. My hand has a 23.5 span and there are chords that demand quite a stretch, like the chords at the end of Tio Arango. I would even wonder if the 2mm saved with a 640 would be enough. I`m just asking here, and don't know any of the implications but but why not go even shorter to a 630.

_____________________________

  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 8 2010 22:53:31
 
Anders Eliasson

Posts: 5780
Joined: Oct. 18 2006
 

RE: 640 mm scale length guitar (in reply to rombsix

Come on guys.. dont be pussys.

I was half the size of any of you guys when I learned to play on a standard size Spanish guitar (650mm scale)

Watch that video that was up a couple of weeks ago with a kid playing... And then shut up or talk about something else.

A relatively thin neck can be helpfull. A half round 20mm at the headstock can be very comfortable.

_____________________________

Blog: http://news-from-the-workshop.blogspot.com/
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 9 2010 7:47:27
 
beno

Posts: 881
Joined: Nov. 3 2006
From: Hungary

RE: 640 mm scale length guitar (in reply to rombsix

I can't do nothing but agree with Anders
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 9 2010 8:00:44
 
XXX

Posts: 4400
Joined: Apr. 14 2005
 

RE: 640 mm scale length guitar (in reply to rombsix

you two have relatively big hands by the way.
I would reluctantly leave the decision for a guitar to some playing of a kid on youtube

(i know you mean that flamenco kid, but when i see that kid i just want to punch it...)

_____________________________

Фламенко
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 9 2010 8:32:06
 
KMMI77

Posts: 1821
Joined: Jul. 26 2009
From: The land down under

RE: 640 mm scale length guitar (in reply to rombsix

Rhomb, My hands are about 2cm longer than yours in both directions and both my guitars are 650. I find 660 a real struggle.

What scale are those kids guitars you see in the shops?

If you can find one that's close for $50 it might pay to buy one and set up the string spacing by making and filing grooves into some blank nuts and saddles. You could then experiment for a while before you spend the cash on your good one.

_____________________________

  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 9 2010 10:08:39
 
Anders Eliasson

Posts: 5780
Joined: Oct. 18 2006
 

RE: 640 mm scale length guitar (in reply to rombsix

quote:

F add9 chord with barre on the first fret (where the pinky has to make that long stretch to the G on the fourth string, while still making that F on the first string sound clean barred with the base of the index finger).


So do you find that chord easy to play with a capo on 1st fret.

I ask because capo 1st fret gives you a scale of 615mm or in other words , a lot shorter than a 640 or even a 630mm guitar.

Wouldnt it just be easyer to put a cejilla on the guitar when playing chords like this instead of ordering a semi-invalid guitar that´ll mean that you´ll dislike all other guitars.
Another way is to work with streching the hand. Lots of good spanish players dont have big hands but some of them play 660 scale no problem.

_____________________________

Blog: http://news-from-the-workshop.blogspot.com/
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 9 2010 11:29:21
 
rogeliocan

Posts: 811
Joined: Nov. 23 2009
From: Canada

RE: 640 mm scale length guitar (in reply to Anders Eliasson

quote:

a semi-invalid guitar


lol

_____________________________

  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 9 2010 11:33:55
 
Ricardo

Posts: 13289
Joined: Dec. 14 2004
From: Washington DC

RE: 640 mm scale length guitar (in reply to rombsix

you seriously want to buy a guitar with a specific length that only affects your playing at the first fret????? Put a capo on and it negates your whole decision. Try playing a bass guitar for a few hours then return to your "big" 650mm guitar. It will feel like a baby toy.

PS, my hands are way smaller then yours I think and I play a guitar that is 670mm

Ricardo

_____________________________

CD's and transcriptions available here:
www.ricardomarlow.com
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 9 2010 14:49:21
 
at_leo_87

Posts: 3055
Joined: Aug. 30 2008
From: Boston, MA, U.S.A

RE: 640 mm scale length guitar (in reply to rombsix

you measured your right hand! big difference!
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 9 2010 16:01:22
 
CarloJuan

 

Posts: 169
Joined: Sep. 19 2010
From: Philippines

RE: 640 mm scale length guitar (in reply to rombsix

Romb, don't worry too much.

Personally, i like guitars that pose a challenge to me. I like 650mm guitars (although they're hard as hell, but as of now i am at 640), hard tension strings. I like dominating my instrument. I have an ambitious feeling that i don't like the idea of guitars scaring me cause they are too hard to play (I've heard Andres Segovia's personal Ramirez guitar is hard to even pluck or play on).

But to be honest, i envy people with big palms and sausage like fingers. It helps with the vibrato A LOT. But then again, i'm happy with my hands.

  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 10 2010 1:25:55
Page:   [1] 2 3    >   >>
All Forums >>Discussions >>General >> Page: [1] 2 3    >   >>
Jump to:

New Messages No New Messages
Hot Topic w/ New Messages Hot Topic w/o New Messages
Locked w/ New Messages Locked w/o New Messages
 Post New Thread
 Reply to Message
 Post New Poll
 Submit Vote
 Delete My Own Post
 Delete My Own Thread
 Rate Posts


Forum Software powered by ASP Playground Advanced Edition 2.0.5
Copyright © 2000 - 2003 ASPPlayground.NET

0.0625 secs.