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britguy

Posts: 712
Joined: Dec. 26 2010
From: Ontario, Canada

Scale length longer than ordered? 

I just recently took delivery of a Castillo negra.

I originally wanted 650mm scale. Sr.Castillo recommended 660 as better for my purposes (solo playing). I agreed to go with his opinion.

The guitar actually measure 664mm from nut to saddle, and I was somewhat surprized to see this extra 4mm when I originally wanted 650.

Is this something I should be complaining about - or learn to live with? Will I need higher or lower? tension strings for this scale length?

The guitar has excellent sound, but is a bit of a stretch for my fingers when played open. I cant really send the guitar back to Mexico; too much hassle with customs, etc.

Before writing to Sr. Castillo I thougth I'd ask you guys for your opinions.

Any thoughts, anybody?



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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 9 2012 17:34:30
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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 9 2012 17:39:45
 
XXX

Posts: 4400
Joined: Apr. 14 2005
 

RE: Scale length longer than ordered? (in reply to britguy

well, in my opinion he needs to cover anything to do with sending it back. You simply have the wrong guitar. If you dont accept it, you have any rights to send it back, ie return it.
I mean he probably just mixed up the guitars or the orders anyway and will gladly fix the issue by himself.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 9 2012 17:55:54
 
BarkellWH

Posts: 3289
Joined: Jul. 12 2009
From: Washington, DC

RE: Scale length longer than ordered? (in reply to britguy

Britguy,

Definitely send it back, advising of your original order. Deniz may be correct that you received the wrong guitar, in which case it should be exchanged without question. But if it is meant to be your guitar, and it was not made to your specification, Castillo should accept its return graciously and make you a guitar to your specifications. No legitimate luthier will force you to accept something you did not order, and you should have no compunction about returning it.

Cheers,

Bill

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 9 2012 18:04:09
 
Gimar Yestra

 

Posts: 298
Joined: Jan. 19 2011
From: The Netherlands

RE: Scale length longer than ordered? (in reply to britguy

664mm, im guessing the extra 4mm you measured is the compensation on the saddle for better intonation.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 9 2012 18:13:27
 
JuanDaBomb

Posts: 189
Joined: May 18 2011
 

RE: Scale length longer than ordered? (in reply to britguy

I'd be interested in knowing how Castillo responds should you choose to contact him about this, since his website does basically say "all sales final". If it were me, I'd probably call him and let him know, if anything just to gauge his reaction. Something like this is pretty pivotal as to whether I would choose to do business again with this person.

I was thinking maybe the extra 4 mm are compensation too, but shouldn't that be more in the neighborhood of 660.4, and not 664.0 ???
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 9 2012 18:25:43
 
britguy

Posts: 712
Joined: Dec. 26 2010
From: Ontario, Canada

RE: Scale length longer than ordered? (in reply to Gimar Yestra

quote:

guessing the extra 4mm you measured is the compensation on the saddle for better intonation.


I don't think so Gimar.

I measured between the inside faces of the saddle and the nut, i.e. the actual vibrating length of the string - on treble and bass sides. There is less than 1 mm difference from one side to the other.

No, I think this is a genuine 664 mm scale length.

And - for the others - this is definitely the guitar built for me. It has my initial inset into the heel and the exact sample of Granadillo for the back that I originally chose.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 9 2012 18:33:29
 
Arash

Posts: 4432
Joined: Aug. 9 2006
From: Iran (living in Germany)

RE: Scale length longer than ordered? (in reply to britguy

quote:

ORIGINAL: britguy
but is a bit of a stretch for my fingers when played open.


seriously in that case, if you are going to send it back and if a new guitar is going to be built for you, then order your original request, 650mm.
otherwise it could be that you have the same feeling with the 660 (too much stretch). i personally don't feel much difference between 660 and 650, even though i don't have big hand. but anyway you should be on the safe side with 650.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 9 2012 18:38:50
 
Richard Jernigan

Posts: 3196
Joined: Jan. 20 2004
From: Austin, Texas USA

RE: Scale length longer than ordered? (in reply to britguy

The conventional measurement of scale length is twice the distance from the nut to the 12th fret. The distance from the 12th fret to the saddle is made longer to compensate for the slight increase in tension when the string is fretted. On a "650 mm" classical guitar, the measurement you made is typically around 652 millimeters.

Four millimeters seems too much compensation for a "660 mm" scale, especially for a flamenco guitar with its low action. But it's only a couple of millimeters, which is suspect you might not feel.

Castillo is a competent flamenco player. Mexican popular guitarists like long scales and play with a very strong right hand technique. Castillo's advice to take a "660" may be influenced to some degree by this environment.

Castillo may have templates only for the two sizes, "650" and "660" so it might be a lot more work to make a guitar exactly 660 mm from nut to saddle. It depends on how he works. However Castillo sells lots of guitars, so I would think he would be willing to swap you a "650" for the "660" you now have.

I've never bought a guitar from Castillo, but I have spent some time in his shop with people picking up new guitars, listening to and playing the new instruments. Castillo speaks serviceable English, and strikes me as an astute person and a very good business man. I would think he would try to make you a happy customer.

RNJ
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 9 2012 19:42:05
 
Anders Eliasson

Posts: 5780
Joined: Oct. 18 2006
 

RE: Scale length longer than ordered? (in reply to britguy

Your guitar is 2mm longer than what you would normally call a 660 scale. I dont think you can feel it. I think if it was 662 you´d still find it big.

My advice.
Relax and try not to think about strecthes etc, open a good bottle of wine, play a little, drink a little, eat something you like, play a little, drink a little and relax.. If the guitar still feels big, then I would worry, if it feels ok, then you´ll get used to it, if it feels good, open another bottle of wine and play all night long

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 9 2012 19:59:15
 
estebanana

Posts: 8324
Joined: Oct. 16 2009
 

RE: Scale length longer than ordered? (in reply to britguy

If you measured from the nut to the saddle what you measured is _string_ length.

Measure from the inside of the nut to the middle of the 12th fret and multiply by two. That is scale length.

String length and scale length are two different things.

Subtract the scale length from the string length and remainder is what he used for compensation.

I suspect what you really have is a 662 scale length with 2mm of compensation. Or something close to that.

_____________________

If you don't like it send it back and buy the 650 blanca I have for sale. ( he shamelessly says )

He probably got your neck mixed up with another neck and did not see it until the ribs and top were attached. Opps.

The point in the construction process at which the scale is determined is when you cut the rib slots. The ribs slots are made so the 12th fret ends up being in the neck body join. If the maker moves the rib slot too far towards the bridge when he measures it out it will increase the scale length two mm for every mm the rib slot is moved forward or decrease for every mm moved backward. Thus if he made a one mm error at the rib slots this would change the scale from a 660 to a 662.

The difference between 660 and 662 is minor. What makes the scale seem long is the added compensation. So when a guitar maker tells you you have a 660 scale that means your right hand will be fretting those distances, string length may be longer, but it will not effect your right hand. Understand what I mean?

You can probably get used to a longer scale. Unless you really are upset by the issue then send it back. But you might try playing with the cejilla on the first or and get used to the longer scale gradually.

I would think about how the guitar sounds and if you like that you may still be happy.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 9 2012 20:17:38
 
Turner

 

Posts: 81
Joined: Nov. 5 2011
 

RE: Scale length longer than ordered? (in reply to britguy

Reading through this you may find that Snr Castillo will take the view that the guitar was ordered 'custom' due to the initial on the heel and as you say that you agreed to the 660 scale (and 664 was fairly common in older guitars) then you might have a problem returning it. I guess it'd depend on his business ethic.
I think Richard J (a couple of posts above) has a point about the Mexican way of playing and the guy was probably trying to help you as he saw it.
I guess the advice would be to be sure that you need to return it and it's not something you'd get used to given time. However, if you do return it, stick to your guns as it's not a situation where a bit of discount will help, the guitar is either too long for you or it's not.
Let us know how you get on either way and best of luck.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 9 2012 20:29:58
 
estebanana

Posts: 8324
Joined: Oct. 16 2009
 

RE: Scale length longer than ordered? (in reply to britguy

Before you guys condemn the guitar maker lets find out what the actual scale length is shall we?

Here are the scales 660 and 662 -

What is your nut to 12th fret distance? 330 mm or 331mm? Or something else?


Scale length: 660

Distance from front of the nut
(or zero fret) to fret
1: 37.043
2: 72.007
3: 105.008
4: 136.158
5: 165.559
6: 193.31
7: 219.503
8: 244.226
9: 267.562
10: 289.588
11: 310.377
12: 330

***********************************

Scale length: 662

Distance from front of the nut
(or zero fret) to fret
1: 37.155
2: 72.225
3: 105.327
4: 136.57
5: 166.06
6: 193.895
7: 220.168
8: 244.966
9: 268.372
10: 290.465
11: 311.318
12: 331

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 9 2012 20:37:01
 
TANúñez

Posts: 2547
Joined: Jul. 10 2003
From: TEXAS

RE: Scale length longer than ordered? (in reply to britguy

Do you use capo?? I'm assuming that you do if you play flamenco. If that's the case, the 664 shouldn't be a problem and actually feel better than a capo on a 650 scale.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 9 2012 21:25:12
 
Shawn Brock

 

Posts: 271
Joined: Sep. 19 2011
From: Louisville KY

RE: Scale length longer than ordered? (in reply to britguy

Britguy,

I think you are realizing my worse fears. Salvador is high on the 660, and has said that it has greater volume and the base is brought out more. For a solo guy, this seems appealing... Like you though, I'm used to the 650, and when playing solo I tend to play open more than one would when accompanying dance. I have had to live with the fact that as long as I live in Vegas I won't have many opportunities to accompany dance, which is what I would like to do.

I still haven't decided if I will pull the trigger on a 660 guitar. As others have stated, its no big deal if you are using a cejilla, but lots of us soloists play open quite a bit. To me a flamenco guitar always sounds better when capoed, but I hate to do that all of the time.

With as good as my 650 Castillo blanca sounds, I just can't imagine that it would sound better if it was a 660, but it may would...

I had always heard that Salvador didn't speak English, but after this report from Ron, it seems that I have heard or thought wrong. Maybe you should give him a call. I would wait a day or 2, just to see if the guitar grows on you and go from there.

As far as the strings, you probably will be fine with medium tension. I use high tensions on my 650, or high tension bases and medium tension trebles. I'm guessing Salvador strung the guitar with Daddario J46, which may feel a little hard at first with the 660.

Either way you go it will be interesting to hear how it all comes out. After a few days of playing her, the love bug may bight you, and you won't want to give her up for anything. I do think it is somewhat disappointing that you got something that wasn't what it was supposed to be, but I have always heard great things about Salvador's honesty and I would think he would work something out for you if need be.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 9 2012 23:56:55
 
Richard Jernigan

Posts: 3196
Joined: Jan. 20 2004
From: Austin, Texas USA

RE: Scale length longer than ordered? (in reply to Shawn Brock

I may not be the most reliable source on who does and who does not speak English well in Mexico, since i speak Spanish when I'm in a Spanish speaking country.

But my recollection of being in Castillo's shop with Americans, and communication flowing fairly freely, makes me think Castillo speaks English to some extent.

Giving him a call can't hurt.

RNJ
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 10 2012 0:50:55
 
britguy

Posts: 712
Joined: Dec. 26 2010
From: Ontario, Canada

RE: Scale length longer than ordered? (in reply to Anders Eliasson

quote:

open a good bottle of wine, play a little, drink a little, eat something you like, play a little, drink a little and relax..


I think we must think very much alike. Because that's exactly what I intend to do: relax, have a glass of wine, and play and play and play.

I really do not want to return the guitar, regardless of the longer scale length.

Like you, I enjoy playing flamenco with a llittle wine as additional accompaniment.

Maybe because we have both spent some time in Spain among the Spanish. Although mine was a long, long time ago. . .

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 10 2012 1:24:39
 
Sean

Posts: 672
Joined: Jan. 20 2011
From: Canada

RE: Scale length longer than ordered? (in reply to britguy

Rulers are for luthiers not players.
Oh and post a pic of that Granadillo already

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 10 2012 4:01:02
 
Anders Eliasson

Posts: 5780
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RE: Scale length longer than ordered? (in reply to britguy

Ok, a side subject

As a builder I would like to know what players think about builders giving advices on scale length, nut width etc. Most builders dont play or play very little. How did they come to the conclusion that 660 is better than 650. Not by their own playing.
660 THEORETICALLY gives more projection... but in reality I dont hear a lot of difference. We´ve discussed this not long ago.
The problem with many builders and players is that theory is very often considered more important than feeling relaxed and project through your playing.
I build 650 and 660 scales. IMHO, being a builder and a player, only very big persons with big hands and very high level players can take advance of a 660 scale guitar. I´m 183cm ( 6´) and I have a good level of playing but I play 650 scale because I feel better and when I do so, I play better and my guitar sounds better and projects better.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 10 2012 7:31:57
 
orsonw

Posts: 1498
Joined: Jul. 4 2009
From: London

RE: Scale length longer than ordered? (in reply to Anders Eliasson

quote:

IMHO, being a builder and a player, only very big persons with big hands and very high level players can take advance of a 660 scale guitar.


My own preference is the opposite of this.

I am not a builder, an intermediate player, I am 5'11'' with strong but average size hands and long arms. I have two 660, a 655, a 664 and a 650 guitar. As far as left-hand stretch/space, I prefer 660 or actually my 664 is most comfortable, 650 feels small. (I did play the electric bass guitar for many years so this may make a difference?) But really the differences are negligible and easily adjusted to.

If I got someone to make a guitar I would give them my preference as far as size, I wouldn't follow their preferences even if they were a great player. Regarding wood and other building details of course I would value their opinion.


Castillo is also a builder and player. I believe he even advocates and builds a 670 scale.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 10 2012 15:09:18
 
Shawn Brock

 

Posts: 271
Joined: Sep. 19 2011
From: Louisville KY

RE: Scale length longer than ordered? (in reply to britguy

Anders,

Castillo is a pretty good player, although I'm not sure that he sticks with always playing traditional flamenco. Like you I also think it is rather ironic that some makers who don't play much are the first to give advice to a player and tell him how the guitar should feel in his hands... Castillo pushes the 660 and yes, as Orsonw said, he will even bring up a 670.

Lets just go on record now and say that I'm a wimp because I feel more at home with a 650. I'm a little over 6 feet tall and have normal size hands for a person of my size. Long skinny fingers, and thinner hands, but a good reach. The problem for me is I grew up playing steel string acoustics and electrics. In that world the scale length and neck width hardly ever comes up. When I first plunged into the world of classical, it took some time for me to get used to the larger neck profile and the fact that the fret spacing is wider. The only way I could be at home on a 670 guitar is to have at least 20 frets if not more. The 660 also may be a little much for me, I'm not sure. It seems that I would get used to it just like I got used to a 52 MM nut, but I don't know that I would ever love it more than 650.

I can feel the difference in 655 and 650, and can perform on 655, but at some point things will become to much. People have said, "well if you can play a 650 then you can play a 655." Then they will say the same thing about a 660. "Well if you can play 655 then you won't have a problem with 660..." But at some point you run out of comfort in your hands... Lots of classical players are playing these 640 guitars, and they rave about how much better it feels. The 640 just don't work for me... It seems that if a person only played rhythm and never had to worry about picado runs, they wouldn't have to worry as much about the scale length, but if you do much lead work at all without a cejilla, then you can run into problems. Especially if you have any jazz influences in your playing. Your pinky will sure start cramping on those long reaches... These are just my thoughts, and what works for me.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 10 2012 16:33:46
 
estebanana

Posts: 8324
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RE: Scale length longer than ordered? (in reply to Sean

quote:

Rulers are for luthiers not players.


Wins the argument hands down.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 10 2012 16:54:34
 
Richard Jernigan

Posts: 3196
Joined: Jan. 20 2004
From: Austin, Texas USA

RE: Scale length longer than ordered? (in reply to Anders Eliasson

When I discussed my classical with Abel Garcia at his shop in Paracho, I asked for 655 mm scale and 54 mm nut. His only comment was that he had made an instrument with the same dimensions for Pepe Romero. Garcia plays very little.

The first of Garcia's guitars I played was the spruce/Brazilian he made for his daughter. It was about the size of Torres' small guitars, somewhere in the range of 630-640 mm. It had a great tone and projection, and an especially nice third string.

My first guitar was a cheap one bought in Paracho long ago. It was an entire fret longer than my 655 Ramirez 1a blanca. That amounts to 693.5 mm! I'm tall, with big hands, but I usually tuned that Paracho monster down a half-step and put a capo in the first fret.

I have seen Condes from the 1960s-1970s as long as 672 mm. This was during the time when Jose Ramirez III, dominating the market, effectively refused to sell a classical shorter than 664, though his blancas were still at 655.

The extraordinary (by Euro-American standards) scale length of that first Paracho guitar was actually pretty popular with the rhythm guitar players of the trios romanticos then popular in Mexico. Mexicans still seem to me to prefer longer scales. This, together with Castillo's competent playing, may have something to do with Castillo's recommendations.

Garcia has had a world-wide classical clientele for quite a while. He has associated with European and American classical pros more than Castillo has. Castillo's world-wide flamenco clientele has developed fairly recently, compared to Garcia's classical clientele.

The only other place I played a fair number of guitars on my last trip to Paracho in December, 2006 was at Arturo Huipe's place, off the main drag in his residential compound. I didn't pay much attention to scale length, but the cedar/cocobolo classical I bought from him is a 650. Huipe mentioned that he had sold a number of guitars at the recent Musikmesse in Frankfurt, Germany.

RNJ
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 10 2012 17:18:19
 
Escribano

Posts: 6305
Joined: Jul. 6 2003
From: England, living in Italy

RE: Scale length longer than ordered? (in reply to britguy

I think you got lucky, based on some the Mexican guitars I have seen



Images are resized automatically to a maximum width of 800px

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 10 2012 17:30:03
 
Richard Jernigan

Posts: 3196
Joined: Jan. 20 2004
From: Austin, Texas USA

RE: Scale length longer than ordered? (in reply to Escribano

quote:

ORIGINAL: Escribano

I think you got lucky, based on some the Mexican guitars I have seen



...aww, c'mon. That's a guitarron. It plays bass. But you knew that....

RNJ
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 10 2012 17:39:08
 
Escribano

Posts: 6305
Joined: Jul. 6 2003
From: England, living in Italy

RE: Scale length longer than ordered? (in reply to Richard Jernigan

quote:

...aww, c'mon. That's a guitarron. It plays bass. But you knew that....


¿No mames güey, verdad?

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 10 2012 17:52:42
 
Anders Eliasson

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RE: Scale length longer than ordered? (in reply to orsonw

quote:

(I did play the electric bass guitar for many years so this may make a difference?)


Thats not fair. ex electric bass players, double bass players are not allowed to have opinions on scale length.

Its of course all about what you are used to.....

Shawn, Electric guitars and steel strings normally have shorter scales. Fender is around 645mm

If a client wants a certain size, I build that size and I dont argue... They should know their own playing better than I do.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 10 2012 18:49:15
 
elroby

 

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 10 2012 20:53:54
 
kudo

Posts: 2064
Joined: Sep. 3 2009
 

RE: Scale length longer than ordered? (in reply to britguy

hey britguy, I have a 650 blanca castillo (which was custom order) and a 660 negra castillo (which was already available for sale), so the 660 I have is his typical 660's and I think if I were to measure it like the way YOU MEASURED, i would get 664 .

first, because I trust Castillo so much, I never bothered to "check"and "measure" and I will not be doing it.
from reading the above posts by everyone here, I am pretty sure what you got is a 660.

from my experience so far in playing these 2 guitars, I feel no discomfort in the left hand, except more tension on the 660 (i guess thats normal, considering im using normal tension strings on both guitars), so because of that extra TENSION that i feel, I find the blanca much easier for dance accompaniment. not to mention, that my blanca was designed to be for dance accompaniment to begin with.

I have average hands, there is a particular stretch on open string in alegrias that I can sometimes make on my blanca, and almost never make on my negra.

I almost never play anything on open string on both guitars, except for my recently composed Serrana y Seguiriya. even in this, I feel like I do play my Serrana better on the 660 negra.

at the end, Im sure you will get used to the 660 and I know that Castillo's best negras are with the Granadillo backs. so YOU HAVE AN AWESOME GUITAR!! CONGRATS!! I would like to play a Castillo Granadillo negra some day and compare it with my palo escrito negra!!
POST PICTURES !

maybe some day I will visit you in Ontario, I don't live too far away from you anyway.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 10 2012 20:53:58
 
estebanana

Posts: 8324
Joined: Oct. 16 2009
 

RE: Scale length longer than ordered? (in reply to elroby

quote:

I find it VERY hard to believe anyone can tell the difference of 5mm over 12 frets.


Oh Rob you know all these guitar players are just like the princess and the pea.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 10 2012 22:02:58
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