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RE: Classical/flamenco guitar scale length reform   You are logged in as Guest
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Ricardo

Posts: 14636
Joined: Dec. 14 2004
From: Washington DC

RE: Classical/flamenco guitar scale ... (in reply to kitarist

It seems with this repeating argument that people have forgotten you CAN change action on a guitar, but you CAN’T change the scale length, so no objective comparison can be done in that regard. Instead people compare entirely different GUITARS and rely on the psychological belief of how they feel different. Pulsacion and scale, types of wood, etc, all are subservient to action/set up. If the physics fails to account for the enormous quantity “action”, then the result of the string tension doesn’t matter. Simply plucking closer to the soundhole or closer to the bridge, decreases or increases the “tension” feeling. That is why as player, when we try a guitar we play around in that area to find the “sweet spot” where the guitar responds the best. No two guitars are exactly the same.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 16 2021 16:14:09
 
RobF

Posts: 1602
Joined: Aug. 24 2017
 

RE: Classical/flamenco guitar scale ... (in reply to Ricardo

Wouldn’t putting a capo on effectively be changing the scale length?

I have a pet theory that the sound and responsiveness of a guitar will influence how a player will perceive its pulsation. It’s really a system issue where the player is a part of the loop and is responding to the feedback they are getting not just under hand but also aurally. So, a quick or dry instrument may give the impression of being “tighter” than one with more bloom to the sound, even if the actual tensions are identical. That more or less supports your point about a player finding an instrument’s “sweet spot” (or adapting their approach to an instrument to get the sound they are seeking). But, who knows? One thing I have found over the years is one size does not fit all and equally competent players will not have equal requirements in what they want out of their instruments.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 16 2021 19:32:56
 
kitarist

Posts: 1710
Joined: Dec. 4 2012
 

RE: Classical/flamenco guitar scale ... (in reply to RobF

quote:

Wouldn’t putting a capo on effectively be changing the scale length?


Oh yeah, that and lowering the pitch a semitone should in fact be a better shorter vs longer scale comparison for these purposes since the guitar body is exactly the same, and also presumably eliminates a lot of the psychologically-induced perception of differences.

Don't change where you pluck, don't change how much you push/pull the string - does it really feel like the 'shorter-scale' version needs more effort to pluck the same way? If yes (without lying to yourself), then a physical explanation is still needed; if not, it is evidence for what Ricardo is saying.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 16 2021 20:27:45
 
RobF

Posts: 1602
Joined: Aug. 24 2017
 

RE: Classical/flamenco guitar scale ... (in reply to kitarist

I’m speculating that if the capo is put on and the pitch is not altered then the elements of the equation you linked to should all be the same and only the scale length (L) would be altered by the capo. In other words, lowering the pitch might be kind of cooking the results as it’s changing the parameters of the strings. So, perhaps the guitar shouldn’t be retuned? I’m just thinking out loud.

Question: how do people perceive the tension under the hand as a capo is moved up the neck? Does the guitar feel stiffer?

P.S. I just scanned the wiki page and also I’m a little out of my element here so please take my speculations with a measure of patience and a grain of salt.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 16 2021 21:59:05
 
Echi

 

Posts: 1108
Joined: Jan. 11 2013
 

RE: Classical/flamenco guitar scale ... (in reply to Ricardo

Speaking about comfort (or perceived tension), the best thing is just to try as much guitars as you can (long and short scale) and to decide for yourself.
Of course the right set up makes the difference, whatever the scale.
Scale is an important aspect of the geometry though as many other aspects concurring to the final result (action at the bridge, neck angle, top stiffness etc.).
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 17 2021 0:08:55
 
kitarist

Posts: 1710
Joined: Dec. 4 2012
 

RE: Classical/flamenco guitar scale ... (in reply to RobF

quote:

In other words, lowering the pitch might be kind of cooking the results as it’s changing the parameters of the strings.


I guess it depends on how you look at it. In your version the first component is kept that same as well, so if the perceived "as if higher tension" feel is due to the second component - associated with bending stiffness - then that effect should become very obvious (as the partially-compensating contribution from lower tension is not present).

As Ricardo said, the other way to feel "as if higher tension", even without capo involvement, is to just move the right hand a bit towards the saddle - this is utilizing the same bending stiffness concept where the distance to the fixed point (finger to saddle) becomes the important one.

BTW, this is why I get confused when people discuss what tension strings flamencos prefer without mentioning preferred right-hand position - even with low tension strings it could feel like high tension if the guitarist is playing fairly close to the bridge. I am not saying these two (high tension + given right-hand position vs. low tension + RH closer to saddle) are equivalent - the frequency profile of the sound would be different; but in terms of "tension feel" they might be the same. Does that make sense?

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 17 2021 6:30:27
 
Echi

 

Posts: 1108
Joined: Jan. 11 2013
 

RE: Classical/flamenco guitar scale ... (in reply to Ricardo

Pulsacion doesn’t refer just to how stiff the strings are (which is anyway slightly different in my 6 guitars with the same set of strings) but to how fast they come back to their position after the strike.
Obviously while in any case the strings feel stiffer towards the bridge, but the way this happens is quite different in my guitars.
For instance, all in all I like the pulsacion of my old Bellido and Ramirez the most. My 81 Conde has also a perfect kind of pulsacion for picado a and strumming but the first string is proportionally softer than it is in other guitars I own.
All my guitars have a similar set-up btw.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 17 2021 10:34:09
 
JasonM

Posts: 2038
Joined: Dec. 8 2005
From: Baltimore

RE: Classical/flamenco guitar scale ... (in reply to Echi

A while back I remember Kitarist posted a calculation of how 'little' the scale length affects tension. I think we were talking about top stiffness
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 17 2021 14:18:24
 
Ricardo

Posts: 14636
Joined: Dec. 14 2004
From: Washington DC

RE: Classical/flamenco guitar scale ... (in reply to RobF

Capo pushes the strings down (lowers action). Low action guitars buzz too much so you move right hand closer to the bridge to compensate for the floppy strings. Action action action and again action. That is the only thing really that matters. On a super low set up, even super duper hard tension strings will still flop and only increase volume a little bit. The string tension only matters when you have a razor edge action issue. So on a goldilocks set up with normal tension strings, hard tension strings might change the feel such that the perfect guitar suddenly feels too stiff. And the opposite if a perfect set up with hard tension strings will feel too loose if you use normal or light tension strings.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 17 2021 17:25:28
 
RobF

Posts: 1602
Joined: Aug. 24 2017
 

RE: Classical/flamenco guitar scale ... (in reply to Ricardo

It’s difficult to use action as the defining word because so many elements can come into play when discussing it but if we only consider string clearances, the capo is just fretting notes and the string clearances for the frets above the capo’d fret should remain unchanged from how they would be when the note is fretted without the capo. The perception of lower action may exist partially because the nut is taken out of the equation or maybe the shorter distances between frets influences the feel, but the relative clearances won’t change much and the absolute clearances for the frets above a fretted or capo’d note won’t change at all. In that sense, it shouldn’t affect the buzzing.

As far as action goes, with regards to clearances it’s just simple geometry. The clearances for each fret relative to the capo is going to be very much the same as the non-capo’d clearances for the same relative frets. For example, if the uncapo’d clearance at the 12th fret is 3mm, it’s still going to be 3mm twelve frets above the capo, no matter where you place the capo. I mean, it may not be dead on due to relief, the nut, etc, but it’s going to be be close. So, the perception of lower action has to be due to other factors besides clearances, such as shorter scale length, change in relative neck profile w.r.t. position, lack of nut, and stuff like that, because the relative clearances don’t really change.

Maybe I’m misunderstanding your point. I’ll reread it and modify my response if it turns out I’m missing something. I’m also not sure I’m explaining it very well, but it can be easily confirmed with a guitar, a capo, and a ruler (geez, I better go do this myself, lol).

*edit* OK, I think I get your point about the action, where if you’re playing in the area of, say, the tenth to twelfth frets it will be easier to do with a capo on the fifth than with no capo. This is because the capo on the fifth is essentially dropping the clearances at the tenth to twelfth to be the same as that of the uncapo’d fifth to seventh area, but with shorter distances between frets. I still maintain it shouldn’t affect the buzzing, unless other factors are coming into play, as the capo is essentially taken out of the equation for any notes fretted above its placement.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 17 2021 20:36:04
 
Richard Jernigan

Posts: 3416
Joined: Jan. 20 2004
From: Austin, Texas USA

RE: Classical/flamenco guitar scale ... (in reply to Ricardo

Out of curiosity I calculated the force required to press the string against the 12th fret for two different guitars:

1. Action 4 mm at the 12th fret, D'Addario EJ45 normal tension: 0.099 lbf.

2. Action 2.5 mm at the 12th fret, D'Addario EJ46 hard tension: 0.103 lbf.

This accords with my impression that the required force is about the same, but the difference in distance traveled is perceptible.

Experimenting with a scale, I find it difficult to maintain a constant finger pressure of 1/10 pound. This agrees with my feeling that I almost always apply somewhat more pressure than is absolutely required to touch the string against the fret.

I play both classical and flamenco on guitar number 2, no problem with buzzing. I did raise the action from 2 mm to 2.5 mm. The luthier had set the guitar up for flamenco, with a little buzzing.

RNJ
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 17 2021 20:41:55
 
RobF

Posts: 1602
Joined: Aug. 24 2017
 

RE: Classical/flamenco guitar scale ... (in reply to Ricardo

quote:

So on a goldilocks set up with normal tension strings, hard tension strings might change the feel such that the perfect guitar suddenly feels too stiff. And the opposite if a perfect set up with hard tension strings will feel too loose if you use normal or light tension strings.


When you’re looking for the goldilocks zone for a guitar, or a goldilocks set-up, do you care much about the numbers or is it all about feel? Based on things you’ve said in the past I suspect the string height at the saddle is probably a critical measurement (possibly the only one, and even then I suspect you can tolerate a range), but how much do the rest of the numbers really matter to you, beyond being general reference points?

Sincere question, I realize it might sound loaded, but it’s not…
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 18 2021 0:22:47
 
constructordeguitarras

Posts: 1667
Joined: Jan. 29 2012
From: Seattle, Washington, USA

RE: Classical/flamenco guitar scale ... (in reply to devilhand

As I advise my clients: I have found that with my guitars, 650 works well for classicals and does not work as well for flamencos. My flamenco guitars sound and feel better to me with a 656-mm scale (not to be confused with string length). Oops, I guess I already said this in an earlier post.

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Ethan Deutsch
www.edluthier.com
www.facebook.com/ethandeutschguitars
www.youtube.com/marioamayaflamenco
I always have flamenco guitars available for sale.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 18 2021 4:20:35
 
Echi

 

Posts: 1108
Joined: Jan. 11 2013
 

RE: Classical/flamenco guitar scale ... (in reply to Ricardo

656 mm is the standard for Ramirez and Reyes.
In what sense do you feel it right?
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 18 2021 10:22:55
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