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Stu

Posts: 2076
Joined: Jan. 30 2007
From: London (the South of it), England

quick scale length question 

Just postioning my bridge.

Is scale length measured to the front edge of the saddle or to the back edge (nearest heel)?

and how much compensation to add for flamenco guitar with 650mm scale length?

I have seen 2mm and 1.5mm and 1mm
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 5 2022 7:31:56
 
TANúñez

Posts: 2559
Joined: Jul. 10 2003
From: TEXAS

RE: quick scale length question (in reply to Stu

I measure to what I consider the front of the saddle. Facing sound hole. I compensate 2mm.

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Tom Núñez
www.instagram.com/tanunezguitars
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 5 2022 11:11:15
 
Stu

Posts: 2076
Joined: Jan. 30 2007
From: London (the South of it), England

RE: quick scale length question (in reply to TANúñez

Cool thanks tom,

Thats what i was measuring to last night...but then got to thinking.. I will continue to measure to the front side, when I get back to it.


Also whats the theory behind the compensation?
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 5 2022 11:37:11
 
TANúñez

Posts: 2559
Joined: Jul. 10 2003
From: TEXAS

RE: quick scale length question (in reply to Stu

It’s for intonation.

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Tom Núñez
www.instagram.com/tanunezguitars
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 5 2022 14:56:30
 
TANúñez

Posts: 2559
Joined: Jul. 10 2003
From: TEXAS

RE: quick scale length question (in reply to Stu

This is usually for saddles that are straight across. You may notice some makers compensate the saddle by slanting it in which case I don’t think you have to bump it down a couple more millimeters. I don’t do this personally so I could be wrong about not needing to compensate slanted saddles.

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Tom Núñez
www.instagram.com/tanunezguitars
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 5 2022 14:59:08
 
Richard Jernigan

Posts: 3245
Joined: Jan. 20 2004
From: Austin, Texas USA

RE: quick scale length question (in reply to Stu

quote:

ORIGINAL: Stu
Also whats the theory behind the compensation?


I'm no luthier but compensation is supposed to work like this:

When a string is fretted, it is stretched slightly. This increases the tension, making the note go slightly sharp. Since the string is stretched more at higher frets, the sharpening effect is greater.

The compensation, additional distance between the 12th fret and the saddle, tends to flatten the note. The further up the fretboard you go, the compensation amounts to a bigger fraction of the sounding string length. Done right the stretching and compensation come close to cancelling each other out.

One way to check whether the setup and compensation work together is to compare the pitch of a note fretted at the 12th fret with the open harmonic at the 12th fret on the same string.

Many flamenco guitars, with their lower actions, are un-compensated.

Ricardo once told me that he is quite accustomed to un-compensated guitars. As he plays higher up the fretboard he pushes the string a little toward the bridge, loosening the tension on the sounding part to compensate for the slight sharpening due to stretch.

Classicals are usually set up with a higher action, and compensated.

RNJ
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 5 2022 21:46:37
 
TANúñez

Posts: 2559
Joined: Jul. 10 2003
From: TEXAS

RE: quick scale length question (in reply to Richard Jernigan

Great explanation!

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Tom Núñez
www.instagram.com/tanunezguitars
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 5 2022 23:08:26
 
constructordeguitarras

Posts: 1594
Joined: Jan. 29 2012
From: Seattle, Washington, USA

RE: quick scale length question (in reply to Stu

Scale length is what is used to determine (calculate) the spacing of the frets. It is not the same thing as string length.

String length should be measured from the point at which a string exits the nut to the crown of the saddle. Note that on a guitar with a saddle that is not tilted, there are three string lengths (because the spacing is smaller at the nut than at the saddle), so the measurement is actually down the middle, between the D and G.

Regarding compensation by increasing the string length, I find that 1 mm is sufficient for a flamenco guitar, which typically has low action. The higher the action, the more compensation needed. I also remove 1 mm from the nut end of the fingerboard to improve intonation. Thus, string length ends up equal to scale length in this case.

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Ethan Deutsch
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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 6 2022 16:04:20
 
Ricardo

Posts: 13512
Joined: Dec. 14 2004
From: Washington DC

RE: quick scale length question (in reply to constructordeguitarras

quote:

The higher the action, the more compensation needed.


There was an implication that I “compensate” uncompensated guitars, by pushing forward toward the bridge. This is not exclusive. You still have to pull back or play “normal” in order to intonate properly with the music or open strings and key you are in. Highly compensated guitars are very noticeable to me because I always have to “counter compensate” on them (pulling the notes sharper in response). The HIGHER the action, the easier it is to intonate physically, though it slows your scale and jumping position speeds. But you feel way more control over the intonation, especially up in the higher positions above 7th. You also get much increased dynamic range with high action guitars. In a fiesta with more than one guitar playing, like lead vs rhythm, I always choose the higher action guitar available for projection.

By the way, one thing I learned with singing that I at first found strange, is we often have to over shoot the target note by a 1/2 step and do vibrato in rhythm and the voice sounds more in tune than if you hit the target pitch out right. It is a bizarre phenomenon to me as an instrumentalist but something about the voice and the upper harmonics that clash if you try to hit precise notes. That Autotune thing is mainly sharpening notes of singers, and they don’t do vibrato with that filter. So for example an E chord…we actually need to sing an F natural first and let it pulse down to E. For G# you hit A and down. For B you hit C natural and down. I have slowed down pro singers and observe this thing happening. Singers that hit target pitches first and hold are rare, but when they do that plus vibrato they sound flat. It is weird.

I know guitar intonation is different but I approach it similarly, many times I come into target notes a bit sharp and it sounds better. For me the extra compensation gets in the way.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 6 2022 18:40:24
 
Pgh_flamenco

 

Posts: 1490
Joined: Dec. 5 2007
From: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

RE: quick scale length question (in reply to constructordeguitarras

quote:

ORIGINAL: constructordeguitarras
I also remove 1 mm from the nut end of the fingerboard to improve intonation. Thus, string length ends up equal to scale length in this case.


Im glad you mentioned this. The distance between the nut and first fret of a Gibson Les Paul Custom I own is shorter by about the thickness of a fret compared to a few LP knockoffs I have. Intonation is much better on the Gibson. I think this is one of the reasons for the popularity of Gibson guitars, especially inexpensive models like the Melody Maker.

If you look at the compensated nuts available for electric guitars you’ll see that most strings are moved closer to the first fret for this reason. I’ve read that notes above the twelfth fret tend to be poorly intonated with these nuts. Is it because the string length hasn’t been increased?

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 6 2022 21:48:43
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