Scale Length & String Material/Gauge for A4?

Discussion of all aspects of multi-string guitars, namely those with 7 or more strings.
ElRay
Posts: 42
Joined: Fri Jul 07, 2017 5:23 am

Scale Length & String Material/Gauge for A4?

Post by ElRay » Fri Sep 14, 2018 7:33 pm

I’m starting to plan an 8-string, multiscale, solid body, nylon string, acoustic and I really want to have that’s first string be an A4. What scale lengths/string gauges have people been successful in getting an A4 that can be played like a traditional E4?

Martin Woodhouse
Luthier
Posts: 70
Joined: Sat Aug 12, 2017 6:05 pm
Location: Cambridge, UK

Re: Scale Length & String Material/Gauge for A4?

Post by Martin Woodhouse » Sat Sep 15, 2018 12:28 pm

I use 600mm for the A4 on my 8-strings, and that works pretty well. It’s a compromise between what the string wants and what the player needs: too long and the string breaks, too short and the high frets get too close together. For strings, a thicker string at high tension usually sounds better than using a thinner string at a normal tension - I use a regular high E string tuned up to A… which sounds like a bad idea, but it does work :-)

ElRay
Posts: 42
Joined: Fri Jul 07, 2017 5:23 am

Re: Scale Length & String Material/Gauge for A4?

Post by ElRay » Sun Sep 16, 2018 8:13 am

Thanks.

600mm = ~23-1/2 — A bit shorter than expected. I started at 24” (610mm) for planning purposes. Are your 8-strings multiscaled?

Martin Woodhouse
Luthier
Posts: 70
Joined: Sat Aug 12, 2017 6:05 pm
Location: Cambridge, UK

Re: Scale Length & String Material/Gauge for A4?

Post by Martin Woodhouse » Sun Sep 16, 2018 2:58 pm

I make quite a lot of Galbraith/Rubio style “Brahms guitars”, which are multi-scale 8-strings. Usually using 600mm to 660mm at the moment, which seems like the best compromise for most people, having tried various scale lengths over the years (made my first one in 2001). 610mm would also work: I used 615mm to 655mm as my standard for a few years.

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