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I am under the impression that a reduced scale length - say, the Godin 24.84", or the Taylor GS Mini's 23.5" - results in the frets being slightly closer together, thus making chords like C, Dm, G, etc. easier to properly fret for smaller hands.
It may be a dim question, but I want to make sure my impression/understanding is correct. I e-mailed Wolfe Guitars about getting a guitar for my daughter, and asked for their best price on an Art & Lutherie AMI or a Seagull Coastline Cedar Grand, if I decide to go that route. I also said I'd listen to any other suggestions they might have.
Well, being a Breedlove dealer, and not having any of the guitars I am interested in in stock, they are naturally pushing the Passport C200/SMP, which is a great guitar. However, it has a 25.5" scale. When pressed, Jay said that the scale length is not as important a factor as the body shape/size in dealing with someone of a smaller stature.
Does he have a point, or is he just trying to get me to buy his in-stock guitar? I personally think the latter...but want YOUR input.

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Replies to This Discussion

Well, scale length does matter IMHO, though a young player has an advantage in that the younger you are, generally the easier it is to gain flexibility. My first guitar was a short scale Harmony guitar, I'd have to measure the fret spacing, but it was pretty easy to play. A friend had a Gibson SG ,which seemed huge to me, with frets spaced further apart, and was really uncomfortable for me to play. I was blessed with short stubby fingers, and my friend had long spider-leg fingers. However over the years, I worked up to playing the J200 with a 25.5 scale length. But I'm glad I learned on a guitar that matched my hand size. Those barre chords are hard enough to learn without being discouraged by having to strech out for them. Maybe better in the long run to stretch while you are young.

I guess the real issue is a matter of how much desire the young player has. In my case, my guitar became attached to my body, and went everywhere with me. Though, a good quality guitar that feels right for one player, may not be the one that "fits" another.

I just measured the distance from the nut to the middle of the 10th fret bar on both my Taylor 210e (scale length 25.5") and my Seagull Entourage Grand Rustic (scale length 24.84").  The Seagull's distance was only .25" (1/4") shorter than the Taylor's over that number of frets, so the frets are very slightly closer together.  I'm not sure that's a meaningful difference in terms of reaching chords with the fingers, no matter how large or small the hands.  For me the shorter scale length (and smaller body) do make the Seagull a little easier to play because I'm not having to stretch my left arm out as much and I feel like I therefore have a little more control over my fingers.  For many people I'm sure this is not important, but I like it.  I like my Taylor too.  

Floridagull ... my impression is the shorter the scale, the easier the strings are to fret.  Important point for a beginner in my opinion.

Thanks for your responses.  So there's a 1/4" difference (at the 10th fret) between the Godin 24.84" and the "normal" 25.5".  So, with the 23.5" of the GS Mini or the 24.2" of the Walden T550, the "closer-togetherness" of the frets would be a little bit more...

Doesn't seem irrelevant to me...

And thanks, Walt - you saved me making the measurements on my Performer and my Giannini tonight... :-)

Best Buy has a GS Mini sale going on right now for $ I have GAS for my daughter's guitar!

Definitely not irrelevant.  What you give up in volume through short scale, you make up for in playability for fingerstyle and for beginners with sore fingers.  Can't wait to hear your review of your "daughter's" new GS Mini.  :-)

That's one heck of a good price! 

I know - I'm going to call them and see how long it is valid...

Run over there right now and buy it.  Get a rain check if they're OOS.  Low risk - you could probably turn around and sell it for a small profit if you decide it's not exactly what you want.

Its on Best $374

Great deal, what great one to start out on!

Here's my daughter holding my Kingpin:




I'm all set to investigate Waldens or go with the AMI or Godin Grand, and now this GS Mini sale pops up...damn...

Wow! ... that's a HUGE guitar!!!  ;-)


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