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  1. #1

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    Hello,

    I've been playing for many years but as I have aged my finger tips are wider than they used to be. All of my hollow body and semi-hollows are "Gibson scale".

    Really not much of a problem for playing leads in the blues/rock ballpark but lately I have been working on chord melody techniques and when in the upper reaches of the neck, say past the 8th fret or so it is a challenge for me.

    Coincidentally there is a nice long scale (25.5") arch top for sale locally that I have been trying to resist even going to see. My question is in general, how much of a difference does that extra 3/4" I believe matter?

    I've tried some of this stuff on a Tele or Strat and the extra length seems to help some. Just thought I'd ask here as well. You guys are so knowledgeable. Thanks in advance.

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    Hey 73, great question!
    I would think that nut width/fingerboard spacing may be more important than scale length for what you're describing. Have you experimented with wider necks?

  4. #3

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    People with fat fingers play mandolins without problems. I don't believe the scale makes much difference with single-note playing, unless it gets too long. The difference between 24.75" and 25.5" is only .75" total, and the distance between frets is very small. I don't notice any difference when switching between them. Others might.

  5. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by marcwhy View Post
    Hey 73, great question!
    I would think that nut width/fingerboard spacing may be more important than scale length for what you're describing. Have you experimented with wider necks?
    Yes I have a few Eastman acoustics with a 1.75" width at the nut, good point though. I'll break one out and try a few things.

    Quote Originally Posted by sgosnell View Post
    People with fat fingers play mandolins without problems. I don't believe the scale makes much difference with single-note playing, unless it gets too long. The difference between 24.75" and 25.5" is only .75" total, and the distance between frets is very small. I don't notice any difference when switching between them. Others might.
    Single notes are not a problem, it's when I try to play entire chords up the neck that it is a challenge, my fingers feel squeezed together if that makes sense. Say a Cmaj7 with index finger on 8th fret with all the notes on two frets.

    Part of this is me fighting the GAS for a local long scale arch top when I am officially in downsize mode.

    Thanks for the replies.

  6. #5

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    Yes it makes sense. I spoke with a luthier about this, mind you he typically makes a 25" scale length instrument, but with regards to 24.75" mentioned that for chord playing higher on the fretboard "it gets pretty bunchy up there". So the same thing applies for 25" vs. 25.5", depending on one's finger width - and length. It does for me, and my fingers are normal/slender, but long.

    I also agree that a wider nut width should help with "jazz chords". Again, some voicing "grips" are just more... bunchy. (Not fat finger friendly, and not long finger friendly).

  7. #6

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    I have watched many pro players using a les paul and utilizing the neck past the 15th fret .. the trick here is holding the guitar neck almost vertical..I would watch Ted Greene closely and he would finger chords on his Tele all the way to the 21st fret and all the strings would ring true..again watch his vids he holds the neck way up to gain access to the higher frets..

    In doing so it brings the higher frets 'in front of you"..and with practice you can even play many chords..

    as for finger size..and all that..there are some fairly large guys that seem to have no problem..Warren Haynes on les pauls and 335s..way up on the frets..

    now of course playing up high does take alot of practice to become accurate and clear sounding..just like when we all started with cowboy chords
    Last edited by wolflen; 04-07-2019 at 05:31 PM.
    play well ...
    wolf

  8. #7

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    There is that.

    I've never had a problem playing my Allman Bros. lead guitar or other blues/rock guitar stuff on 335s either, but there are some chords that would be a problem. The simple fact is, they don't come up in blues/rock playing.

    I also play with the neck tilted up but not at an extreme level. I'll check it out.

  9. #8

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    There are huge guys who play mandolin.

    There is a small difference in the distance between frets. I can feel it, at least at the lower frets. I'm not sure about the higher frets.

    But, even at the lower frets, the scale length is not the major variable. For me, it's the dimensions of the neck. I am mostly a 24 3/4 player but I don't notice any problem when I play my 25.5 Yamaha Pacifica because the neck is tiny. Unfortunately, every Telecaster I've ever tried feels too big. I used to think it was the scale length, but I now know better.

  10. #9

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    You don't need to get your entire finger between the frets. All you have to do is get the string down on a fret, what happens behind it is pretty much immaterial. If you finger covers two frets, that's fine, as long as the string contacts the higher fret cleanly.

  11. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by sgosnell View Post
    You don't need to get your entire finger between the frets. All you have to do is get the string down on a fret, what happens behind it is pretty much immaterial. If you finger covers two frets, that's fine, as long as the string contacts the higher fret cleanly.
    Very interesting, never thought about it that way. You probably are aware that there are a couple of problems with it in terms of standard guitar technique. What do you think of the following two observations?

    1. One's finger tip can't touch two frets at the same time. The fret is the metal bar.

    2. Traditional guitar technique advises that we depress the string right behind the fret, for the most accurate intonation.

  12. #11

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    One's finger can easily touch two frets at the same time. It has to be very high on the fretboard, on a very short scale instrument, but it's not difficult. I know what a fret is. The closer the frets are to each other, the easier it is to depress the string right behind the fret. As the frets get closer together, that becomes the only possibility. The OP's question doesn't concern fretting near the nut, but higher on the fretboard. If you go high enough, the space between frets is less than the width of any normal adult's finger, but it's still possible to play notes cleanly.

  13. #12

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    I know you do, lol.

    Anyway, I guess I would have to see a picture to appreciate what you mean. My index finger - tip - fits between the 19th and 20th frets on my 25.5 scale guitar, which are the two highest frets on this guitar (as I sit here practicing, and sipping somethin'). I can't touch both of those frets without flattening the finger tip sideways, which I have no reason to do under normal circumstances...

  14. #13

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    I have seen a lot of fat fingered Players who are still very agile ...

    Try it ... see what you like better.