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Short scale 14 fret guitars

I've started to look for a guitar that I'll be using primarily for rhythm work. When playing chords there are some stretches that I find to be more than a challenge to play on 670mm scale guitars, because my hands are on the small side. So I'm beginning to like the idea of a shorter scale guitar, but I'd still like 14 frets to the body and an oval hole. Something a bit like the transitional Selmer model Django plays in the J'attendrai videoclip.
The thinking is that a shorter scale neck will be easier to play while still having the access of a 14 fret neck.
How would you think this unconventional combination affects the tone compared to the traditional 670mm 14-fret oval hole models, which seems to be ubiquitous.
How is it even technically achieved? My best guess is that the bridge is moved closer to the neck/body joint compared to a 670mm scale. But wouldn't this also mean that the bracing is different than on a 670mm scale guitar? Any idea how the original transition period Selmers were specced?

I've seen a couple of luthiers offer variations of the setup; Shelley Park has a 640mm 14 fret model, Dell Arte has the short scale Favino sized Tchavolo Schmitt model and Casteluccia has a couple of 650mm scale 14 fret guitars. Unfortunately I haven't had a chance to try either of them yet.

Comments

  • MichaelHorowitzMichaelHorowitz SeattleAdministrator
    Posts: 5,893
    I have several short scale 14 fret guitars in stock right now:








    2005 Shelley Park Elan

    2005 Shelley Park Elan

    2003 Shelley Park Elan

    2003 Shelley Park Elan




    2010 Gypsy Mystery Two

    2010 Gypsy Mystery Two




    2009 Michael Dunn Stardust

    2009 Michael Dunn Stardust

    1998 Michael Dunn Mystery Pacific

    1998 Michael Dunn Mystery
    Pacific






    Generally they are a little bit easier to play but the short scale usually diminished the projection of the single note lines. The log scale guitars really make the lead lines pop. There are exceptions of course. The 2005 Park is one of the loudest I've come across...

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  • klaatuklaatu Nova ScotiaProdigy Rodrigo Shopis D'Artagnan, 1950s Jacques Castelluccia
    Posts: 1,661
    I have rather smallish hands, too, and used to think that I needed a short scale guitar. I had a lovely Dell'Arte short scale 14 fret maple Anouman D hole for a while. But I found, as Michael suggests, that the longer scale guitars seem to have more punch, and over time I have trained myself to play the long scale. You might be able to do the same with some practice. It can take a while to become comfortable with the stretch and additional movement required, but you'll be pleasantly surprised if you work at it.
    Benny

    "It's a great feeling to be dealing with material which is better than yourself, that you know you can never live up to."
    -- Orson Welles
  • seeirwinseeirwin ✭✭✭ AJL J'attendrai | AJL Orchestra
    Posts: 115
    This is an interesting thread. Can anyone with experience with the short scale 14 fret guitars say if there's anything to make them better or worse for rhythm work? It sounds like the lead lines may suffer a bit, but I wonder if it's not a tradeoff due to some other enhanced quality?
  • Tele295Tele295 San Buenaventura (Latcho Drom), CA✭✭✭ Gitane DG300, D500
    Posts: 629
    Do any of those short scale/14 fret necks have a narrower nut width than the standard 1-7/8" found on many D-holes?
    Jill Martini Soiree - Gypsy Swing & Cocktail Jazz
    http://www.jillmartinisoiree.com
  • MichaelHorowitzMichaelHorowitz SeattleAdministrator
    Posts: 5,893
    seeirwin wrote:
    This is an interesting thread. Can anyone with experience with the short scale 14 fret guitars say if there's anything to make them better or worse for rhythm work? It sounds like the lead lines may suffer a bit, but I wonder if it's not a tradeoff due to some other enhanced quality?

    Generally the short scale guitars will be warmer with more bass....so if you like a very rich rhythm sound than it would be better for rhythm. Although not everyone wants that...many rhythm players like a more crunchy, dry, aggressive sound that you get from long scale Selmers or Busatos.

    Again, there are exceptions. The Hahl short scale 14 fret guitars, especially the Super Deluxe we had a while back, produced searing leads and wasn't that bass heavy at all.
  • MichaelHorowitzMichaelHorowitz SeattleAdministrator
    Posts: 5,893
    Tele295 wrote:
    Do any of those short scale/14 fret necks have a narrower nut width than the standard 1-7/8" found on many D-holes?

    None of these have the 1 7/8"...you're thinking of the short scale 12 fret guitars like a Maccaferri which had that wider nut. These are all 1 3/4".
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