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Thread: Considering a longer scale CBOM

  1. #1

    Default Considering a longer scale CBOM

    I'm considering a 25.5 scale zouk.

    I've played octaves from 20-23.5 inch scale.

    There will be more of a stretch. I might lose a bit of speed on melodies.

    What do you gain from a longer scale instrument?

    Does a longer scale capo'ed up sound different that a shorter scale without a capo? I see a lot of longer scale instruments played and the capo never seems to get lower that the 3rd fret. Does this make it the same as a shorter scale instrument or does it still have something different.

    All else equal, would I notice the difference between a 23.5 and 25.5 cbom?

    I have a 22 GBOM and 23.5 teardrop. I'm thinking a 25.5 would complete the family but then again, that's just something I tell myself when I want to buy something...the collection is never complete.

    Thanks for your help!
    Northfield NF5S
    Bayard Guitar bodied octave mandolin
    Breedlove Revival 000 guitar
    Gernandt Irish Bouzouki
    www.singletonstreet.com

  2. #2

    Default Re: Considering a longer scale CBOM

    25.5 would let you use Greek tuning if you want to experiment with that. It's much easier to play melodies on a bouzouki than a 12 string guitar.

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  4. #3
    Registered User foldedpath's Avatar
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    Default Re: Considering a longer scale CBOM

    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck Leyda View Post
    What do you gain from a longer scale instrument?
    The conventional wisdom is that when tuned to the same pitch, you'll get more note sustain as the scale gets longer. This assumes appropriate string gauges for the scale length. It's the reason I play a 22" scale OM. I like the sustain compared to most other shorter-scale OMs I've heard.

    The flip side, of course, is the ease of fingering diminishes. That just means I play slower tunes on the 22" OM where I can milk the sustain, and the fast, dance-tempo tunes on mandolin. All of this is variable, natch, because we all have different-sized hands and finger flexibility. Personally, with my size hands and at my age, I wouldn't want to play melody on a 25.5" scale OM. But that's just me, and it's also because almost all my playing is without a capo.

    Does a longer scale capo'ed up sound different that a shorter scale without a capo? I see a lot of longer scale instruments played and the capo never seems to get lower that the 3rd fret. Does this make it the same as a shorter scale instrument or does it still have something different.
    Generally speaking, there is usually more sustain and a more clear tone on open strings at the nut, compared to using a capo. Some capos are better than others, but that's always been my experience using capos on guitars and my OM. I know it's common to use a capo for long-scale instruments like bouzoukis when playing melodies, but I would always prefer to play tunes where I can use open strings at the nut. I just like the way that sounds.

    All else equal, would I notice the difference between a 23.5 and 25.5 cbom?
    Since you're probably talking about different builders, all things won't be equal. But even with instruments by the same builder, I think you'd notice a difference in sustain.

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  6. #4
    Registered User Mandobart's Avatar
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    Default Re: Considering a longer scale CBOM

    My 10 string mandocello is 26", tuned C-G-D-A-E with octave pairs on the three lowest courses. Redwood soundboard, maple back and sides. Modified X bracing. Due to the long scale, oval hole and 3.5" deep body it has incredible sustain. Being a carved top and back F4 style its also pretty heavy! I also have a western redcedar topped, maple back and sides 20.5" F4 OM by the same builder. Body is 2.25" deep, X braced. It doesn't have the same deep timbre but still has the same amazing sustain. I don't use a capo on either instrument. I also have a 10 string A4 redwood mandola and F5 western redcedar mandolin by this same builder (Tom Jessen). These two shorter scale instruments also have loads more sustain than any other similar scaled instruments I've played. So in my case the sustain appears to have a lot to do with the builder and possibly tonewood selection.

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  8. #5

    Default Re: Considering a longer scale CBOM

    Tom builds some great mando family instruments. Very nice guy as well.
    Northfield NF5S
    Bayard Guitar bodied octave mandolin
    Breedlove Revival 000 guitar
    Gernandt Irish Bouzouki
    www.singletonstreet.com

  9. #6
    Unfamous String Buster Beanzy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Considering a longer scale CBOM

    I love playing a 26” scale. But rather than a stretch it makes me relax into moving about the fretboard more.
    Eoin



    "Forget that anyone is listening to you and always listen to yourself" - Fryderyk Chopin

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  11. #7

    Default Re: Considering a longer scale CBOM

    Thanks for the info. I'm going to find out because I have a 25.5 inch scale bouzouki on the way! Should be here on Tuesday.
    Northfield NF5S
    Bayard Guitar bodied octave mandolin
    Breedlove Revival 000 guitar
    Gernandt Irish Bouzouki
    www.singletonstreet.com

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