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Thread: Solid-Bodied E-O-Mando vs. E-Tenor Guitar

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    Work in Progress Ed Goist's Avatar
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    Default Solid-Bodied E-O-Mando vs. E-Tenor Guitar

    If one were to have built two solid-bodied, 4-string, OM GDAE tuned electric instruments to identical specs except for scale length (one with a scale length of 18" [46cm] and the other with a scale length of 23" [58cm]), how would these two instruments differ tonally, if at all?

    I'm aware of the string gauge differences between the two, and the easier fretting on the shorter scale instrument, but my question is with respect to tone only.
    c.1965 Harmony Monterey H410 Mandolin
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    Default Re: Solid-Bodied E-O-Mando vs. E-Tenor Guitar

    Thicker strings might be seen by the pick ups better .

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    Recovering Rockaholic Chris Ferreira's Avatar
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    Default Re: Solid-Bodied E-O-Mando vs. E-Tenor Guitar

    I could be wrong but my guess is that the 18" would sound darker. I base this on what happens when you shorten the scale of a bass guitar. The standard 34" has a much brighter sound than a 30" short scale. The 30" (a la Gibson SG style) tends to be boomy. (But it could be the pickups too.) In your example, the 23" is very close to standard guitar scale - almost. String tension should be lighter on a longer instrument and of course there's more vibration over the length. And you'd be able to bend strings a lot better on a 23". Overall, I'd think you'd get a brighter/more round tone with the long scale. Agree that playing in fifths tuning is more of a challenge than on an 18". Just my take.

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    Work in Progress Ed Goist's Avatar
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    Default Re: Solid-Bodied E-O-Mando vs. E-Tenor Guitar

    Good stuff. Thanks.

    Chris, in a previous thread discussing scale length of OM tuned instruments, John McGann stated that the benefits of the longer scale are pretty much just what you say here! He also says the longer scale instruments sound more hi-fi. (BTW, I had forgotten about that earlier thread, so I apologize for starting this one, though my hopes are that the discussion here will be about solid-bodied, electric instruments only).

    Oh, and regarding string gauges, as a point of reference, here are common string gauges used on electric 'OM GDAE' tuned instruments:
    23" scale: 42-30-20-13
    20" scale: 46-32-22-13
    18" scale: 52-38-26-14

    I have always been more of a 'chords and rhythm lines guy' than a 'melodies and leads guy', so I think a longer scale may make more sense for me. Also, in my experience, I've found that Power Chords sound much better on a longer scale instrument.
    c.1965 Harmony Monterey H410 Mandolin
    "What a long, strange trip it's been..." - Robert Hunter
    "Life is too important to be taken seriously." - Oscar Wilde
    Think Hippie Thoughts...
    Gear: The Current Cast of Characters

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    ISO TEKNO delsbrother's Avatar
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    Default Re: Solid-Bodied E-O-Mando vs. E-Tenor Guitar

    Have an electric guitar, a capo, and some strings? Find out yourself.

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    Work in Progress Ed Goist's Avatar
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    Default Re: Solid-Bodied E-O-Mando vs. E-Tenor Guitar

    Quote Originally Posted by delsbrother View Post
    Have an electric guitar, a capo, and some strings? Find out yourself.
    Indeed. Excellent.
    c.1965 Harmony Monterey H410 Mandolin
    "What a long, strange trip it's been..." - Robert Hunter
    "Life is too important to be taken seriously." - Oscar Wilde
    Think Hippie Thoughts...
    Gear: The Current Cast of Characters

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    Ben Beran Dfyngravity's Avatar
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    Default Re: Solid-Bodied E-O-Mando vs. E-Tenor Guitar

    Quote Originally Posted by Ed Goist View Post
    If one were to have built two solid-bodied, 4-string, OM GDAE tuned electric instruments to identical specs except for scale length (one with a scale length of 18" [46cm] and the other with a scale length of 23" [58cm]), how would these two instruments differ tonally, if at all?

    I'm aware of the string gauge differences between the two, and the easier fretting on the shorter scale instrument, but my question is with respect to tone only.
    I don't know about 23", but I will definitely know that acousticly that a 25" the sound it very big and chords are fantastic and very thick. Ed as you know I will have a 25" scale 5 string in my hand pretty soon so I will definitely know a little more then.

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    Default Re: Solid-Bodied E-O-Mando vs. E-Tenor Guitar

    I just traded a solid body e-mando (14.5" scale) for a solid body e-tenor (23" scale). The big advantage of the e-mando over the 5 string acoustic mandolin I have was sustain...the trade for the tenor guitar gives me even more sustain. That being said, the same may be true for the 18 vs 23" scale as well.

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