What is a guitar scale
How to Tune

What is a guitar scale

This concept refers to the length of the guitar string, which is involved in the game, from the upper threshold to the bridge. The scale is measured in inches or millimeters. It determines the possibilities of the sound of the guitar: the shorter the length of the working part of the string, the higher the tonality of the instrument will be.

The range of the instrument’s sound depends on the scale .

Let’s talk about guitar scale

What is a guitar scale

If you take 2 instruments with identical strings, construction, neck , fingerboard radius and other configurations, but with different scales, they will not sound the same. The scale of the guitar determines the feel of the playing, as it affects the suppleness and elasticity of the strings. Together with the neck , the working length of the strings is the first thing that forms the sound. By adjusting this parameter, achieving the desired string tension, you can adjust the sound of the guitar as needed.

Scale setting

During the development of a guitar, the manufacturer does not adjust the scale, so the player must do this himself. If the instrument does not have a built-in typewriter, it is not difficult to adjust the scale on an electric guitar or other type of plucked instrument. As soon as a performer acquires a guitar, he needs to adjust the scale.

For this purpose, a key or screwdriver suitable for the bridge is used .

without a car

If the tool is not equipped with a machine, the action plan is as follows:

  1. Tune the correct sound of the string with the tuner .
  2. Hold it at the 12th fret and pluck it. If the scale is not tuned, the string will sound wrong, as the tuner will testify .
  3. With a high sound of the saddle , the bridge a is moved away from the neck a.
  4. With a low sound, they are moved to the fingerboard .
  5. Once the saddle tuning is complete, the open sound of the string should be checked.
  6. Upon completion of tuning, check the 6th string.

With a typewriter

What is a guitar scale

Before tuning the scale on a guitar with a typewriter, you need to purchase a special tool. In its absence, it is necessary to loosen the string tension. Then you can tune the instrument as usual, constantly weakening and retuning each string. In this regard, setting the scale without a typewriter is easier.

To speed up the process, experienced users suggest blocking the machine. Tuning in the wrong position will break the tuning, so the guitar will sound the same as if it were not tuned.

electric guitars

Before adjusting the scale on an electric guitar, it is necessary to adjust the height of the strings and truss rod . You should pay attention to the frets : if they are worn out, the guitar will lose its tune. The sequence of actions is as follows:

  1. Hold the 1st string at the 12th fret and check the tuner a.
  2. If it sounds higher or lower, you need to increase or decrease the scale accordingly by moving the saddle.
  3. An open string must be adjusted due to a change in saddle position.
  4. Hold the string at the 12th fret and check the tuner for its sound.

This is how each string is tested.

Thanks to the qualitative detuning of the scale, the system will be restored.

acoustic guitar

If the tuning of the scale of an electric guitar is made immediately after the purchase of the instrument by the musician himself, then it is impossible to perform such actions with an acoustic guitar. The parameters are initially set by the developer, so the length of this part of the classic instrument is 650 mm. Acoustic guitar scales are 648mm or 629mm respectively from Fender and Gibson. Soviet acoustic guitars have a scale length of 630 mm. Now tools with such parameters are not produced.

Bass guitars

The budget tool must be configured immediately after purchase. To adjust the scale length of a bass guitar, you need:

  1. Achieve the correct sound of all open strings in accordance with the indications of the tuner a.
  2. Press the string at the 12th fret .
  3. If the sound an octave higher does not match in sound, you need to move the saddle with a screwdriver.
  4. When the string is lower, the saddle moves closer to the upper threshold; when it is higher, the saddle moves further away from the threshold.
  5. Check the sound of an open string on the tuner .
  6. To better control the tuning, you should use a harmonic: they should sound in unison with the string .
  7. These actions apply to each string.
What is a guitar scale

The scale of the bass guitar is adjusted with a screwdriver.

Answers on questions

1. When is it necessary to adjust the scale?When changing the caliber of strings, their wear; when the guitar is not building.
2. What tools are used to adjust the scale?Hex key or screwdriver.
3. What is a scale ?String length from nut to bridge a.
4. Is it possible to adjust the scale so that the strings sound correctly on all frets ?Not if the tool is cheap.
5. Can the scale be tuned with old strings?It is impossible, only with new ones.


Guitar scale is a parameter that determines the accuracy of the sound of the strings. The length of the working part of the string shows how accurate the sound it makes. To tune the instrument, you need a screwdriver to guide the saddles and a tuner that adjusts the accuracy of the sound.

Leave a Reply