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Author Topic:  Most popular scale length and other questions?
Andy De Paule


From:
Saigon, Viet Nam & Eugene, Oregon
Post Posted 31 May 2017 7:11 am     Reply with quote

Curious what is the most popular string length for lap and console steels, if there is a dominant popular one?
Most popular scale length. 22.5", 24" or What?

Also seeing a some of the newer ones seem to have strings spaced wider at the nut than steels from the past. Is this also a popular trend?

Which are preferred by more non pedal steelers, Lap steels, Consoles, Weissenborn style acoustics?
Single or double necks? 6 or 8 strings?

Thanks in advance for the thoughts of steelers out there in b0bforum land.
Andy
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C. E. Jackson


From:
Mississippi, USA
Post Posted 31 May 2017 10:24 am     Reply with quote

Andy, my preferences are as follows:
1. Prefer 22.5" scale length, but like 25" also.
2. Wider spacing at the nut, than steels in the past.
3. Would prefer parallel spacing from nut to bridge.
4. Lap steels, 7 or 8 strings, 7 string if possible.

C. E. Smile
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Bill Sinclair


From:
Hagerstown, Maryland, USA
Post Posted 31 May 2017 10:50 am     Reply with quote

Do you mean historically or among modern builders? I think all of the Fender single necks and the vast majority of their consoles were 22.5" scale. The Valco made National/Supro/Oahu lap and consoles that I've seen are all 23" scale.

Lots of older six string lap steels had the same spacing at the bridge and nut. The narrower spacing at the nut seemed to occur for a lot of brands when they added more strings. All of the Valco made guitars I've seen are narrower at the nut though.

I'm sure that there have been a whole lot more single neck guitars built and sold through the years than consoles. Most of the consoles are 8-stringers. The only modern non-pedal console builder that I can think of is Remington.* My take is that the vintage consoles are still plentiful and cheap enough that it's hard to justify the expense of building a custom console for such a small market. That may change as more of the vintage instruments get parted out.

My observations are about electric lap steels as I don't have any experience yet with acoustics. Don't know if that helps.

Edit: *And Clinesmith, of course, where's my brain?


Last edited by Bill Sinclair on 1 Jun 2017 10:11 am; edited 1 time in total
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Tony Oresteen


From:
Georgia, USA
Post Posted 31 May 2017 12:27 pm     Reply with quote

The Fender Stringmasters came in three scales:

1953: 26"

1954ish & later: 24.5" & 22.5". Players complained about the 26" length so Leo made them shorter. I *think* that the most common ones were the 24.5" models.

8 string Stringmasters were by far the most popular Stringmasters.

At this point I have no favorite scale length. I am leaning towards 24.5" length.

I like the 3/8" (0.375") string spacing.
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Jack Hanson


From:
San Luis Valley, USA
Post Posted 31 May 2017 1:08 pm     Reply with quote

22.5 inches.
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Andy De Paule


From:
Saigon, Viet Nam & Eugene, Oregon
Post Posted 31 May 2017 7:22 pm     Thanks guys for the input, More also welcome. Reply with quote

Thanks guys for the input, More also welcome.
I'm thinking of building some so the feedback is useful.
My thought was that 22.5 would be good for bar slants.
Also I'm thinking I would like wide ( 5/16" to 3/8") parallel string spacing, but open to other opinions from those who have had more real experience playing none pedal steels.
Thanks again for the feed back, I am listening. Smile Very Happy
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New Mullen SD-10, G2 5&5 All Polished Aluminum including covering.
1960 Wright S-10 Cable PSG
Todd Clinesmith T-8 Console Ordered.
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Doug Beaumier


From:
Northampton, MA
Post Posted 1 Jun 2017 5:43 am     Reply with quote

I like 22 1/2".
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Andy De Paule


From:
Saigon, Viet Nam & Eugene, Oregon
Post Posted 1 Jun 2017 6:46 am     Thanks Doug... Reply with quote

Doug Beaumier wrote:
I like 22 1/2".


Thanks Doug,
I put a lot of value on your opinion.
I was leaning towards that scale for ease of the slant bar work.
Though if it is a success I would expand to some other scale/s too.

Do you have thought on string spacing for both 6 & 8 string?
I'm thinking they need to be the same or very close to the same.
While I have little experience with lap steels, I do find slant bar difficult on pedal steel in the lower register.
Best wishes,
Andy
_________________
Custom inlaid Star Guitar 2006 by Mark Giles. SD-10 4+5 in E9th.
Promat #11 2007, D-10 Blond & Mahogany with Gold Tuners. Killer Tone Monster.
Todd Clinesmith Joaquin Murphy style Aluminum 8 String Lap Steel.
New Mullen SD-10, G2 5&5 All Polished Aluminum including covering.
1960 Wright S-10 Cable PSG
Todd Clinesmith T-8 Console Ordered.
Korean D'Angelico EX-SS Electric Single Cutaway. Great guitar.
Fender re-issue in C6th and a Morrell 8 string lap steel in E13th. Resophonic by Edwin Root.
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Erv Niehaus


From:
Litchfield, MN, USA
Post Posted 1 Jun 2017 6:53 am     Reply with quote

The longer the scale length the longer the sustain. Very Happy
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Jim Williams


From:
Meridian, Mississippi, USA - Home of Peavey!
Post Posted 1 Jun 2017 7:02 am     Reply with quote

I only have 22.5 and below and like the 22.5 best with the side string spacing of a six string. I've never had the chance to play a longer scale though.
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Andy De Paule


From:
Saigon, Viet Nam & Eugene, Oregon
Post Posted 1 Jun 2017 7:23 am     Thanks Erv Reply with quote

Thanks Erv,
Never heard that before, but will keep it in mind.
Andy
_________________
Custom inlaid Star Guitar 2006 by Mark Giles. SD-10 4+5 in E9th.
Promat #11 2007, D-10 Blond & Mahogany with Gold Tuners. Killer Tone Monster.
Todd Clinesmith Joaquin Murphy style Aluminum 8 String Lap Steel.
New Mullen SD-10, G2 5&5 All Polished Aluminum including covering.
1960 Wright S-10 Cable PSG
Todd Clinesmith T-8 Console Ordered.
Korean D'Angelico EX-SS Electric Single Cutaway. Great guitar.
Fender re-issue in C6th and a Morrell 8 string lap steel in E13th. Resophonic by Edwin Root.
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Doug Beaumier


From:
Northampton, MA
Post Posted 1 Jun 2017 8:28 am     Reply with quote

Long scale lengths do offer slightly more sustain, but a lot of great players played short scale guitars. As we've said many times here... Jerry Byrd played 22 1/2" for his entire career. He had no problem with sustain. Cool
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C. E. Jackson


From:
Mississippi, USA
Post Posted 1 Jun 2017 8:51 am     Reply with quote

I play mostly 22 1/2" steels, but at times a 25" scale steel. Since I don't
use a volume pedal, I like the extra sustain from the 25", especially for a
song where I use lots of harmonics.

C. E. Smile
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Andy De Paule


From:
Saigon, Viet Nam & Eugene, Oregon
Post Posted 1 Jun 2017 9:02 am     Thanks Again. Reply with quote

Thanks again Doug & C.E.
Looks like if this project gets going I'll need to offer both the long and shorter scales at some point.
Still looking for more feedback from players?
Best wishes,
Andy
_________________
Custom inlaid Star Guitar 2006 by Mark Giles. SD-10 4+5 in E9th.
Promat #11 2007, D-10 Blond & Mahogany with Gold Tuners. Killer Tone Monster.
Todd Clinesmith Joaquin Murphy style Aluminum 8 String Lap Steel.
New Mullen SD-10, G2 5&5 All Polished Aluminum including covering.
1960 Wright S-10 Cable PSG
Todd Clinesmith T-8 Console Ordered.
Korean D'Angelico EX-SS Electric Single Cutaway. Great guitar.
Fender re-issue in C6th and a Morrell 8 string lap steel in E13th. Resophonic by Edwin Root.
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Andy Volk


From:
Boston, MA
Post Posted 1 Jun 2017 9:10 am     Reply with quote

Byrd maintained that the 22.5" scale was necessary for in-tune slants. It is more difficult to get slants in tune on longer scale lengths at lower frets. Sometimes, downward bar pressure needs to be added to help intonate three-string slants.

Some excellent steel players hardly ever use slants so it all depends on what you want to do and what genres you want to play. Harmonics are slightly easier to play on longer scale instruments. For electric playing, I personally prefer 22.4" scale for acoustics, it's less of an issue.
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Erv Niehaus


From:
Litchfield, MN, USA
Post Posted 1 Jun 2017 9:15 am     Reply with quote

I understand that Don Helms never used slants.
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Doug Beaumier


From:
Northampton, MA
Post Posted 1 Jun 2017 9:51 am     Reply with quote

I don't think Cindy Cashdollar slants much either.
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Andy De Paule


From:
Saigon, Viet Nam & Eugene, Oregon
Post Posted 1 Jun 2017 10:21 am     Bar Slants Reply with quote

Hi Doug & Erv,
I knew that, but a lot of guys do use slants so that must be kept in mind to have instrument that are as salable as possible.
Thanks,
Andy
_________________
Custom inlaid Star Guitar 2006 by Mark Giles. SD-10 4+5 in E9th.
Promat #11 2007, D-10 Blond & Mahogany with Gold Tuners. Killer Tone Monster.
Todd Clinesmith Joaquin Murphy style Aluminum 8 String Lap Steel.
New Mullen SD-10, G2 5&5 All Polished Aluminum including covering.
1960 Wright S-10 Cable PSG
Todd Clinesmith T-8 Console Ordered.
Korean D'Angelico EX-SS Electric Single Cutaway. Great guitar.
Fender re-issue in C6th and a Morrell 8 string lap steel in E13th. Resophonic by Edwin Root.
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Erv Niehaus


From:
Litchfield, MN, USA
Post Posted 1 Jun 2017 11:14 am     Reply with quote

Andy,
I played a 26" scale Fender T-8 Stringmaster for years and I had no problem making slants, but then I never gave it a thought.
It's not what you've got, it's what you do with what you've got. Very Happy
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Bill Creller


From:
Saginaw, Michigan, USA
Post Posted 1 Jun 2017 6:54 pm     Reply with quote

The long scale early Rick frypan certainly has a different ( better !) sound/tone than the 22.5 inch scale, like mine ! Very Happy
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Andy De Paule


From:
Saigon, Viet Nam & Eugene, Oregon
Post Posted 1 Jun 2017 11:08 pm     Hummm Reply with quote

Hummm, I'm getting a lot to think about now.
Thanks all. Smile
_________________
Custom inlaid Star Guitar 2006 by Mark Giles. SD-10 4+5 in E9th.
Promat #11 2007, D-10 Blond & Mahogany with Gold Tuners. Killer Tone Monster.
Todd Clinesmith Joaquin Murphy style Aluminum 8 String Lap Steel.
New Mullen SD-10, G2 5&5 All Polished Aluminum including covering.
1960 Wright S-10 Cable PSG
Todd Clinesmith T-8 Console Ordered.
Korean D'Angelico EX-SS Electric Single Cutaway. Great guitar.
Fender re-issue in C6th and a Morrell 8 string lap steel in E13th. Resophonic by Edwin Root.
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Stefan Robertson


From:
London, UK
Post Posted 2 Jun 2017 12:57 am     Reply with quote

Erv Niehaus wrote:
Andy,
I played a 26" scale Fender T-8 Stringmaster for years and I had no problem making slants, but then I never gave it a thought.
It's not what you've got, it's what you do with what you've got. Very Happy


Well said Erv.

Andy, my preferences are as follows:
1. Prefer 22.5" scale length - easier for split bar slants in tune
2. tight string spacing more or less a 12 string pedal steel
3. Would prefer near parallel spacing from nut to bridge.
4. Lap steels, 8 to 12 strings, 12 strings if possible.
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Erv Niehaus


From:
Litchfield, MN, USA
Post Posted 2 Jun 2017 7:37 am     Reply with quote

I recall a slant that Jerry Byrd used to do.
He used the rounded nose of his bar in order to get it.
He had the top two strings of the slant on the same fret and the bottom string one fret lower.
No wonder he was called the "master of touch and tone". Very Happy
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C. E. Jackson


From:
Mississippi, USA
Post Posted 2 Jun 2017 8:15 am     Reply with quote

Erv, this must be the slant that you remember Jerry Byrd used to use.
He certainly deserved to be called the "Master of Touch and Tone".


From the Jerry Byrd Instruction Course for Steel Guitars



C. E. Smile
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Erv Niehaus


From:
Litchfield, MN, USA
Post Posted 2 Jun 2017 8:18 am     Reply with quote

Yes, that's the one. Very Happy
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