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Old 02-21-2013, 12:58 AM   #1
DeathShredder23
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Scale length for new jazz guitar?

I have decided I really wanna learn jazz. I am looking at purchasing a new jazz guitar, and i think I'm going to go either hollow or semi hollow, but probably semi. Obviously, scale length is a big thing to consider. I have owned guitars before in the past that had 24 3/4 scale and for metal I really don't like that. I find that the tone isnt as bright, tight, and low. Shorter scale guitars are supposed to have for warmth and a fatter darker tone. Obviously, gear, tone/neck wood, and other things are a huge factor as well, but idk, should I get a 24 3/4 inch guitar for jazz? I mean, i won't be string bending that often playing jazz, until I get into fusion stuff, right? Don't most jazz players seek a nice fat, warm, and dark tone that a 24 3/4 scale provides?

Sometimes I find it hard to shred on guitars with a 24 3/4 scale. Idk why, maybe cause my first guitar was 25 1/2 and the string tension was tighter and I just got used to that feel. I mean, Al Di Meola played jazz on a les paul for years and he ****ing shredded like a beast on that thing!!! So it CAN be done.

Whadda you guys think?
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Old 02-21-2013, 08:21 AM   #2
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All those stretched jazz chords are just a liitle bit more reachable on a shorter scale...
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Old 02-21-2013, 11:02 AM   #3
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First of all, you definitely shouldn't buy a new guitar just because you "really wanna learn jazz." Get started on whatever guitar you play now and take some time (at least a few months) to see if you really want to get serious about it. If it ends up you just want to use jazz as a learning tool or if you just don't like playing it, you'll be glad you didn't buy a whole new guitar. The fact is that music is music and you can play it on any instrument. Even if you have some super metal guitar with EMGs and a Floyd you can make it work for jazz, especially if you're playing alone in your bedroom.

That being said, the answer to your question: The vast majority of "jazz" oriented guitars have a 24 3/4" scale. It does provide a deeper, warmer tone with less harmonics. That doesn't mean you need it, but chances are the instruments you'll be looking at will have it.
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Old 02-21-2013, 11:19 AM   #4
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I wouldn't rush out and buy a jazz guitar just because you want to learn however you should also note that even in shorter scales jazz guitarists are known for using very thick strings like 13's.
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Old 02-21-2013, 11:23 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by mattrusso
First of all, you definitely shouldn't buy a new guitar just because you "really wanna learn jazz." Get started on whatever guitar you play now and take some time (at least a few months) to see if you really want to get serious about it. If it ends up you just want to use jazz as a learning tool or if you just don't like playing it, you'll be glad you didn't buy a whole new guitar. The fact is that music is music and you can play it on any instrument. Even if you have some super metal guitar with EMGs and a Floyd you can make it work for jazz, especially if you're playing alone in your bedroom.

That being said, the answer to your question: The vast majority of "jazz" oriented guitars have a 24 3/4" scale. It does provide a deeper, warmer tone with less harmonics. That doesn't mean you need it, but chances are the instruments you'll be looking at will have it.


Listen to this dude. I'm doing a degree in jazz and I'm using a solid body les paul style guitar. It does the job and sounds good. Not all jazz players use hollow or semi hollow instruments. This guy's using a tele, for example - and it sounds great. Use whatever instrument that you have and try it out. Remember that you do not get a jazz sound just because you have a "jazz guitar"; it's a style and a language that takes time to develop.
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Old 02-21-2013, 09:21 PM   #6
DeathShredder23
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thanks for all of the replies guys. I dont even have the money right now to rush out and buy a new guitar a this moment. I meant in the near future. I'll start learning like i already have been on my current guitar. And see if I fall for this music the way Ive fallen for metal.

I think I was just worried that I wouldnt be able to get a decent jazz tone using a 25 1/2 scale guitar. But it is true that a few jazzers use teles and a small portion as well uses strats.
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Old 02-21-2013, 09:25 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by UnmagicMushroom
Listen to this dude. I'm doing a degree in jazz and I'm using a solid body les paul style guitar. It does the job and sounds good. Not all jazz players use hollow or semi hollow instruments. This guy's using a tele, for example - and it sounds great. Use whatever instrument that you have and try it out. Remember that you do not get a jazz sound just because you have a "jazz guitar"; it's a style and a language that takes time to develop.


I enjoyed your post.
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Old 02-21-2013, 10:01 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by DeathShredder23
I think I was just worried that I wouldnt be able to get a decent jazz tone using a 25 1/2 scale guitar. But it is true that a few jazzers use teles and a small portion as well uses strats.


Sure you will. Remember, plenty of jazz players use .012 or even .014 strings on their archtops because they don’t play bends! The short scale is all about easy chord fingerings on lower frets.
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Old 02-22-2013, 12:12 AM   #9
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Who are your jazz idols? Some of the guys who play(ed) fusion prefer the longer scale solidbody guitars, like Shawn Lane with his Vigiers. OTOH, George Benson likes those hollowbody 24.75" scale guitars.

If you look hard enough, you'll probably find jazz guys all over the map of body styles length.
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Old 02-22-2013, 02:42 AM   #10
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Old 02-22-2013, 03:16 AM   #11
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There is no such thing as a "Jazz Tone." There is a typical hollowbody tone which is maybe what you're thinking of, but you're not going to get that with a semi-hollow anyway because semi-holows are basically just solid-body guitars with hollow wings for decorations.

Les Paul is a kind of famous jazz guitarist and guess what he plays. George Benson plays a hollow-body and gets that kind of a tone. The guitar on Miles Davis' Bitches Brew is a Gibson SG, which is supposedly a hard rock guitar. Play whatever guitar you like. They're all jazz guitars if you play jazz on them.
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Old 02-22-2013, 03:18 AM   #12
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That being said, personally I find it easier to play big bunchy chords on a nice thick neck, but YMMV.
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Old 02-22-2013, 03:41 AM   #13
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Realistically, the additional .75 inches spread over an entire fretboard is not going to make much of a difference when it comes to chords. And I don't buy that it changes the tone.

But if you want a jazzy guitar, I had the luxury of playing a Carvin FG1 the other day, and it was magnificent. Unfortunately, I'm not well-versed in jazz, so I was unable to fully take advantage. But I jammed out and it was an epic instrument. I don't know the price, but I bet it's expensive. It felt like a ~$1500 guitar.
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