Scale Length Question: 25 1/2" vs. 24 3/4" pros and cons...


Junior Member

  I'm looking for help on choosing a scale length. I currently play PRS guitars w/ a scale length of 25" which puts me in the middle of the Warmoth options. I'm inclined to go with a shorter neck for more tone but then I came across this quote from an interview with Paul Reed Smith:

"And the problem with a 24 5/8 inch scale guitar is that when you hit the low E on a .42 gauge string it goes sharp. It goes whawrrrrrrr!"

Full Interview @

In either case I'm going for 22 frets. Your thoughts, comments and help are all greatly appreciated. Cheers,
I'd work on the principle that if you are happy to play a set of .009's on a Fender scale, you should be equally comfortable with playing a set of .010's on a Gibson scale. It's a very rough measure, but it should work OK.
You got to go easy on your low E, no matter the gauge or scale length.  I play 12s on a 25.5" scale and if I get carried away and hit it hard it'll go quite sharp.
All I know is I can't wait to be bendin' and warblin' all over the place on my 24.75 LP. I plan to use 9's  :toothy12:

Sure if you really wack the string it's gonna go BWOW! --  but you've gotta have a little control over your picking
willyk said:
Shorter neck...More tone??? Where did that come from?  :icon_scratch:

I've heard that before, too.... More tone, what does that even mean?? Different tone, definitely.
Remember that Mr. Smith is selling a product, which he needs to differentiate in a crowded marketplace. "Kinman pickups make your strings last longer!" "you need 9-14 compound, the 10-16 is awful!" We've heard all kinds of stuff dude.
24 3/4 is a lot closer to the PRS scale than the 25.5 is (twice as close in fact!), so if you're just looking for familiarity go with shorter scale. They are just different and it's an individual thing, just play different guitars and figure out what you like.
longer scale = more string tension = more resonance and sustain (think bass guitar)
shorter = less tension = easier to bend, less distance between frets so may be 'faster'.
i jumped the gun and ordered a 25.5" scale on my W build. and after three years of playing 24.75" SGs, explorers, and LP's, i have to honestly say that i wouldn't ever order 24. just my opinion of course, but the longer scale seems to have a bit more...sizzle. that could be the word. it just seems to kick a little harder. and i think it has opened up my lead playing alot: there's just that fraction more space in the upper frets that allows meaty fingers (like mine) to hit the right notes. more often than i did, that is  :icon_tongue:

it was a slight adjustment, in terms of playing. i play regular strings on my sg, explorer, and Warmoth, so its easy to notice the tension difference. but the SS frets help with bending. oh yeah, so does putting some effort in  :doh:

its a tiny bit more challenging, but i think it has made me a way better player, in just the space of about two months. now when i pick up my sg or explorer, they feel like kids toys  :-\
I can barely play above the 15th fret on a 25.5, I can't do crap with a 24 scale length.  I dunno how EVH does it, he has hands like sides of beef.