SG Scale Length Dimensions Etc.

richboyd40

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Hello All:

I have started a recent build of a Gibson SG and have been trying to get clarification on dimensional information with regards to the scale length. I apologize if this seems long and rambling but I am trying to be thorough in my description. First off, please note that I am a beginner at this so please be patient. I am not trying to create an exact replication of an existing SG, therefore I have no specific year in mind. My goal is to construct a well built and functional guitar. I sourced information pertaining to the scale length from Stew-Mac (24-3/4") and also purchased a finger board from them. My question is what actual scale length should I use? The Stew-Mac website indicates the actual scale lengths of Gibson guitars and how they have changed over the years. If I go by the rule that the scale length is twice the measurement of the length from nut to 12th fret then I would have a scale length of 24-5/8" (12-5/16" x 2). Please note though that measurement to the 12th fret according to a chart on the Stew-Mac website says 12-3/8" which means the fingerboard they sent me is slightly out (should be 12-3/8"x 2 = 24-3/4"). Also, the total dimension from the nut to the 22nd fret is too short by 1/8" (17-11/16" as opposed to 17-13/16" that the chart says). I am unsure if these small deviations are a problem or is this just par for the course? Will it make a big difference if I choose one or the other scale lengths? I am unsure what the effect will be. Also, I am wondering what the significance of the locations of the pick-ups between the fretboard and what effect this may have. Can anyone tell me what the locations and dimensions of the pick-ups should be? Any advice I can gather would be appreciated. I will be posting pics as soon as I get a little further on. Once I clear these things cleared up I will be able to complete the neck and it will progress quickly. Thanks.
 

dickjonesify

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Yes there are different scale lengths. Definitely go by the measurements of the one you have in hand. If you have a 24 5/8" scale fretboard, do NOT put the bridge at 24 3/4" because of a chart. You've got the right idea.
Check Stewmac's scale calculator and punch in the numbers you have. Placing the bridge wrong would render the guitar unplayable. The difference seems small but every .001" counts.

Here's what it says:

24.625" fret scale
fret from nut fret to fret
1 1.382" 1.382" (nut-1)
2 2.687" 1.305" (1-2)
3 3.918" 1.231" (2-3)
4 5.080" 1.162" (3-4)
5 6.177" 1.097" (4-5)
6 7.212" 1.035" (5-6)
7 8.190" 0.978" (6-7)
8 9.112" 0.922" (7-8)
9 9.983" 0.871" (8-9)
10 10.805" 0.822" (9-10)
11 11.580" 0.775" (10-11)
12 12.312" 0.732" (11-12)
13 13.004" 0.692" (12-13)
14 13.656" 0.652" (13-14)
15 14.271" 0.615" (14-15)
16 14.853" 0.582" (15-16)
17 15.401" 0.548" (16-17)
18 15.919" 0.518" (17-18)
19 16.407" 0.488" (18-19)
20 16.869" 0.462" (19-20)
21 17.304" 0.435" (20-21)
22 17.715" 0.411" (21-22)
Notes on fret layout
The most accurate way to lay out your scale is making all measurements from the nut (using the "fret to fret" distance only to confirm your layout). Laying out frets only by measuring fret to fret will compound error. For example, if you're laying out frets by marking with a scribe and your accuracy is plus or minus 2 millimeters, you could be off by as much as 24 millimeters at the 12th fret.

Measurements are given from the end of the fingerboard (face of the nut) to the center of a fret slot.

Bridge placement for 24.625" scale

Distance from the fretboard edge of the nut to center of forward-most mounting screw or pivot post.
Tele ® style bridges
Gotoh Modern Bridge for Tele
Traditional Bridges For Tele
Wilkinson Adjustable Compensated Bridge for Tele
24.866" (±0.030")

Strat ® style bridges
Strat non-tremolo bridge
Gotoh Hardtail Bridge
Gotoh 12-string Bridge For Electric Guitar

24.384" (±0.030")
Strat tremolo bridges
Gotoh 12-string Bridge For Electric Guitar
Wilkinson/Gotoh VS-100N Tremolo
Wilkinson/Gotoh VSVG Vintage Tremolo
Hipshot Tremolo
24.384" (±0.030")

Floyd Rose
Floyd Rose II & Schaller Floyd Rose
Schaller Floyd Rose Locking Tremolo Complete Set

24.082" (±0.030")
Floyd Rose Original
Double-Locking Tremolo
24.142" (±0.030")

Tune-o-matic style bridges
ABR-1 Tune-o-matic Bridges
Nashville Tune-o-matic Bridge

Gotoh Tune-o-matic Bridge with Standard Posts
Gotoh Tune-o-matic Bridge with Studs/Bushings
Schaller Roller Bridge
L.R. Baggs T-Bridge
Locking Roller Bridge
Gotoh 510 Bridge & Tailpiece
24.685" (±0.030") from nut to center of treble-side post. Mount bass-side post 1/16"-1/8" further from the nut.

Combo Bridge/Tailpieces
Schaller Bridge/Tailpiece
SG Junior Bridge
Adjustable Wraparound Bridge
Pigtail Aluminum Wraparound Bridge
Wilkinson/Gotoh Adjustable Bridge/Tailpiece
Hipshot Baby Grand Bridge
24.685" (±0.030") from nut to center of mounting studs.
Note: Some bridge/tailpieces may require you to mount the bass-side stud an additional 1/16"-1/8" further from the nut.
 

richboyd40

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Thanks Dickjonesify:
I realize now that I actually have a fret board for the 24-5/8" scale length so I should be good to go! If I can bother you again though, what is your thoughts on the placement / positioning of the pick-ups? Are the locations crucial? Thanks again for your help.
 

dickjonesify

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The locations are crucial in that they affect the tone greatly. They will work anywhere but if you want "SG tone" they'll have to be right. I don't have any exact measurements for you :( Reach out to SG Lou. He's had quite a few SG's from all sorts of years. The only SG I've owned, I sold 5 years ago and still regret it to this day....

BCAA1924.jpg
 

Inside Guy

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There has been confusion on Gibson scale lengths on different web sites. When it comes Gibson, FRET SPACING, and Scale length, they are 2 different things.

When calculating Gibson fret spacing, use the "rule of 18".

Calculating Fret Positions
 

dickjonesify

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I tried to scale a picture for measurements. I got about .7" from end of fretboard to top of neck pickup and about 1.87" between pickups leaving about another .7" from the bottom of the bridge pickup to the center of the treble side bridge post.
It's not exact, but probably close enough for that. ANother idea is to buy an official Gibson pickguard and use it for your pickup placement template.

Those are based off this design

1967-gibson-sg-b.JPG


A '61-type or similar will be a little different with the half pickguard and pickup rings.
 

FF_Pedals

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What kind of bridge are you using?

I don't know if this is obvious but it wasn't mentioned above so I'll add it:

If you're using a tuneomatic and stop bar, you install the stop bar and then set up the tuneomatic on cardboard and intonate the 2 E strings before drilling for the bridge posts.
 

LtDave32

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I once bought a Stew-Mac pre-slotted fret board for a Gibson. I usually make my own, but I was out of rosewood and couldn't get any right away. When I received the FB, I checked it against all the Gibsons that I own and the scale was spot-on.

I also have a computer program for printing out fret board scale templates that you can paste right on a fret board blank. The program is called Wfret (google it, it's free). You punch in the number of frets and the scale (Gibson scale-24.625) and it will print out a template that you cut out with scissors and use 3M adhesive spray to paste it on the FB blank. Then you cut right on the lines.

-perfect, every time.

I compare the Wfret template to my Gibsons, and it is spot-on, dead-center with the fret lines at 24.625.
 

LtDave32

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I'm a big advocate of the Wfret program. You can download it from:

Wfret

What I love is it's versatility and ease of use. You simply type in the number of frets, scale length (in decimal numbers, not fractions. Example: 25 1/2 = 25.50), units of measure (metric or inch) precision (type in the units of measure first, depending on metric or inch), which is 1/64th or 0.01, rule of 18ths or 12th root, and hit "print template".

Note: make sure your printer is feeding well, without alignment problems or wrinkled paper.

It will print out a "ladder" fret scale, starting with "N" for the nut (top edge of the fret board( and go all the way to the 21st or 22nd fret. It will double around the 6th fret, and begin again on the next row with the number 6. Simply lay this second number 6 on top of the first one, and the scale continues. I use 3M spray adhesive to glue the printout on the blank fret board, and set my fret saw to 0.11 to the right of the fret line (using a guide block as a stop, picture below), as the fret saw is 0.23, and this gives me a cut right on the center of the line. I come out with a perfectly cut fret board, every time. You can clean the paper and adhesive off the board with a little acetone.

Here's some photos of the process, from a old build thread of mine:



I've laid down the printout from the Wfret program on the FB with some spray adhesive, and placed a square block just about 0.10 behind each line (The saw width I'm using is .023, so this puts the teeth in the middle of the line). I first start with some gentle pulls, with two fingers pressing the sawblade against the block, as these saws have a tendency to "yaw" as you pull them, because they are so thin:



After I get a groove started, I can switch to a more comfortable method of using one finger to hold the saw against the block. If the saw is allowed to wobble side-to-side while your either drawing it or pushing it, it can widen the groove, and we need that to be pretty narrow for the fret tangs to grab:

 

ihavenofish

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i see you mention you are buying the fretboard. if the fretboard is preslotted from stew mac (and most places), the scale length/bridge placement will be 2x the distance from the nut to the 12th. so the MIDDLE of the bridge will go at 2x the 12th fret. if stew mac has made the board 24.562", then the middle of the bridge is 24-562" from the nut.

real gibson boards of all years as mentioned are rule of 18, which means the 12th fret is NOT in the middle of the scale. this is why people call it 24-5/8" because thats 2x the position of the 12th, and most people use a rule of 17.817 to make new fretboards where the 12th fret IS in the middle. this is just confusing though, and not actually accurate.

the actual gibson fret spacing should be around:

1.3750
2.6736
3.9001
5.0584
6.1524
7.1856
8.1614
9.0830
9.9534
10.7754
11.5518
12.2850
12.9775
13.6315
14.2492
14.8326
15.3836
15.9039
16.3954
16.8595
17.2979
17.7119
18.1029

middle of bridge at 24.75".



a "modern" 24.75" board is spaced:

1.3891
2.7003
3.9378
5.1060
6.2085
7.2492
8.2314
9.1585
10.0336
10.8596
11.6392
12.3751
13.0696
13.7252
14.3440
14.9280
15.4793
15.9996
16.4908
16.9543
17.3919
17.8048
18.1946

middle of bridge at 24.75".

i dont subscribe to the shortening of the scale when converting to the modern "rule" because the bridge then has to move. simple using 24.75" on the stew mac calculator is the ideal conversion to me.
 

shorty85

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As previously stated by ihavenofish, you have to be sure of what scale length you actually have for a fingerboard.

You have mentioned that you have or are ordering the Stew-Mac pre-slotted fingerboard for Gibson guitar. This is actually cut for a 24 9/16 (24.5625"), NOT 24 5/8.

The difference between 9/16 and 5/8 is not drastic, but if you don't measure adn place the bridge correctly, it will be enough to give you a headache.:eek::hyper::squint:
 

richboyd40

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Hi Shorty85:
I'm pretty sure I have a finger board that is to be used for a 24-5/8" scale- the precise dimension to the 12th fret is 12-5/16" which when multiplied by 2 is 24-5/8".
 

shorty85

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Hi Shorty85:
I'm pretty sure I have a finger board that is to be used for a 24-5/8" scale- the precise dimension to the 12th fret is 12-5/16" which when multiplied by 2 is 24-5/8".
Is this the fingerboard that you are using?
STEWMAC.COM : Slotted Fingerboard for Gibson Guitar

If this is the same one, it clearly states that the scale length is 24.562".

I just bought one of these myself, but have yet to start working on it.

I don't mean to sound pushy on the subject, I'd just like to save you a possible mistake, if there was one to be made.
 

ihavenofish

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Is this the fingerboard that you are using?
STEWMAC.COM : Slotted Fingerboard for Gibson Guitar

If this is the same one, it clearly states that the scale length is 24.562".

I just bought one of these myself, but have yet to start working on it.

I don't mean to sound pushy on the subject, I'd just like to save you a possible mistake, if there was one to be made.

yeah, thats what i wrote, i coppied the number from their site. thats why its very important to know what you have. rule of 17.817 at 24.562" is going to have a bridge nearly 1/4" off the mark from a gibson made guitar and would be far out of the intonation range of a tunomatic to correct.

usually the saddles for the high e and d are 1/16" to 1/8" behind the "scale length" so moving the bridge back another 1/16" to 24-5/8" isnt going to be a big deal, and may even help a little on the G. remember im measuing from the MIDDLE of the bridge, not the leading post as some people suggest. measuring 24-5/8" to the leading post with a stew mac board will almost definitely get you in trouble on the D string.

i think what most luthiers will do with a tunomatic is lay up the bridge on some spacers and put at least 2 strings on, adjust intonation, then drill. this way theres no surprises.

(i dont do this cause i cnc everything so i need my maths!)
 

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