In the ever-evolving world of musical instruments, innovation knows no bounds. The guitar, an iconic and beloved instrument, has seen its fair share of transformations over the years. One such evolution is the advent of multiscale guitars, a topic that has piqued the curiosity of guitarists and enthusiasts alike. In this blog post, we’ll dive deep into the world of multiscale guitars, exploring what they are, how they differ from traditional guitars, and the advantages they offer to musicians. So, whether you’re a seasoned guitarist or just starting your musical journey, let’s embark on a journey to discover the world of multiscale guitars.
What Is a Multiscale Guitar?
First things first, let’s unravel the mystery of what exactly a multiscale guitar is. A multiscale guitar, sometimes referred to as a multiscale guitar or a multi-scale acoustic guitar, is a variation of the traditional six-string guitar that features a unique design for its frets and strings. The distinguishing feature of a multiscale guitar is its fretboard, which exhibits a combination of different scale lengths for its strings.
In simpler terms, on a multi-scale guitar, the strings are not all of the same length, unlike the uniform scale length found on conventional guitars. This results in a fretboard that has a tilted or fanned appearance, with the strings being longer on one end and shorter on the other. To understand this concept better, imagine a piano keyboard where the strings for lower notes are longer than those for higher notes. Multiscale guitars operate on a similar principle.
Multiscale Guitar Neck and Fretboard
One of the most distinctive features of a multi scale guitar neck and fretboard design. The neck of a multi scale guitar is crafted with varying fret positions for each string, resulting in a fanned arrangement. This means that the frets are angled, with the shorter scale lengths towards the higher-pitched strings and longer scale lengths towards the lower-pitched strings.
The multiscale design allows for a more ergonomic and comfortable playing experience, especially when it comes to string tension and intonation. It’s important to note that this design is not random; it is meticulously calculated to optimize the playability and tonal quality of the instrument.
Differences Between Multiscale Guitars and Traditional Guitars
Now that we’ve established what a multiscale guitar is let’s explore the key differences that set it apart from traditional guitars.
One of the most significant differences between multiscale guitars and traditional guitars is the string tension. Due to the varying scale lengths, multiscale guitars can achieve more balanced string tension across all strings. This is particularly advantageous for extended-range instruments, such as seven-string or eight-string guitars, where maintaining proper tension can be challenging on a traditional guitar.
Intonation refers to the accuracy of each note’s pitch when played on the fretboard. Multi scale guitars excel in this aspect because the varied scale lengths allow for better intonation adjustments. As a result, multiscale guitars produce more in-tune chords and notes, even in the lower register.
Multiscale guitars are often associated with extended-range instruments, such as six-string guitars with lower tunings or seven-string and eight-string guitars. The multiscale design is particularly well-suited for these extended ranges, as it helps maintain tonal clarity and string tension, even in the lower registers.
Comfort and Playability
Many guitarists find multiscale guitars more comfortable to play, especially during extended playing sessions. The ergonomic design of the fretboard accommodates the natural curvature of the hand, reducing strain and fatigue. This makes multiscale guitars an attractive choice for musicians who perform for long durations.
Multi Scale Guitar Chords and Playing Techniques
Now that we’ve explored the differences between multiscale guitars and traditional guitars let’s delve into how these differences affect playing techniques and chord progressions.
Multiscale guitars can inspire new chord voicings and inversions due to the improved intonation and string tension. Musicians can explore unique chord shapes that may not be as accessible on traditional guitars, leading to more creative and innovative compositions.
Extended Range Chords
For those using multiscale guitars with extended ranges, such as seven-string or eight-string instruments, the possibilities for chord voicings are expanded even further. These guitars allow for the exploration of bass-rich chords and complex harmonies that can add depth to a musician’s repertoire.
Fingerstyle and Tapping Techniques
The ergonomic design of multiscale guitars enhances fingerstyle and tapping techniques. The balanced string tension and improved intonation enable guitarists to execute intricate fingerstyle patterns and tapping sequences with precision, making it a preferred choice for virtuoso guitarists.
Soloists can benefit from the extended range and improved playability offered by multiscale guitars. The ability to maintain clarity and tonal balance in the lower register allows for more expressive and melodic soloing, making these guitars an excellent choice for lead guitarists.
Multiscale 6 String Guitars and Fanned Fret Designs
While multiscale guitars are commonly associated with extended-range instruments, such as seven-string or eight-string guitars, they are also available in six-string configurations. In fact, many guitarists prefer the multiscale design for their six-string guitars, as it offers several advantages.
Even on a six-string multiscale guitar, the fanned fret design can enhance the instrument’s tone. The balanced string tension and improved intonation contribute to a more resonant and harmonically rich sound.
A multiscale six-string guitar can be a versatile choice for musicians who play various styles of music. Whether you’re strumming chords, picking intricate melodies, or shredding solos, the ergonomic design of the multiscale fretboard ensures a comfortable playing experience across the board.
Customization and Kits
For guitar enthusiasts and builders, multi scale guitar kits are available, allowing you to customize your instrument to your preferences. This provides an opportunity to experiment with different scale lengths and wood combinations, giving you a unique and personalized guitar.
Choosing the Best Multiscale Guitar
With the increasing popularity of multiscale guitars, it’s essential to know what to consider when choosing the best one for your needs. Here are some factors to keep in mind:
Multiscale guitars are available at various price points. Determine your budget and explore options within that range. Keep in mind that while higher-priced models may offer superior build quality and tonewoods, there are excellent budget-friendly choices as well.
Consider your playing style and musical genre. If you’re primarily a heavy metal guitarist, you might opt for an eight-string multiscale guitar. However, if you play a wide range of genres, a fanned fret 6 string guitar multiscale guitar might be more versatile.
Visit a music store and try out different multiscale guitars to assess their comfort and playability. Please pay attention to how the fanned frets feel in your hands and whether they enhance your playing experience.
The choice of tonewood can significantly impact the guitar’s tone. Experiment with different tonewood combinations to find the sound that suits your preferences.
Brand and Model
Research reputable guitar brands that offer multiscale models. Read reviews, seek recommendations, and compare specifications to narrow down your options.
Multi Scale guitar vs Normal
Multi-scale guitars and traditional guitars, often referred to as “normal” guitars, differ in several key aspects.
Fretboard Design: The most noticeable distinction is the fretboard design. Multi-scale guitars feature a fanned fret design where each string has a different scale length, while traditional guitars have a uniform scale length for all strings.
String Tension: Multi-scale guitars offer more balanced string tension across the fretboard. This results in improved playability, especially in the lower registers, where traditional guitars can suffer from string tension inconsistencies.
Intonation: Multi-scale guitars typically have better intonation, meaning the notes are more in tune across the entire fretboard, even for complex chords and extended-range instruments.
Extended Range: Multi-scale guitars are often associated with extended-range instruments like seven or 8-string guitars. They excel in maintaining tonal clarity and string tension in these lower-pitched strings.
Playing Comfort: Many players find multi-scale guitars more comfortable due to the ergonomic fretboard design, reducing hand fatigue during extended playing sessions.
Ultimately, the choice between a multi-scale guitar and a traditional one depends on your playing style, musical genre, and personal preferences, with each offering unique advantages for different types of guitarists.
What Is a Multi-Scale Guitar?
As you can clearly see by merely looking at a multi-scale guitar, the logical thinking behind it is to offer the player the best of both worlds in terms of scale. The scale length is shortest on the highest (thinnest) string and longest on the lowest (thickest) — thus mixing and matching the tonal and playing advantages of both.
What Is a Multi-Scale Musical Instrument?
Multi-scale Musical Instrument: One where every string has its individual scale length. The lower the string’s pitch, the longer its scale length is. Example: Piano, harp, or multi-scale guitar. It seems pretty straightforward. As a picture often paints a thousand words, let’s take a quick look under the hood of a grand piano.
What Is a Multi Scale Fretboard?
Although it can include more, a multi-scale fingerboard or fretboard is usually based on two scale lengths. One (long) scale length for the lowest string and a distinct, typically shorter, scale for the highest string is the most common usage. Fanning the frets and angling the nut and bridge could accomplish this.
In the world of guitars, the evolution never stops. Multiscale guitars, with their innovative fretboard design and ergonomic benefits, have carved a niche for themselves in the musical landscape. Whether you’re drawn to the extended range, improved intonation, or enhanced playability, multiscale guitars offer a unique and compelling option for guitarists of all levels.
As you explore the world of multiscale guitars, remember that choosing the right one is a personal journey. Consider your playing style, budget, and tonal preferences to find the best fit. Whether you’re strumming chords, blazing through solos, or experimenting with new chord voicings, a multiscale guitar might be the instrument that takes your musical journey to the next level. So, embrace the evolution, and let the music flow through your fanned frets.