Other Guitars

acoustic guitar dilemma


I like short scale stuff for sure -- but there are no full D size (Martin) or J size (Gibson) body guitars with a 24" scale.

24.5 (Gretsch) is my max. 25.4 normal Martin or 25.5 (Fender) forget it

I have a Martin DJR, which is a 24" scale MexiMartin but compared to these cannons that people bring to acoustic bluegrass jams, I am getting killed -- inaudible.


My Guild D-35 sounds better the harder it's played. Scale lengths don't really bother me---I'm just as inept on all of them.


DCBirdMan, a Gibson J45 is 24.75". Is that out of range?


If you want larger than an 000 size, you may need to go Gibson.

What was the scale length on a Martin M series?


I guess I will have to settle for the normal Gibson scale.

I don't know what non D size martin scale is. Maybe some of those smaller body ones might put out a little bit of sound.

Anyway, I gotta do something -- will keep trolling.

To me 'short scale: is 24.5 or less. Too bad Gretsch wasn't making kick a** flat tops


After reading, I'm not sure what the choice/dilemma is...

Are you buying something different, trading in, choosing to "not" attend anymore, what?



You seldom see Gibson guitars used for bluegrass for good reason. I once had a J-45 that sounded puny compared to any Martin Dreadnaught. One summer I struggled through a bunch of festivals with a Gibson "Heritage" model, which was Gibson's answer to a D-28. It was only OK as a bluegrass guitar, and was quickly replaced by a D-21.

Most bluegrass guitarists are called upon to be strictly rhythm players. It is the exceptional musician who can play decent leads at any audible volume even with super loud guitar. Having grown up playing Dreadnaughts, these seem like normal guitars to me. When I made the switch to electric guitar I was literally pulling the strings out of the grooves in the nut with my bluegrass grip. I had to learn new techniques for playing electric.

Find an inexpensive--possibly used--full sized Dread, and work with it. All you really need is a bunch of cowboy chords and some runs and you're playing rhythm. Fiddlers and mandolinists really appreciate a solid, steady, AUDIBLE, rhythm player. There's no substitute for a decent Dreadnaught played with authority. Nothing is worse than being at a jam and having a fiddler look right past you and call out "We need some rhythm over here."


I had a J 50 that was ok. ONe thing I have noticed is that all the lightning speed bluegrass flat pickers are playing with a capo so in a sense it is a shorter scale. There will just never be a loud D size body with a 24" scale. To most of the world 25.5 is normal and Gibson at 24.75 is short scale. Malarkey! To me short scale starts at 24.5.

Maybe that 'short scale' D-18 is the way to go. Probably impossible to tell the differnt betrween the 24.9 short Martin and a 24.75 Gibson


With your desire for a wider neck, I would think finding a guitar with the wider neck would be the starting point and scale length given second consideration. Of course if you're only playing rhythm the neck width may not be of any concern.

You can play a guitar with bit longer scale - 24.something " - but if the neck is too narrow for what you're used to, you're hooped as far as feeling comfortable.


Tune it down a full step, put the Capo on the second fret, wider neck shorter spacing between frets. You have that choice or a custom-made guitar.


Tune it down a full step, put the Capo on the second fret, wider neck shorter spacing between frets. You have that choice or a custom-made guitar.

– Divinehammer

I think this is a pretty good suggestion. For me though, the scale isn't the concern but rather the width which I never really got along well with Guilds. I think they are narrower than a majority of acoustics.

For me, Taylor are great for accompanying acoustic leads.....I use it for my way of copying Doc Watson lead and flatpicking. For more of that Bluegrass rhythm though, I have to admit the Martin Dreadnought sets the standard.

Have a look at the Taylor Dreadnought 410e-R model though. I find the neck and playability much more accommodating on Taylors vs. Martins. Just my personal preference as I've always thought of Taylors being very "Gretsch-like".


I really hear you on scale lengths. A Gibson with 24.75 is as long as I can go for playing more than a half hour, even then I'm relieved to get back to a Gretsch. I've tried 25's of various brands, vintage too, and they just don't agree with me. All I really want is a 17" acoustic archtop with a Gretsch 24.5 (or is it 24.6") scale. I'd keep trying different Gibsons; an Advanced Jumbo is pretty loud.


I'm another 24.75" scale guy. I have really small hands and a good touch of arthritis. One of these days I'd like to get a nice 24.75" scale Tele built for me. My current acoustic guitar is 25.5" scale but I tune down a half step to E flat and that does help with the string tension and still sounds good. I always thought that a good Gibson J-45 w/ its 24.75" scale and 1.70" nut width was still a pretty loud acoustic guitar. If you look around hard enough you might be able to find a Martin D-18S which was a standard D-18 but with a shorter (24.9") OOO scale. I'm not sure if they still make them.

Register Sign in to join the conversation