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Scaling down - kiddy guitar

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by LuckyJinx, Dec 13, 2020.

  1. LuckyJinx

    LuckyJinx Tele-Meister

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    I am thinking of building a guitar for my kid, who's turning 5 soon. Not that she's shown any interest in playing (at least playing actual recognizable things, she does like to grab a uke and strum randomly while singing whatever comes into her head), but you know.

    Now I can't exactly build her a full size guitar, I need to go for something a bit smaller, with a string spacing suitable to tiny hands.

    My idea is a 6 string, strung light (8s?), tuned in standard but an octave up, the idea being she can simply scale up when she's old enough. Hopefully the strings should end up feeling about as floppy as 8s on a full size, I suppose.

    Does anyone know how I go about calculating the scale length I need to achieve this? I've been looking at 3/4 size guitars for inspiration but those are actually only scaled down around 7/8s, that's almost 90% of a full size guitar. I was hoping to go smaller. I think I'm aiming for something the size of a Stew Mac mini guitar, they even say to tune those an octave high, but those have standard string spacing.

    The other question is, where does one find tiny 6-string tele bridges? I think I'll need to find some CBG blade pickups and ukulele tuners. Maybe I should avoid complication and go with a non-adjustable bridge, Dano style.
     
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  2. FenderGyrl

    FenderGyrl Poster Extraordinaire

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    I have a Thread on the Other Guitars Forum ...
    It's current.

    I'm Re-Habbing a Mini MINI Guitar set up as you are describing.
    All you would need to do is recut a Nut per your desire regarding String Spacing.

    Check out my thread...I can send you measurements of the neck of it would help.

    I don't know how to describe the Scale Length of the one Im working on.
    I have pics posted showing its size compared to a Standard guitar.
    FG
     
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  3. blowtorch

    blowtorch Telefied Ad Free Member

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    So THAT'S where this came from...:)
     
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  4. Call Me Al

    Call Me Al Tele-Meister

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    My son is 4 and he’s getting a Loog mini this year. It was my MIL’s idea, but these things are seriously cool looking.
    Mini: 3 string (GBE), 15.6” scale (~concert uke)
    Pro: 3 string, 20.4” (~bari uke)
    Pro VI: 6 string, 22.8” scale (~3/4)

    Worth checking out, if for nothing but ideas
    https://loogguitars.com/collections/shop-loog-kids-guitars
     
  5. RickyRicardo

    RickyRicardo Friend of Leo's

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    Attached Files:

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  6. Obsessed

    Obsessed Telefied Silver Supporter

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    Okay, I can't pass up the opportunity to show off my very cool granddaughter.:) That "mini" strat has passed through three generations in our family and can be played by my now, six year old granddaughter, so scale length issues might surprise you. IMG_4104.JPG
     
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  7. Cpb2020

    Cpb2020 Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

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    My daughter started on a 1/4 size acoustic when she was ~6. Then, when she switched over to an electric a couple of years later (first 22.2” scale Ibanez mikro and then 24” scale Duo-Sonic), it was a piece of cake in comparison. You might want to model something off of the Ibanez Mikro.

    The loog looks cool, as with little hands 6 strings can be a bit much.
     
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  8. Recce

    Recce Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    If you want to build one that’s fine but if you Google it you can buy one for a couple hundred dollars. There have been threads on them.
     
  9. jrblue

    jrblue Friend of Leo's

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    Back to the uke... that's a good idea, becuase it's a manageable number of strings, yet it's a full size instrument. Ditto the Fender electric mandolin, which ius really a 4 string mini-guitar. I'd check on her hand size and see what's really manageable with her lect hand on the fretboard. Maybe she can fret 6 strings enjoyably, but maybe not.
     
  10. crazydave911

    crazydave911 Doctor of Teleocity

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    To do the octave tuning thing a scale length of 16" is about optimal. You will find many more and less but you get into things that often need oddball or special strings making the experience not worth it. My choice for what it's worth is 16" or 21.5". First Act actually made a decent 21.5 but the humbucker I didn't think was optimal, nothing wrong with humbuckers but a rail type single coil size gives you options. Bridges in general aren't hard to make depending on your concept. One of my simplest

    16079126982013128813481878260676.jpg
    3" long and can accommodate many string spacings and with a jumbo stainless fret, very durable. My usual is aluminum angle cut the size I want with economy bridge saddles. Guitar Parts Resource is good for bridge parts. The 21.5" was the scale of John Lennon's Ricky 325 and it sounded good so your research, your choice

    Good luck

    Dave
     
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  11. Fretting out

    Fretting out Poster Extraordinaire

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    Edit: my comment was no help
     
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  12. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Poster Extraordinaire

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    The tension in a guitar string is given by

    T= ( UW x (2 x L x F)^2 ) / 386

    in English units. Assuming a reasonable tension of 15 pounds, a frequency 660 hz (E5) and a 0.008 string with a Unit Weight of 0.00001418 (from D'Addario's web site), and solving for L

    L = (1 / 2F) x (( T x 386) / UW)^1/2

    gives a scale length of 15.25 inches. I confirmed that by running a string tension calculating formula and its about what Dave recommends. Seems reasonable. I didn't check the tensions on the other five strings, I think you want to stay as close to 15 pounds as you can.

    You could verify this by taking a standard fender guitar, put your 0.008 on the first string, capo at 10 (which would give you approximately a 15.25 scale length) and tune to E5. See how that feels (assuming my calcs are correct and it doesn't go snap). Have your kid try to fret it and see how the reach to the higher frets are.

    As far as spacing, you'll have to work that out, but you should be able to make a dummy nut and let your kiddo experiment.
     
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  13. crazydave911

    crazydave911 Doctor of Teleocity

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    Yes, the scale length on those mini 12s are only slightly more, around 15.375 or so, so that would confirm your info
     
  14. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Poster Extraordinaire

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    I was out in the shop one day working on something and my wife walked in. I had a calculator and piece of paper out, my wife asked what I was doing. I told here calculating something - I don't remember exactly what. She looked a me and said "you're using math?"

    Its nice to know when the science actually works.
     
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  15. LuckyJinx

    LuckyJinx Tele-Meister

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    That kid's got a bit more of a groove going, mine's more stream-of-consciousness alternative spoken poetry set to microtonal arhythmic jazz. ;)

    But yes, sort of that.
     
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  16. LuckyJinx

    LuckyJinx Tele-Meister

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    I probably could, but how many of them have mermaid scale sequin fabric tops with unicorn headstock decals? :D (I'm not saying I'm going to do anything like that, but it would be a possibility)
     
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  17. Mahleu

    Mahleu TDPRI Member

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    I bought a Disney (by Washburn) guitar to make a shortscale tele for me, it has a tele bridge and control plate.

    Then my daughter (5) saw it. Now she has 2 guitars.
     
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  18. LuckyJinx

    LuckyJinx Tele-Meister

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    Thanks, that's what I was looking for. I'll play around with that formula and look at different strings to check what I need to build.

    That sounds like a very useful experiment, too, I'll have to try that.
     
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  19. Peegoo

    Peegoo Poster Extraordinaire

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    Stooge Mac sells electric kits that are 16.5" scale. I wanted to see what I could produce with one and this is what I ended up with. I tune it A to A.

    Click on the pic to embiggen it.

    [​IMG]
     
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  20. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Poster Extraordinaire

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    If you are going to do much calculating with string tensions and scale lengths and all that stuff you need this

    https://www.daddario.com/globalassets/pdfs/accessories/tension_chart_13934.pdf

    D'Addario is the only manufacturer that gives the physical characteristics ("Unit Mass") of their strings. You can assume that it will be the same for others.

    There are very good on line string tension calculators including D'Addario's, which unfortunately is not running right now. If you need another on I can give you some links but I'm not sure they will calculate the scale length for you.

    https://www.daddario.com/string-tension-pro
     
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