Tell Me About Multi Scale Guitars

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Hoser, Aug 11, 2017.

  1. Hoser

    Hoser Well-Known Member

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    ok, so I have seen these acid trip looking LP style multi scale agile guitars for some time, as well as other makers. Never paid any mind to them because they were never on my radar since they looked like some big hair new fangled geetar thing. But after doing some research they seem pretty cool in concept and I'm wondering what they are like in real life. Do any of you guys have one and what are your thoughts on them? none of my guitar playing buds have ever played one or know much about them first hand so I thought I would put it out here and get your feed back. ok.........go!
     
  2. PsychoCid

    PsychoCid Well-Known Member

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    Not as fun as it looks. Don't bother unless you're going for many more than 6 strings. Otherwise it's just a guitar that forces you to change technique and you won't be able to play many of the same chord shapes anymore.
     
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  3. stormin1155

    stormin1155 Well-Known Member

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    I just finished building one for a customer. A first for me... I mean the one I just finished building is the first one I've ever laid eyes on. My customer thought he was going to build it himself, and soon found out he was in way over his head, so brought it to me to finish... which was about 90% of it. I did the fretboard, all the final shaping, finishing, assembly, setup, etc.

    So, what are they like to play? Well, if you are a classically trained guitarist (rest your guitar on your left leg with the neck pointing up at about a 45 degree angle), it might suit you just fine. If you play your guitar slung low, and chords with your thumb wrapped around, forget it.

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  4. PsychoCid

    PsychoCid Well-Known Member

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    You'll also notice due to the angle of the bridge that palm muting won't work as it usually does.

    It's just a fairly useless design until you get to 7-9 strings or so, then it helps.

    If your goal is to reduce fatigue, just use super tall frets or scalloped your board instead so you don't drag your fingers on it.

    Otherwise if Vai, Satriani, EVH and everyone else can make smoke on straight frets, you can too.
     
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  5. Mossman

    Mossman Well-Known Member

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    I might be mistaken, but I think the whole multi-scale/fanned-fret concept originated for bass guitar. It makes more sense for a bass than a 6+ string guitar. It's more suited for the way a bass is played.

    It seems like whatever anyone comes up with for bass, someone eventually has to apply it to guitar. Like fretless... It's a great idea for bass. You get more upright bass tones (like 'mwah') on a fretless bass guitar than you'll ever get on a fretted one. I have no idea what the fuck a fretless guitar is good for... Other than a conversation piece. What's it trying to replicate? The days when guitars didn't have frets???

    That never happened.
     
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  6. Narsh

    Narsh Well-Known Member

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    I find the multiscale fretboard on my boden very comfortable. And if you like drop tuning then it is a huge help as well.
     
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  7. Gergo

    Gergo Well-Known Member

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    I am interested in one. As mentioned, I think they are primarily for drop tuning. Those low strings won't get flabby with the longer scale length on the low end, while you still have the 25 1/2 inch scale on the high end. Sounds pretty neat to me.

    I can't imagine them being of any use if you tune 440 though.

    I have heard they are super comfortable and you don't even notice that the frets are slanted because they match the slant of your hand as you go up the neck. But, people above here say they are uncomfortable, so I dunno. I guess it just depends on the individual.
     
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  8. PsychoCid

    PsychoCid Well-Known Member

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    Oh it's very comfortable. It's just not possible to play the same chord shapes and you have to relearn soloing. It doesn't take very long but there just aren't any benefits to it considering all you have to give up to get there.

    Bye bye Floyd Rose, bye bye normal palm muting, bye bye some chord shapes, bye bye your favorite pickups in some cases because certain models only take slanty humbucker designs like an Epi Nighthawk.

    I didn't think about drop tuning. I play drop Db on 9s even on Gibson scale and have plenty of tension. For lower drop tuning, I'd probably just want a longer scale length as opposed to a fanned arrangement.

    It's cool and it's fun for 5 minutes, so I recommend playing one I just don't recommend spending money on one unless you're dead serious and certain it's what you want. Selling them can also be quite a challenge.
     
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  9. Ian N

    Ian N Active Member

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    I have a 6 string multi scale acoustic guitar from Agile.

    I don't do a ton of soloing on acoustic so I can't speak to that, but as others have said it's not much of an adjustment for chords and in general. Nothing that you can't get used to in 10 minutes.

    As far as benefits go, dropped tunings and low open tunings sounds fantastic on this acoustic. Like no other acoustic I've ever played. Plus it looks cool. I probably won't buy another multi scale guitar, but I don't regret buying this one.
     
  10. dspellman

    dspellman Well-Known Member

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    With all due respect, that guitar shows a terrible choice of scales for a six. It's a classic example of what can go wrong when a builder is inexperienced with fan fret guitars. Those angles are far beyond what they should be for a respectably playing multiscale/fan fret guitar.
     
  11. dspellman

    dspellman Well-Known Member

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    Depending on the manufacturer's experience level, these things *can* be all over the place. Some builders are just people who slap them together without consideration for playability.

    I've played a kajillion of these at this point, but don't own one. But having played a bunch, I now know what to ask for, and what scales will make it work well. For starters, when one of these is well done, you can play most of the same chord shapes, except for those that require you to drop a thumb over the top. Soloing won't take all that long to "relearn," but it's on the order of the difference between playing a 24.75" scale all your life and being handed a 27" scale. There ARE differences. But the benefits include *less* strain on your fretting hand/arm (because your arm/hand is pointing in the correct direction) and a lower end that sounds better.

    You'll mostly say goodbye to a Floyd Rose, but Kahlers abound. It's like moving from a six to a seven or an eight. There's an adjustment period, and after that, things come into focus. There are tradeoffs, so you need to decide what you're willing to readjust to, so that you can have the benefits.
     
  12. PsychoCid

    PsychoCid Well-Known Member

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    Oh, tone also suffers depending on what kind of sound you're going for.

    The bass strings will sound weird and overly 'tight' and the treble strings will sound oddly fat and round in comparison.

    Makes sense for drop tunings, I can believe.
     
  13. PsychoCid

    PsychoCid Well-Known Member

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    Mine was 24.75 to 25.5 and the level fret was #7 I believe. Made by the Unsung factory of top of the line Agile fame.

    It's okay and all, it just provides extremely limited benefits relative to the many drawbacks. And then when the novelty wears off you'll likely lose money on the deal.
     
  14. Narsh

    Narsh Well-Known Member

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    I am going to respectfully disagree here.
    I find chord shapes pretty easy and comfortable to play. Palm muting is definitely identical, and soloing is more natural to your fingers due to the angle of the frets. Kiesel and strandberg both offer tremolos so no need to worry about losing the floyd either.

    That being said, there are some pretty awful fanned fret guitars out there. You get what you pay for.

    Im a bit spoiled with my .strandberg boden os7 which is sick, but Ive played kieslels, ibanez, schecter, and agile fanned fret guitars and they all played relatively well, requiring very little adjustment to my playing.

    Do I think its a necessary option? Not at all. It does help with 7 or 8 strings over 27 inch scale though. The 30 inch monster agile 8 string guitars though are nuts. You cant fan those enough to play them comfortably.

    If you havent played one, hit up your local music store, they have to have some in by now as its a very popular option these days.
     
  15. stormin1155

    stormin1155 Well-Known Member

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    I agree. The scales are 25.5" and 28.5", which is way too radical. I built what the customer requested. Had I been more experienced, as you say, I would have counseled him to choose less radical scales. Nevertheless, he is thrilled with the results, and as I watched him play it, he seemed very comfortable with it.
     
  16. PsychoCid

    PsychoCid Well-Known Member

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    Narsh, it's not possible for palm muting to be identical. Your palm has to lay at an angle to match the bridge, which is no longer straight across the guitar body. You can mute one string but not all in the same manner as before.

    Keep in mind palm muting is a technique that requires muting the string just off the bridge. If you mute it farther away from the bridge, it deadens the entire string which defeats the purpose.

    For soloing there is no benefit, it's pretty much exactly the same as standard frets. It just won't match the rest of your guitars so also requires changing technique and different muscle memory. Very easy to change, just no benefit to it so no reason for it.

    Some chord shapes work just as well. Some don't.

    Last, I have a Kahler. It is not in any way an acceptable replacement for a Floyd.

    So I'll say it again: fanned frets are an "Okay" design. There's just nothing "good" about it that warrants spending a lot of dough on a guitar who's novelty will wear off and then potentially much value as you attempt to sell it.
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2017
  17. Narsh

    Narsh Well-Known Member

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    Again, I disagree totally and we'll have to agree on having different opinions on the matter. As a matter if fact, I remember you advising me against a multiscale way back before I took the plunge and now I understand your experience is totally different than mine. Perhaps its a difference in technique?

    I dont palm mute all the way back to the edge of the bridge so the angle of the bridge doesnt affect me at all.

    The soloing aspect you mentioned really baffles me as the curvature of the fret angle is comfortable and promotes a natural angle for your hand so you dont have to work as hard.

    Finally, what chord shapes don't work? Really curious about that one because unless I'm doing some freakazoid 7 string bar chord on the first fret, they are all the same or easier.

    Again, these arent for everyone and our differences of opinion are clear depictions of that.

    I will say, in no way is a fanned fret/multiscale option worth more than $100 so if you are paying more than that skip over it, the differences arent that much and I dont think most guitars have enough RND put into them to make it more than just a visual option.


    In the end, whatever keeps you engaged and comfortable is all good. Its just my opinion on it so take it for what it is.
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2017
  18. PsychoCid

    PsychoCid Well-Known Member

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    Agreed that it comes down to use case, the tool has to be right for the application. I cannot use a multi scale, reverse slanted pickup, non-Floyd guitar to get the type of sounds that come from straight scale, straight pickup Floyd bridged fiddles.

    Getting a fanned fret also means I have little control over other options, since they're uncommon and expensive. They don't come in my preferred body styles, neck carves, board radius' or fret sizes. In my case, I couldn't even choose my preferred pickups because they were a slanted design like an Epi Nighthawk.

    I can't recall what song it was where the chords didn't work anymore. Outside of that, it's an easy transition you pick up in 5 to 15 minutes.

    Regarding muting, one style is where you want to only mute some high frequencies. Muting just off the bridge causes the string to make a big 'boom' sound when plucked. This is a trademark of 80s metal, as example.

    The second is a proper mute. Muting completely away from the bridge causes the string to be fully muted. No boom sound, just dead. This is when you don't want that string to play at all.

    If you are using hot pickups and lots of compression, maybe these two styles sound the same. I use 7k to 9k Alnico 2s and they are distinctly different.
     
  19. Narsh

    Narsh Well-Known Member

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    So the Boden uses EMG's so they are pretty darn hot. I was observing my hand this morning and I noticed that I mute with two sections of my hand which is probably why I don't notice a difference. I use the heel of my hand (pinky side) for the classic palm mute (a la Metallica) where the bridge sits almost perfectly for me. The other muting is what I do when I solo and again because of the angle of the bridge I can use the fleshy part of my thumb to mute what I don't want to ring out. So the multiscale is a bit more natural for me.

    I do agree with the limited options dilemma. There are only a few options out there for quality fanned frets which are usually well over the $1500 mark.

    I was lucky enough to snag the boden which was and still is one of the best purchases I've made alongside my AxeFX and Buddha pickups. :)
     
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