Here I am, just finishing my first CBG and even getting it strung out/tuned up! Will wonders never end?

But now I have enough timber suitable for a second instrument... even have a very thin cigar box. The length of suitable wood for the fret board won't allow for the nut to bridge to be the standard 25.5 inches. Is that really the "standard" or can a workable length be shorter, say the distance from bridge to someplace on the other side of the 12th fret. Basically the question I'm asking, can the fret board be shorter than 25 or 25.5 inches and if so, how much shorter can I go and still have a workable instrument?

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Hi Bill, short answer is that the scale length can be what ever you want it to be. If your fingerboard is too short it will mean you will have less frets at the high end, and you possibly don't play that high anyway. Have a look at this banjo I built some time ago, the frets stop way short of the end of the neck but the scale length is correct. Maybe you could do something like that. So long as the neck and scale length are correct. Idont think there is a standard scale length as such, just preferred lengths for various reasons.   

Beautiful wood work... the inlays are magnificent. 

as Taff said you can make the scale length anything you want. all you need is a fret position calculator like this one   for a simple one or this  for a more detailed version.  

i made my first with a 600mm scale length thats 23.6" . 25 1/2 " is sort of std fender scale , 24 3/4" is std gibson scale.. other brands have used various scales. baritone guitars use longer scales tenor shorter... CBG there are no rules ( except where you need to put frets for a scale length) ...

Hi Bill. As Taffy and Timothy state, the scale length can be whatever you want it to be. Personally, I prefer 23" scales on CBGs but that's just personal preference. Also, you say fretboard length but we're assuming you mean scale length. Typically the fretboard is a lot shorter than the scale. The last CBG I built had a 23" scale and the fretboard was about 17" long if I remember correctly.

Anyway... CB Gitty (StewMac and others) sell plastic fretting templates to help with your fret locations for the various scales (23", 24", 25", etc). This is a worthwhile investment if you plan on building several CBGs.

All this wonderful information.... wowser! As I told someone on a response to another question, this CBG think is a real live and learn experience. 

And about picking up fretting templates... sounds like a good idea. But C B Gitty in up there in the good ol' USofA... and I'm way down here in Australia. Shipping costs are probably only a little less than if one is shipping to the moon. So, while I have made purchases from this source they are rare. Can you see it? Pay a very fair price for this or that and the shipping charge is twice the purchase amount? Living close to the beaches as I do is living in paradise, but......

As others said, almost any length is ok.  Ukes go down to 13" and lots in between.  But if you really wanted a longer scale you could make a stepped neck or a scarf joint headstock too.

Good answers and I love Taffy's banjer and fret board.  Okay here are my answers.  I kind of like to proportion scale length to the size of the box for good aesthetics.   Small box shorter scale- maybe a 22.  My fave scale is 24 inch.  Once or more I have copied the fret positions off an old Silvertone guitar directly onto the fret board.  Those had good intonation - a bit better than the many I made using a fret caluclator.  

There are advantages to a long scale.  In slide style fretless, if you are off say a quarter inch with your slide position - the longer the scale, the less your tone will be off.  The longer scale is more forgiving to the player with slide style. 

If you use a fret calculator, using metric measurements is easier than inches.  You need a yard/meter stick with centimeters on one side.  This is a made up example, but 32.4 cm is easier to mark than 26 & 17/32 inches.   I use the Stew Mac Fret calculator.

Here’s some light reading on the subject, don’t wanna lose ya with something long, hope this explains it for ya?

I take a 25.5" template, and make the 1st fret slot my zero fret.,., that makes it a 24" scale.,., sometimes I use the 2nd or 3rd slot as my zero fret for shorter scales.,., I guess soprano uke is about the shortest I have used.,.  It is all up to you, the builder.,.,enjoy.,.,!!


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