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Scale Length

The scale length of a stringed instrument is the effective length of the open string between its end points. That is the length that is free to vibrate if not stopped in any way. The scale length measurement depends on the instrument and what it deploys as end stops. Typically it is the bridge and the nut.

Typical Scale Lengths

InstrumentFromTo
Violin12"14"
Mandolin13"16"
Viola15"17"
Balalaika15"17"
Mandola16"19"
Octave Mandolin (Octave Mandola)20"23"
Short Scale Tenor Banjo20"22"
Tenor Banjo22"23"
Guitar21"27"
Bouzouki24"27"
Mandocello24"26"
5-string Banjo24"30"
Plectrum Banjo24"30"
Double Bass40"42"

One Inch (1") is approx 2.5 cms