My accidental Scale Length experiment with a twist ending


Ministry of guitar
Apr 13, 2017
So a few weeks ago, as some of you who follow the forum know, I purchased a Private Stock 7 String. I have been wanting one for a while, one of the reasons (apart from I love 6 string PRS's) is the scale length (26.5 inch) which I think is the best for 7 strings.

So it arrived and I immediately set it up in A Standard with 10-62s and was pretty chuffed. It was everything I wanted and for a 7 string, incredibly playable. I just did not feel the long scale length at all and even leads and complex chords were easy while of course the chugging was fun. The tension was just right on the low B which is so important.

Then in my curiosity, I decided to make it drop G. My calculations told me Drop G on a 62 on a 26.5 inch scale should be just about manageable. But it was more floppy than I expected. Not unmanageable but at the point I had to be quite careful while chugging.

Something didn't quite sit right. The tension for drop G should have been tighter for the 26.5inch. Then something struck me. I took out my measuring tape...

And surprise of surprise, it was not 26.5 inch, but instead the other scale length PRS offers, their regular 25 inch, as seen on their regular guitars. Needless to say I was shocked. I went back to the listing of the dealer I bought the guitar from and realized that there was no mention of the scale length. I (facepalm) had just assumed it was 26.5

A few things learnt

- A lot of what we expect specs to do is pyschosomatic. If I had not done my experiments in G, I would still have thought the guitar was 26.5. While this of course is a PRS Private Stock, with the highest grade of craftsmanship possible, which does help pull off a small scale 7 string( A lot of specs, like 7.25 inch radius can only be pulled off with high manufacturing precision), it does show that it is not only possible, it is optimal

- Realistically, unless you are tuning below Ab, there is no need to get anything beyond a 25.5inch scale 7 string, especially if you generally use the full fretboard including leads. In my opinion, a 26.5 inch would definitely be 'better' for tight low B chugging, but for every other use, a smaller scale length would be just be better. Easier to play lead. Easier to stretch for chords. You get the picture.

- Lastly, check the spec properly before you buy a $10,000 guitar. Or maybe don't for it may blind you. I am happy I didn't. I would NEVER have bought a 25 inch scale 7 string, so I am just happy I did not miss out on what is a great guitar. In case you are wondering, I haven't stopped playing this guitar since I got.

A video summarizing my thoughts and some sounds