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Strings for 16' (400mm) Electric Guitar.

GUEST,abrogard 03 Mar 12 - 06:53 PM
JohnInKansas 03 Mar 12 - 08:09 PM
Ross Campbell 04 Mar 12 - 07:42 PM
JohnInKansas 04 Mar 12 - 07:58 PM
JohnB 04 Mar 12 - 11:32 PM
Tootler 05 Mar 12 - 04:38 PM
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Subject: Strings for 16' (400mm) Electric Guitar.
From: GUEST,abrogard
Date: 03 Mar 12 - 06:53 PM

I want to make a little electric guitar for my 6 year old. He enjoys playing the guitar shaped cut out piece of wood I made for him. I want to put strings on it for him, pickups, bridge, machine heads.

I reckon the string length would be about 400mm or 16".

What kind of strings should I get for this job and how would it tune?


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Subject: RE: Strings for 16' (400mm) Electric Guitar.
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 03 Mar 12 - 08:09 PM

The thread title was a bit of a shocker, since I wondered why anyone would want a 16 foot guitar, however the first post makes it clear it was a typo.

(Maybe a clone will come along and fix the title?)

The 16 inch length is about the same as for mandolins and fiddles. The mandolin strings are at rather "stiff" tensions, and both would be about an octave higher than you'd likely want for a "guitar sound" for a 6 year old. Tuning down to lower tensions/pitch would likely get a pretty "flabby" sound.

There are a number of web sites that offer graphics (nomographs) or equations for calculating string diameters for a selected length and open pitch. I don't have an immediate link to offer, but someone else may come along who has one handy before I'll have a chance to look.

John


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Subject: RE: Strings for 16' (400mm) Electric Guitar.
From: Ross Campbell
Date: 04 Mar 12 - 07:42 PM

Might be worth a look at http://www.kalaukulele.com/ . Standard ukeleles seem to be about 15" scale, "soprano" ukes about an inch shorter. The also do a U-bass electro-acoustic or solid-bodied uke with very thick polyurethane strings, but that's a bit bigger at 20".

Just remembering how hard steel strings were on my first guitar (I was about ten years old), if you do go the diy route, I'd recommend starting off with nylon strings. There are pickups that would work with these (Ibanez make a nylon-strung electro-acoustic that uses a Fishman Sonicore pickup. Similar under-saddle transducers seem to be fairly cheap.) Not sure what pickup the Kala instruments use, but the very heavy (but easy-to-play) U-bass strings require special tuners.

Ukeleles seem to be replacing recorders as a starter musical instrument and are thus available very cheaply.

Ross


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Subject: RE: Strings for 16' (400mm) Electric Guitar.
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 04 Mar 12 - 07:58 PM

If you're able to produce an "acoustic" instrument that makes a pleasant noise, one of the clip on pickups generally used with electronic tuners (about $9 US?) plugged into an amp makes a usable pickup to let a kid simulate an electric guitar. Sound quality may be quite a lot better than you'd expect, and you can always add a "real pickup" later when you know the kid is going to stick with it - and after you've found out whether the instrument you've put together merits the cost.

A Google for "guitar children" suggests that most teachers give kids around 6 year old and up instruments significantly larger than proposed. While I wouldn't discourage anyone from DIY, looking at what "most people do" can often be a help before launching a building project.

John


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Subject: RE: Strings for 16' (400mm) Electric Guitar.
From: JohnB
Date: 04 Mar 12 - 11:32 PM

Standard Guitar Ultra Light Strings and a pair of wirecutters.
I picked up a childrens toy guitar (wooden acoustic painted Blue)for 5 bucks at a Goodwill store a couple of weeks ago. It has a scale length of around 21" I think it was, it is set up now a baritone Uke, with 4 standard Guitar strings tuned DGBE. My Grandkids think it is great, they are only 2 1/2 and 4 though, I play it mostly and they join in on percussion.


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Subject: RE: Strings for 16' (400mm) Electric Guitar.
From: Tootler
Date: 05 Mar 12 - 04:38 PM

Get a ukulele. It's a real instrument not a toy and you can show him adults playing it - vital for credibility.

Soprano Ukes have a scale length of 13" concert 15" and tenor 17" approx. Eleuke make reasonably priced electro acoustic and solid body electric ukuleles if he wants to go down that road. Strings in all cases are nylon or fluorocarbon polymer. I use Aquila nylon strings on my ukes but they say fluorcarbon is not so hard on the fingers.

Bad Moon Rising accompanied on a solid body concert Eleuke.


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