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I have a 3/4 size electric guitar.
I've decided to make a custom guitar by creating horns out of additional pieces of wood and mounting them to the body with custom made steel pickguards on the front and back.

I've decided to replace the original 3/4 neck with one designed as a Stratocaster replacement. Looking at the body compared to my Strat, though, it looks like the bridge would be closer to the neck on the 3/4 body than on the Strat.

I recently started playing and I don't have much experience with music theory or guitar tone but I'm thinking that if the strings are a different length it could have an effect on the sound of the guitar.

What are the effects of mounting a full size neck on a 3/4 size body?

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2 Answers 2

up vote 4 down vote accepted

If you don't move the bridge, the effect will be that the guitar won't play in tune. The placement of the frets on a Stratocaster-replacement neck assumes that the scale length of the strings (the distance from the bridge to the nut) is 25 1/2". You'll need to recreate that same scale length in order for the frets to align correctly with in-tune pitches. So here's what to do: mount the neck to the body, measure 25 1/2" from the nut, and mark that spot. @MattB5 is correct: that spot is likely close to the strap button on the bottom of the body. That's where you want to mount the bridge. Make sure you line everything up correctly so that the strings remain parallel to the neck.

Assuming that all goes well---you mount the neck correctly and move the bridge to the right place so that everything plays in tune---the effect on the guitar's tone should be interesting. On the one hand, you'll be dramatically increasing the scale length of the instrument. This will increase the tension on the strings and brighten their sound. See this question for more discussion on the effect of scale length on a guitar.

On the other hand, the pickups will be in different locations relative to the strings, and this also will have an effect on the tone. Think of the difference between a Strat's bridge pickup, middle pickup, and neck pickup: as the pickups get closer to the midpoint of the strings, the tone becomes rounder and less twangy. Your custom guitar should exhibit even more of that trend, since the pickups will be even closer to the midpoint of the strings than on a normal Strat.

So the increased scale length should brighten the strings and clarify the low end, while the shifted position of the pickups should make the tone rounder and less bright---in a way, these two effects cancel each other out, but my guess is that instead, you'll have a guitar with a unique tone: both clear and well-defined but also round, without the harsh twangy sound that Strats can sometimes have.

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Measure from the nut to the 12th fret. Then take that measurement and measure that distance from the 12th fret to see where you'll need to put the bridge. Depending on the size of the 3/4 body I'm thinking it would be quite a bit lower - toward the strap button. And if it's not a hard-tail bridge then that means filling the existing hole in the body and routing a new one lower down. Probably more effort than it's worth.

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