Should I tune a 38 inch guitar same as a standard 41 inch guitar (i.e. E A D G B E) or some other way? Another thing, I have dots on frets 5, 7, and 9 only. Is it normal? Asking since standard guitars have them on 3, 5, 7, 9, 12(double dots) ... etc

Edit after reading the Comments

The length from bridge to nut is around 26-27 inches

  • Sounds like a mini/short scale guitar? The most important measurement is the distance between the nut and the bridge. In other words, the freely vibrating length of an open string. If you have the guitar with you, you might like to measure it and put the exact number on your question (you'll get a more sure answer then.)
    – Andy
    Jul 22, 2016 at 16:07
  • I was just going to suggest the same thing as Andy. This measurement is referred to as Scale Length, or just Scale. You should easily be able to retrieve the scale of your guitar, if it is a well known brand, through a google search. Otherwise, measuring from bridge to nut, as Andy suggested, is the best way to do this. Jul 22, 2016 at 16:16
  • Does this guitar's neck join the body at the 12th or 14th fret? Jul 22, 2016 at 23:36
  • This question needs some honing. If it's about solid body electrics, then 38" is pretty well standard. But the scale length is more important. 24"-25" is standard, so if yours is longer, the strings could do with being a little thinner. What sort of guitar? Normal tuning is E A D G B E, fat to thin.
    – Tim
    Jul 23, 2016 at 13:10
  • Tune it to an open chord of kind tension!
    – sova
    Jul 29, 2016 at 16:56

2 Answers 2


I have a 7/8 guitar. My very rough measurements are 25 inches from bridge to nut and 36 inches total length. It is tuned like a normal guitar, and I have never heard about tuning slightly shorter guitars differently. Using the strings that came with it, you should be fine.

By normal tuning, I suppose you mean E B G D A E.

My guitar has also no dots on any frets. I have used Tipp-ex/Whiteout to make dots, which can be removed if needed.

  • 1
    One thing that can play a role in how good the guitar sounds and plays is the gauge of the strings. You likely need a heavier gauge for a shorter scale, or the strings will have less tension, potentially affecting tone, sustain and action. Jul 22, 2016 at 20:17

Yes - just tune it to the same notes as a standard scale length guitar.

This holds for a short or long scale guitar: unless you want a separate tuning eg drop-d, open-g or something, you tube it exactly the same as if it were full scale length, because physics doesn't care how long the scale length is... Halving the string length will still double the frequency, so the twelfth fret will be an octave higher than the open string.

As @basstickler commented though, you may need to experiment with string gauge to ensure you get the tone you want.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.