If you’ve ever been a little confused about how to measure scale length precisely on a guitar, you’re not alone. The scale length of a guitar is, in common parlance, the distance between the nut and the bridge, or the length that the strings freely vibrate, but if you try to measure this distance you’ll quickly notice you’ll run into some trouble. Should you measure along the first string? The last one? The middle? Wait a second… they’re all different! That’s because the saddle is slightly angled for intonation.

So how exactly do you measure the exact scale length of your guitar? Our luthier, Rob Sharer, explains the proper way in this short video. Basically, you’ll want to measure from the base of the nut to the middle of the 12th fret and multiply by two (see our post on the parts of an acoustic guitar if you have doubts about nomenclature).

This principle applies to both acoustic and electric guitars, and can help you out if you need to describe your guitar specs with precision —for example, if you’re trading or selling your guitar with us and we need your exact specs. Stay tuned for the next video in the series, when Rob will go into the relationship between scale length and intonation.