Short scale kind of guy

I have already written quite a bit about my two Gibson ES-346’s. You know all the nerdy stuff about the model and how I got them … this is a post about why I’m into that type of guitars … or more precisely short scale guitars. 

My first “real” guitar was a Gibson Les Paul deluxe. For several years I played that guitar from early morning til late, late night. I must admit that I also had an eye for the Fender stratocaster after I’ve seen Eric Clapton live, but since I really digged Albert, B.B. and Freddie King I stayed true to the Gibson-team.

Soren Reiff & Ricahrd Smith - copyright@Henrik Delfer
Soren Reiff & Ricahrd Smith – copyright@Henrik Delfer

That changed when I had my first zip of Earth Wind & Fire and Chaka Khan & Rufus. From that day I was sold and wanted to get that thin ice-cutting rhythm guitar sound. I started with different brands of strats and later on I had for several years some custom made strats. Really nice guitars, made of some real nice woods. But I must admit, that even though I played hundreds of gigs on those guitars, and practiced on them all the time I never felt really comfortable with them. I was always looking for better guitars even though I had some great ones. I thought that something was wrong with them, without knowing what, since I wasn’t comfortable with any of them.

One day, when I told someone about this, a clever guy pointed out that there was a difference in the length of the necks between Gibson guitars and stratocasters! That the scale was slightly shorter on Gibson type guitars. That was really a turning point for me – I knew instantly that i was a short scale kind of guy, and when I heard that I could get short scale strat-type guitars I never looked back.

Valley Arts guitar and Beverly Hills Hotel

My first shortscale strat was a white Valley Arts Guitar I bought the first time I went on tour in USA and the first time I visited L.A.. I still remember the smell from the hardcase that came with it, and how I sat in my room on Beverly Hills Hotel and played – man I was in heaven. All the other guys were at the pool or in the bar, I just sat in my room and played my new guitar. But the love faded shortly after … again I couldn’t explain why, there was just something that wasn’t right, even though it was a short scale strat.

Soren Reiff with Linie3 and Jan Glæsel in USA
Soren Reiff with Linie3 and Jan Glæsel in USA

When I returned back to Denmark, I compared the white Valley with my other guitars and suddenly I realized another big issue … the fretboard. On the white Valley it was made of rosewood, on all my custom strats it was made of ebony. I hadn’t given it any thought prior to this. When I realized that I was turned on to Valley Arts guitars custom pro model. For several years I had two, that I really loved and played on all my gigs. I’ve also written a post earlier about those – you can read it here.

The combination of short scale neck and ebony fretboard that’s my kind of guitar. Ok, I have a almost regular strat, that I can use, if I really need that specific sound of a full length strat. But it’s not very often. Ok, when we did the Scarbee Funk Guitarist sample library, we used a real Fender strat, and I really like that guitar … it sounds great and is super to play … but again it’s not often I’m in the need for a real strat.

And when I started doing more jazz inspired music again I started to look for some kind of Gibson guitar … I just couldn’t decide what model I should go for till Paul Jackson jr. introduced me to his ES-346 – and now I consider my red and brown ES-346 as my first choice of guitars.

What kind of guitar are you into? … and why?

All the very best


8 Replies to “Short scale kind of guy”

  1. I’m also into short scale guitars. Love the way you technique most more precise when playing lead. If I play long scale guitars, it just feels wrong. I also only play with 59 fat neck, my big hands and long fingers won’t fit elsewhere.
    When I had my custom build guitar crafted, I had the guitarbuilder 3D scan the neck of my favorite guitar ( Gibson the paul II ), to produce an exact copy with CNC.
    A Gibson 59 fat neck – Geeky and love it!!

    1. Thanks for sharing Anders.
      It’s fun to read how we all prefer different variations of “the same”. We are both into short scales but I’m totally into the slim neck’s.
      Super cool that the guitarbuilder could scan and copy the neck!
      All the very best

  2. Soren,
    I just got my ’65 Gibson Byrdland back from the shop, a 23.5 inch neck…quite a change from the Tyler strat, but, wonderful to play jazz on around the house and recording jazz solos. You have a good point about those shorter necks my friend!

  3. Hi there
    I have a PJ Jr that I bought about 2012. In fact I think its the one that has alot of pics on the web, that had the gold tuner buttons changed for pearl. I LOVE that guitar, although I have had tuning issues with the G string, – might have been the nut groove, so I have had that looked at and had a set og Gold PRS locking tuners I had lying around. Problem was the 346 tuners don’t have the tab and screw that other guitars have, so I don’t think I can buy a set of locking tuners without it. So now the head has six little screw holes but thats a small price to have tuning stability. Besides the obvious – I absolutely adore the sustain on the carved body. Hit a chord and it plays for 3-4 minutes!! My question to you is about the neck. When I got mine the neck just felt so big- I had the tech sand it down – still too big – did it again- too big -finally I brought it home, took it to my “Man Cave” and (you may want to sit down) took a rasp to the neck and put a mild “V” into and also took a small japanese style hand saw and sawed off part of the neck heel. Then sanded all down to 600 and my tech convinced me to leave the neck unfinished “like a stadavarius” – and man I just love it. The neck shape is similar to a 1982 Japanese built AM 255 (which was the first small body 335 guitar) and we specked out the neck and it was pretty close to the job I did on the neck. Are your 346s with pretty thick necks? Also do you know for sure that the original pickups are classic 57s? There is a 346 for sale (NOT a Paul Jackson Jr – made in 2001) and the seller says the PUs are 57 classic PAF’s – does that sound right- of course they could be fibbing. BTW love your Red one- Hell I LOVE any and all PJ Jrs – ever get into the robo Talk pedals Paul was endorsing?
    Best wishes Penn Eugene Oregon

    1. Thank you SO much for you comment and thoughts.
      My 346’s have fairly thin necks …. that’s what I prefer … they are both from the beginning of the 2000 – maybe the later ones have thicker necks … does yours have the same binding as mine, and the same binding on the pickguard??
      Sounds like you got away with the job, … I would never dare to work on my guitars like you did … I’m way to nervous for trying out such things on my own 🙂
      All the very best

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