A few questions (Scale length related)

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by SpasticTastic, Dec 24, 2012.


  1. SpasticTastic

    SpasticTastic

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    Hello, first post. :)

    I'm thinking about getting a new 5-string bass... And I have a few questions:

    1) For drop-tuning (Lowest I'd probably go is A standard/Drop G), would you say that 35'' is necessary, or can I get away with a 34'' scale?

    2) If you think I need a 35'' scale, what 5-stringer with that length would you say would be best for around $500. Used counts, too. I do a lot of picking, but sometimes dabble into finger picking.

    I apologize if stuff has been asked like this before. :oops:
     
  2. Rockin Mike

    Rockin Mike Supporting Member

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    There's not that much difference between 34" and 35".

    I think you'll get the most mileage from using heavy strings like DR DDTs and having the bass setup specifically for the tuning you're going to use.

    For best playability you want to do a setup on your bass every time you go to a different string size or tension.
     
  3. SpasticTastic

    SpasticTastic

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    Well, I'm a bit new to bass, so I thought that just dropping the low B once in awhile wouldn't be too much of a hassle like with guitar.

    And if if isn't as much of a problem as people make it out to be, I can get away with using something like an Ibby SR505? I was also eying the Schecter Stilettos since those get quite a bit of praise here.
     
  4. Rockin Mike

    Rockin Mike Supporting Member

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    One thing I've found helps prevent "floppy B string" is to install the string carefully. Be sure it's seated fully in the tailpiece, sits with about a third of the string in the nut and two thirds above, 2 or 3 winds on the post (not more or less), don't use tapers if you can help it, and don't twist the string as you install it.

    For that last thing it helps to get it cut to length and start winding it on the post, then take it off the post and reseat it in the tailpiece to get any twist out, then stick it back on the post and tighten it up.
     
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  6. Rockin Mike

    Rockin Mike Supporting Member

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    Well it's really not that much of a deal if you're doing it occasionally. I'm talking about the difference between OK and perfect.

    If I was in a band that played drop tuning all the time I would get a separate bass and set it up specifically for drop tune. Since I only do it once in a while I take my regular bass and just tune down and deal with it. If there's a little too much fret buzz I turn down the treble but again that's a "bubble gum and scotch tape" fix for a setup issue.

    BTW I have an Ibby SR535 neck on my bass and it works fine with drop tuning when set up for it.

    There's a balance between tension and string diameter. If you have regular strings designed for standard tuning, then you tune them down, they will have lower tension and sound floppier.
    If you have heavy strings and tune them up to standard tuning, they will have higher tension and sound tighter.

    Some of the other tradeoffs are, you can play faster on lighter strings and bend them more easily, you can "dig in" and hit harder on heavier strings without getting fret noise, if you go overboard with heavier strings and standard tuning your action will be too high (generally fixable with a setup)

    So if you get the right diameter strings for the tuning you're going to do and the feel you want, then set the bass up for that, you will be happy.
     
  7. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

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    A 35-inch scale really doesn't affect the playability and sound of a B string over 34-inch, but you're at least occasionally going to be tuning down one or two whole steps from the B. I'd say you're going to need a heavier B string (start at .135 and go up), and the extra inch in the scale might make more of a difference than for standard BEADG tuning. If it were me, and I was going to tune down/drop tune with any regularity, I'd consider a Dingwall or other fanned-fret bass.
     
  8. SpasticTastic

    SpasticTastic

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    Well thanks for the tips. :D

    And this'll probably my main bass until I get the cash for another 4-string for "normal" tunings. But you helped me out quite a bit. :)

    Also, if I can save up a bit more, I might also see about getting a Carvin 5-string kit or a G&L Tribute L-2500.


    EDIT: I should mention; in the meantime, I may switch from standard B to standard A. Once I get a second bass, it will always be in A. At the moment, mostly in B.
     
  9. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

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    Also, welcome to TalkBass. Anything anyone says about me is a lie.
     
  10. SpasticTastic

    SpasticTastic

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    What about the stuff you say about yourself? :bag:
     
  11. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

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    Mostly true.
     
  12. spiritbass

    spiritbass Supporting Member

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    Munji beat me to it - keep your eyes peeled for a used Combustion...
     
  13. SpasticTastic

    SpasticTastic

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    I'd LOVE to get a Dingwall, but even a used Combustion would be out of my range. Highest I'd probably go is around $600, and the few times I've seen a Dingwall go used, they were quite a bit out of my range.

    Depending on how things go, I may settle on an Ibanez SR505, unless I can find a used Spector Legend 5 or one of the older NS-2000/5's, maybe even the Euro models since I've seen them go around $500 - $600.
     
  14. Sartori

    Sartori

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    Some people like 35" and longer for low tunings. However, there are a ton of people playing in low tunings, many even on this forum, who just use the standard 34" scale. Or even shorter (like the user, Ric5, who puts a 5th string on 33.25" scale Rickenbacker basses).

    For playing really low, I myself use a 34" scale Peavey, strung BEAD.
     

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