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Flats and Scale-Length

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by hoketus, Nov 19, 2012.


  1. hoketus

    hoketus

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2012
    Location:
    Toronto, ON, CA
    I've been looking at purchasing a set of TI flats and I had a few questions regarding string length. I play primarily a 35" scale bass, but I've noticed that they apparently only come in 34" and 36" scale:

    http://www.juststrings.com/toi-jf345.html

    http://www.juststrings.com/toi-jf365.html

    Now I wonder: am I going to experience a change in tension or tone? Or is the difference in length purely to accommodate different bridge/headstock configurations?

    I have a top-loading (quick change) bridge, and 3+2 tuner configuration. Am I right in thinking that the 34" scale set should fit with no problems?
     
  2. SLaPiNFuNK

    SLaPiNFuNK Gold Supporting Member

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    You need to look at the winding length more than the scale length.

    If you measure from the back of the ball end to just past the nut you can find the actual winding length your bass will require.

    The 34" Scale Jazz Flats have a 37" winding from Ball to Silk while the 36" Scale Jazz Flats have 39.75" windings from Ball to Silk.

    The tensions between the two sets are different simply because they measure based on the vibrating length which is what determines the scale length (from Nut to Saddle).

    HOWEVER, the JF365 set has Lighter Gauge strings in it than the JF345 set as the longer scale length will add tension....

    So playing the JF365 set on a 35" bass will be the same feeling as the JF345 on a 34" bass.

    That being said, if you can fit the JF345's on your 35" instrument you will have higher tension than if you put the JF365's on there (due to the lighter gauges).

    It is best to measure. Unfortunately I am not allowed to link you to my site that has info on how to measure. I'll PM that to you though!
     
  3. SLaPiNFuNK

    SLaPiNFuNK Gold Supporting Member

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    34" Long Scale: .043 .056 .070 .100 .136
    36" Super Long Scale: .044 .057 .072 .096 .136

    Difference in gauges between sets.
     
  4. hoketus

    hoketus

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2012
    Location:
    Toronto, ON, CA
    This makes sense in theory (using lighter gauges for a longer scale as to balance string tension)

    But if you look closely, the JF346 set contains the slightly heavier gauges (excepting the E, which is lighter, and the B is the same). Wouldn't this be counterproductive (adding tension where it should be lessened)? Why would this be?
     
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  6. SLaPiNFuNK

    SLaPiNFuNK Gold Supporting Member

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    To save myself from doing some math...

    On a 34" instrument a .125 tuned to B is 31.4 lbs
    On a 35" instrument a .125 tuned to B is 35.2 lbs

    The E string .100 on the JF344 on a 34" instrument is 34.39 lbs
    The E string .096 on the JF365 on a 36" instrument is 35.27 lbs

    So as you see, having a .100 on a 34" instrument is not adding any more tension, its actually making up for lost tension from the shorter scale.

    The JF324 set (short scale) actually has a .106 E string which has a 35.38 lbs tension on a shorter scale instrument... If this string was long enough to fit on a 34" instrument it would have closer to 38lbs roughly...

    The B is already large enough, and the B string in the T-I flats is already just so sweet...
     
  7. SLaPiNFuNK

    SLaPiNFuNK Gold Supporting Member

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    The Jazz Flat sets all feel very balanced.

    In short what I am saying is, if you have a 34 or 35 scale instrument it is best to see if you can fit the JF345 set so you have more tension as the longer set will be too low.
     
  8. hoketus

    hoketus

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2012
    Location:
    Toronto, ON, CA
    Makes sense - but under what circumstance would you use the JF346 set, if not for a 35" scale bass?

    Are there 36" scale instruments out there?
    Do some just favour the lower tension?
    Or is it more a question of what fits your instrument (string-though body, tuner configuration)?
     
  9. SLaPiNFuNK

    SLaPiNFuNK Gold Supporting Member

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    There are 36" instruments out there but there are also issues with string fitment.

    Some 34" instruments will require a longer string so the user will need to use the 36" one as they have a longer winding length.

    So yes exactly it is more of a question of what fits your instrument.

    Usually manufacturers have the same gauges regardless of length, but T-I does it a little differently.

    So in your specific case, if the length from Ball End to Nut is within 37" I would use the JF345 set. If not, you will have to use the JF365 set.

    This link explains how to find the correct length for your instrument:
    http://www.bassstringsonline.com/Fi...ng-length-for-your-electric-bass_ep_46-1.html
     
  10. hoketus

    hoketus

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    Location:
    Toronto, ON, CA
    Thanks, very helpful!
     
  11. SLaPiNFuNK

    SLaPiNFuNK Gold Supporting Member

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    You are welcome! Anytime!!!
     
  12. hoketus

    hoketus

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2012
    Location:
    Toronto, ON, CA
    One more question - I've been reading reviews of these string sets and it seems to be a popular opinion that the JF345 set in particular is of pretty low tension (lower than most regular roundwound sets, in fact). I came across these figures:


    Thomastic Infeld Jazz Flats (JF345):
    .043 = 37.03 lbs
    .056 = 37.47 lbs
    .070 = 31.30 lbs
    .100 = 34.39 lbs


    Not that this is a bad thing, but why the lighter gauges? I can understand the lighter "D" to balance out the high-tension "D" present in most string sets, but the "A" in particular seems very light, inexplicably. That aside, I was of the impression that flatwound sets were typically of a higher tension than most steel/nickel roundwounds, not lower.

    Can anyone verify - do these strings seem unusually loose on a 34" scale bass? Would the JF365 set be closer in feel to a typical steel roundwound set?
     
  13. SLaPiNFuNK

    SLaPiNFuNK Gold Supporting Member

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    The set feels very balanced regardless of the tension numbers listed. They are lower tension and more flexible than most other strings and especially most other flats.

    If you do go for the JF365 set you are getting lower gauges and if they are installed on a 34" instrument it will have even lower tension than the JF345 set.
     
  14. DavyR

    DavyR

    Joined:
    May 29, 2011
    Right on. The very low tension "A" makes the set useless for me, too. The substantial tension difference makes no sense.
     

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