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34 or 35 scale 5er??

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by basscase, Apr 20, 2010.

  1. Hello All,
    Well alright...I know it's been asked many times and I did the search. but I want to find out why the equations are not explained in a more technical matter than just..." I can do anything on a 34 that you can do on a 35...boy.. which I see here alot. My main quest for knowledge here about the subject is because of jumping the fence from a 4 to a 5 string. But I read here somewhere that to get more precise intonation of the " B " string it's required to have a 35 scale length neck on the 5 string bass. That was not discussed thoroughly in a technical standpoint for me to run out and purchase a 35 scale bass only. If a seasoned player with mature knowledge of this delusion can honestly say it matters please let me know too. I always played 4 bangers for many years now and I would like to switch to the 5 but I need your advise , since I don't know much about it.
  2. LutherHeggs00


    Apr 11, 2006
    I went 35" without trying one first figuring the jump from a 4 string to a 5 and from a 34" to a 35" would fall into place naturally. It didn't. It wasn't the spacing so much as the "reach". I noticed the difference enough to sell the 35" to buy a 34".

    My advice: try a 35" first.

    There are plenty of 34" 5'vers that have a good B string.
  3. I have both. It really boils down to the manufacturer; I have been fortunate in that all of mine have a tight B string and I think that's because of the sturdy bridges my basses have. Go with what makes it happen for you.
  4. Mystic Michael

    Mystic Michael Hip No Ties

    Apr 1, 2004
    New York, NY
    More precise intonation? That's the first I've heard that one... :eyebrow:

    AFAIK, the main reason - perhaps only reason - for using a longer scale length on an ERB is because of the additional tension and tightness it creates for the "B" string (and the F# string too, if you go that low).

  5. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    It also allows you to retain about the same tension when going to a lighter gauge of strings as compared to a heavier set on a 34" scale. I hadn't heard of the intonation one either- that's something the scale length should have very little factor in.
  6. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 29, 2008
    I Grow Organic Carrots
    I prefer 34"
  7. I've played both 34 and 35 scale. There is, in my opinion, a difference in the feel of the instrument. I've played 34's with very muddy b strings and others that were crystal clear. You should sit down and play several models and find one that suits you.
  8. mailboxmoney


    Jun 29, 2006
    I've played a lot of 35 scales but my 34" Nordy is THE BEST by far. The B is great and it plays as naturally as my 4 strings.
  9. jtc_hunter


    Feb 16, 2007
    I would like someone to chime in about the difference in 34" and 35" on the B string when you tune down a 1/2 step. I had a neckthru 35" once that when tuned down a 1/2 was wonderful on the B string. Shoulda kept it-------damn. I have tried tuning down a few 34" bolt on necks and the B was very floppy /muddy.
  10. I tried detuning a whole step on a 34.... clumps of mud dropped on a pickup:scowl: I let the guitarist detune and just stayed standard. It was intersting to watch. One guitarist was in D the other was palying a baritone Les Paul, and I was on a standard 5 string.
  11. Bass-Adrenaline


    Jan 23, 2010
    Aside from the additional length the only difference between the two is usually the tensoin. However, depending on the strings you use and the quality of the instrument it really doesnt matter what scale you choose because the tension can be the same.
  12. DrSmaggs


    Oct 15, 2003
    Endorsing Artist:
    I'm impressed with the response I get with my Sadowsky 5s. Seriously. I'm not sure if another 34" scale bass out there is this tight and responsive.
  13. shackled


    Jun 25, 2009
    Western NY
    Subbed. :)
  14. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    I started playing 4 string way back in 1976, and switched over to 5 string in Y2K. In the past 10 years I've owned both 34" and 35" basses.

    The 35" scale basses were made by Lull, Modulus, and MTD. They all had great tone and I had little trouble adjusting to the slightly longer scale length. However I realized that 35" instruments have a slightly different tone to them across all strings, not just the B. Note: the graphite-necked Modulus Quantum is a very different animal from most basses regardless of scale, but the Lull I owned was a 5-string P-bass, traditional in every sense except scale length.

    Anyway: being a traditionalist, tone-wise, I decided that I preferred 34". I'd put the B string on my Sadowsky up against any 35" scale bass I've played, but I also get great response from my Fender and Benavente B strings.

    P.S. One of my bands tunes down a half-step and my 34" basses still sound great.
  15. I switched to 5 string in 2000 and since then have played both 34" and 35" scale basses, it's been no problem at all switching between scale lengths and the sound is just the same on 35" as it is on 34" basses. I currently own 1 35" 5'er and 3 34" 5'er's and dig the sound of all of them.:smug:
  16. nostatic

    nostatic Supporting Member

    Jun 18, 2004
    lost angeles, CA
    Endorsing Artist: FEA Labs
    Worry zero about scale length. Worry a lot about the builder and the individual instrument. That and the fact that once you incorporate a B-string into your regular playing you may find going back to 4 string problematic.

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