34" scale vs. 35" scale

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by GraffixNyc, Jan 12, 2005.

  1. GraffixNyc


    May 3, 2004
    New York City
    Endorsing Artist: Spector Basses
    I have a spector Euro 5 that's scale is 35" Now I know they do this so the low b string isn't as floopy but is there any other difference besides the inch? I hear some people say a 35" scale is harder to move around on but does that 1 inch really make a difference? Some people have said that they get tired quicker playing a 35" I stopped playing for a while. When I first was playing I was playing an 79 fender P bass but when I started playing again I moved to a 5 string and I have two spector 5 strings both 35" I'm really wondering how much difference in playablity that tiny 1 inch makes considering I hear people say they have a hard time moving around on the 35"
  2. My fretless is 35"; my 2 other main basses are 34". I thought it might be tricky going from 1 to the other, but that's not been the case. I prefer 34" because although I'm 6'2", my hands are not that big, so that extra inch in the low positions is a bit of a stretch for me.
  3. ElMon

    ElMon Supporting Member

    May 30, 2004
    Oklahoma City, OK
    Play a Ken Smith neckthrough or a Sadowsky and that should decide the matter. B string performance is definitely aided by extra scale length, but that is not the only solution. Proper set up and attention to detail are first in foremost IMO. Also, as to the big hands thing, check out Melvin Lee Davis' work on a Ken Smith 7 string, which is 34". Oh, and go to the Smith site and see how huge he is as well.
  4. troll


    Aug 31, 2000
    Chicago area
    For those of us with stubby fingers, I think it's a pretty big deal. I have been playing my 35's for a few years now, and well, it's still a bit of work to play down low. I recently got into a band that is using a lot of 4 fret reaches that I rarely did before, down low. SUre it's part stubbiness, part conditioning, I never did it as often. It's becoming easier over time, but man it feels nice to play the parts on a 34 that's for sure :) Hey, at least I finally have a calous on my pinky ;)

    I'd like to try a Dingwall, but the even longer scale E and B worry me since 35" is already a challenge. Nothing I guess I can't overcome though.

  5. Vic

    Vic There's more music in the nuance than the notes. Gold Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Central Illinois
    Staff, Bass Gear Magazine
    Don't forget Zon. 34" scale on most models, and AMAZING B's. Stands right up to the legendary Roscoe and hangs with it fine.
  6. MichaelScott


    Jul 27, 2004
    Moorpark CA
    Couple pros and cons to 35inch. Now things are different between each bass but if you take two made exactly the same with the only difference being the 35 scale you would probably notice:

    Harmonics- Because of the longer scale length harmonics normally sound out a little better on a longer scale then a shorter scale.

    Action- Since the strings are a little tighter you get less fretbuzz and can have a lower action.

    Sustain- people say that a 35 will sustain better then a 34.

    The fret spacing is a little wider. You might not notice it but many people don't like it.

    Bends- Since the strings are tighter it is a tad more difficult to do bends.
  7. ..but isn't the original question about playability, not tone?
  8. Josh Curry

    Josh Curry

    May 29, 2003
    Frisco, TX
    the 1" can make a big difference if you have smaller hands. It increases the spacing between the frets and this is most obvious down by the headstock where the spacing is the largest to begin with. It's actually only about 1/4" greater from the nut to the 5th fret, but the nut is also 1" further away, and for some people that be awkward. If you don't think that the extra length makes a difference go play a Knuckle Quake bass. that thing is 39 1/2" scale. The difference is much bigger making it very easy to notice.
  9. Only one of my basses (Peavey Cirrus 5) is 35" scale. The others are 34". I don't have any problems going back and forth among any of my basses.

    Over the past weekend, I played a Rickenbacker for the first time in about 20 years. It was so nice. :bassist:

    I did notice that the Rick's fingerboard seemed a little smaller than any of my other basses, but it didn't affect my playing.

  10. Mojo-Man

    Mojo-Man Supporting Member

    Feb 11, 2003
    I have a 35" Stambaugh 4-string.
    The extra inch, make a big difference on the low notes.
    Tight, more defind. focused.
  11. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Supporting Member

    I felt it at first, but after a couple of months (max) I no longer noticed the difference between 34" and 35". I have smallish hands for my size (6 feet).
  12. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Bettendorf, IA USA
    Remember that the 1/4" applies only with the 1st to 4th fret stretch. As you ascend the neck, the difference shortens. From the 3rd fret on up, it's less than 1/8th.

    Nor is the neck necessarily an additional 1" longer or the nut an 1" further away. Many makers will lengthen the horn or otherwise cut the body differently so the bass is worn in way to bring the nut back to you. Some (like Carvin) take an even cheaper route and simply position the bridge further back on the body to get the inch.

    If you have otherwise decent technique, it's probably not even going to be noticeable. If you allow your hand to pivot on the thumb, you'll cover at least four frets without shifting no matter how small your hands are.

    Those who prefer to play with the neck slung low and the wrist bent and on top of neck may struggle more.
  13. toad


    Jun 26, 2002
    I think it's what you're used to. I don't have big hands, but I don't really have trouble getting around on my JO5, but being used to 34" scale basses, I do have to look down. That stupid inch I think is tricky just because it's not that off that you have to rethink it, but enough so you can feel it. I know someone who plays 35" scale all the time and he has to look a little when he plays 34".
  14. lefty007


    Jan 19, 2004
    Miami, FL
    Also, don't forget that the playability in the first position or how accesible the first frets are has a lot to do with the body design and how long the upper horn is.

    For example I have played a Warwick Thumb 5 that is 34" but the upper horn is so short that it is very uncomfortable to play the first position. My Yamaha TRB5 is 35" but the horn is very long, so it is very comfortable, balances very well and the first fret is closer to my body.

    About sound, I agree that scale is not everything. After praising about the sound of the 35" scales in my Yamaha and MTD, I recently came across a Smith BSRM and it blew my mind; The B-string is incredible.

    I now prefer 34" scale also because the feel and tension of the rest of the strings.
  15. Particularly w/regard to the Thumb 5 vs TRB 5 comparison- my feelings, exactly.
  16. blen dem

    blen dem Supporting Member

    Jun 22, 2001
    USA, Vallejo
    "Don't forget Zon. 34" scale on most models, and AMAZING B's. Stands right up to the legendary Roscoe and hangs with it fine."

    I agree, just got a brand new Zon Custom 5 String on Tuesday and the B is EXCELLENT.... Have had several 34's in the past, Thumb 5 Bolt-On and Pedulla Rapture J5 and currently own a Peavey Cirrus 5 (35inch) and none can compete with the ZON. All good basses but the Zon is truly an amazingly built instrument. Iplay mostly rreggae and R&B so the 5 string definitely gets it's playing time and I couldn't be happier with my 34 inch scale ZON! Just mi 2 cents...PEACE!

    BTW the Cirrus (Maple/ALder - EXCELLENT to MINT condition) is for sale, hollah at me for those interested.
  17. Pickebass

    Pickebass Supporting Member

    Jul 12, 2004
    San Antonio, TX
    My Modulus is 35" and all my others are 34" including a Ken Smith and a Tobias (all 6's) The B' are all equally great. I haven't noticed a big advantage. It doesn't really bother me much.

    My Modulus is fretless and the extra inch does help when playing in the high registers. I have a little more "play" for intonation, which can help sometimes
  18. bikeplate

    bikeplate Supporting Member

    Jun 7, 2001
    Upstate NY

    A 34" scale can have just as good a B string as a 35" scale. My Sadowsky's do. That being said, my Roscoe's I used to own had awesome B's.

    You just have to get your hands on them and try them for yourself.

    I prefer a 34" scale. Easier to manuever. Plus it feels more natural to me

  19. mjw


    Jun 12, 2001
    Spring, TX USA
    I'd pretty much have to say the same. I have a few 35's and although I don't have "big hands", it didn't take long to feel real comfortable with them. I can't honestly say that I can perceive any truly dramatic difference between them and those < 35".