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34" vs 35" B string; what say you?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by reverendrally, Aug 26, 2012.

  1. Ok, so about to start designing a headless, fretless, 6 string based on the findings of my previous builds. However, I need some help. What about scale length? 34" or 35"?

    I've had both and the best B string I've had was on a 35" Yamaha TRB bolt on. So one part of me leans towards this. The other part of me say, longer neck means more timber, higher string tension (wanna use flatwounds) and more weight.

    Love to hear people's experiences and wisdom on this.

    P.s. if there is a good thread to link me to, please put it up. I did a search but couldn't find anything.
  2. rgarcia26


    Jun 9, 2008
    Miami Florida
    But I lean towards 35"

    I got an old g&l 2000 series e 34" of course, I use flats DR$35 bucks on amazon i tune on BEAD, I am happy w my setup. But i have tried laklands 35" they seems to have a better B.

    But hey the nature of a B string is floppy, just embrace ur deep B, play it more towards the bridge.....that's what I do.

    So I said it I am ready to be punish for it....:hyper:
  3. eddododo

    eddododo Supporting Member

    Apr 7, 2010
    Only if its a floppy B..
  4. Fender flats' B string isn't floppy on a 34" scale. and it's smaller.
  5. Musiclogic

    Musiclogic Commercial User

    Aug 6, 2005
    Southwest Michigan
    Owner/Builder: HJC Customs USA, The Cool Lute, C G O
    the correct string choice is everything with a B and 34" scale. I just did a 34" scale 5er for a customer,(Top load bridge, not string through body) used SIT .125 Powerwounds, the B was firm, almost tight, and thunderous. I believe Vic Wooten uses .120's and sounds great, so it's all about the string.
  6. Drake Custom

    Drake Custom Commercial User

    Aug 24, 2010
    Builder/Owner:Drake Custom Bass Guitars
    I agree with Musiclogic whole heartedly. The string choice has a lot to do with it. For me .125 is my best playing and sounding B string on all of the basses I have ever built. I even build 33 inch scale 5 string basses most of the time and found that .125 plays and sounds the best without excess flop. It is articulate with some growl but with enough low end to do what a B should without the mud. So in my opinion, you would be fine with either of the the longer scales with the right strings.

    There B, I fixed it.
  7. Big B.

    Big B.

    Dec 31, 2007
    Austin, TX
    Personally I prefer the feel of a 35" scale. I havent found an appreciable difference in sound from 34" to 35" but for me there is a slight difference in feel of the string. Despite trying different strings 34" inch it always feels ever so slightly "loose" to me. 95% percent of the time we dont play lines where that is an issue but I notice in very fast or sharply articulated lines. I also feel the extra length helps all the strings, given the choice I would prefer a 35" 4 string as well. In all fairness though I playced 35" scale exclusiely for about 5 years. Other than my very first bass I never owned a 34" scale bass till I started building so you hould take my advice with a grain of salt. As far as comfort goes I dont find 35" scale any different from 34"
  8. Big B.

    Big B.

    Dec 31, 2007
    Austin, TX
    What kind of heart was that Drake? :bag:
  9. nickbass79


    Nov 11, 2009
    North Carolina
    I have had a 34", 35", and 36" scale basses. I prefer the 35", but for the B and E tone, the 36" is incredible.
  10. TheEmptyCell

    TheEmptyCell Bearded Dingwall Enthusiast Banned SUSPENDED

    The longer and heavier, the better. While many guys claim that they're 32-34" scale B's are thunderous, great, excellent, whatever, having played and owned 34 and 35" scale fives and now a Dingwall, I can say that the 37" B kills as far as clarity.

    Yes. You can make a shorter B sound 'good' through EQ, hardware choice, wood choice, voodoo magic, whatever, but there is something magical about the way each note from B up to E actually sounds as clear as the notes on a regular 34" scale basses E-G.

    I would go with at least 35" scale, maybe longer. If you place the parallel fret properly, a longer scale doesn't even seem noticeable. Really, the amount of wood you're adding for a longer scale is negligible, and the higher tension will actually make the bass sound better.
  11. garmenteros

    garmenteros Bass Enthusiast Supporting Member

    Aug 24, 2008
    Dominican Republic
    Slightly off topic but you might be interested in knowing... I've had a host of issues getting double ball strings that fit a 35 scale headless bass I'm building. The ideal length for my particular bass would be 36.75' from ball to ball. http://www.talkbass.com/forum/f57/headless-5-string-35-scale-bass-tree-bass-880653/

    So far I've bought and tried the following double ball 5 string strings:
    Rotosounds, labellas, dangelico extra long scale( these were actually too long). A fellow TBer measured his daddarios for me and length from ball to ball of these is 35.75 so too short as well for a 35 scale bass. Right now I'm going to end up using regular strings but would like to get double ball ones down the line. I still need to try status double ball strings before going the custom made string route...

    To your original question, I've always liked the Bs on my 35 scale basses than my 34 scale basses. these are a couple of custom 5ers and a stingray 5hh...

    JAUQO III-X Banned

    Jan 4, 2002
    Endorsing artist:see profile.
    It's the players touch and string choice.

    On my standard basses 33, 34 and 35" scale basses I use 110 B strings and I have no problem at all with nice low end definition.
  13. pnchad


    Nov 3, 2005
    definitely the strings

    string technology has really improved especially in the last few years

    you can get just about anything you like these days based not only on thickness & length but tension as well

    I have all sorts of funky scale length instruments 32" - 36" and those are easy to find satisfactory B strings for depending on what you're after
  14. smeet

    smeet Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 27, 2006
    Woodland Hills, CA
    All other thing being equal, a 35" has a tighter and to my ear "better" B. But the 34" has a better G. Choose your poison.
  15. HaMMerHeD


    May 20, 2005
    Norman, OK, USA
    There are 4 factors at work here:

    String tension
    Vibrating length
    Vibrating mass
    Vibrating frequency

    The formula is as follows:

    T = (UW * (2 * L * F)^2) / 386.4

    Where T = tension in pounds, UW = unit weight, in pounds per linear inch (vibrating mass), L = vibrating length in inches, and F = vibrating frequency in Hertz (Hz).

    So if you increase unit weight (heavier, more massive strings), vibrating length (longer scale), or vibrating frequency (tuning the string higher), you will increase tension, which most people agree has a generally positive effect on the tactile response of the string, as well is the clarity of the note it produces.

    Note: You can increase unit weight without increasing the gauge (diameter) of the string. By using something like DR compression wound strings, flatwound strings, or nickel (as opposed to stainless steel) strings, you increase mass without increasing gauge. That is because A) compressed strings physically crunch more material into each linear inch, and B) flatwound string wrappings fit tighter and eliminate a small amount of empty space within the string itself, and C) nickel has more mass for a given volume of material than stainless steel.
  16. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism Supporting Member

    34" B's can be tight and responsive, my Carvin is. Fender B's are 34" but I and many others wouldn't consider them tight.

    35" does tend to get better clarity continually up the neck, but as somebody mentioned earlier 37" is the optimal B string length as I haven't played a B that compares to Dingwall's yet.

    I should mention I have played amazing and awful 34" and 35", there is more to it than just the scale. My Carvin 34" has a much better reponsding and tighter B string than my old 35" Ibanez although once you got into the second octave (who plays the B there anyways) the Ibanez notes were more defined than the Carvin.
  17. 34.5":ninja:
  18. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 29, 2008
    I convert 4 string Rickenbackers to 5 string basses.
    You don't need 35" to get a good low B. 33" or 34" do just fine.

    A good setup is more important than scale length.
  19. OOZMAN


    Jun 16, 2010
    I say 35" makes far less difference than everyone says it does, IMO it matters more about the rest of the bass's construction. Kind of like the whole "4x15 or 8x10?" debate.

    Go for whatever feels best to you
  20. Tortve87


    Dec 28, 2009
    Oslo, Norway
    I have a Läkland 55-94 bass (35") with an incredible punchy low B, but the upper register on the d and g string doesn't sound that smooth and it got an bit "honky" hi-mid tone...

    that said... the Läkland basses are the groove master. if you play Gospel, funk/soul, R'nB etc... the 35" Läkland are one of the best, but it's not IMO a good bass to do solo's and hi register playing.

    I tried some really good singlecut 34" basses with a really good low B and E pluss the higher register sounds much smoother and nicer. a 33" or less is to radical IMO (I'm not used to that, but I have a Gibson Eb-2, so I'm not against those)...

    Keep in mind that it is a a different playing wise also between a 34" and 35" neck. I have big hands, but I play alot more efficient in the low register on a 34" neck

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