34" vs. 35" scale

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by jongor, Oct 7, 2003.

  1. jongor

    jongor Supporting Member

    Jan 11, 2003
    I'm considering building a fretless parts bass, and curious about whether or not I'd notice the extra scale length of a 35" neck.

    Playing fretless is challenging enough, I don't want to make it harder.
  2. OldDawg


    Jul 4, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA
    I have normal to maybe small size hands. When I switch to playing my 35" scale bass I know it. Now part of play fretless is being familiar with your neck so changing scale length will add to the learning curve.
  3. What length are you used to playing? If you're comfortable with 34" and you're wanting to build a fretless, now may not be the best time to experiment with a 35".
  4. jongor

    jongor Supporting Member

    Jan 11, 2003
    I've always played 34", fretted and fretless. But in the last few years I've had a few different 5 string basses and I'm never thrilled with the B string, always sounds kinda dead to me.

    A friend has a 5 string MM, which I believe is 35", and that B sounds good.
  5. JP Basses

    JP Basses

    Mar 22, 2002
    Paris FRANCE
    longer than 34" is not mandatory to get a great feeling and sounding B string.

    Do a search and you'll fin a lot of past discussions about it.

    Peace, JP
  6. Skorzen


    Mar 15, 2002
    Springfield MA
    As far as I know he MM is a 34" scale.
  7. Eric Moesle

    Eric Moesle Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2001
    Columbus OH
    MM is absolutely a 34" scale.
  8. Bassmanbob

    Bassmanbob Supporting Member

    It's funny. I am contemplating the same thing. I originally was going to build a 35" fretless, but now I am giving more thought to a 34" fretless.

    I spent about an hour at Bass Central this past weekend and specifically checked out the B strings on 34" and 35" basses. It seemed that the make of the bass had more to do with the floppiness of the B string than the scale length. Some 35" were more floppy than some 34" and visa versa. Some were bolt-on, set neck and neck through basses. I was not able to figure out exactly what it was that allowed for a better B string, but it is making me feel like building a 34" and see how it comes out.

    You may want to look at a thread I started about 6-8 weeks ago about floppy B strings. There were some good references to web pages about the neck attachment to the body. I'm going to look at it again before I start building.
  9. Skerik1


    Sep 21, 2002
    Saint Paul, MN
    36" Scale!!!!

    Do it!!!

  10. Suburban


    Jan 15, 2001
    lower mid Sweden
    Why not 38"? OR better yet, 41" (URB)?

    Really, when you go to a really long string, it will produce better low fundamentals. OTOH, you'll need to leave the "guitar" concept somewhere on the road.

    However: all the above stands on one simple requisite: an ideally stiff backbone.
    So, if you are able to realise a truly stiff neck (while still playable), 34" will do fine. Even 30", come to think of it...
  11. Bassmanbob

    Bassmanbob Supporting Member

    Suburban: I read the article at your website about the bassic physics about a month ago. It really nicely described the floppy B string issue. What you wrote seemed to make sence considering that some basses like Ken Smith with a 34" neck has a nice tight low B.

    For those of you who haven't read it, take some time to read it when you have no distractions. It gets into some light physics and math, but you can get the idea without a PhD. in physics.
  12. Suburban


    Jan 15, 2001
    lower mid Sweden
    Wow, thanks, B-bob!:)
  13. RobbieK


    Jun 14, 2003
    I have a 7-string with an 820mm (32.3") scale. The low B sounds great. A solid backbone is important, but don't forget the importance of a good set of strings.