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35" Scale 5 string Bass from Saga Kit?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Bassist59, May 22, 2011.

  1. Bassist59


    Oct 4, 2010
    Quick question:

    How feasable is it to take one of the new Saga 5 string Bass kits

    (Amazon.com: Saga MB-10 Modern Style Bass Kit: Musical Instruments)

    and upgrade the neck to a 35" scale so the low B isn't flopping around like a fish out of water?

    I was thinking about getting one of these necks (thick and fat as possible with the biggest stainless frets) and using it with the kit instead of what it comes with.

    USACG - Custom Guitar and Bass Neck Features

    I'd also like to mod the kit for string through body. The extra length should increase string tension which is what I want.

    Good idea? Bad idea? Opinions & thoughts are welcome. Thanks, guys.:hyper:
  2. Musiclogic

    Musiclogic Commercial User

    Aug 6, 2005
    Southwest Michigan
    Owner/Builder: HJC Customs USA, The Cool Lute, C G O
    String through doesn't increase tension. The extra scale length does add a bit. String gauge, and type of string/ maker will help you to find a higher tension.
    If the kit is designed to be a 34" scale, it is worthless to buy the saga kit, as to switch to a 35" scale neck will alter bridge and pickup placement to make it work properly. Just get a USACG neck and body and build it how you envision it, you will be much happier than trying to mod a kit based in a different scale.
  3. Get it an put SIT Rockbrites on it. Your B won't be floppy. Floppy Bs have to do with the way the string is made. Larger scale means that strings with a lower tensile strength will stretch more (over a little more distance).

    In layman's terms, SIT Rockbrites will be tight on a 34, but REALLY tight on a 35. D'Addarios will be a little floppy on a 34, but tight on a 35.

    What concerns me more is that the bass kit ships in 1 to 4 MONTHS!

  4. Bassist59


    Oct 4, 2010
    Thanks for your response, Musiclogic. I am not convinced about the string through body (extra non-speaking length) not increasing tension, though. I believe that would be true if there is no tension on the strings whatsoever outside the speaking length (tuning pegs to nut for example). However, on a properly settled-in, tuned instrument there should be uniform tension from anchor point to anchor point. This would necessitate increased tension in order to bring the instrument to pitch, no?

    I recently broke a bass string at the core and realized my strings were stuck in the nut. I got a nut file out and widened the slots. From then on when I tune up to pitch, I pull the strings up and out of the nut slot about a half an inch to relieve any binding then recheck the tuning. Usually the strings go sharp after distributing the tension by pulling them off the nut. Once I get the bass to stay at the correct pitch even after pulling the strings out of the nut a few times, it's 100% stable & stays in tune. I've been doing the same on the bridge side...pulling the string off the bridge and rechecking tuning. The point I'm trying to make is that if the tension on the strings is uniform from the tuning pegs to where it's anchored at the bridge, then that length does make a difference. The longer that length the more tension, correct? That's why I'd like to do the string through body mod....well, to be honest, it seems like it'd be fun, too! ;)

    I have no issues with repositioning the bridge on the body if needed on a project like this. The pickups can stay where they are. I'm just guessing I'd have to move the bridge back about an inch to have the instrument intonate correctly at a 35"scale, right?

    I'm taking a chance on this not working but I'm trying to stay within a budget. If I can use the body provided in the kit, I'd like to use it. It's strictly a budget issue. There is no 35" scale 5 string bass kit available. The 5 string Saga kit only recently became available....just wish it was in a longer scale.

    Thanks for the info about the SIT Rockbrites, T.B. Player. I've been using the heaviest guage D'Addarios on my bass and guitars and they're very taught which is what I like. Every time I play a 5 string at Guitar Center or somewhere, the B string is so slack that it just sounds and feels bad. Yeah, heavy guage strings will help, thanks.
  5. SDB Guitars

    SDB Guitars Commercial User

    Jul 2, 2007
    Coeur d'Alene, ID
    Shawn Ball - Owner, SDB Guitars
    Short answer - no, this is incorrect. Anchor points have nothing to do with it.

    The tension of a given string at a given pitch is equal for a given scale length, regardless of string length. It wouldn't matter if your string were 5 feet long or 50 feet long. If your speaking length (scale length) is 34", the tension required for a given string (say a DR high beam .050") to vibrate at G2 (97.999 Hz) is the same. If you shorten your scale while maintaining equal tension, your pitch increases. If you lengthen your scale while maintaining equal tension, your pitch decreases. This is why longer scale instruments necessitate higher tension.

    If you increase the strings speaking length at a given tension, it lowers the pitch, and you compensate by increasing the tension to bring the pitch back up.
  6. Bassist59


    Oct 4, 2010
    Yeah, that makes sense. Thanks for the info.

    On second glance that Saga kit, which appears to be a Music Man Stingray 5 copy kit, doesn't look like the bridge can be moved much farther back.

    Well...I guess getting a 35" scale neck and bass body together is a necessity. bummer!
  7. Musiclogic

    Musiclogic Commercial User

    Aug 6, 2005
    Southwest Michigan
    Owner/Builder: HJC Customs USA, The Cool Lute, C G O
    Nice succinct explaination Shawn, I appreciate it, as I was going to direct the OP to Don Till's site. It gets old having to redundantly hear the string thru thing and the Tonewood thing..........LOL

    Bassist59, check out Ebay if you are interested in trying out an economical 5er in 35" scale. There are a bunch you could salvage and get a body blank for not a lot of money and have all the parts you need to complete it. There are 100 ways To skin a cat if you really want to try it out....Good luck.
  8. Bassist59


    Oct 4, 2010
    one last question....I know it's gettin old...

    Is it really necessary to use a different body than the one that comes with the kit? If I test fit the upgraded 35" neck onto it and the distance from nut to 12th fret is approx. the same as the distance from 12th fret to bridge all should work, correct?

    Kinda looks like those bridge pieces can move + or - 1/2"...
  9. Im sorry but what's to say that the bass will definately have a floppy low B, IF you havent tried one already.

    My Warmoth build is a 34" and the B is great and wouldn't consider it floppy at all, least not to me.
  10. Bassist59


    Oct 4, 2010
    Hi SolomonHelsing,

    I didn't intend to be insulting to any 34" 5 string bassists here at TalkBass. I'm sure your Warmoth is a solid well-built quality instrument.

    Yeah, I have tried 5 stringers at the music store and it was the low B that prevented me from enjoying playing them. They were 34" scale. I read about the longer scale versions solving this common occurance with the B sring (obviously it is not a problem for some) and decided this would be a worthy project.

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