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35 scale vs 34

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Bardolph, Jul 2, 2004.


  1. Bardolph

    Bardolph

    Jul 28, 2002
    Grand Rapids, MI
    On my fretless 5 I'm building, the bridge and dot markers are not yet placed so I still have the option of where to put the bridge for the scale length. The major advantage of a 35 scale I hear is that it tightens up the B string and gives it more clarity. However, I do not use a B string; I string from E to C. What would be the advantages of each length ignoring the B string?
     
  2. If you are building a EADGC tuned 5 string, I'd recommend 34" or even 33". You probably won't see any benefit of a 35" E over a 34" E, but the higher strings could sound twangy. IME, it's easier to get fatter sounding higher strings if they have a shorter scale length.

    Geoff
     
  3. I would say 34" also. First of all it's easier to play than a 35(especially on a fretless), moreover 34 is appropriate on EADGC tuning. A 33" would be sweet also.
     
  4. hippiesandwich

    hippiesandwich

    Aug 29, 2003
    San Jose
    Affiliated with Looperlative Audio Products
    Xillion's new Hoyt 6 string is tuned starting at low E and is a 32" scale and plays and sounds outstanding!
    [​IMG]
     
  5. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    I agree with everyone else. Don't go with a 35" scale. My Peavey Cirrus' G and C string are too thin sounding, and I attribute this to the 35" scale. The G is not too bad, but the C is almost 'guitarry' sounding. That is also the only gripe I have with my wife's Lakland Skyline D55-01. 35" scale, thin sounding G string. Since will not have a B string, IMHO the only string that would benefit from the longer scale is the E, at the expense of the G and C.

    Fanned frets were invented for a reason.:)
     
  6. James Hart

    James Hart

    Feb 1, 2002
    toms_river.nj.us
    Endorsing Artist: see profile
    construction is what matters most, strings and pickups next IMO/E. I've never had an issue with B flop and I've only every owned 34" scale 5 strings... priced from $300 to $3000
     
  7. hoytbasses

    hoytbasses

    Mar 30, 2003
    Cape Cod
    I build stringed instruments.......
    it isn't necessary to have a 35 scale to get a decent sounding B: as long as the neck is rigid (via using graphite bars in the construction of the neck) the B will be tight enough:

    34 or even 32" will work fine as long as you're absolutely sure you're not going to the low B at some time. don't use a 32 scale for a low B but a 34 will be fine.

    Karl Hoyt
     
  8. Acephalous

    Acephalous

    Jul 10, 2004
    Paris
    A pity that Warmoth Gecko are 35". :meh:
     
  9. Brendan

    Brendan

    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    Or, best of both words: fanned frets.

    But I agree. It's all about construction, not scale. Pedulla proves this, among others.
     
  10. orange_nate

    orange_nate Guest

    Apr 15, 2004
    i diddnt realize how wonderful it is to play a short scale bass till i got my epi flying v (30.5 inch scale) fast neck!!!
     
  11. RAM

    RAM

    May 10, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    I think you'll find the only difference in 1" change in scale is a very slight difference in how your fingers have to stretch between frets.

    I have a 34" scale Jerzy Drozd Mastery VI that I took to Guitar Center one day. I put it up against every 35" in the shop and no one working there could find a tighter B string than on my 34".
     
  12. Arthur U. Poon

    Arthur U. Poon

    Jan 30, 2004
    SLC, Utah -USA-
    Endorsing Artist: Mike Lull Custom Basses
    I'm waiting for my Roscoe-6 with a 35" scale to arrive; I'm curious to hear if there's a noticeable difference when compared to my 34" scale MM SR-5. I know this isn't a fair comparison, but I think I'll come to some kind of conclusion anyway.

    My main 4 is a Modulus Q-4. It's a 35" scale and it took some time getting my fretting hand used to the stretches after so many years playing 4-stringers w/ a 34" scale. One thing I noticed tonight: I played my Alembic Europa-4 and the Quantum 4 tonight on a gig. I have an easier time playing rapid sixteenth notes (think Rocco-style) on the Q-4; the added string tension makes things easier on my right hand. Much less slop in the string. BTW, I use a heavier gauge on the Alembic to compensate.

    IMHO & IME, the B-strings that have sounded best to me have been on basses with a 35" scale. I can distinguish the lowest notes better.
    But as with everything else, I'm sure there are exceptions, I've read many posts that state there's very little ( if any) differences between a 35" and a 34" sound and feel-wise.. :confused:

    Question: Isn't Anthony Jackson's latest Fodera 'A.J. Contrabass' signature model a 36" scale?
     
  13. Brooks

    Brooks

    Apr 4, 2000
    Middle East
    I have a custom Rick Turner Electroline fretless 4 string, but 35" scale. I find that on a fretless, I prefer the higher tension from 35", especially if you like to have really low action and you like to dig in. Extra tension gives me more room to vary the sound based on the right-hand (plucking) technique, as strings have less amplitute when in motion and don't hit the board as much as they do on a 34" - all else being equal.
     
  14. natebass

    natebass

    Sep 6, 2001
    Bremerton, WA
    personally, after playing a 35" scale 5 and a 32" scale 4 string, I feel that if you're going E-C, go with the smaller scale. Nuff said.
     
  15. RAM

    RAM

    May 10, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    I seem to remember reading the 36" scale was giving him a lot of difficulty and he was switching to 33".
     
  16. I find that a String-Thru bridge makes more difference than a slightly longer scale. With a string thru bridge, you can string the low ones through and leave the higher ones straight if they are too twangy. String-Thru also enhances sustain IMO.
     
  17. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Supporting Member

    I own 34" and 35" basses. IMO, 35" isn't better, it's just different.