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35" versus 34" scale

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Fret Boiler, Aug 27, 2004.

  1. Fret Boiler

    Fret Boiler Pity World

    Apr 12, 2004
    Purdue University
    Anybody have an opinion (yeah like who doesn't) about what its like going from a 34" scale to a 35" scale? Difficult? Easy? Impossible? Any help would be appreciated.
  2. Juneau


    Jul 15, 2004
    Dallas, TX.
    Depends, I have pretty big hands and the scale length wasnt even noticable to me. If your hands are near their limit now on a 34", then the change may feel a lot more dramatic to you.
  3. McHack


    Jul 29, 2003
    Central Ohio!
    Same for me, Juneau.. It's not that big of a deal.
  4. my hands are small and I didn't even notice.
  5. When I went from a 34" to a 35" it felt a bit odd for about 3 days or so, but I just quickly adjusted to it. No more than adjusting to a new bass IMO.
  6. Fret Boiler

    Fret Boiler Pity World

    Apr 12, 2004
    Purdue University
    Thanks. I guess I would classify my hands as medium. I don't have much problem with a 34" scale bass, except for the stretch 1-->5 on the upper part of the fretboard (like going from F to A on the E-string as in playing the Fmaj appegio in 1st finger position).

    Come to think about it, I've tried a couple of 35" basses, but I was more intent on determining if I can handle the change from 4-string to 5-string, and I wasn't paying attention to whether the scale-length was a factor for me (dooh!). I wonder if that means it wouldn't be a problem after all, or whether is means I just didn't test my reach enough?
  7. Ericman197


    Feb 23, 2004
    I like a good 35" scale 5 string bass with thick strings; it gives a nice tight B :)
  8. CJK84


    Jan 22, 2004
    Maria Stein, OH
    Adjusting to the longer ax shouldn't be a problem. I believe that on most 35" basses, only part of that extra inch is actually in the neck. Difference should be minimal and maybe even hardly noticeable.

    I recently saw a woman of short stature - maybe 5' 3'' - playing a 34" seemingly comfortably, so most people can probably play a 35"

    Be wary of the strings you buy for a 35". I once bought strings for my long-scale Cirrus that were too short - the outer winding of the E string didn't quite reach the nut.
  9. It depends on the bass. I once had a 35" six string, and it felt more natural switching between that and my Precision, than between the P and my Warwick, though both are four strings. I think that had to do with how the different basses balanced, how far a reach I had to first position, and neck width, rather than scale length.
  10. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    When I got my first 35" bass I thought the difference was very noticeable. However I later realized that the strings I had on my 35" bass had higher tension (scale being equal) than those on my 34" bass. So, the difference was greatly exaggerated for me. You may notice a bit of difference at first, but that'll probably pass.

    P.S. IMHO, the effect of going from 34" to 35" is greatly exaggerated, particularly regarding the B string. So, don't choose a bass primarily for this reason. But if a bass you like for other reasons happens to have a 35" scale, then go for it!
  11. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    It's easy to go from one to the other and back and forth. My first fretless also happened to be my first 35" scale bass. I don't think the scale hurt my intonation any more than any other factor. I now have a 34" fretless and I find it to be very slightly easier to intonate than the 35" was. For fretted it won't make any difference at all I suspect.
  12. Big String

    Big String Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2000
    Northwest Indiana
    Well I guess I'll be different. I'm like 5'6" not very tall but I have medium size hands an a pretty good stretch for my size. I played a beautiful/superb Lakland 55-94 for 3.5 years pretty much exclusively and after that amount of time I started getting wrist and tendon problems which were relieved when I switched back to my 34" four stings basses. I miss that bass it was exceptional.

    Note: I'm in 50's and everything pretty much hurts these days, so I guess that had something to add to it. I admit it's really a very small addition to the length of the neck especially since Lakland was the only maker I know that moved the nut up only 1/2 and the bridge back only 1/2 or what ever the exact amout was to make a 35" scale. I had played a lot of 5's before buying the 55-94 mostly Fenders, Ibanez etc. and none of them came close to the Lakies beautiful action and tighty B string.
  13. Fret Boiler

    Fret Boiler Pity World

    Apr 12, 2004
    Purdue University
    That's exactly what I have in mind. I like the Lakland 55-02 but other basses (e.g., the Flea Bass, Sadowsky Metro,... etc.) are 34" scale, and if it really made a difference then I might change my mind. Sounds like there really are only minor, overcomable (if that's a word, lol) differences.

    Thanks everyone
  14. Schwinn


    Dec 4, 2002
    Sarasota, FL
    I noticed a difference when I switched. It took me at least a week, maybe two, before 35" felt comfortable. Now I only play 35" basses so switching back and forth isn't an issue. I agree with others that said, if you like the bass, don't worry about the scale length. You can adjust to it. Afterall, even a 2 week adjustment period isn't a big deal - just practice! Now it fits like an old shoe!! :D
  15. tubster


    Feb 5, 2003
    Southwest Spain
    I agree that age plays a large part in this!

    For me, as a vertically and birthdate challenged individual(!), a 35" had me scurrying back to 34" as soon as I could, whatever the excellence of the bass - hard work and I did not know what the hell I was doing. It seemed like the neck had grown a foot, not an inch!

    Seems that the boutique guys all favor 35"s -G&L's and Fenders for me then.
  16. IvanMike

    IvanMike Player Characters fear me... Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2002
    Middletown CT, USA
    i never really had a problem with the 35" basses - a lot of times i have to ask what the scale length is
    i really like a lot of string tension so i think i like the 35" fives for that reason alone, but a lot of 34" B's have knowcked me out
    i wouldnt worry about it unless a bass is really uncomfortable or the b-string just sucks
  17. I'm not so sure there's overwhelming evidence to support the necessity of the extra inch for the 5. I actually owned an Alembic short scale 6 and the B on it was NOT floppy and rang loud and clear. I say, take more into consideration of how it feels in your hands vs. "I need this for a tight B string."
  18. xyllion

    xyllion Commercial User

    Jan 14, 2003
    San Jose, CA, USA
    Owner, Looperlative Audio Products
    Everyone has there own opinion on this, but I'll take my 32" scale bass any day over a 35". I can tell the difference. I can play both, but the 32" is much more comfortable.

    As for 34", I'm pretty happy with 34" scale bass. My 4-string basses are all 34" scale and they feel just fine to me.

    Remember, that all of this depends on the music that you are playing. The stuff I play on my 4's is different than what I play on my 32" scale 6.
  19. Arthur U. Poon

    Arthur U. Poon

    Jan 30, 2004
    SLC, Utah -USA-
    Endorsing Artist: Mike Lull Custom Basses
    I'd say my hands are medium-sized. When I switched from 34" scale basses to a 35" scale Modulus Q-4 it was very noticeable to me. It took a few weeks to get used to it. I've recently started playing a 35" scale 6 string. I haven't had any problems thus far.
  20. Carey


    Jan 18, 2002
    Redlands, CA
    I make most of my five's 34.5". It's an obvious and good compromise. I can get pretty comfortable with that scale length, but 35" is too much work for me. Keep in mind though that I'm a huge wus when it comes to playability. I want a bass to be super easy to play and that's why I built myself a 33.5" five string. It's the easiest to play bass that I've ever encountered. Perfect for my wimpy technique... :eyebrow: