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35" vs. 34" playability (not string tightness)

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by King David, Jan 19, 2003.

  1. King David

    King David

    Dec 13, 1999
    How hard is it to change from a 34" scale to a 35" scale. I have been pondering buying a 35" scale bass, but I am a little afraid I will not like the playability. What are your opinions?
  2. Brendan


    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    I can't tell you yes or no. It's a personal thing. IN my opinion, it took me about a year to figure out I just don't liek 35" scale basses. I thought it was the fact that it was a 5er, or that it was only a single pickup, or it was my amp, or SOMETHING...then, one day, I went and really say down, and it was that extra inch on the scale. So it's 34" for me. Which is odd, given my ham hands and prefernce for P necks.

    You on the other hand, might think it's the greatest thing since sliced bread.
  3. Jeff Rader

    Jeff Rader Supporting Member

    Nov 1, 2000
    Lone Star State
    For me, it depends on how the design is executed. Some 35" basses are just longer with the frets shifted up - that's uncomfortable for me. Others, like Modulus, feel like I'm playing a 34" and are very comfortable.

  4. hujo


    Apr 18, 2001
    Stockholm, Sweden
    For me, It's no big deal. I barely thought about it when I switched.
  5. ozellman


    Jan 6, 2003
    I played an Ibanez BTB 5 string for a year and a half just find out that I couldn't really get comfortable with it. It was a tension as well as the longer feel of the neck, bigger distance between the frets (difficult to use finger-per-fret technique in the first couple of positions as I have small hands) and a sound thing. Got rid of it and bought myself a 'ray 5. I have never looked back. The tone of the 34" is more focused doe to less complex harmonics and the feel is just superior. On the ray I use a 125 B string and it's less floppy than the 130's and the 135's I used on the BTB so it's not only about scale length.

  6. hujo


    Apr 18, 2001
    Stockholm, Sweden
    Well, I don't think you can argue that the differences in tone are based only (or at all) on scale lenght, since we are talking about two radically different basses here. Different construction, different pickups, different pickup positions. You're right; it's not only about scale length.
  7. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    The total shape of the bass, and how it hangs and is positioned on your body, make a huge difference. For example, you might find it uncomfortable to do one-finger-per-fret on a bass that hangs so the the nut and first fret are just within your reach, while a 35" or longer that hangs with the nut within easy reach might be easier to play this way, despite the wider distance between frets. The angle of your wrist (partially resulting from the distance you are reaching) is very important to playing comfort.
  8. ozellman


    Jan 6, 2003
    If there was no difference and hence only a matter of tension, slightly thicker gauge strings would yield the same tonal difference as adding an inch to the scale length but apparently it doesn't. I argue that the scale length changes the tonal characteristics of the bass. It suits some but not all. The pickups on the BTB and the MM are obiously very different but many other aspects are quite similar. Ash bodies, maple necks and so on so some conclusions can be drawn by listeing carefully to the unamplified tone of each instrument. A scientific opinion of the effects of the added inch would of course require maths and considerably more (and more scientifically correct) experiments however.