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7 String Scale Length

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by craptastic, Jul 24, 2002.

  1. Does anybody make a 7-string bass with an extended scale length, preferably 36"? (I refuse to buy any extended-range bass if it has a scale length of 34" or less.)
  2. Well, I'm sure you could get one of the many custom bass luthiers to do this for you. I'm nearly certain that Bill Conklin (www.conklinguitars.com) would do it....for a price. :D

    I'm not quite certain I understand why you refuse to buy an extended range bass without a scale length > 34", but you've certainly got a right to do what you want.
  3. RAM


    May 10, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    Well, you refuse? Why?

    Anyway, I'm sure you can find anyone you want to. For example, Elrick makes 7-string basses and, while 35" scales are his standard, he will customize the scale length to 36" on request. I'm sure Bill Conklin would do the same. In fact, I'd bet most luthiers who'd build one for you would do that.
  4. The low B on a 34" bass invariably has a HIDEOUS action; every 34" 5-string I've played has this fundamental flaw.
  5. Angus

    Angus Supporting Member

    Apr 16, 2000
    Palo Alto, CA
    Hideous ACTION? Action has NOTHING to do with the scale length! That's just the setup, and it's easily fixed on most any bass!

  6. I've played a five string with a nice tight B that was 34" scale length. Average gauge strings too. Get a well made neck and it should be able to handle the B easy.
  7. RAM


    May 10, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    Maybe every bass you've played, but not every bass I've played.

    There have been a number of discussions around here about the benefits of an extra inch or two, and you'd be surprised about how little one or two inches will affect tone! In other words, it's largely a marketing gimmick!

    Case-in-point: The one and only Anthony Jackson has been playing 6-string Foderas for a long time. In fact, he even has a signature model. Up until recently, they were 36". But, hand problems have forced him to shorten the scale. He's now using 33" scale basses, which he believes make no difference in the tone.
  8. I would certainly not say that this is invariably the case. I've played a few 34" scale basses with low Bs equal to or exceeding those on some 35" scale basses. In these cases, I found the low B to be quite nice and certainly not hideous in any way.

    For what it's worth, I do apologize if my initial comment did turn this thread into a scale length debate, which we've had many times before.

    As has been said, most custom luthiers would probably be willing to build something along the lines of what you're seeking. If you live in the US, Conklin would certainly be a good choice -- as would many others. There are tons of custom builders all over the world. With a little research, you should be able to find someone to undertake this project.
  9. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    that's not been my experience but then again, what do i know? i only have 8 7 strings with a 34" scale length, a few of which do wonderfully well with a low F# below low b.

    neck rigidity has way more to do with low b performance than an inch or two extra of scale length.
  10. mikezimmerman

    mikezimmerman Supporting Member

    Apr 29, 2001
    Omaha, Nebraska
  11. We'll just let you be ignorant about scale length for now, Mr. Craptastic. Something tells me all the 34" 5-strings you've played have been Ibanezes and Fenders, given the contents of your profile. (Why are you even thinking about getting a custom-made 7 string right now, anyway?)

    Anyhow, does anyone know if Sheldon Dingwall has ever built a fanned-fret 7-string? The 7-strings I've played have had really weird-feeling high C and F strings...not sure if I like the feel.
  12. mikezimmerman

    mikezimmerman Supporting Member

    Apr 29, 2001
    Omaha, Nebraska
    I think a Dingwall would be an indeal 7-string, but so far I've only heard about 6's.

  13. Bass Guitar

    Bass Guitar Supporting Member

    Aug 13, 2001
  14. mikezimmerman

    mikezimmerman Supporting Member

    Apr 29, 2001
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Yes, something like that, although it's hard to tell what the scale length and tuning of that one are. Also, I'm not sure how much building Ralph Novak is doing right now.

  15. I was not thinking about getting a custom-made 7 string! They suggested getting it made by a luthier on the level of Bill Conklin or Carl Thompson.

    So, seeing as how I've been getting some almost hostile replies, how exactly would I go about getting a nice tight low B on a 34" bass?
  16. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    Um, I'm not sure if I understand what you just said correctly, but Bill and Carl both make custom basses.

    Anyway, if you want 34" scale with a tight B string, I think the key is going to be neck rigidity. A neck with five or more laminates will be much sturdier than a one-piece, and if it is built with sturdy woods (purpleheart, etc) or even graphite, it will tend to stay stiffer and aid in giving the B string clarity and definition.
  17. If you want a low B to sound good on 34", it's pretty simple--find a good bass.

    I'm serious. There are three components that make or break a low B, IMO. The most important of these is neck stiffness, followed by neck/body and bridge/body contact, and then scale length.

    Ever played a Sadowsky 5? A Music Man Stingray 5? A Zon? A Warwick Thumb neck-through or Streamer Stage I/II? A G&L? These are all 34"-scale basses with massive, taut-feeling Bs.

    Contrastingly, Deans, bolt-on Spectors, and other such basses demonstrate, a 35" scale is no guarantor of a solid-sounding and feeling B.
  18. Aw, hell, you don't even need that. Pedullas and Stingrays get plenty of wallop down low with one-piece flatsawn maple necks.

    What really matters is quality lumber.
  19. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    Whoa, looks like Mr. Bobby, er, Peter McFerrin's on fire tonight! :D
  20. D'oh! Let me rephrase that: They were the ones who <i>suggested that</i> I have one made by one of those guys. I <i> know </i>they're luthiers; I'm not a complete idiot. Well, not 100% of the time, anyway.

    Interesting... I've heard (from the mouth of Carl Thompson, might I add) that the graphite rods can cause problems if you want to lower the action on your bass. Here's the interview snippet:

    Aaron: Have you ever used carbon fiber stiffing rods in a neck?
    Carl: No, I didn't like it. I found the neck hard to adjust, The neck should be-You should be able to adjust the neck. I don't believe that business about things not being adjustable. You should-a piece of wood is going to move and it should move I think. And when it does it'd be nice to be able to take care of it. You know, these guys that make all these-I'm not going to mention any names, I don't want that to be in print-but I've seen a lot of those graphite, solid graphite necks and stuff that they don't put truss rods in. Guys come in here with them and they say, "Carl, can you get my action lower, you know, can you do that?" And I say, "Yeah I could if I could straighten out the neck but the neck has a shoot up there at the end and I can't take it out. So if I drop the strings you're going to be in trouble. There is nothing I can do, you know." "Well can't you straighten it out. It's not supposed to be warped." "Well it is." And they've made no provisions to take care of it. A lot of those graphite things are just-I guess you do get more sustain out of it and all that kind of stuff but they're heavy. And I put a couple of rods in a couple of necks. I thought I would try that just to see. And I didn't like the way my truss rod worked after that. It just couldn't-it didn't-when the neck moved a little bit I had to fight the rod. You shouldn't have to do that.

    Am I misinterpreting that?

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