A tale of 35” and winding length (and steel vs nickel)

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by knight of ni, Nov 15, 2021.


  1. I have a TRB6 6er which I used to string with Dunlops SS SBs. After too many problems with defective C strings (probably cured by now but many defective packs remain on the shelves in European least), I decided to change for another brand. With that and Delano pickups+preamp upgrade, I ended up with regular Slinkies and I was happy with the mellow tone of the nickel strings. Or almost, because that was until my teacher said “your sound is thin”. Right, I could eq some bass and low mids and thicken it but he was right despite my strings being 2 months old and being overused (I usually changes strings after 6 months).
    So I search for SS strings, 6 strings pack, on the net which in Europe is not so easy. I’m very happy to find GHS super steels at a bargain price. I order 2 packs, and some time later two brain cells lit up and ask the rest of the brain : you’re sure it fit on your 35” bass ? No problem says the brain most of long scale strings fit and the last few brands you tried actually did fit. Nevertheless I check the winding length only to discover GHS super steels B strings are the shortest of long scale strings with a winding length of 36.5”… A few millimeters too short. Arrrrg. Well well well I can keep these for my 34” 5er it was really a bargain. Next I go to Thomann and settle on Marleaux strings which, being German, are not so expensive at least at Thomann’s (38€/$). I was sure Marleaux did 35” basses so I did not worry. But the two same brain cells did lit up again, and after ‘precise’ pixel measurements on Marleaux lowres website bass pictures, I realize they only do 34” scale and that the winding length is very precisely 36.5” (maybe it is an hint as to who produces strings for Marleaux…). I immediately phoned Thomann and swapped for a set of Foderas, which I know I like at least on my G&L tribute M2500 and have the right length. But they’re 49€/$.
    I don’t if I will keep SS strings as the mellow sound of nickel string is right with this bass. But maybe SS will do the trick after enough time and not go thin as the slinkies did.
    As a final remark, I noticed I did not use string cleaner (Dunlop 65) as regularly as I did on the previous slinky set. So I applied it to the thin sounding strings and Lo and behold some fatness was back. But not for long.
     
  2. The 130B is not included in the GHS Tension Guide. That said, the difference between the 121B and the 126B is only 1.5 lbs. (based on 34" scale), so I would guess may be a few pounds of difference between the 126 and the 130.
     
  3. By the way, speaking of SS roundwound 6-string sets for 35" scale, DR Lo-Riders do come in either 30-125 or 30-130. And their "long scale" winding length is 37.75" for all six.

    https://www.drstrings.com/bass-lo-rider

    EDIT: OR... If you prefer something that's not too stiff, the DR Hi Beams are also available as 6-string sets with the same 37.75" winding length. The round core would make them a bit more flexible than the Lo-Riders (hex core).

    https://www.drstrings.com/bass-hi-beam
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2021
    knight of ni likes this.
  4. A set is available from Thomann. I put it on my list. I've used FatBeams in the past and was happy with them ultimately choosing Dunlop SBs for 6 strings packs because FatBeams 6 string packs are so hard to find or expensive when available (twice as much as Dunlops in fact).
     
  5. 80jazz

    80jazz

    Jun 28, 2008
    Kansas
    And therein lies a problem with 35 inch scale basses.

    I have a Cort GB75JH that I like a lot, but am quite limited on string choices (Warwick and DR are the only 2 I have found so far that are long enough).
     
    Jason Hollar likes this.
  6. Well Slinkies are OK for me so anything with a winding length equal to at least 37,25". The main problem for me does not come from the long scale length but rather the availability of 6 strings set and/or price when available which can be outreageous. A solution could be to buy the C string separately but of course no one sells C strings separately...
     
  7. HaphAsSard

    HaphAsSard

    Dec 1, 2013
    Italia
  8. Thanks for indicating Schneidermusik, they have a decent choice of 6 strings sets. Unfortunately if you look at both links single strings offerings it's far from being extensive. No single GHS Super Steel string for example.
    BUT I received the GHS super steel strings and despite the 365" winding length it seems the B string will fit ! I already strung my bass with a new set of Foderas and don't want to remove the B string, but it's sure the GHS will fit if I scrape off the silk at the end of the winding length (so it fits in the nut) and with a bit of luck I won't even have to do that.
    So it seems to be a classic case of "Don't scream before it hurts".
    Thanks everyone for your helpful comments.
     
    HaphAsSard likes this.
  9. epilogue : after the Fodera SS strings were worned out, I tried the GHS 6L-STB on my TRB6II. And it fits exactly on this 35" scale bass, the B string silk end starting just at the nut (I removed a bit of silk so the added thickess sitting on the nut is minimal).
    So far I like these strings, they're light but that's OK (I guess I learned that I'd rather have L than M if I stray away from ML, plus it's 35"). They're very "piano like" yet have some bottom end, I actually like them.
    Since I had them at a reasonable price (34€/$ a set), I went back a few days ago on the site where I bought them to see what was the current price. They were at 15€/$ a set ! With 16 of them remaining I thought over how many I would buy. One hemisphere of my brain would say "buy them all, it's a bargain you won't see again" and the other one "What if you're disappointed, change bass, etc : it's more then 5 years of strings !". In the end I bought 8. One day after ordering the sets, a tab of my browser still pointing to the strings page refreshed and showed a new price for the 8 remaining sets : 42€/$ !
     
    michael_t likes this.
  10. micguy

    micguy

    May 17, 2011
    There is a related problem with 34 inch basses - due to the presence of 35 inch basses, a lot of string makers try to make one wound length to fit 34 and 35 inch basses, which makes it far more likely that the fat part of your E or B string ends up wound around the tuner post. On a Fender style headstock, this is particularly an issue, as that geometry places the E or B string tuner relatively close to the nut. Leo didn't foresee this problem when he designed the P, the second P, and the J (or did he get it wrong? - feel free to discuss ad nauseam if you wish).

    One thing to note: if you string is short on winding length by a tiny bit, it might be helpful to know that bass strings stretch about a quarter of an inch (6 mm) from ball end to nut when under tension - the winding length is that much longer when under tension than it is when at rest.
     
  11. micguy

    micguy

    May 17, 2011
    From your post, it seems you want stainless strings because your nickel ones sound "too thin". If that's true, you're going the wrong way - stainless strings will have more treble, and thus sound even more thin.
     
    knight of ni likes this.
  12. 80jazz

    80jazz

    Jun 28, 2008
    Kansas
    @micguy I wonder if this explains why I have tried some long scale strings that work on some 35" scale basses but not others.
     
    knight of ni likes this.
  13. Wow, that's a Super Steal of price on Super Steels! ;):D
     
    knight of ni likes this.
  14. Yes it does. Those GHS are the first string I worry about the B being too short, and if the neck length was 1 inch shorter I'd worry about the fat part ending up on the winding post. Throw in the equation the ball end to bridge length and you're in for a headache, probably.
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2022
  15. Oh ! This explains why I end up with the right length whereas from measurements etc I'd thought it would be a few mms short.

    I respectfully disagree. It's not because you've more treble at one end of the spectrum that the whole of it before that suddenly drops. I find that old strings not only loose treble but they also loose fatness at the bottom. They become dull and you've got to put more lows / low mids to compensate. In my experience, you can bring back (temporarily) the treble with boiling, alocohol bath, whatever, but the lows are lost forever. And I like the SS because, very subjectively, they keep the fat longer.
    One weird thing about my current set : the B string very quickly became dull above the E 5th fret. I mean the B string vibrates quite well until the E and then it's like plucking a dead string. It's no big deal because the B is not meant to be fretted high in the neck, yet sometimes I do for convenience. Well I've plenty of sets to check if it's just this B string :) or all the B strings :bawl:
    EDIT : actually not as a catastrophic as described. But i'll definitely will check when fitting a new set...
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2022
  16. Geri O

    Geri O Endorsing Artist, Mike Lull Guitars and Basses Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 6, 2013
    Florence, MS
    I thought I'd share my experience with there same set of long-scale strings on a 34" scale bass (a Music Man SR5) and a 35" scale bass (a Mike Lull P5). These are D'addario Pro Steels on both basses.
    Notice where the main winding stops on the 35" bass....
    IMG-1507.jpg

    Now notice where the big windings stop on the 34" bass...
    IMG-1508.jpg
    I've gotten lucky, I guess. But I've never noticed anything different with Ernie Ball strings and now my go-to strings, the D'addario.

    (sorry about the horrid shelf pic in one of those…)
     
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2022
    knight of ni likes this.
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    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

     
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