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Are there standard measures for fret distance for each respective scale length?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by BusyFingers, Jan 19, 2017.

  1. BusyFingers


    Nov 26, 2016
    Not sure if this should be asked in the luthier section, but I was just curious if Fender, or the mass-market bass manufacturing industry, in general, has a standard of measure for fret distance for 34, 32, and 30 inch scale lengths.
  2. jaybones

    jaybones Banned

    Mar 4, 2015
    Kelleys Island, Ohio
    I believe all Fender scale sizes have the same fret scale distances, at least among models. ie. All P, J, or PJ have the same fret distances. Even swapping a neck among various flavors (P to J) works so I'd have to think that scales are standard, at least for Fender.

    Maybe I misunderstood your question...
  3. lz4005


    Oct 22, 2013
    In the modern, western intonation system that 99.9% of TB posts take as a given, each scale length intrinsically has its own set of fret locations using this formula:

    Where d is distance from nut, s is scale length and n is fret number.

    There are other formulae, but you're probably not asking about music from those cultures.
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2017
  4. GIBrat51

    GIBrat51 Innocent as the day is long Supporting Member

    Mar 5, 2013
    Lost Wages, Nevada
    Based on a quick check among my basses, 2 things:
    1. I would say that; yes, between different model basses from one manufacturer - as in jaybones' example - they'd be the same. And among different brands I own, of the 34" scale ones I checked - a Fender, an Eastwood, a Gibson, an Alembic, and a Danelectro - yes, they're all the same, too. As they should be...
    2. Of the short scales I own (all 30.5"), the ones I checked - a Danelectro, a Gretsch, a Starfire Violin Bass, a Rogue VB-100, and a headless Kramer Duke - were, surprisingly, not the same. A couple - the Starfire and the Rogue - were; to each other. But, they're both violin basses, so maybe that accounts for it. The others, though, were all slightly different - from the violin basses, and each other - once I got past the 12th fret. It wasn't a lot, but it was obvious - and it got worse the further down the neck I went.The Kramer was a lot different - from the 4th fret - and became different much more quickly, the further down the neck I went. But, it's headless, and has a zero fret instead of a nut (I checked from the actual, usable, first fret, though). And, it's an old Kramer lumie, too; so, who knows what they were thinking...:eyebrow:

    So, while iz4005 is correct, and that is the formula, I'd have to say that some manufacturers either don't stick to it quite as well as they should, or else they need their measurin' sticks re-calibrated...:)
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2017
  5. M0ses


    Sep 11, 2009
    Los Angeles
    as lz4005 pointed out, the distance between frets is mathematically derived; it's not something Leo Fender just guessed at.
    Atshen, Sartori and cdef like this.
  6. nah... They just eyeball it. ;)
    tfer and lz4005 like this.
  7. lz4005


    Oct 22, 2013
    Those shorties are not all 30.5" scale. If you measure from the bridge side of the nut to the middle of the 12th fret and then double it you'll find a 0.6" difference between the longest and shortest.

    Zero frets and body shapes don't change the physics of how strings work or the math of where frets go.
    bholder, Atshen and Sartori like this.
  8. Yes, otherwise they wouldn't intonate.
    Atshen likes this.
  9. lz4005


    Oct 22, 2013
    Now that I'm awake, I measured my Dano Longhorn and Kramer Duke (terrible in standard, awesome as a piccolo, btw):
    The Dano is 29.5" scale. The Duke is 30.5".
    Your other two are probably 30".
  10. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    central NY state
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    I depend on this fairly often when putting dots on the side of dotless fretless basses - I put masking tape on the side of the neck of a fretted bass of the same scale length, mark the fret spots, then transfer to the freltess (lining up the nut marks). Dots on the spots. I sometimes use little bits of striping tape to mark the non-dotted fret spots, too, but that's a real pain and generally unnecessary.

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