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"Beatle bass" string length and tension?

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by Brian VT, Aug 29, 2017.


  1. Brian VT

    Brian VT

    Mar 8, 2017
    I just got this old violin bass. I assume it was made by Teisco?
    I want to put flats on it. It's 30 1/2" nut to bridge, then 3 1/4" to the tailpiece.
    I have some long scale 100-45 Chromes on hand. Will these be okay? (length and tension)
    If not, should I get something with lower tension? I don't want to damage the bass. Fyi, there is a pillar under the bridge, between the top and bottom of the body.
    Should they be short scale?

    B1.
     
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2017
  2. fermata

    fermata

    Nov 10, 2015
    Mountain West
    Tension will be fine, but the wound part of the E may or may not respond well to wrapping around the post. Worst case scenario, you break a string. If you want to buy strings specifically for this bass, you're likely looking at medium scale, to account for the extra space between the tailpiece and bridge. Measure the distance between the tailpiece and the nut to get the winding length you need.
    Finding the correct string length for your electric bass from BassStringsOnline.
    Electric Bass String Winding Lengths by Manufacturer from BassStringsOnline.com
     
    ATLbassist and Brian VT like this.
  3. Brian VT

    Brian VT

    Mar 8, 2017
    Got it. Thanks. Especially the explanation about wrapping the winding on the post.
     
  4. Brian VT

    Brian VT

    Mar 8, 2017
    IMG_0535.JPG Apparently it has long scale strings on it now.
    I have 34" tailpiece to back of nut so medium scale would put the silks on the nut a bit. Is that ok? It does also have a zero fret, fwiw.
    What would you do? Install the long scale Chromes or go out and buy something medium scale?
     
  5. fermata

    fermata

    Nov 10, 2015
    Mountain West
    Medium scales are probably the ticket, but if you're willing take a slight risk, try the long scale Chromes. (That's what I'd do; based on the photo, those other long scales look OK, since the E doesn't wrap all the way around.)
     
  6. Brian VT

    Brian VT

    Mar 8, 2017
    Thanks again.
     
    fermata likes this.
  7. lz4005

    lz4005

    Oct 22, 2013
    The ball to taper length of every brand of strings is different.
    Measure the exact length you need. Then buy accordingly.
    With the strings you've got, hold them up next to the bass. See how the taper and silk line up. Don't guess.
     
  8. Brian VT

    Brian VT

    Mar 8, 2017
    I didn't want to unseal the new Chromes until I got some advice.
    Now I know that they're longer than desired (well, the E and G anyway) but I am going to use them.
    It seems that with this 2x2 headstock I'd want medium scale for the E and G. Long scale for the A and D.
    If the headstock was 4 inline then? (Just a NEWB thinking out loud)
     
  9. fermata

    fermata

    Nov 10, 2015
    Mountain West
    It's not about headstock configuration, it's about the length between the tailpiece and the nut. In the case of violin basses, they're short scale instruments that use medium scale strings because of the space between the tailpiece and the bridge. They'll have plenty of silk/taper to reach all the tuning pegs.
    That's one reason Bass Strings Online is such a good resource--they list the winding length, which is the name of the game, no matter what bass you're stringing.
     
  10. Brian VT

    Brian VT

    Mar 8, 2017
    shortscaletopload.
    I had the picture of my bass' headstock in mind. The silk on the A and D look fine but the silk and the windings of the E and G are on the posts.
    Thanks for learning a NEWB, btw.
    I'm sure the longs would work fine for my use but I may get some mediums even though they are slightly below the "minimum winding length required". I like coming home with "stuff" to mess with. :)
     
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2017
    mcarp555 and fermata like this.
  11. hotbass57

    hotbass57

    Nov 27, 2011
    Fairfield,Ohio
    I have Medium scale 40-100 XL Chromes on my Hofner copy. Been on there for 5 years no problems.
     
  12. GIBrat51

    GIBrat51 Innocent as the day is long Supporting Member

    Mar 5, 2013
    Lost Wages, Nevada
    '94 Gretsch  G6119B-2.JPG As others have said, you really need to do some measuring first, if you don't want to just start trying strings to see what works. While it is generally true that Hofner/Hofner clone violin basses use medium scale strings, there are exceptions among both the strings and the basses themselves. Pyramid and TI "Short scale" strings were originally intended for basses with trapeze tailpieces (like Hofners), and are what other companies call "Medium scale" length. And, depending on the brand, some actual short scale strings have enough winding length to fit one of those basses. I have a set of short scale Roto 66's on a Starfire violin bass, for example, and they fit just fine. On the other hand, this Gretsch Broadkaster (30.5" scale) is about 40.5" from tailpiece to the top tuners. There are a couple brands of medium scale strings that will actually fit (just barely), but it's much, much happier with real long scale strings. So, who knows what will work best on your new bass? You will, if you do your homework...:thumbsup:
     
    Brian VT likes this.
  13. Your bass, by the way, is a Silvertone (see the second one listed here). Made by Tesico for Sears in the US. Appears to have been priced at $78 back in 1970 or so.
     
    Brian VT likes this.
  14. Dana R Gregory

    Dana R Gregory Supporting Member

    May 12, 2014
    Deland, Florida
    Labella makes a set of Dark Talking Flats specifically for the violin style bass. They are called Beatle Flats. Check 'em out before you experiment with long scale chromes. :D
     
    Brian VT likes this.
  15. They're a bit pricey, but the Höfner-scale set from Thomastik-Infeld are perfect on my 500/1. It's just the right length to fit a short scale bass with the extra bit for the tailpiece. They're pretty low-tension, too.

    Also, the zero fret is exactly that - you're automatically fretted at the headstock. Having the winding on the nut shouldn't make a difference as the nut's not really a factor anymore. The active vibrating area is between the zero fret and the bridge. The nut is really more like a string guide.
     
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  16. Brian VT

    Brian VT

    Mar 8, 2017
    That is the closest I could find too. Mine doesn't have any SR markings but it certainly is the same maker.
    I hope to find a pickguard/finger rest and bridge cover.
     
  17. lz4005

    lz4005

    Oct 22, 2013
    The label for scale length is technically wrong.
    Scale length is the measurement from the business edge of the nut to the 12th fret multiplied by two.
    That removes moveable bridge saddles from the measurement.
     
  18. Brian VT

    Brian VT

    Mar 8, 2017
    Fixed. ;-)
     

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